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Spurs' First Title Success (1950-51) - March 1951

SPURS' FIRST TITLE SUCCESS - THE STORY OF 1950-51 - March 1951
(all articles written by the late Brian Judson - unless otherwise stated)

Spurs Championship Winning Team of 1950-51

Tottenham Hotspur: First Division Champions 1950-51

Standing, left to right: C. Poynton (trainer), W.E. Nicholson, A.E. Ramsey, H. Clarke, E.G. Ditchburn, A. Willis, R. Burgess (captain), Mr A. Rowe (manager)
Seated left to right: W.E. Walters, L.D. Bennett, L. Duquemin, E.F. Baily, L.D. Medley

On the morning of Saturday, March 3rd 1951, Spurs and Middlesbrough led the race for the championship with Spurs leading the Teessiders by one point. Spurs beat Chelsea 2-1 (yes, we could beat them anywhere in those days!) thanks to goals by Ronnie Burgess and Alex Wright, who had been signed from Barnsley. This was his debut and one of the only two games he played for Spurs. (Final score:- Spurs 2 Chelsea 1. Attendance:- 59,449) Middlesbrough, meanwhile, were losing ground as they crashed 2-1 in their derby match with Sunderland, at Roker Park. Arsenal and Manchester United had been third and fourth in the table prior to their clash at Old Trafford. The Gunners crashed and they lost further ground in the race for the title. Newcastle were, however, hoping to climb back into the title race and beat Derby County, 2-1, at the Baseball Ground.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield Wednesday were crushed by a resurgent Wolves side, 4-0. The other two sides deep in relegation trouble, Aston Villa and Huddersfield Town, clashed at Villa Park, where the Midland side lost ground in their battle to avoid relegation, losing 0-1. It was around this time that Villa opened negotiations with Barnsley in a deal that eventually took a certain Danny Blanchflower to Villa Park. He told the story of that deal in his autobiography, commenting he had to eat his meal below stairs whilst the club chairmen had their meal upstairs in the restaurant.

Elsewhere, Fulham beat Stoke City, 2-0, at Craven Cottage, to enhance their chances of escaping relegation. Bolton Wanderers increased Everton's problems at the bottom of the table by beating them 2-0 at Burnden Park.

Of the other games, Blackpool beat Portsmouth 3-0 at Bloomfield Road; Charlton Athletic and Burnley fought out a dour 0-0 draw at the Valley and Liverpool drew with West Bromwich Albion 1-1 at Anfield.

In midweek, on Wednesday, March 7th 1951, Huddersfield Town lost to Sunderland, 3-4, at Leeds Road. Both clubs were just above the relegation zone so Sunderland were the happier of the two sides at the final whistle.

On Saturday, March 10th 1951, there was a truncated programme because the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup were being played that day. Newcastle United drew with Wolves at Hillsborough, 0-0, winning the replay, 2-1, at Leeds Road, Huddersfield. In the other Semi-Final, Blackpool drew with Birmingham City at Maine Road, Manchester, winning the replay, 2-1, at Goodison Park.

In the League, Spurs drew 0-0 at Stoke. (Final score:- Stoke 0 Spurs 0. Attendance:- 24,236) Middlesbrough failed to take advantage of that as they could only draw 1-1 at Ayresome Park against Liverpool. Arsenal made up some ground by beating Aston Villa, 2-1, but Manchester United could only draw 0-0 with Portsmouth, at Fratton Park.

Fulham increased Huddersfield's problems at the bottom of the table by winning 2-1 on their ground at Leeds Road. Everton failed to beat Charlton Athletic at Goodison Park, drawing 0-0, leaving the home side in a perilous position whilst Sunderland grabbed a useful point by drawing 1-1 against Burnley at Turf Moor.

A week later, on Saturday, March 17th 1951, Spurs thrashed West Bromwich Albion, 5-0. Duquemin scored three and Bennett and Baily completed the rout. It was a much needed return to form. (Final score:- Spurs 5 West Brom 0. Attendance:- 45,353) Middlesbrough remained in second place despite losing to Fulham, at Craven Cottage, 2-0. Spurs now had a 5-point lead.

Manchester United increased Everton's problems at the foot of the table by beating them 3-0 at Old Trafford, being kept out of second place only by goal average. A point behind them were Bolton Wanderers, who thrashed Huddersfield Town, 4-0, at Burnden Park. Derby County beat Arsenal, 4-2, to ensure the Gunners' chances of winning the title were minimal.

At the bottom of the table, Liverpool's 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday at Anfield ensured the Owls remained bottom of the table. Aston Villa won their home game against Burnley, 3-2, to boost their chances of avoiding the drop. Sunderland and Chelsea drew 1-1 at Roker Park to increase their chances of avoiding relegation.

Of the other matches, there was a Cup Final rehearsal as Blackpool played Newcastle United, at Bloomfield Road, and drew 2-2. The other two matches saw Charlton Athletic beat Stoke City, 2-0, and Wolverhampton Wanderers crash at home to Molineux against Portsmouth, 2-3.

On Good Friday, March 23rd 1951, Peter Murphy scored the only goal of the Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur game at Craven Cottage. It ensured they retained their 5-point lead at the top of the table with just 8 games left to play. (Final score:- Fulham 0 Spurs 1. Attendance:- 47,391) Middlesbrough beat Stoke City, 1-0, to remain in second place.

Manchester United kept up the pressure by beating Derby County, 2-0, at Old Trafford. Arsenal lost further ground, losing at home to Portsmouth, 0-1. Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers, 2-0, at Bloomfield Road, to maintain their presence on the fringe of the title race.

Of the remaining three matches, only the Burnley v Chelsea match had a direct bearing on the relegation battle. Burnley won the match at Turf Moor, 2-1. The other two games saw Liverpool beat Charlton Athletic, 1-0, at Anfield and Newcastle United and Sunderland draw 2-2 at St James' Park.

Next day, Saturday, March 24th 1951, Spurs drew with Portsmouth 1-1 at Fratton Park. Dennis Uphill made a rare appearance in the first team and scored a vital goal for Spurs. (Final score:- Portsmouth 1 Spurs 1. Attendance:- 49,716) Middlesbrough won again, beating Aston Villa, 2-1, at Villa Park. Manchester United travelled to Turf Moor and beat Burnley, 2-1.

Blackpool increased Everton's problems at the bottom of the table by beating the Toffees 2-0 at Goodison Park. Arsenal were now well out of the race for the title, even though they managed to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-1.

At the other end of the table, Chelsea lost at home to Charlton Athletic, 3-2. Sheffield Wednesday improved their chances of avoiding the drop by beating Sunderland, 3-0, at Hillsborough. Huddersfield Town improved their chances of avoiding the drop also by beating Derby County, 2-0, at Leeds Road. Fulham won a vital point at the Hawthorns when they drew with West Bromwich Albion 0-0.

The other two games saw Newcastle United and Liverpool share the points at St James's Park in a 1-1 draw and Stoke City beat Bolton Wanderers, 2-1, in the Potteries.

The return games to the Good Friday matches were played mostly on the Monday, 26th March 1951. Tottenham Hotspur completed the double over Fulham, 2-1, thanks to goals by Les Bennett and Peter Murphy. (Final score:- Spurs 2 Fulham 1. Attendance:- 51,862) Manchester United moved up to second place after beating Derby County 4-2 at the Baseball Ground but they were four points behind with six games left to play.

Stoke City's surprising 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the Potteries left the Teesiders hopes hanging by a thread. Bolton Wanderers's 2-1 defeat by Blackpool enabled the Seasiders to remain in 4th place but their challenge for the title had come too late. Portsmouth's reign as Champions was long since over but their 1-1 draw with Arsenal more or less ensured the red half of North London would win no honours this season.

At the other end of the table, Chelsea v Burnley lost at home to Burnley, 0-2, whilst Everton and Sheffield Wednesday drew 0-0. Huddersfield won again, beating West Bromwich Albion, at The Hawthorns, 2-0. Aston Villa also enhanced their chances of avoiding the drop in beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2.

The day's other game saw Sunderland beat Newcastle United, 2-1, at Roker Park.

There were two relegation battles on Tuesday, March 27th 1951. Aston Villa beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, 1-0, at Villa Park and Huddersfield Town lost at home to West Bromwich Albion, 2-1.

On the final Saturday of the month, March 31st 1951, Spurs did themselves a huge favour by adding to Everton's relegation concerns, beating the Toffees. 3-0. 'Sonny' Walters, Les Bennett and Peter Murphy scored the goals that kept Spurs four points ahead of Manchester United. (Final score:- Spurs 3 Everton 0. Attendance:- 46,651) The Reds thrashed Chelsea, at Old Trafford, 4-1.

Blackpool beat Stanley Matthews' old club, Stoke City, 3-0, but were 8 points adrift of Tottenham. Derby County turned the heat up on Middlesbrough at the Baseball Ground to thrash them, 6-0. Sunderland lost at home to Arsenal, 0-2, which ensured the Gunners would end the month in 5th place.

At the other end of the table, Aston Villa improved their chances of avoiding the drop by beating Sheffield Wednesday, 2-1. Huddersfield, however, beat Liverpool 4-1 at Anfield.

Of the other matches, Bolton Wanderers lost to West Bromwich Albion, at the Hawthorns, 0-2; Charlton Athletic lost at The Valley to Portsmouth, 0-1; Fulham and Newcastle United drew 1-1 at Craven Cottage; and Wolverhampton Wanderers lost at home to Burnley, 0-1.

The scene was now set for Spurs to clinch their first ever League championship during April ......


Pos.                  P   W   D   L    F-A    Pts
  1  Spurs           37  22   9   6   76-40   53
  2  Man Utd         37  21   7   9   62-37   49
  3  Blackpool       36  18   9   9   71-44   45
  4  Middlesbrough   36  18   9   9   72-55   45
  5  Arsenal         38  18   8  12   68-49   44
  6  Newcastle       34  15  12   7   57-46   42
  7  Burnley         38  13  14  11   46-38   40
  8  Bolton          37  17   6  14   60-53   40
  9  Portsmouth      36  14  11  11   60-61   39
 10  Liverpool       37  14  10  13   48-54   38
 11  Stoke City      38  11  14  13   41-47   36
 12  Derby County    36  14   7  15   73-67   35
 13  Wolves          34  14   6  14   65-47   34
 14  Charlton        37  13   8  16   57-71   34
 15  Sunderland      37  10  13  14   54-70   33
 16  West Brom       37  11  10  16   45-52   32
 17  Fulham          37  11  10  16   43-58   32
 18  Huddersfield    37  12   5  20   57-83   29
 19  Everton         37  11   7  19   45-72   29
 20  Aston Villa     36   9  10  17   53-61   28
 21  Chelsea         35   8   7  20   42-59   23
 22  Sheffield Wed   36   8   7  21   48-76   23

Cheers, Brian

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