FIFTY YEARS AFTER
The Double Series was written by the eminent Brian Judson
Leicester City came to White Hart Lane for the first match of February and
became the first visitors to beat Tottenham in their own backyard.
Leicester's Keyworth, Leek and Walsh were the main reason why Leicester
won. They went ahead in the 29th minute when Leek received the ball on the
edge of the penalty area and crashed it behind Brown. Spurs equalised five
minutes later when Jones, who was having a fairly anonymous match, picked
up a pass from Allen and hammered the ball behind Banks. But three minutes
later, Leicester regained the lead. Riley skied a high ball into the area
and Leek headed the ball against the crossbar and forced the rebound home.
Early in the second half, Spurs won a controversial penalty. Smith was
allegedly fouled (there wasn't a clear view of the incident) and
Blanchflower equalised from the spot. Mackay was then booked for a foul on
Chalmers that nearly made the game boil over. White, Bobby Smith and
Allen, as well as Jones, were all off form. Leicester grabbed the winner
in the 67th minute when Norman failed to clear the ball and Walsh
dispossessed him and toe-ended the ball behind Brown from close range.
Wolves, second in the table, travelled to Blackburn, who had slipped to
the halfway mark after a bright start. Surprisingly, Wolves unexpectedly
lost 2-1 at Ewood Park. Sheffield Wednesday however thrashed relegation
haunted Preston North End, 5-1, and were now breathing down Wolves' neck
again after having had a poor mid-season spell. Burnley's game at
Birmingham was postponed so the Turf Moor side lost further ground.
Everton also unexpectedly crashed at home to relegation haunted Bolton,
At the bottom of the table, relegation haunted Blackpool beat mid-table
West Ham 3-0, which allowed them to put a breathing space between them and
Blackpool in bottom place and to catch Newcastle, who were immediately
above them. The Magpies were held to a 3-3 draw by Arsenal. West Bromwich
Albion lost at home to Nottingham Forest to increase their own relegation
fears but Manchester City drew 3-3 at Ninian Park to earn a valuable
point. Final score - Spurs 2 Leicester 3 - Attendance:- 53,627
The following Saturday, Spurs travelled to Villa Park for a League match,
keenly aware they would be making the same journey the following Saturday
for a Cup tie against the same opposition. Unsurprisingly, the atmosphere
was electric as the match against Aston Villa began. Spurs looked quite
nervy and edgy at times. Blanchflower and Mackay were the key players in
this match as they soothed Spurs' ragged nerves. Despite Thomson shadowing
Blanchflower everywhere, Blanchflower still wreaked damage on Villa.
Because Thomson was performing a man-marking job, it disrupted the flow of
Villa's game and Spurs took advantage of that. Villa should have gone
ahead in the first half when Ron Henry blatantly handled the ball on the
goal-line but the referee missed the incident to Villa's fury.
Spurs went ahead shortly after the break. Smith finally wriggled free of
Dugdale to head Spurs ahead 20 seconds into the second half. It was the
only time he got away from Dugdale. Dyson added a second that Sims could
not prevent flying into his goal. But Villa were awarded a penalty and
Lynn reduced the arrears. In winning this match, Spurs became the fastest
side to reach 50 points under the old 2 points for a win system.
Wolves won 2-1 against Manchester United to get their championship
challenge back on the rails. Sheffield Wednesday travelled to Turf Moor
and won a thriller 4-3 against the champions, Burnley. Everton travelled
to mid-table West Ham and surprisingly crashed 4-0.
Preston beat Fulham, 2-0, at Deepdale, to revive hopes of escaping from
bottom position. Blackpool snatched a valuable point in a 2-2 draw against
Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Leicester City entertained Newcastle, who
desperately needed points, and beat them 5-3. In a relegation battle,
Manchester City beat West Bromwich 3-0 at Maine Road. It was still far
from clear who would be going down even if the title race seemed to be
over. Final score Villa 1 Spurs 2 - Attendance:- 50,786
A week later, Spurs returned to Villa Park for the 5th Round of the FA
Cup. Over 69,000 spectators crammed into the ground but the Villa fans had
little to cheer about. In the thirty minutes before half-time, Spurs
attained standards so high no one could have lived with them that day.
Spurs passed the ball around so fast and so quickly the Villa players must
have become dizzy. In the 18th minute, White began the move down the left
wing that, five passes later, ended with Jones smashing a vicious shot
towards Sidebottom's goal but the ball struck Neal and flew high into the
roof of the net. Shortly after the half-hour, the ball ran from Dyson to
White, on to Smith and then to Allen. Allen provided the pass that enabled
Jones to fire in a shot that was absolutely unstoppable. Thereafter, Spurs
simply toyed with Villa, knowing there was no way back for the hosts, who
had been bludgeoned into defeat by Spurs' rapier like skills.
Elsewhere, Leicester City required a replay before they disposed of
Birmingham City. They drew the first match at St Andrews 0-0 but won the
replay at Filbert Street, 2-1. Third Division Barnsley beat Second
Division Luton Town 1-0 at Oakwell. Newcastle United took a break from
their relegation worries to beat Second Division Stoke City 3-1 at St
James' Park. Sheffield United beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Bramall Lane.
As Sheffield United finished runners-up to Ipswich Town in the Second
Division, this was not a shock. Sheffield Wednesday disposed of Leyton
Orient at Brisbane Road, 2-0. Burnley beat Second Division Swansea Town at
Turf Moor 4-0. Second Division Sunderland beat fellow Second Division
Norwich City at Carrow Road 1-0.
There were only four League matches played in Division One that afternoon
because of the cup ties. Blackpool lost at home to Preston North End, 0-1,
in a relegation battle. Everton and Chelsea drew 1-1 at Goodison Park,
which cost Everton further ground in the race for the title. Manchester
United beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 to increase the fears of the Trotter's
supporters whilst West Bromwich Albion lost to Arsenal, at the Hawthorns,
2-3.Final Score - Villa 0 Spurs 2 - Attendance:- 69,672
Four nights later, Spurs drew 1-1 with second in the table Wolves. For
much of the match, Wolves had only ten fit men on the field as Bill Slater
was injured in a collision with Bobby Smith and, with his ribs strapped,
he limped around on the wing. Spurs were never happy when playing a
diminished side and they were uncomfortable in this match.
Spurs had gone ahead after 10 minutes (before Slater was injured).
Blanchflower, Mackay, Norman and Dyson had swapped passes before White
laid on the pass that Smith smashed home. Twelve minutes later, Wolves
took advantage of a mistake by Blanchflower. Murray sent Farmer away for a
totally unexpected equaliser.
There were two other midweek matches played that week. Sheffield Wednesday
played Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough on the night before the Spurs
match and beat them 1-0 to enhance their own hopes of catching Spurs.
Whilst Spurs were playing Wolves, Cardiff City played Newcastle United,
who were desperate for points and beat them 3-2.Final score - Spurs 1 Wolves 1 - Attendance:- 62,261
On the last Saturday of February, Spurs made the long journey north to
Manchester City. Unhappily for Spurs, it teemed with rain as the game got
under way and soon reduced the Maine Road pitch to a bog. Fortunately for
Spurs the rain soon ceased. It was hardly surprising when the game was
spoiled when Hayes was injured, forcing a reshuffle which saw Denis Law
playing in defence. The only goal of the game was scored in the 60th
minute. Blanchflower laid on a peach of a pass and Medwin, making a rare
appearance in the team, headed the ball home.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday continued their fine run of form by beating
Chelsea, 1-0, at Hillsborough. Wolves lost further ground when they
crashed 3-2 at Cardiff. Burnley's form continued to stutter as they drew
1-1 with Blackburn Rovers. The biggest shock of the day was Everton's
failure to beat Preston, bottom of the table. Their 1-0 defeat left them
with too much to make up and were regarded as slipping out of the race for
Blackpool's 4-3 defeat at Fulham dumped them on the bottom rung of the
table again. Newcastle United won 2-1 against Aston Villa to stay in 20th
place. West Bromwich Albion won their relegation battle at the Hawthorns
against Bolton, 3-2.Final score - Man City 0 Spurs 1 - Attendance:- 40,278
Spurs were now free to think about their Cup tie at Sunderland. They would very nearly come off the rails in their quest for the Double. But
that is next month's story.
Pos Pl W D L F A Pts
1 Spurs 31 25 3 3 91 37 53
2 Sheff Wed 30 18 8 4 61 34 44
3 Wolves 31 19 5 7 80 58 43
4 Burnley 29 16 3 10 79 55 35
5 Everton 30 14 5 11 62 54 33
6 Leicester 30 14 5 11 65 54 33
7 Cardiff 30 12 8 11 49 55 32
8 A. Villa 29 13 5 11 59 57 31
9 Arsenal 31 13 5 13 63 65 31
10 West Ham 30 12 5 13 67 63 29
11 Man United 30 12 5 13 59 58 29
12 Blackburn 30 11 7 12 57 60 29
13 Nott'm Fst 31 12 5 14 48 59 29
14 Birmingham 29 11 4 14 45 57 27
15 Chelsea 30 10 5 15 66 73 25
16 Fulham 30 11 3 16 55 76 25
17 Man City 28 9 6 13 57 67 24
18 Bolton 30 9 6 15 44 57 24
19 West Brom 31 10 4 18 50 65 24
20 Newcastle 31 8 7 16 70 87 23
21 Preston 30 8 5 17 30 53 21
22 Blackpool 29 7 5 17 51 61 19