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Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double
Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double
   

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On Saturday 6th May 1961 Tottenham Hotspur had already done enough to win the 1960/61 season Football League Championship and were facing Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in the F.A. Cup final in an attempt to become the first club to achieve the cup and league 'double' in the 20th century, Aston Villa having previously achieved the elusive feat in 1897.
The journey to this moment in time really began on October 11th 1958 when Bill Nicholson (right) became manager of Spurs following the resignation of Jimmy Anderson due to ill health, not helped by his age and the pressure of the job, Spurs having had a bad start to the league season. The effect was instantaneous, Spurs beating a poor Everton side 10-4 on that same day (the only occasion on which Spurs have achieved a double figure score in a league game).
However, the concession of four goals highlighted the deficiency in defence that was to lead to a season-long battle to avoid relegation from the first division. At that point, Spurs were playing 3rd choice keeper John Hollowbread as both Ted Ditchburn and Ron Reynolds had acquired broken fingers in the early weeks of the season.

Defensive changes obviously had to be made. The legendary Danny Blanchflower was dropped from the team in January 1959 to be replaced by the younger Bill Dodge in a more defensive role, a move that prompted a transfer request from Blanchflower. However, Nicholson reconsidered the situation after Spurs were dumped out of the F.A. Cup 1-0 by Norwich in a 5th round replay on 18th February and Blanchflower was reinstated, being appointed team captain a fortnight later. This was shortly followed by the transfer of Dave Mackay from Scottish team Hearts and this strengthening of the defence helped Spurs to avoid relegation that season.

During the summer break Bill Nicholson signed goalkeeper Bill Brown from Dundee and brought back Tony Marchi (who had previously played for Spurs but had gone to Italy in 1957) as defensive cover. Spurs made a much better start to the 1959/60 season but there was still something lacking in the team. John White was signed from Falkirk in October and in December Spurs swapped their inconsistent England international player Johnny Brooks for a little-known Chelsea reserve player Les Allen.
Spurs finished 3rd in the First Division that season - (Played 42, Won 21, Drew 11, Lost 10, Goals For: 86, Goals Against: 50, Points: 53).

Bill Nicholson

Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double Welsh international left back Mel Hopkins broke his nose while on international duty and was replaced by Ron Henry and further summer changes by Nicholson resulted in Terry Medwin being dropped. Cliff Jones was switched to the right wing to support John White and the left wing position was given to the diminutive Terry Dyson. Summer signings included John Smith from West Ham who was intended to replace the supposedly ageing Blanchflower but, in the event, he only made 21 appearances in 4 years as the evergreen Danny carried soldiered on and on, eventually retiring in 1964.

Spurs made an immaculate start to the 1960/61 season, winning all of their first 11 fixtures. The twelfth game against Manchester City ended in a draw, but they resumed their winning ways with another four victories before eventually losing their first game of the season 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday.
The run up to Christmas was only blemished by a 4-4 draw with Burnley after leading 4-0!
At the turn of the year they were already 11 points clear of second-placed Sheffield Wednesday and the championship seemed to be a foregone conclusion.

Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double

Spurs started their assault on the F.A.Cup on 7th January at home to Charlton Athletic where two goals from Allen and one from Dyson saw them to a narrow 3-2 victory.
Another home draw in the fourth round on 28th January was somewhat easier and goals from Mackay, Jones, R.Smith. Allen and Dyson despatched Crewe Alexandra 5-1. A 2-0 win away at Aston Villa on 18th February thanks to Jones and an own goal by Neil rewarded them with a quarter-final place away to second division Sunderland on 4th March where they were lucky to earn a 1-1 draw (Jones) before demolishing the lower division side 5-0 in the replay at White Hart Lane (Mackay, Smith R, Allen, Dyson 2) on the 8th.

The semi-final was played against Burnley (who ended the league season in 4th place) at Villa Park, Birmingham, on Saturday 18th March. A brace of goals from Bobby Smith and another from Cliff Jones concluded the event fairly comfortably, Spurs winning 3-0 in front of nearly 70,000 people and putting them through to their first final since 1921. Their opponents were to be Leicester City who had a much more torrid route to the final by way of:
Third Round home to Oxford United 3-1, Fourth Round home to Bristol City 5-1 (First game abandoned due to water logged pitch),
Fifth Round home to Birmingham City 2-1 (Replay after 1-1 draw away), Sixth Round away to Barnsley 2-1 (Replay and extra time after 0-0 draw at home) Semi-Final versus Sheffield United: 0-0 at Elland Road, Leeds Semi-Final replay 0-0 a.e.t. at City Ground, Nottingham Semi-Final second replay 2-0 a.e.t. at St. Andrews, Birmingham.


With their attention and best efforts apparently on the cup competition Spurs league form slumped and by the Easter weekend their lead in the table had been cut to three points. There had been a lot of recent speculation in the press, to an extent fuelled by some public criticism by Bill Nicholson, when Spurs took the field against relegation strugglers Preston North End on 1st April and they answered the criticism with a hat-trick from Jones. Additional goals from John White and Frank Saul made for an emphatic victory that stretched Spurs' lead at the top with six games remaining.
Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double

Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double
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On April 17th 1961 the two championship contenders went head to head at White Hart Lane. Spurs still held a significant point lead but it was a 'must win' game for Wednesday and they took the lead through Don Megson following a free kick. Their celebrations were short-lived, however, as Bobby Smith grabbed an equaliser within minutes and Les Allen followed it up almost immediately with what was to prove the winner.

The scenes at White Hart Lane were as if Spurs had already won the Championship with fans thronging the pitch and being rewarded with the sight of Blanchflower and his team appearing on the West Stand balcony.

Spurs were to lose two of their remaining three games, performances which were to cost them a record point total, only equalling the 66 point mark set by rival North London side Arsenal exactly thirty years previously. However, this didn't prevent them from being crowned League Champions by a margin of eight points from Sheffield Wednesday and the 31 wins they achieved was a record for a 22 team league.

The feat was remarkable for other reasons as well. Spurs used only 17 players during the course of the season, three of them only once. There was no 'squad' situation as there is these days, just 'first team' and 'reserves'. International matches were always played on a Saturday and First Division fixtures were not suspended.

This had the advantage of giving reserve players (Marchi, Medwin, Clayton, Brookes, Hopkin, Hollowbread) a run out in the first eleven but even some of these were also required for international duty. It is quite likely that if not for this, the same eleven men might have played in all of the 49 League and Cup games during that season.

Danny Blanchflower and Frank McLintock led their teams out on Saturday 6th May and the F.A. Cup Final kicked off at 3:00 p.m. The teams were:

Tottenham Hotspur: Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson Manager: Bill Nicholson

Leicester City: Banks, Chalmers, Norman, McLintock, King, Appleton, Riley, Walsh, McIlmoyle, Keyworth, Cheesebrough. Manager: Matt Gillies


Apparently wary of the Wembley pitch's reputation for injury on big occasions, both teams started the match cautiously, if not nervously. There were, of course, no substitutes allowed during the game at that time, so any player succumbing to injury had to do his best to carry on or leave his team a man short on the field of play.
Following a collision between Les Allen and Len Chalmers midway through the first half the Leicester man required substantial treatment. Despite Spurs pressure and a goal from Cliff Jones that was disallowed for offside the game was still goalless and in the balance when the referee J.Kelly blew his whistle for half time.

The second half carried on in much the same way until the 66th minute when Terry Dyson threaded a pass through to Bobby Smith who turned and crashed his shot past Leicester's legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks. With a lead established Spurs continued to press and the sequence was reversed in the 75th minute when Smith crossed the ball for Terry Dyson to score with a header. Fifteen minutes later Spurs had achieved the first cup and league 'double' of the 20th century.
In the spirit of true sportsmanship the losing finalists formed a 'guard of honour' for the victorious Spurs side in recognition of their outstanding achievement.
Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double   Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double

Spurs League Results 1960-61

20 Aug H v Everton W 2-0
22 Aug A v Blackpool W 3-1
27 Aug A v Blackburn Rovers W 4-1
31 Aug H v Blackpool W 3-1
3 Sep H v Manchester United W 4-1
7 Sep A v Bolton W 2-1
10 Sep A v Arsenal W 3-2
14 Sep H v Bolton W 3-1
17 Sep A v Leicester City W 2-1
24 Sep H v Aston Villa W 6-2
1 Oct A v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 4-0
10 Oct H v Manchester City D 1-1
15 Oct A v Nottingham Forest W 4-0
29 Oct A v Newcastle United W 4-3
2 Nov H v Cardiff W 3-2
5 Nov H v Fulham W 5-1
12 Nov A v Sheffield Wednesday L 1-2
19 Nov H v Birmingham City W 6-0
26 Nov A v West Bromwich Albion W 3-1
3 Dec H v Burnley D 4-4
10 Dec A v Preston North End W 1-0
17 Dec A v Everton W 3-1
24 Dec H v West Ham United W 2-0
26 Dec A v West Ham United W 3-0
31 Dec H v Blackburn Rovers W 5-2

16 Jan A v Manchester United L 0-2
21 Jan H v Arsenal W 4-2
4 Feb H v Leicester City 2-3
11 Feb A v Aston Villa W 2-1
22 Feb H v Wolverhampton Wanderers D 1-1
25 Feb A v Manchester City W 1-0
11 Mar A v Cardiff L 2-3
22 Mar H v Newcastle United L 1-2
25 Mar A v Fulham D 0-0
31 Mar H v Chelsea W 4-2
1 Apr H v Preston North End W 5-0
3 Apr A v Chelsea W 3-2
8 Apr A v Birmingham City W 3-2
17 Apr H v Sheffield Wednesday W 2-1
22 Apr A v Burnley L 2-4
26 Apr H v Nottingham Forest W 1-0
29 Apr H v West Bromwich Albion L 1-2
Final Football League Division One Table 1960-61

1 Tottenham Hotspur 66
2 Sheffield Wednesday 58
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 57
4 Burnley 51
5 Everton 50
6 Leicester City 45
7 Manchester United 45
8 Blackburn Rovers 43
9 Aston Villa43
10 West Bromwich Albion 41
11 Arsenal 41
12 Chelsea 37
13 Manchester City 37
14 Nottingham Forest 37
15 Cardiff City 37
16 West Ham United 36
17 Fulham 36
18 Bolton Wanderers 35
19 Birmingham City 34
20 Blackpool 33
21 Newcastle United 32
22 Preston North End 30


Played: 42 Won: 31 Drew: 4 Lost: 7
Goals For: 115 Goals Against: 55



Football Association Cup 1960-61

Round 3 7th Jan H v Charlton Athletic W 3-2

Round 4
28th Jan H v Crewe Alexandra W 5-1

Round 5
18th Feb A v Aston Villa W 2-0

Round 6
4th Mar A v Sunderland D 1-1
Replay 8th Mar H v Sunderland W 5-0

Semi-Final v Burnley at Villa Park
18th Mar 1961 W 3-0

Final v Leicester City at Wembley
6th May 1961 W 2-0
Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double

Spurs 1961 Cup and League Double




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