Chapter Seventeen – Comes The Revolution (cont.)
At the same time, I never thought we should get too hysterical over the Spurs in terms of international competition and the European Cup. Praise them for what they have done. Don’t demand too much of them in the future. Life is always hard, abroad, away from home. The conditions, the crowds – everything is so different. I wouldn’t like to say, for instance, that they are a better team than the Manchester United eleven before Munich. I never played directly against these Busby Babes but I always thought they were just about the best club side I have ever seen. You cannot make comparisons of teams which have played at different times. The most you can say of any team is that it was the best of its time, but I would imagine that if you set that United team against this Spurs team, United would just have had the edge on them.
It is easy to say that Tottenham bought their success. Of course a club with plenty of money can buy good players, but it can also buy bad players and here Bill Nicholson has used his money very intelligently. He paid out fantastic sums for players, but he saved the club a lot of money in other directions, by not buying stupidly, and he saw to it that the players he did get earned money for the club.
When you consider that the top transfer in England is just over £50,000 Nicholson has had bargains in the transfer market. David Mackay at £30,000 I reckon is a cheap buy for Tottenham, if only for the extraordinary enthusiasm he pumps into the others.
John White (pictured) is another bargain, another remarkable player. He never stops moving. He never seems to run fast, but he is always moving, drifting into free positions, dragging opposing players out of their defensive stations, what we call in the trade a very good player ‘off the ball’. He is a vital one for Tottenham all right. He is the type of player who can dominate simply by forcing his team mates to play to him, to play the ball where he wants it or force them into positions where he wants them to be.
I saw more of Cliff Jones when he was with Swansea, when he always struck me as never quite knowing where he was going with the ball. Now that he is at Tottenham he is greatly improved in that respect – more incisive and selective and his tremendous speed is a great asset in extending and stretching and turning a defence. A match winner on his day is Cliff. The two wing-halfs and White are the dominant Spurs players but with two wing-halfs in Blanchflower and Mackay who would rather lose a match than not attack, the team must have good defensive players too. In this respect Norman and the full-backs have been outstanding. The point about the Spurs is that they all fit. The pieces of the jigsaw are all different shapes and sizes, but they all fit tightly and perfectly. Perhaps Blanchflower, Mackay and White make them fit.
It's All In The Game was published by Arthur Baker Limited.
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