1961 Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup Victors

by Bernard Frei on March 06, 2019

Bill Nicholson’s double-winning Tottenham Hotspur team of 1960–61 is frequently referred to as one of the most exciting ever seen. In this season, Spurs won the First Division title for the second time and the FA Cup for the third time in the club’s history. They finished the forty-two game league season with sixty-six points, eight above runners-up, Sheffield Wednesday. Several players including club captain Danny Blanchflower, John White, Ron Henry and Les Allen, played in all forty-two league and all seven FA Cup games.

Bobby Smith was the club’s top scorer with thirty-three goals, twenty-eight in the First Division and five in the FA Cup, including the first goal in the Final in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Leicester City. Between the start of the season in late August and the second week in November, Spurs won their first eleven and remained unbeaten for sixteen matches, until the season’s first defeat at Hillsborough against the eventual runners-up, Sheffield Wednesday. Seven more unbeaten games until mid-January ensured that the club remained at the top of Division One.

Nicholson used seventeen players between August and the FA Cup Final in May, including Bill Brown, Peter Baker, Ron Henry, Danny Blanchflower, Maurice Norman, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, John White, Bobby Smith, Les Allen, Terry Dyson, Terry Medwin. Frank Saul, Tony Marchi, John Hollowbread, Ken Barton and John Smith were also occasional players. In three years, Bill Nicholson had made repeated astute signings, including Dave Mackay from Hearts, John White from Falkirk, Cliff Jones from Swansea, Danny Blanchflower from Aston Villa, Maurice Norman from Norwich City, Bobby Smith from Chelsea, all of them developing into players who represented their countries. Tottenham won the European Cup-Winners Cup in 1962-63, having retained the FA Cup in 1961-62. Bill Nicholson was awarded the OBE for services to football in 1975. 

The sentiments behind the club’s motto, "Audere est facere", are embraced in much of what Nicholson said during his lifetime: "It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory. We must always consider our supporters, for without them there would be no professional football. It would be better to have more fans watching football the way they like it played, rather than have a few fans watching football the way we would like it played. It’s no use just winning, we’ve got to win well. When it is played at its best, football remains the greatest game of all. And Tottenham, so close to my heart, is still to me the greatest club." All of the football clubs to which the epithet "Great" has been applied have embraced the belief that winning is half of the point but that winning in a certain way is equally important.

Celebrate the history of Tottenham Hotspur soccer with this framed 1961 Tottenham jersey signed by six players. Check out the rest of the Tottenham Hotspur collection on the Vintage Sports Soccer Collection

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