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A week with Cliff - 50 years on...

Posted on 14 March 2012  - 14:10

Fifty years ago this week, Cliff Jones and his double-winning team-mates had just beaten Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and were preparing for their next challenge - the semi-finals of the European Cup.

A week with Cliff - 50 years on...

With another FA Cup quarter-final on the horizon, who better than Cliff to rekindle a few memories of those glory, glory days past and talk about the current crop of players determined to write their own history.

This is the third day of our 'week with Cliff', and having spoken about the class of 2012 and Gareth Bale, Cliff now turns his mind back to 1962...


Cliff admits it was a 'special time' to play for Spurs.

Double-winners in 1960-61, Bill Nicholson's men comfortably beat Dukla Prague in the quarter-finals of the European Cup in February to line-up a mouth-watering clash against Eusebio's Benfica. The first leg was scheduled for March 21, 1962.

Still in the title hunt, although going through a relatively sticky patch by their high standards - a spell that would ultimately cost them in defence of their crown - the team also beat Villa 2-0 at the Lane on March 10, 1962 to set-up an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

In the end, that great team ended up losing controversially over two legs to Benfica, a 3-1 defeat in Portugal followed by a 2-1 win at the Lane, but a 4-3 loss on aggregate.

The European Cup dream faded on April 5, 1962 - Cliff's greatest regret in his 10 years at Spurs - but having beaten United in the semi-final, the team retained the FA Cup in May with a 3-1 win against Burnley at Wembley.

"Those were the glory, glory years, a special time," reflected Cliff.

"Benfica, over the two legs, they were a terrific side but we didn’t get the run of the ball, especially at White Hart Lane, where we absolutely pummelled them.

"Whoever won that game was going to win the European Cup. Real Madrid were the other finalists but they were starting to age at that time and they were there for the taking. That’s what Benfica did, as well.

"At that time, no-one came to White Hart Lane and beat us in Europe. We seemed unbeatable.

"It was a special time and I can see the glory years coming back. I fully believe they are not far away. We’ve got the team, got the ability and hopefully we’ll finish third and win the FA Cup this season."