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Bill Nic countdown: Martin Peters

Posted on 6 August 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Martin Peters always believed he would spend the rest of his career at White Hart Lane — until Bill Nicholson walked out the door.

That sad day came in September 1974 and Martin, a British record signing at £200,000 by Bill back in 1970, was on his way to Norwich City in the March of that season.

World Cup hero Martin, now a director at the Lane, recalled: “Bill’s a great guy and he was one of the reasons I left the club.

“I thought I was going to be there for the rest of my career and when Bill decided to stand down, that was one of the reasons I decided to leave the club.

“On the day he resigned, as captain, I did as much as I could to get him to reconsider. But he stuck to his guns and we suffered as a result.”

Martin was already a national hero after his goal against Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final when he joined us in 1970. He went on to make 287 appearances in all competitions, scoring 87 goals and winning two League Cups and the UEFA Cup along the way.

When talking about Bill’s strengths as a manager Martin pinpointed his ability to spot shortcomings in his side and nurturing the team ethic that helped take us down the glory, glory path again in the early 1970s.

“Bill’s strengths were that he knew where to play players,” explained Martin.

“He bought players, I was £200,000, which as a lot at the time, when he picked out deficiencies in the side.

“He bought players that would slot straight into where the team would perhaps need a little help. In the years I was there he bought players and it all mapped out well.

“We had a great side in the 1970s and we were a team as well.

“We were team-mates and Bill helped nurture that. We had great relations in the side, we went out together, we got drunk together — it was a team based on working for each other.”

Martin added that Bill’s dedication stood out. “During the time I was there he was the first one to be there and the last to leave,” he revealed and said, as far as his place in history was concerned, he is up with the greats.

“It is very difficult to place anyone at the top,” he insisted.

“You have to say all these guys are number one, Nicholson, Shankly, Busby, Ferguson - they are all equals and you cannot really tell them apart.

“One might have had more success than the others, Tottenham were first to do the double, Bill has that, but it’s very difficult to say one is better than the other.”