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Bill Nicholson tributes

Posted on 23 October 2004  - 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).

Bill Nicholson tributes...

Daniel Levy, Chairman
“Such sad news. Bill was the heartbeat of this Club and nothing can ever be the same again because a giant of the game is no more. He set unbelievable standards and gave the name Tottenham Hotspur a global dimension with his own unique and wonderful style of football that will always remain synonymous with his great name. We at Spurs owe it to Bill’s memory to always strive to reach the greatness that he achieved. Those remembering Bill’s special teams will always do so with a smile and that is the legacy that Bill Nick leaves us all. We express our condolences to his wife Darkie and all Bill’s family and many friends.”

Eddie Baily
"Bill was one of the most successful managers of all and I was privileged to have worked closely with him for many years.

"He was a typical Yorkshireman - not exactly Cavalier in his ways - but players always knew where they stood with him. One of Bill's great strengths was his organisational ability, being thorough and planning properly. He was a one-off.”

Dave Mackay
“Bill was a marvellous manager - one of the top five in the game over the past 50 years.

“He was absolutely straightforward and when he said something he meant it - he would never go back on his word. He was 100 per cent genuine in that respect.

“Bill built our ‘Double’ team in a short space of time with a handful of shrewd signings. He was an excellent coach with great tactical knowledge.

“He never let us forget that we were out there to entertain the public.
He was straight as a die, 100 per cent honest and 100 per cent Spurs.

“I didn't try to copy his style when I went into management - you cannot copy the master. He was inimitable.”

Pat Jennings
“When you thought of Tottenham you thought of Bill Nicholson - one of the
legendary figures in football.

“He was like a father figure to me and probably the biggest influence on my life.”

Martin Peters
“Bill Nicholson was totally dedicated to Tottenham. He was the first person
to arrive in the morning and the last person to leave at night.

“It was as much about a respect for the man himself than anything else that
took me to Spurs.

“He had a great knack of being able to find players who would fit into his
side. He would encourage us to go out there and play the way we have been
brought up to play, which was good for me because I was used to a similar
style to Spurs while playing at West Ham.”

“Bill was a major servant to English football and a fantastic man it was an honour to serve under him.”

Gary Mabbutt
“Bill Nicholson was the man who brought me to Tottenham, so I have a lot to thank him for.

“I have the utmost respect for what Bill achieved throughout his career, and for what he did for Tottenham. He was responsible for bringing the glory, glory days to the club, and his Double-winning team of the 1960s is the one people always talk about, and the one the fans always want Tottenham teams to emulate.

“Bill will always be a legend. He had that same incredible aura that Bill Shankly and Sir Matt Busby had. He was respected throughout the whole country not just for what he achieved, but also for the way he had done it.

“Bill lived a life which revolved around Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Nobody had a bad word to say about him because he was a gentleman.”

Hunter Davis (writer)
“No player or manager in my lifetime has been more loyal and devoted to his club than Bill Nicholson. His service to Tottenham over so many years was selfless, well beyond the calls and confines of any duty.

He never expected or demanded monetary rewards nor did he want or seek personal fame, even at the height of his success as Tottenham’s manager.

Bill Nick just got on with the job, doing the job, for the job’s sake. And his life’s job was Spurs.

I can’t see Spurs, or football, ever having another manager like Bill Nicholson. That mould has been broken."

Bobby Smith
“To be a great manager you must have the respect of the players and Bill certainly had that.

“What I admired most about him was the way he trusted players. He treated us like adults and we responded to that.

“Bill got together some great players like Cliff Jones, Terry Dyson and Les Allen and we moulded perfectly. We could not have wished for a better team or a better manager.”

Joe Kinnear
"I had 12 years as a Tottenham player under Bill Nicholson and could not
have wished to play for a better manager. I can still hear his wise words in my head when I am out on the training ground as a manager myself today.

“I was also brought up at Tottenham to train with the ball on the ground and continue to use many of Bill's methods.

“Today’s players won't go far wrong if they do things his way.”

Ron Henry
"Bill was one of the best managers in the world. He was always good
to us and we had few arguments because we always knew what Bill wanted from

"The whole team was a family and he was like the father.

"He used to make tea for all the players in the morning and we felt like such
a close unit. I believe that is where it all started, Bill’s ability to bring us all together as a team.

"Throughout Bill's playing career, and even more so as a coach, manager, and administrator, he devoted his great talents to encouraging his young players to make the best of their talents, and just as importantly to Bill, to strive to become good sportsmen, brave but fair, competitive but considerate, and to never, never give up.

“He certainly should have been recognised more for what he achieved as our manager.”

Jimmy Greaves
“Bill was one of the greatest blokes, if not the greatest, that I have ever worked for. You always knew exactly where you were with him. The Club meant so much to him that he firmly believed that we should be paying for playing for Spurs, he was that sort of manager.”

Cliff Jones
“He was right up there with the best. Winning was never enough for Bill, it had to be done with a certain style. That’s what he demanded and he was always impressing that on us.

"My respect and admiration for him just grew the more I saw of him. He knew
more about the game than anyone I ever met, and knew how to convey it. He was
the complete manager. I cannot speak highly enough of him.”

Glenn Hoddle
“Bill was Mr Tottenham Hotspur and everything the club stands for emanated from Bill who installed the foundations.

“Bill was the manager throughout this club’s most successful period and I’ve always had the highest respect for him and for what he achieved.

“Bill always remained totally dedicated to Spurs. He had presence, he knew what he wanted, he knew how his team should and would function. He established the traditions of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. He played for the great ‘Push and Run’ side and then took it on himself to achieve all that he achieved.

“He was the cornerstone of the club. Indeed Bill had it all.”

Alan Mullery
“Bill was an unbelievable winner, he loved to be winning things. He had a great knowledge of the game and a photographic memory.

“Bill was a perfectionist and his Double side was the nearest thing to perfection in football so far. There were a lot of good managers about in his day and Bill was as good as any.”

Barry Daines
"He had the total and undying respect of all the players and staff associated
with the club. He ate, drank and slept Tottenham Hotspur..."

Terry Medwin
"Sometimes I used to go past the club late at night and his office light
would still be on - he was just devoted to the club."

Steve Perryman
“The main reason that I signed for Spurs was the honest approach of Bill Nicholson. He came across as straightforward and truthful and that continued throughout my career playing for him.

“Bill was always fair and never lost sight of the fact that the players should do their best for themselves, the Club and most of all the fans. He pushed the barriers and continually raised the standards, you could never rest on your laurels with Bill.

“That grounding has stayed with me throughout my career. It was an honour to work for and with him.”

Martin Chivers
“I don’t think that there will ever be anyone like him again. He was a perfectionist. To me he was all what Tottenham is about."

“He was simply Bill Nicholson.”

David Pleat
“Many reams have been written regarding the statistical achievements of Bill’s reign at Spurs. He was down to earth, blunt, tough but fair; and an exceptionally hardworking and knowledgeable man. His wonderful work and achievements for Tottenham will not be equalled.

“Bill expected the players to do the job they were paid for, to play with movement and style and with harmony. For 16 years that harmonious rhythm was the personification of Tottenham Hotspur. They set standards and Bill won great accolades for the way he conducted his outstanding orchestra.

“I think we can safely say that Bill Nick served and enjoyed his time ‘on the grass’ when football, as portrayed by Tottenham, was a game to grace White Hart Lane and all other famous English and European arenas.”