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Class of 51 - Sonny Walters

Posted on 3 February 2016  - 15:00

Manager Arthur Rowe used just 19 players were we won the Division One title for the first time in season 1950-51. Now, 65 years on, we pay tribute to each one. Here John Fennelly spotlights the contribution of outside-right SONNY WALTERS.

Sonny (right) with Charlie Withers at the LaneSonny with the team in August, 1951

Games: 40.  Goals: 15.

We cheer Sonny Walters as he toddles down the line.
And the ball like magic is in the net and makes us all feel fine.

So sang the Spurs fans to the tune of McNamara’s Band when the Edmonton-born winger played for us between 1947-56. During that time he scored 73 goals in 233 senior games and specialised in the style of quick, one-two passing that made our ‘Push and Run’ side the slick machine it quickly became.

In tandem with Alf Ramsey and Bill Nicholson, Walters’ pace and awareness meant that he played like a ‘mobile wall’ off which his team mates could bounce passes as he eased down the line. He possessed a devastating turn of pace while his armoury included a fierce shot that brought him many goals.

And, although his main role was to provide chances for others, he chipped in with 14 goals when we topped the Division Two table in 1950. He also scored two in the FA Cup as did Les Bennett who matched Sonny’s tally of 16. Les Medley banged in 18 and Len Duquemin a combined total of 17 as Arthur Rowe’s fluid side scored goals from all angles.

Walters went on scoring in our title-winning team the following season with 15 in the league as he again showed great consistency by missing just two of our 42 games. He ended up one goal ahead of Duquemin with Eddie Baily on 12 and Medley 11.

Born in Edmonton, Walters started out in our Junior ranks after being spotted playing in youth football by our former half-back Billy ‘Sapper’ Sage who lived near the young Walters. Sonny, whose real name was William, was sent to our nursery sides Walthamstow Avenue and Finchley before turning professional with Spurs in September, 1944.

Lane legends - Sonny with Bill Nicholson


By then he had already made a goalscoring debut at home to Fulham in the war league on Christmas Day, 1943, and continued to play for us when he could during the conflict if his army duties allowed. He also guested for Derry City and Millwall, also playing in forces representative football until our Division Two duties resumed in 1946.

His first senior start in national league football came at West Bromwich Albion in January, 1947, when he again announced his arrival with a goal in our 2-0 win. However, Sonny still struggled for a regular start until he finally won the battle with regular winger Freddie Cox who moved to Arsenal in September, 1949.

Walters did play for England ‘B’ just the once but full international representation eluded him as he played in an era when Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney were in their pomp.  He left us to join Aldershot in July, 1957, retiring two years later.

Sadly he died in Enfield in 1970, aged just 46.