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Countdown to SA

Posted on 15 July 2003  - 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).

Cliff Jones recalls when Bill Nicholson took Spurs to South Africa 40 years ago - and he almost landed a walk-on part in the famous Michael Caine film 'Zulu'.

Perhaps that's stretching the story too far for our purposes but our double-winning legend attended the set of the film on the invitation of Sir Stanley Baker, his fellow Welshman.

Cliff takes up the story: "It's a wonderful country and I had a very good experience because the Welsh actor Stanley Baker was filming 'Zulu' out there.

"He came down to watch us play in Durban and invited me up to the set to watch them film. I didn't quite get a job as an extra though - I was too small!"

We travelled to South Africa back in the summer of 1963 and played three games - beating NSAFL Invitational XI 5-1, NFL Select XI 5-2 and a South African XI 3-1.

"It certainly was a beautiful place," recalled Cliff. "We enjoyed the football out there.

"Obviously, at that time, we were a bit naive about the system of apartheid and certainly, with what I know now, I possibly wouldn't have gone there because of that system. But we were there and enjoyed the place.

"The football was of a very good standard. We played three games, one in Cape Town, one in Durban and one in Johannesburg.

"I honestly can't remember too much about the games but I remember in Johannesburg that the altitude made it very difficult. The first day's training was very hard.

"I can remember the enthusiasm of the South African supporters. At that time we were the best club side in Europe and everyone wanted to see us.

"It was ground breaking to go to that continent and we got a lot from the experience. Things have changed and for the better, of course."

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