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'Almost all our dreams came true'

Posted on 23 October 2014  - 11:30

As we mark the 10th anniversary of Bill Nicholson's passing, who better than his captain and fellow Spurs legend, Danny Blanchflower, to give his thoughts on the great man?

Danny and Bill parade the FA Cup to fans at Tottenham Town HallDanny and Bill in discussion in Bill's office at the LaneDanny leads the team out for the FA Cup quarter-final at Sunderland in the 1960-61 double season - we drew 1-1 before a 5-0 win in the replay

Danny wrote about Bill in the official programme for Bill's first Testimonial in 1984.

Named captain in 1959, Danny, a master tactician himself, took Bill's plans from the dressing room to the pitch, developing them as required. They were a fantastic partnership.

Danny will always be remembered as the skipper who said the double was possible and then made the dream come true, lifting the league championship and FA Cup trophies in 1961. He scored in the final as we retained the FA Cup in 1962 and then became the first British player to get his hands on a European trophy as we won the Cup Winners Cup in 1963.

Danny served the club from 1954-64 and made 382 appearances, scoring 21 goals. He passed away in1993.

Below: Danny and Bill back together in 1989

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Here is an extract from that fascinating piece in Bill's Testimonial programme.

Bill Nick and I, by Danny Blanchflower

We beat Everton 10-4 in his first match in charge. “How can we improve on that?” I asked. “We can only get worse.”

We did get worse and this time I was dropped. But Nick did it properly. He told me first and said he needed a better defensive balance in the half-back line.

I shrugged my shoulders and hung around without animosity for a month or so. There were other places I could go; but there, I might have had to start all over again.

Then I asked him for a transfer but he refused my request. That meant he didn’t want me to go. So I hung around some more, biding my time.

Then he surprised me. It was on the 2nd of March 1959. He did not travel up with us to Wolverhampton for a vital match against Wolves. We were on the brink of relegation and they were League Champion favourites. I hoped it was not another Midnight Express trip.

He arrived late and hustled us into a private room in the hotel for a team talk. He said he was making me the permanent club Captain and told the players to respect my authority.

“We will talk about that later,” he said.

We earned a point that night in the Wolves den and thrashed Leicester City 6-0 the following Saturday, at home.

There was no more relegation talk after that. We were on the move again. Nick had decided to build around me. He went out and bought Dave Mackay, Bill Brown and John White, then later, Jimmy Greaves.

Bill and I became partners. Now we had lots in common with the best interests of the club at heart. We had total respect for one another when we learned that our different experiences and angles could blend into better teamwork. When he had doubts I could give him a second opinion. When I was too flippant he would bring me down to earth.

It was not all buttering up. We often disagreed. But we agreed to disagree.

After that, almost all our dreams came true. It was a hell of a time we had together. And every time we meet now that feeling is still there between us.

You could call it a satisfaction that would be very hard to beat.