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Don't forget Bill the player

Posted on 4 November 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).

Both Mel Hopkins and Dennis Bond stressed that it shouldn't be overlooked what a great player Bill Nicholson was for Spurs.


Bill arrived at the club in 1936, signed professional forms in 1938 and went on to make over 300 appearances for us despite the six years of the Second World War between 1939-45.


The 1949-50-51 ‘Push and Run’ campaigns saw Bill miss just four games as we lifted the Second and First Division Championships in consecutive seasons.


He travelled to the World Cup in 1950 as part of England's squad although he won only one cap - scoring within 30 seconds of his debut against Portugal in 1951.


All that BEFORE his achievements as manager!


Mel made his debut alongside Bill in 1952 on his way to 200-plus games between 1952-64. "I don't think people realise what a great footballer he was as well," said the Welsh star.


"He was in the 1950-51 side that won the championship and I had the privilege of playing with him when I made my debut against Derby County.


"I was here when Bill was coach, then manager and I remember his first game when we beat Everton 10-4.


"Everyone thought it would be downhill from there but what a fantastic job he did at Tottenham.


"He was Tottenham. He should have got more England caps as well because he was an exceptional footballer."


Dennis, at the club between 1966-71, added: "Bill always wanted the game played in the right way, always had good footballing sides and what people don't realise it that he was a great player for the club.


"People talk about his achievements as a manager but he was also in the 1951 side that won the First Division.


"He loved the club and it was his life. I would think that Bill would wish the club to go on to bigger and better things."


Dennis found his chances restricted but found no difference in Bill's attitude towards him or the bigger stars.


He added: "I signed from Watford when I was 19. Unfortunately I had great players in front of me but he treated me the same as he treated Venners (Venables) or Mullery, there was no difference.


"You were a player for Tottenham Hotspur and that was the first thing in his mind."