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It was 50 years ago today - our historic win in Europe...

Posted on 15 May 2013  - 11:20

It’s 50 years to the day that we created history – by becoming the first British team to win a European trophy.

It was 50 years ago today - our historic win in Europe...

So close in the European Cup the season before – when Bill Nicholson’s double-winners were knocked out in the semi-final by eventual-winners Benfica – the team retained the FA Cup and took their place in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1962-63.

After beating Rangers 8-4, Slovan Bratislava 6-2 and then OFK Beograd 5-2 on aggregate over two legs, the team lined-up against holders Atletico Madrid at Feyenoord Stadium, Rotterdam on May 15, 1963.

The rest, as they say, is history...

Danny Blanchflower holds the trophy aloft

THE FINAL...

The performance in the final is regarded as one of the club’s finest.

In control thanks to goals from Jimmy Greaves and John White, the team shrugged off a mini-revival from Atletico at the start of the second half to run away with the contest.

Greaves was on target again and Terry Dyson marked his best display in a Spurs shirt with two goals, including a cracker into the top corner from fully 25 yards to finish it all off.

Spurs: Brown, Baker, Henry, Marchi, Norman, Blanchflower, Dyson, White, Greaves, Smith, Jones.

THE GOALS...

1-0, 16mins – Bobby Smith played in Cliff Jones down the right, he crossed deep on the run, met by Greaves, who planted a volley into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
2-0, 35mins – Greaves crossed deep from the right, Atletico goalkeeper Edgardo flapped, Dyson turned the ball back into John White, who hammered into the roof of the net from 14 yards.
2-1, 47mins – Atletico got back into the game from the penalty spot after Ron Henry handled Mendonca’s shot. Enrique Collar slotted home from the spot.
3-1, 67mins – Dyson showed fine skills to lose his marker down the left and looped the ball towards goal, where Edgardo completely misjudged the flight and the ball ended in the back of the net.
4-1, 80mins – Similar to the first goal, this time Dyson crossed from the left and Greaves was there at the far post to clinically dispatch another volley.
5-1, 85mins – Goal of the night and one of the most famous in our history, started by Tony Marchi winning possession in our half, he played wide left to Dyson, who took off on a 50-yard run before hitting a thunderbolt into the top corner from 25 yards. What a way to finish!

PROGRAMME SPECIAL...

To mark the 50th anniversary of our European Cup Winners Cup triumph, we ran a special series in this season's official matchday programme looking back at the 'Road To Rotterdam'. The series culminated in a look back at the final in our Europa League programme against Lyon.

The special included an interview with Man of the Match, Terry Dyson - and you can read it all again by following this link (pdf)...

Cliff Jones at White Hart Lane - May, 2013

THE PLAYER...

It might be 50 years on, but Cliff Jones remembers the final as if it was yesterday.

We spoke to the legendary winger on this famous anniversary.

How special was that win, Cliff?
Cliff Jones: “It was a very special to be the first British club to win a European competition. It’s like the first of everything - Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile, Hilary climbing Everest – that’s what we did that night. Bill Nicholson said at the time ‘you don’t realise what you’ve done tonight, lads’ and, as always, he was spot on.”

It was a fine performance on the night as well...
Cliff: “Yes, it was a comprehensive win, no doubt about that, but there was a period in the second half when they put some pressure on us. It went to 2-1 and we were under the cosh a little, but Bill Brown in goal performed when we needed him. We broke away, Terry Dyson scored and then we went on to win comfortably against a very good Atletico Madrid team.”

Everyone remembers Terry’s performance and goal that night...
Cliff: “It was his night and it’s something he’s reminded us about all these years, in fact, still to this day! Whenever you say anything to him, he’ll just say ‘remember Rotterdam’! Yes, it was his night. He was such an enthusiastic, infectious player and that night, he was the star man.”

Europe was new to British teams then, did that make it even more special?
Cliff: “I think it did, yes. We’d had experience in the European Cup, where we’d run Benfica very close the year before. Whoever won that game would win the European Cup because Real Madrid were possibly just past it by then. It was something very special because at the time, people had difficulty in imagining a British team winning a European competition.”

The double team and Bill Nicholson's teams after that won so much, but was the only regret going so close and not quite making it in the European Cup in 1962?
Cliff: “We were so close. No club in Europe wanted to play us. We were so good at that time, especially at home. No-one beat us here. When we were drawn against Benfica, we knew that one of us was going to go on and win the European Cup, and that’s how it turned out. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the run of the ball against Benfica.

What were those first European nights like?
Cliff: “I have to bring in the crowd here. They were always fantastic. I’ll never forget those moments here under the lights and when I talk about Europe, I always go back to the first game we played, against Gornik (European Cup, 1961-62). That was such a special night. If anyone asks me if one game sticks out, that was it, an amazing evening. We ran out from the corner of the West Stand (where the tunnel used to be) in front of 65,000 fans and the atmosphere was amazing. They carried us through. That was the start of the glory, glory nights and a special occasion for everyone connected with the club.”

THE GLORY, GLORY NIGHTS: The Official story of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe

'The Glory Glory Nights' gives a complete and official story of the Club in Europe with spectacular photography, much of it previously unseen, match reports and statistics from every European game the club has ever played, plus first-hand memories and recollections from Club legends spanning the decades. It's a perfect Spurs Christmas Gift!

Not at the Lane? Purchase this book from our online store...

The Glory, Glory Nights