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‘Scoring against the Arsenal? It wasn’t the worst habit!’ – double hero Les Allen

Posted on 3 May 2017  - 12:45

Les Allen had a wonderful habit - scoring goals against Arsenal.

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The double-winning striker scored six goals in his six north London derbies between 1959-60 and 1962-63 including a Club best run of scoring in four-successive league derbies – a mark he held for over 50 years until Harry Kane slotted home his penalty in Sunday’s emotional 2-0 win in the last N17-N5 clash at White Hart Lane.

That made it five goalscoring derbies on the trot in the Premier League for Harry, and no-one was happier than Les.

Now 79 and turning 80 in September, Les, father of another legendary Spurs goalscorer Clive, was happy to turn back the clock and recall those glory, glory days of the early 1960s when the goals certainly flowed against the Gunners – the results of his four goalscoring derbies on the trot were all wins - 3-0, 3-2, 4-2 and 4-3!

“We used to have great games against Arsenal, always plenty of goals and I particularly seemed to like scoring against Arsenal, which wasn’t the worst habit!” said Les. “I did four on the trot and six in total. For whatever reason, there were always a few goals for me there.”

Below: Les with Terry Dyson, who scored a hat-trick at against Arsenal at the Lane in August, 1961

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What were the derbies like in your day, Les? As competitive as ever?
Les: “Yes, it was pretty much the same! The tackles flew in, it was always very competitive. There has always been that competition, both teams want to win and it matters so much. It brings that edge to the game.”

We’re always told by his players that Bill Nicholson drilled it into you all that this was the most important game of all. Is that true?
Les: “Yes, it was drilled into everyone at the Club, it was one game you wanted to win because you could then walk around with your head held high but when you lost, it didn’t go down too well!”

Below: Action from Les' first derby, he scored twice as we went on to win 3-0 in January, 1960

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What about the double year (1960-61)? How sweet was it to win the north London derbies 3-2 and 4-2 on the way to the league title?
Les: “When I look back, even in pre-season training that double year, we knew we were a good side. We struggled at the start, the first game was Everton at home and we weren’t great, I managed to score in that (a 2-0 win, Bobby Smith also on target) but after four or five games we really started to flow. That first game wasn’t fantastic though, we didn’t play particularly well but after that everything went superbly. We didn’t always win over at Highbury but in that particular season, we were going so well, we were so strong, they couldn’t stop us there.”

Below: Harry celebrates his goal with fellow scorer Dele Alli on Sunday

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Bringing it to today Les, Harry Kane has just scored in five league derbies on the trot. What are your thoughts on Harry?
Les: “He’s done well. He went out on loan a few times, so there must have been some doubt about him early on but he’s worked hard at his game and he’s done really well. He just seems to be in the right place at the right time. He’s a bit like Clive in that respect, scoring goals. He’s still improving, which is a good sign. You have to remember he’s still a young man. He’s doing brilliantly.”