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Motty's Spurs joy

Posted on 12 March 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).

John Motson reflected on the Bill Nicholson era as manager of Tottenham and says the lasting memory is of the joyful football his teams played.

The veteran BBC commentator was host for the first Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame dinner on Thursday evening, where Bill was the first inductee followed by his double winning team.

'Motty' said is was only right that Bill Nicholson, OBE, and club president was the first to be honoured and praised the club's Hall of Fame initiative.

"I think it is a terrific idea on the part of Tottenham to start a Hall of Fame and there couldn't be a more appropriate first recipient than Bill Nicholson," said John before the event.

"I think everybody knows what a fantastic contribution he's made to Spurs over 50 years since coming here as a young player in 1936. Of course, the rest is history.

"Eight members of his double winning team have come along, that is pretty fantastic and well deserved on his part."

John himself was a visitor to the Lane to witness Bill's team in action during the sixties and states, without question, that White Hart Lane was the place to be for the finest football that stands comparison with any era.

"My father bought me to Tottenham on a number of occasions in the early sixties when Bill was manager and I did see that team play. Standing over on the shelf watching Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay.

"I remember the joyful football that they played really. Looking back on it, it was a completely different football to what we've got today, the game was more open and hadn't become quite as defensive.

"I think there was more individual skill on the ball probably, more time for players to express themselves. Tottenham was the place to come to see the best football - I don't think anybody at that time could have argued with that.

"The memory of that Tottenham team is of the fantastic football played and, when I talk to fans of many years, one player has been singled out as probably the finest player ever to wear the shirt - Dave Mackay."

Mackay was signed from Hearts in March 1959 and John agreed that, without the modern advances, the scouting of potential signings must have been a far more painstaking process in those days. John doesn't feel, however, that problematic travel arrangements and little in the way of television pictures would ever have hindered Bill's judgement.

"When I met Bill as a very young commentator - with him a very experienced manager - he never left a stone unturned, he was so conscientious about his job. I wouldn't surprise me if he was on every train going just to check on players himself.

"I don't think he would have let the lack of video evidence affect his judgement. The signings he made, almost without exception, were all ones who made their imprint on Tottenham Hotspur in the period in which they played."