The silence that greeted the tragic news descended slowly and reluctantly on our famous old stadium as the magnitude of his passing devastated all that knew the great man.
Even those of a younger age, who were only aware of Bill’s legendary status but had not seen his sides play, will stop and reflect when told of his demise because each and every generation of Spurs fans knows chapter and verse about his deeds as player and manager.
To so many, Bill Nicholson was Tottenham Hotspur. Who could have known that the young boy who stepped off the train at White Hart Lane station as a 17-year-old in 1936 would go on to become such a giant in the club’s history?
Bill’s influence on this club can be seen by a look back at our history. Prior to his playing debut in 1938 we had never won the League title and had only won the FA Cup on two occasions. As a player he helped us win the Championship for the first time in 1951 as part of our great ‘Push and Run’ side and when he took over as manager he really put us on the world stage.
Bill was all about the good things in the game. His teams played with bravado, style, skill and grace. His players performed with a flourish, entertaining all along the way.
After winning the illustrious ‘Double’ in 1961 we played in the European Cup for the first time and then went on to break so many records.
By lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963 we became the first British club to win a European competition and after our UEFA Cup success in 1972 we later became the first English side to have played in three major European finals. We won the League Cup twice - again the first side to do so — and took our FA Cup winning record to five.
All was achieved with Bill at the helm during the most successful period in the club’s history.
Bill’s legacy was to create a Tottenham way of doing things. He set the example himself and proved that winning could be achieved with style. He was the rock on which this club was built and was an inspiration to us all.
Youngsters listen when your elders tell you of the deeds of Bill Nick and his great Spurs teams. Because no description or mortal memory of those black-and-white days can ever do justice to the reality of a magical time in our history.
And the catalyst, as those glory days and nights cascaded into history, was Bill Nicholson. He was quite simply the corner stone on which the club’s modern day reputation was established.
Bill loved the Club and called it his life. And we all loved him.
It is so hard to accept that he is no longer with us because his shadow was so immense. We have our memories but they can never be enough.
The death of the great Bill Nicholson has stunned White Hart Lane.