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Obituary: Len Duquemin

Posted on 23 April 2003  - 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).

We were saddened to hear of the passing last weekend of Len Duquemin, aged 78.

An honest, hardworking centre forward, his tally of 114 goals in 274 League appearances stands sixth in our all time goalscoring chart.

Popularly nicknamed “Duke”, Len must rank as one of the best players never to have been selected for international duty. A member of our “Push and Run” team, he gained Second and First Division Championship winners’ medals in 1949-50 and 1950-51 during his 13 year association here.

Born at Cobo, Guernsey on July 17, 1924, Leonard Stanley Duquemin was the sixth in a family of 10 children, six boys and four girls. His father worked in the tomato nurseries.

Len attended Castel Primary School. On leaving school at 14, he worked as a plasterer in his brother’s building business and played in the Guernsey Junior Football League for Guernsey Rangers and Vauxbelet Old Boys. During the German occupation he lived at a local monastery and worked in the gardens there. On liberation in August, 1945, Len returned to work in the building trade.

Recommended to us by a local fan, Ted Zebelia, he was given a trial during December, 1945. Signed on as an amateur the following month, Len was loaned out to Chelmsford City during February, 1946, scoring on his one senior appearance for them — a Southern League Cup tie against Swindon Town Reserves. He returned to make his senior debut in our colours in a wartime league match against Fulham on March 9, 1946.

Following a spell on our groundstaff Len signed professional forms on September 7, 1946. He finished that season as top scorer in our Combination team, netting 15 goals in 30 appearances.

Given his Football League debut on August 30, 1947, he scored one of our goals in a 5-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday. From then on he was a regular in the first team, leading our goalscorers list that season with 24 senior goals — a feat repeated during season 1952-53. In addition to his League tally he netted 20 goals in 33 FA Cup appearances — the first Spur to reach the 20 mark in the competition.

Len’s one representative honour came in May, 1949, when he was selected for an FA XI, ironically against the Channel Islands. He netted the title winning goal against Sheffield Wednesday in April, 1951, and was our lone scorer in the two Villa Park FA Cup semi final defeats by Blackpool, in 1948 and 1953.

Len featured for three Southern League clubs after leaving Tottenham during November, 1958. In 1958-59 he scored 22 goals in 22 games to help Bedford Town to the league title - including six in a 9-0 win versus Poole Town - and notched 33 goals the following season. He played for Hastings United during 1960-61 and made eight appearances for Romford the following season, scoring four goals. During the Sixties he was a regular member of the Showbiz XI charity team.

Len opened a newsagents shop at Northumberland Park, Tottenham in 1960 which he held for 21 years. He later ran the Lord Nelson pub at West End Lane, Barnet, and in 1988 retired after being mine host of The Haunch of Venison pub at Cheshunt, Herts.

Len lived in retirement at Scotland Green in Tottenham, barely a 10 minute walk from the ground. He was a regular matchday visitor over the last 15 years, latterly in our East Stand Legends Club. He met his future wife June, a local girl who lived five minutes away from White Hart Lane, in 1948. They celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary together in March this year.

Len Duquemin passed away at a Buckhurst Hill hospital on April 20, following a short illness.

He is survived by his widow June, son Keith, one brother and three sisters. A funeral service is to be held on Thursday, May 1, at 12.30 at Enfield Crematorium.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time

By Andy Porter