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One of the greats

Posted on 26 October 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).

World Cup winner Martin Peters has little hesitation in placing Bill Nicholson amongst the all-time managerial greats.

The facts certainly back it up with Bill guiding us to the first double of the modern era in the 1961, the first British side to win a European trophy with the Cup Winners Cup triumph of 1963, further FA Cups in 1962 and 1967, League Cups in 1971 and 1973 and the UEFA Cup in 1972.

Martin, who won the ultimate prize in 1966 under the guidance of another of those greats - and another ex-Spur - in Sir Alf Ramsey, has no doubts as to Bill's standing in the game.

"He's got to be in there with the greats of the game," stated Martin. "He did everything here at Spurs.

"The team was fourth from bottom in 1958 when he took over, he won his first game 10-4 and went on to win the double within three years.

"Apart from the European Cup, he won everything he set out to win so along with the likes of Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, all those great managers of the past, he has to be there."

As for his own career, Martin believes Bill took a chance on him in 1970 - once again, the great man's judgement can't be faulted.

Martin joined Spurs from West Ham in 1970 for a then record fee of £200,000 with legendary goalscorer Jimmy Greaves heading the other way to Upton Park.

In five years at the Lane, Martin scored 76 goals in 260 games and won the UEFA Cup and League Cup as well as adding another 34 England caps to his tally.

"It was the highest transfer at the time and Jimmy Greaves went to West Ham, so Bill took a big chance on me," reflected Martin.

"I felt the pressure of it but with the players we had at the club at the time and with Bill helping me along with Eddie Baily, we got through it.

"It was great. I really enjoyed the five years I had at the club, especially going to all the European counties. I loved it."

Martin gave this insight into Bill the manager. "He was very positive, aggressive and if he thought you weren't doing it he was hard.

"I remember being taken off a couple of times and I wasn't happy with it but he was right.

"Spurs was his life and everything he did was for Spurs and if things weren't going well, he did something about it."

And Martin has little doubts that Bill would have cut it in what must seem like the different football world of the Premiership.

"I'm sure like all those great managers he would have survived today," added Martin.

"He had the respect of the players which is paramount when you are running a club and when you see someone arrive at eight o'clock in the morning and leave at eight o'clock at night, out on the ground every day, you can't beat that."