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Paul Trevillion - Sketching Spurs

Posted on 18 February 2015  - 09:00

Paul Trevillion never finishes a sentence because he’s already started the next one – that’s if he’s talking about Tottenham Hotspur.


The Tottenham-born artist (pictured, above, with our legendary former manager Bill Nicholson) is famed for cult classic cartoon strip ‘You Are The Ref’ and drawings of sport's biggest names, including Pele, Bobby Moore, George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Oscar de la Hoya to name but a few. However, when you throw drawing and Tottenham Hotspur into Trevillion’s melting pot there is an explosion of passion, colour, enthusiasm, knowledge and insightful anecdotes – as he was once told: “The reason Pele practises is the reason you draw all day – it’s not practise it’s fun.”

Trevillion’s connection with the Club dates back to his childhood and watching the team as often as he could, albeit not always when he should have been. “I used to go over to Tottenham and watch them train and although it ended at midday they’d still be there at 2 or 3 o’clock kicking a ball about,” he recalled. “One day I went back to the classroom and my teacher wasn’t in so the headmaster took over instead. He asked me where I’d been because I missed two lessons but I said I’d been doing some drawings and showed them to him.


“I had to stay in after school – the headmaster came up to me and said ‘what do you do when you go over there?’ and I replied ‘I draw and get autographs.’ I lifted up my desk lid and there were autographs in there. He asked me if I had any of Alf Ramsey because a couple of his friends really liked Alf Ramsey.’ I had four or five of them so I gave him three and he said ‘off you go’ and I went home! Alf Ramsey got me off detention – not many people can say that!”

Trevillion’s proximity to the Club was not purely emotional but also physical as he lived a stone’s throw from the ground for many of his early years. “I knew when Tottenham had scored because our windows would shake, that would be the noise. The bottom line was you could hear the roar when Tottenham scored – it was unbelievable, we used to call it the ‘Tottenham Roar’. I was that close to the ground.”

If Trevillion’s passion for Spurs was awoken in his own home then seeing the action at White Hart Lane had him hooked. “I was always in the Paxton Road end – never went anywhere else,” he said. “I loved it to death. I would get there an hour before kick-off and get right on the railings because I’m little so I wanted to be able to see the game. I got in prime position to see them. That’s why I loved Ted Ditchburn because I could hear him talk and shout and see what was going on – it was a great place to be, I could hear the ball hit the back of the net. It was dynamite. It was unbelievable.”


Having watched Bill Nicholson’s famous 1960-61 double-winning side, Trevillion is better placed than most to compare successful teams of the past with the current crop, who are making great strides under Mauricio Pochettino. “We’ve got the best goalkeeper in the world – he’s the best goalkeeper since Ted Ditchburn and Pat Jennings,” he added. “Forget all the others – he’s the best in the world, he stands unchallenged. Alf Ramsey always told me that to have a good team you need four world class players. If you’ve got four world class players you can beat anybody. We’ll do the business at Wembley. I can’t wait to get there and see us lift the cup.”

Look out for the second part of our Paul Trevillion exclusive in the build-up to the cup final where, with some of his finest drawings, he runs the rule over the first Cockney final in 1967, Frank Saul, Harry Kane and explains why he thinks Christian Eriksen will be man of the match at Wembley in March.