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Terry Dyson

Posted on 27 July 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).


At 5ft 3in, Terry Dyson would probably be dismissed as 'too small' by modern day talent spotters. But when the pint-sized flank man, once famously described as a 'hyperactive beaver', broke into Bill Nicholson's emerging side in 1959, few realised that his all-action style would be the catalyst to Spurs achieving the first double in 1961.

When your team has won the FA Cup at Wembley and you have scored one of the goals that helped clinch the first double, you might imagine the manager would be pleased. But as a jubilant Terry Dyson clutched his winners' medal and jinked his way off the hallowed turf following a history-making 2-0 victory over Leicester City, he was met instead by the cold-eyed stare of manager Bill Nicholson.

"In the '61 Cup final I missed a sitter when I nodded over the bar from six yards when it was nil-nil," says Terry, 66 and still pained by a memory perfectly captured by ace photographer of the day, Monte Fresco.

"We were over the moon because we'd got the double and Bill was congratulating everyone. But as I'm coming off the first words he said to me were: 'What about the goal you missed?'

"What about the one I scored, though?" I replied. 'Yes, all right, well done then'," he said!

"I always got on with Bill, though, and he mellowed down the years. You could talk to him and he was fine, but he was a perfectionist really and wanted us to play with style. He was brought up playing 'push and run' under Arthur Rowe and wanted us to win playing the Tottenham way.

"He was very fair, honest, a great coach and he was absolutely Tottenham through and through. I used to be in awe of him with respect - most players were."

Terry, who hails from Malton in Yorkshire, played for Scarborough before being posted to Woolwich during national service with the Royal Artillery. He was spotted scoring five goals during a forces match against the Guards and completed a successful trial at The Lane before signing on for Spurs in a cafe opposite Woolwich barracks in 1954.

Despite making his home debut against Sheffield United later that year, Terry spent the best part of six years playing in the Football Combination before the busy, goalscoring winger won a regular first team spot during the 1959-60 season as Nicholson assembled the first of two legendary teams.

Over 2.5m people watched Spurs during their 49-match march to glory in 1960-61 - an unsurpassed average of over 50,000 a game - and 115 goals in 42 League matches tells its own story.

The title was clinched three weeks before the season ended, and cup glory iced the cake, but Terry is modest enough to admit that success came out of the blue.

"We didn't have an inkling something special was going to happen. Around the time I got in the team Bill had brought in Dave Mackay, John White and Bill Brown.

"We had a good pre-season, won our first game and it snowballed from there. We won the first 11 games - a record that still stands and I don't think will be beaten - and were so confident we were a bit like Manchester United are now.

"We played the same away from home and attacked with five up front. We clinched the title by beating our closest rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, at The Lane and driving to the ground that day there was an unbelievable atmosphere. We won that and then the Cup final, which wasn't that good a game.

"We'd got the double, although we were disappointed with the way we played. But I remember Danny Blanchflower saying afterwards that people didn't realise what we'd done then, but in years to come they would. He was right because people look back now and say 'Cor, that was a good side'.

"People ask how would we have got on against Manchester United today? You can't really compare people from different eras. You've just got to say we were the best at that time, like Liverpool were when they were on top, and we entertained away from home as well. People wanted to come and watch us play."

Terry was fulsome in his praise of team-mates Blanchflower and Mackay, and compared the rugged Scotsman to a modern day Roy Keane.

"Danny was great because he could be playing diabolically and he still wanted the ball. He never hid and I learned from that. He was also a good liaison with Bill and everyone respected him for who he was and what he had done.

"Dave was so strong and was always there for people. He was such a winner, a bit like Roy Keane - I think that's a fair comparison - the way he could drive people on, by his own work rate and the tackles he used to make.

"Roy's got that attitude and you need somebody to get into a tackle and go boom."

European football beckoned after the double, but the end of the 1961-62 campaign proved disappointing for Terry.

After featuring prominently in the early rounds of the European Cup he was left out of the team in favour of long time rival, Welsh international Terry Medwin. He was forced to sit and watch as Spurs controversially lost to Benfica in the semi-final of the European Cup, and also missed out on the 1962-Cup final win over Burnley.

"Bill always went to see teams play beforehand and when we went to play Gornik in Poland in the first round, Bill said he'd be disappointed if we didn't win. We were 4-0 down a minute after half-time!

"But Cliff Jones and I scored to give us a chance and then we hammered them 8-1 at home. The atmosphere was electric that night and I've never experienced anything like it. We slaughtered them and that really was the start of the 'glory, glory nights'.

"Bill was very disappointed not to win the European Cup that year and we were really unlucky. Real Madrid weren't the force they had been and we knew whoever won our semi was going to win it. Benfica had Eusebio, Coluna and Simoes, but Jimmy Greaves scored two goals at their place which were both unbelievably disallowed and we lost 3-1. It was diabolical refereeing.

"In the second leg we had to attack, but they scored first. We came back to lead 2-1 and they were defending like mad in the end when Dave Mackay hit the crossbar in the last minute. It was so frustrating sitting in the stand, but the atmosphere at those European games was unbelievable.''

For Terry, however, the highlight of the '61-'62 season came when he became the first and, to date, only Spurs player to score a hat-trick against Arsenal - a feat good enough to enshrine any man in folklore.

"That was special and I remember there was a ticket spiv called Johnny Goldstein, who was Tottenham mad, but hated Arsenal. Johnny 'The Stick' they called him and he'd have done anything for me after that. I'd scored one, but we were 3-2 down when a corner came over. It hit my arm, bounced down and I lashed it in. They went mad, but the ref gave it and two minutes later I did a one-two with Danny and made it 4-3."

Terry more than made up for his disappointments in 1962 when he starred as Spurs won the Cup Winners' Cup and become the first English side to win a European trophy a year later. A run that saw the Lilywhites overcome Glasgow Rangers (8-4 on aggregate), Slovan Bratislava (6-2), OFK Belgrade (5-2) and culminated in a 5-1 final thrashing of Atletico Madrid in Rotterdam, which provided Bill Nicholson with what Terry claims was his finest moment.

"Bill rarely praised players, but after the Cup Winners' Cup final he was absolutely delighted. Everything came off and I remember, at 2-1, after we'd been under the cosh for a bit, I flicked the ball one way, did the defender the other way and got a cross in that the keeper could only turn into his own net.

"Greavesie got a couple and me and Jonesey slaughtered their full-backs. I'm not bragging, but they couldn't handle us. It was one of those nights and the last goal was the climax really. I had a one-two with Tony Marchi and they all backed off, so I hit it and it zoomed into the corner.

"We slaughtered them and I remember Bobby Smith saying we should retire now, because we'd never play like that again."

Smith's words proved prophetic and two years later Terry found himself transfer listed and on his way to Fulham for £5,000 in 1965 as Nicholson began rebuilding an ageing team. After three years at Craven Cottage, Terry moved to Colchester United before dropping into part-time football with Southern League Guildford in 1970.

After a spell as player-coach at Wealdstone, with whom he won the Southern League, Terry became assistant manager at Dagenham, who he helped become the first Southern-based winners of the FA Trophy in 1980.

Managerial jobs at Borehamwood, Kingsbury Town and Ruislip followed as Terry also forged a career with the Inner London Education Authority at Hampstead School.

Nowadays, Terry lives in Kenton, Harrow, and remains actively involved in football working for the Football Association as an observer at Academy matches. He also works for the Hertfordshire Education Authority where he works with children suffering from emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Although he admits to not getting to Spurs matches as much as he should, Terry can regularly be seen patrolling the sidelines at Academy matches around the south-east and retains enormous affection for the club with which he became a legend and played with the best.

by Neale Harvey, Spurs Monthly