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Where Are They Now? Cliff Jones

Posted on 14 June 2001  - 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 turn our roving video camera towards one of the finest exponents of wing-play of his generation - double-winner Cliff Jones, who welcomed the official website into his Hertfordshire home...

"Have you been to see Cliff Jones?" asked John Pratt, another legend and soon-to-be topic of our ‘Where Are They Now?’ series. "Now there is a great bloke. Absolutely no hang-ups whatsoever about who he was or what he achieved. Magnificent player, great man."

Having recently spent an hour with arguably one of the best wingers in the world ever, let alone in British football, it was impossible to disagree.

"You ought to try some of this, it’s beautiful," said Cliff, pointing to a bread-making machine as we wandered into his Hertfordshire home. "Lovely bread. I’m getting the hang of it but my wife’s superb."

The proof was, of course, in the eating and it has to be said, Mr Jones makes lovely bread.

Then it was onto bowls, his latest sporting love. "Is still play a lot of golf, but I’ve just taken up bowls. Great sport, good manners, sportsmanship on the green. I’ve recently taken it up with my wife. And I’m getting beaten by her."

Few people had the beating of Cliff in his heyday. Cliff was the great entertainer, the crowd pleaser, goal provider and goalscorer of Bill Nicholson’s famous double side in 1960-61.

Signed from Swansea Town (now City) in February 1958 for a then world-record fee of £35,000 for a winger, Cliff went on to play over 400 games and score 176 goals in the golden era at the Lane.

Capped by Wales at 19, Cliff played in the World Cup Finals of 1958 when Brazil, parading the talents of Pele for the first time, knocked them out in the quarter-finals. "We could have beaten them as well," he pointed out. "We lost John Charles to injury in the previous round. Now myself and Terry Medwin exposed a lack of pace down their flanks and if John Charles was there, I’m convinced he would have got on the end of our crosses.

"We could have done Brazil. Now that would have been a story."

Cliff had to overcome a broken leg after returning from the World Cup. "I went into a 50-50 tackle with Peter Baker and came off worse," he recalled. "Most people did."

But he soon took his place in the team that would soon sweep all before them.

"There was definitely a feeling that we were onto something big," he said. "But Bill spotted some weaknesses. He then went and signed Dave Mackay. That was inspired. He was a winner and it rubbed off on all of us."

The rest, as they say, is history. So what were Cliff’s fond memories of the double? "Just the sheer enjoyment of going out and performing in that great side," he admitted. "We got results but we played football. Winning wasn’t enough for Bill. He wanted it done in a particular way."

Another FA Cup and the UEFA Cup followed and Cliff was the first non-playing substitute in the 1967 FA Cup Final before he departed for Fulham in 1968.

He moved into non-league circles before returning to work in Tottenham as a sheet metal worker before his second career — becoming a PE teacher at Highbury Grove School, deep in Arsenal country. He finally retired last December.

"I survived that," he said. "I got plenty of stick but to be fair, the kids were great. Kept me on my toes."

Defenders throughout the 1950s and 1960s know just how he feels.

*Starting Monday - The Steve Perryman series. A 'Where Are They Now' special covering Steve's 17 years and 1,000-plus appearances at the Lane. The former skipper talks of returning to manage at Spurs and his Japanese experience in five video exclusives from Mon-Fri next week.