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'Back then, we were the teams to watch' - Cliff Jones on our rivalry with Burnley in the early 1960s

Wed 29 March 2017, 17:41|Tottenham Hotspur

A trip to Turf Moor will always spark memories for our older generation of fans of the days when Spurs against Burnley was the hottest ticket in town.

Over four seasons - 1959-60 through to 1962-63 - both teams won the old First Division title and went head-to-head in the latter stages of the FA Cup. Indeed, in that time, neither team finished outside the top four.

We beat Burnley in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Villa Park on our way to clinching the historic double of league and FA Cup in 1961. We then beat Burnley again in the 1962 FA Cup Final as we defended the trophy at Wembley.

That success was delivered by the great Bill Nicholson, who added the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1963 as we became the first British team to win a European trophy. Bill would later add another FA Cup (1967), two League Cups (1971, 1973) and the UEFA Cup (1972).

Below: Bill Nicholson and Harry Potts lead the teams out for the 1962 FA Cup Final at Wembley  


Meanwhile, Burnley were led by Harry Potts, who in 12 years as manager at Turf Moor lifted the title in 1960, reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1961 and was then runner-up in both the league and FA Cup in 1962 and third in the First Division in 1963.

“It was the glory years for Tottenham, but also for Burnley,” reflected our legendary former winger Cliff Jones, who played throughout the rivalry.

“We were two teams similar in style, we both played good, attacking football. We put bums on seats, both teams. We were the teams to come and watch.

“We had Danny Blanchflower and they had Jimmy Adamson, very similar characters, intelligent, good footballers, leaders. They had Jim McIlroy, one of the greats of that time, striker Ray Pointon and John Connelly, a winger who was always a threat.

“We were big rivals, both winning matches and doing well domestically. It was like that for three or four seasons where we were always competing against each other for the top spots.

“Burnley and Tottenham was the match people wanted to see. They were always fantastic occasions.”

Below: Skippers Danny Blanchflower and Jimmy Adamson ahead of the 1961 FA Cup semi-final



Burnley won the title, Spurs were third with Ipswich Town runners-up – only two points separated the teams.
Oct 1, 1959 - Spurs 1-1 Burnley - Medwin
Mar 1, 1960 - Burnley 1-0 Spurs

Spurs won the title and the double, Burnley were fourth, 15 points behind. The teams also met in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park with Spurs running out 3-0 winners.
Dec 3, 1960 - Spurs 4-4 Burnley - Jones 2, Norman, Medwin
Apr 22, 1961 - Burnley 4-2 Spurs - Baker, Smith
FA Cup semi-final - March 18 - Spurs 3-0 Burnley - Smith 2, Jones

Burnley finished runners-up to Ipswich with Spurs third, one behind Burnley, four adrift of Ipswich.
Oct 28, 1961 - Spurs 4-2 Burnley - Jones 2, Saul, Clayton
Mar 17, 1962 - Burnley 2-2 Spurs - Greaves, Jones
FA Cup Final - May 5, 1962 - Spurs 3-1 Burnley - Greaves, Smith, Blanchflower

Spurs were runners-up behind Everton with Burnley third.
Nov 24, 1962 - Burnley 2-1 Spurs - Greaves
Mar 30, 1963 - Spurs 1-1 Burnley - Greaves
FA Cup 3rd round - Jan 16, 1963 - Spurs 0-3 Burnley