05 February 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Former team-mates, family and friends said goodbye to Peter Baker at the legendary double-winner's funeral in Enfield today (Friday, February 5).
A key component of Bill Nicholson's all-conquering team of the early 1960s, Peter sadly passed away in hospital following illness on Wednesday, January 27, aged 84.
Fellow double-winner Cliff Jones spoke at the funeral, and here is his speech in full...
Dear Linda, Sarah, Susan, Diane and Jenna,
When I was asked if I would say a few words about Peter, of course I said yes. How could I not say yes about a player who gave everything for Tottenham? Peter was one of the unsung heroes of that great Tottenham side back then in the glory years of the sixties and he was an important part of our team. He was a skilful, intelligent player because in front of him he had Danny Blanchflower, undeniably one of the greats, but playing behind the 'Irish Rover' was not always easy when the skipper went on his attacking sorties leaving Peter with two men to mark and an unholy mess to clear up - which he usually did!
Peter was well-built and also very strong in the tackle and I can vouch for that. In practice matches, Bill Nick would set the teams up with the first team forward line against the first team defence, so I was marked by Peter Baker. In one of these practice matches at Cheshunt I picked the ball up in midfield and went at the defence, which I usually did, and was tackled by Peter full on. There was a loud crack and we were both spreadeagled on the floor looking at each other. Peter got up, I couldn't - my leg was broken! Strangely enough after this Bill set up teams in practice matches but I never played against Peter again - I wonder why?!
Peter was also one of those annoying characters who was good at all sports. He was certainly the best all-round sportsman at Tottenham. He got down to single figures at golf, played junior tennis at Wimbledon, played for Middlesex County at squash and you didn't want to play him at snooker as you would do your money! He also played cricket for Enfield and of course he was a very good all-rounder, opening the bowling with his off-cutters, he was a middle-order batsman where he would get a quick 50 and he was great in the field. He was always supremely fit and did it all with a smile and a flourish - there was never a dull moment when Baker was around, that's for sure.
In 1965 after his time at Tottenham had run its course, Peter went to South Africa and had success as player/manager of Durban City before embarking on a successful business career in that country.
But his Tottenham career is what he will be remembered for. In all, he played 342 games for Spurs (scoring three goals) which spanned 12 years. He was an important member of our great double-winning side in 1961, our FA Cup winning team of 1962 and the European Cup Winners Cup of 1963.
I will always remember him as someone I didn't like to play against (for obvious reasons), he loved life and most of all, he loved his family.
Peter was 84 and after a long battle with Alzheimer's he passed away at the North Middlesex Hospital with Linda and his family with him. That would have pleased Peter.
So, until we meet again dear friend, Rest In Peace. Diolch yn Fawr.