27 August 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
What’s it like playing against your mate at the highest level? As Cliff Jones found out to his cost, this is seldom an issue because, once the first whistle blows, inter-club friendships go out of the window!
With Everton’s visit to White Hart Lane on Saturday, Cliff’s current thoughts focus on their arrival on the opening day of the 1960-61 season – the year of the Spurs ‘Double.’ Because following a tackle by his army pal Alex Parker, our Wales international winger missed the next six games!
Cliff and the Scottish international full-back spent their National Service together. The picture above shows the pair in training at Aldershot in February, 1958, as the British Army prepared to play their French counterparts.
Jones had just signed for Spurs from Swansea in that same month while Parker, a Scottish FA Cup winner with Falkirk, would pick up at Goodison Park once his military service ended later that year.
Indeed, it was a busy year for the duo as both would represent their countries in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
But back to that August afternoon at the Lane in 1960 when we won 2-0 with goals from Bobby Smith and Les Allen – and Cliff was carried off. Thankfully, he would return by mid-September as Bill Nicholson’s side opened up the campaign by setting records all along the way.
We created league history by starting off with 11 successive victories; we went unbeaten in our first 16 games; we won 31 of the 42 games; enjoyed 16 away wins; equalled the 1931 record of a final tally of 66 points; and only used 17 players throughout.
With his style of explosive play, it is not surprising that Cliff took a few whacks on that journey and only managed to play in 29 of our 42 league games. But he still scored 15 goals and set up countless others. He also played at Goodison when we won 3-1 there in December.
But, despite all that excitement, he will never forget the time that he came up against Parker, a man who subsequently earned his place in Everton’s ‘Hall of Fame.’
“He definitely ‘did’ me that day; right over the top,” smiles Cliff. “Alex was a brilliant footballer but he liked to get a foot in, as they say, and he certainly did in that one!
“We were in the Army together for about two years and were big pals – or at least I thought we were. As I lay there on the ground I said: ‘Cor, Alex, I thought we were mates.’ I’ll never forget his response: ‘We are Cliff...but not today!’”
Parker was a stalwart of the Everton side that won the Championship in 1963 with Jones and Spurs in runners-up position, six points behind the Toffees. Special days at both clubs – even if Cliff’s still got the scars to remind him of it all!