One of the heroes of our all-conquering side of the early 1960s was remembered in Chigwell on Saturday as the Spurs Legends defeated FC ScotSpurs 6-2 in a memorial match for John White.
In a week that marked the 50th anniversary of our 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup final triumph over Atletico Madrid – a match in which John was on the scoresheet – a fresh tribute was made to the late Scotland international, who tragically lost his life back in July 1964 aged just 27.
The ex-White Hart Lane favourites took to the field against a team of Scottish fans of Tottenham, which included John’s son Rob White, at Colebrook Royals FC.
And fittingly, the match was kicked-off by John’s close friend and fellow Spurs great Cliff Jones, who had been playing golf with John on the day of his death back in 1964.
The sprightly Welsh flier got the game underway after a minute’s applause, although the Legends were left to rue a host of missed chances early in the contest.
Clive Wilson’s surging run into the box was halted by a solid covering tackle from a defender, while Garry Brooke’s right-footed effort from 20 yards out was pushed up and over the bar by the ScotSpurs goalkeeper.
Shortly afterwards, centre-half Danny Maddix got forward and powered a header towards the far post after a corner from Andy Edmonds, but his effort was blocked on the line by a defender.
ScotSpurs were beginning to frustrate the Legends, although Mark Falco went close in the 25th minute with a sublime turn and shot which forced the goalkeeper to palm the ball away to safety.
The missed chances came back to haunt the Legends when ScotSpurs took the lead in the 34th minute. Ross McInnes crashed a left-footed free kick into the net from 25 yards out, after a handball by Tony Galvin.
Falco skied an effort over the top at the other end as Spurs sought an equaliser, but a resolute defensive effort from the visitors ensured ScotSpurs went into the half-time interval with a slender 1-0 lead.
The Legends came out fired up in the second period, and two well-taken goals from Micky Southam – the first one a free kick – saw the Legends turn the match on its head.
However, the visitors refused to lie down, and in the 70th minute, Steve Oliver grabbed an equaliser when he sent a glancing header inside the far post after a cross from the left.
The Legends were quickly back in front, though, as Southam grabbed a third, while the energetic Maddix was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself as he rattled the crossbar with a fierce effort from long-range.
Maddix ventured into the opponents’ area in the 81st minute, and was swiftly brought down by a defender, with referee Ken Goldman – who was involved in a John White tribute match as a player back in 1964 – pointing to the spot. Clive Wilson sent the resulting penalty left-footed into the bottom corner of the net to effectively put the result beyond doubt.
Southam added gloss to the final scoreline with two spectacular strikes in the last few minutes, as the Legends ensured they remain unbeaten in 2013.
Spurs Legends: Gareth Howells, Paul Miller, Tony Galvin, Danny Maddix, Stuart Nethercott, Garry Brooke, Andy Edmonds, Kevin Watson, Mark Falco, Warren Gravette, Clive Wilson. Special guest for kick-off: Cliff Jones. Subs: Paul Hawksbee, Micky Southam, Dave Hill, Dan Gaze.
FC ScotSpurs: William Fernie, John Camilleri, David Bates, Rob White, Stevie Murrell, Ray Bates, Ally McIntosh, Ross McInnes, Gav McDonald, Charlie Marks, Stevie Deuchar. Subs: Tyrone Foster, Davie Elder, Gary Flavell, Sean Camilleri, Steve Oliver.