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Obituary - Ron Henry

Sun 28 December 2014, 08:30|Tottenham Hotspur

All at the club were saddened by the news that Ron Henry died on Saturday. A legendary figure at White Hart Lane where he had been a key member of our ‘Double’ side, Ron passed away at The Stewarts, Harpenden Memorial Hospital, aged 80.

Born at Shoreditch, the Henry family were evacuated to Redbourne in Hertfordshire during the war and opted to stay there when hostilities ceased.

After impressing in district and county football, Ron joined Luton Town as an amateur and played in the same Royal Artillery team as Terry Dyson during his National Service. We took him on in March, 1953, he turned professional in January, 1955, and he made his senior Spurs debut at Huddersfield Town in the following April.

Ron was a centre-half at the time but found his ideal position when he replaced the injured Wales international Mel Hopkins at left-back and once in the side proved impossible to dislodge.

He missed only one of the next 188 games during which he collected a League Championship medal in 1961, FA Cup winners’ medals in 1961 and 1962 and a European Cup Winners’ Cup medal in 1963.

A strong defender who tackled well and who demonstrated good positional awareness, Ron was always calm in possession and an intelligent distributor of the ball. His full-back partnership with Peter Baker provided our ‘Double’ side with the foundation on which much of Bill Nicholson’s ambitions were based.

He was one of four players - alongside Danny Blanchflower, John White and Les Allen - who played in every game of that memorable 1960-61 season. Ron went on to play 247 league games for us plus another 23 in the FA Cup and 17 more in Europe.

Throughout it all he scored only once - the winner at home to champions-elect Manchester United in February, 1965.

Ron won just one England cap but that was due more to the competition around at the time because he was certainly capable of performing at that level. His breakthrough came against France in February, 1963, in what was Alf Ramsey’s first game as manager.

Throughout his time at Tottenham, Henry remained exceptionally loyal to the club and when injury forced him to retire from playing at the highest level in May, 1969, he continued to serve in various coaching capacities.

Even then he would play at any level whenever the opportunity presented itself and, in so doing, ended up with the longest playing career of any Spurs player. Ron appeared in his first game for us in November, 1954, and his last in March, 1977.

He was a special player with a special commitment to his one club. He was also a good man whose company others sought and who loved to talk football, and Tottenham in particular. He will be greatly missed and always remembered as a key element of a wonderful Spurs side.

We extend our condolences to Ron’s family and friends at this sad time.

By John Fennelly.