Peter Baker RIP
27 January 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Peter Baker, who sadly died today at the age of 84, was a key component of our all-conquering Double-winning side of 1961.
Peter, who passed away in hospital following illness, was a player who simply did his job but who was always essential to the smooth running of that great Spurs side. While others took the plaudits, Peter’s hard work and ultra efficiency underpinned the ambitions of the side and was fundamental to all that was achieved.
An extremely athletic player, Peter brought energy to the unit as he operated on the right side of a defence that provided the foundation for the rest of the team to perform with the knowledge that the back door was firmly closed.
Precise in his passing and anticipation, Baker covered particularly for Danny Blanchflower and allowed his captain to support the forwards without having to concentrate on defensive duties, thereby enabling him to seize attacking opportunities as they arose.
Calmly resolute, his short passing game enhanced our ‘push-and-run’ style and he provided a support role that was totally appreciated and respected by his peers. True, he was an unassuming character with a ready smile but once he crossed the white line, Peter Baker’s true professionalism came to the fore.
Tactically sound, skilled and timing his tackles to perfection, he helped drive the side to glory as we retained the FA Cup in 1962 and then made history the following year by lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup to become the first British side to enjoy Euro success.
He was born in Hampstead on December 10, 1931, and started out with Enfield before joining us as an amateur in June, 1949. He turned professional in October, 1952, and made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Sunderland in April, 1953.
Peter was up against England international Alf Ramsey at right-back but once he made it into the team on a regular basis he made the position his own. In addition to his physical strength, the always consistent Peter possessed great pace and was fearless in his tackling. In the days when every side utilised wingers, his was a key role and he was rarely caught out of position.
He demonstrated his versatility by even playing in goal at Birmingham in 1959 and missed just one game in the Double season. He scored once in that campaign but his key role was in keeping the opposition out and he did that to perfection.
By the time he left to join South African side Durban United in May, 1965, Peter had played 342 senior games for us. He always retained his great affection for Spurs and was a regular at our home games and a welcome visitor to our Training Centre in recent years. His memory will live forever at White Hart Lane.
We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Linda, to all his family and to his many friends at this sad time.
By John Fennelly.