The Big Interview - Terry Medwin
10 October 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Ben Davies is set to create history with Wales - a feeling Terry Medwin knows all about.
Wales need just two points from their last two qualifying fixtures - Bosnia later today (Saturday, October 10) and Andorra on Tuesday - to secure a place in the Euro 2016 Finals in France next summer.
It will be only the second time in the country’s history that they have made it into the finals of a major tournament – and this is their 31st qualifying campaign for the World Cup or European Championships.
Three Spurs players were part of the squad that made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1958 – Mel Hopkins, Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin, all members of Bill Nicholson’s double-winning squad at Spurs.
Mel sadly passed away in 2010 but there won’t be many prouder Welshmen than Cliff, 80 and Terry, now 83, if Ben and his team-mates are celebrating in Cardiff come Tuesday evening.
Terry is fighting fit at 83 and was a special guest when his two former clubs – Swansea and Spurs - met at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, where he was happy to talk about his good health and reflect on Spurs and Wales…
First of all Terry, all Spurs fans would love to know one thing - how are you?
Terry Medwin: “I feel good. One thing for sure is that time flies! I was 83 last Friday and my wife Joyce was 81 in June. We all have our little problems but generally, I’m fine. Give my best to everyone at Spurs!”
It’s almost 60 years since you joined Spurs. Can you remember coming to White Hart Lane from Swansea?
Terry: “Yes, like it was yesterday. It was May, 1956. It was brilliant. I travelled over on a Saturday to look around the place. I met with Jimmy Anderson, who was manager at the time, but Bill Nicholson soon took over and things really took off for the club from there.”
Below: Terry at the Lane in his first season at Spurs - 1956
How did you get on with Bill?
“Bill was an absolute gem, a true Yorkshireman and a lovely man as well. I didn’t really get any praise out of him though! I remember when we played Burnley in the 1962 FA Cup Final. I was working well with Cliff Jones, working hard to win back possession, not allowing Burnley to play. Bill had a right go at half-time! But he knew he could rely on us and we went on to retain the trophy.”
There were so many high points in the early 1960s under Bill, but any regrets?
Terry: “I’d have to say Benfica in the European Cup (1962). We had a couple of goals disallowed in the away leg and that really cost us. We played superbly in the return at home, won 2-1, should really have had another penalty and couldn’t find that third goal. That was a sad night. We all felt we could have won the European Cup.”
Your career came to a sad end when you broke your leg on our post-season tour of South Africa in 1963.
Terry: “We’d just won the Cup Winners Cup in Rotterdam and we flew from there to South Africa. We trained the next day, just a light one, ticking over and then flew down to Cape Town where the game was being played. Cliff came in from one side to head the ball, I came in from the other side, the full-back had his eye on the ball and I ran past him but the goalkeeper turned and came right across me. I can remember the crack. It was terrible, a nasty one. The muscles never really recovered. I was in a full plaster for about 12 weeks but couldn’t get back.”
That must have been a huge blow…
Terry: “I was just coming up to 30, a good age for a footballer. I looked after myself. I wasn’t really a drinker and I felt fit, 10 per cent fitter than anyone else. I’m sure I would have had a few more years left in me, if not at Tottenham then somewhere else. It was difficult but there you go.”
Below: Terry with the Wales squad, including Cliff Jones and Mel Hopkins - 1958
Turning to Wales, what are your memories of the World Cup in 1958?
Terry: “I’ve such great memories. We stayed in a hotel about six miles outside Stockholm. It was beautiful. The Scottish lads were there as well. We had three draws in the group, 0-0 against Sweden and 1-1 against Hungary and Mexico. We then had to play Hungary again in a play-off. They went 1-0 up, Ivor Allchurch scored the equaliser and I managed to get the winner, what a moment! We then played Brazil in the quarter-finals but John Charles, a terrific player for us, was out injured. Brazil had some fantastic players but we pushed them all the way. Pele scored the winner.”
Finally, how much would it mean to see this Welsh group make it to Euro 2016?
Terry: “It would be fantastic if they made it. We're all behind them. It's been too long really and it would be great for the players and for the country."