Tributes to Peter the all-time great
27 January 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
There was sorrow, smiles and any number of superlatives for Peter Baker from his double-winning team-mates after today's (Wednesday, January 27) news that one of our all-time greats had sadly passed away.
Peter, who died at the age of 84, joined us from Enfield as an amateur in 1949 and went on to give 16 years of service to the famous white shirt.
He was part of a formidable full-back pairing with Ron Henry and defensive trio alongside Maurice Norman in Bill Nicholson's all-conquering team of the early 1960s. Between them, Peter, Ron and Maurice missed just two matches of 49 in that history-making campaign - 42 in the league, seven in the FA Cup.
Peter went on to help us retain the FA Cup, finish third in the league and reach the semi-finals of the European Cup the next season before making history again as we became the first British team to win a European trophy with the 5-1 demolition of Atletico Madrid in the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1963.
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.
Here's what his team-mates and friends had to say today...
Spurs 1959-65 (ever-present, 49/49 appearances in 60-61)
"Peter and Ron were the best full-backs going, weren’t they? They were very underrated. People didn’t like playing against Peter because he dominated them. He was a hard, hard player as well, didn’t moan about anything, just got on with the job. He was a regular in that team for years and that really speaks for itself. Before I joined Tottenham I was at Chelsea and played against Spurs and stayed over the other side of the pitch away from him!
"It was like a family, that team - everyone was close and involved in everything. The team hardly changed, especially in that double season. Peter was always laughing and joking and we all took the mickey out of each other. It went down well. It's a sad day but unfortunately we’re all getting older and that’s something none of us can do anything about."
Spurs 1955-65 (47 appearances in 1960-61)
"It’s such a shame. The full-backs, Peter and Ron Henry, were brilliant defensively - you wouldn’t like to play against them, that’s for sure! They were the unsung heroes of that team. We were an attacking team and left them to it! Peter was so consistent, he never lost his place. He was good at all sports, Peter, a great golfer, he played tennis as well. He could turn his hand to anything.
"Peter and Ron used to room together. I’d room with Les Allen and it was Dave Mackay and Bill Brown. We used to go away on a Friday and play on the Saturday. That was the routine for every away match back then. We had some great times and that team was special. We played for the fans and played for Bill Nicholson. We had great times, great memories."
Spurs 1958-68 (35 appearances in 60-61)
"Peter was very talented, uncompromising and he was so intelligent as a full-back. An opponent might break clear and you could hear the crowd shout ‘tackle him’ but he would just jockey him away from danger. He was a great foil for Danny Blanchflower and one of the reasons Danny was able to play for so long, as Peter was always there to support him. Peter, Ron Henry and Maurice Norman, they were the backbone of that team. They hardly missed a game between them.
"Peter always enjoyed himself, was always in the middle of it all and such a likeable character. We all got on well with each other off the field and we took that out there with us, it was one of our strengths as a team.
"He was always such a strong man and character. It's a sad day for everyone."
Spurs 1956-63 (15 appearances in 60-61)
"Peter was always a confident, intelligent man and once he got into the team, there was no looking back for him. He was a real personality and had such a lot going for him. He was a great cricketer as well. I remember we played cricket occasionally after pre-season training in the summer and it was great to watch him play, he was that good! He was a great golfer as well.
"We’re the same age - he was 84, I’m 84 coming up. We had great times together - the double, the FA Cup in 1962, winning in Europe. We had a great team spirit and we took that out there with us. It makes you sad when you think about those great days and the players now no longer with us."
Spurs 1955-65 (48 appearances in 60-61)
"I had a little chat about Peter with Cliff Jones when I found out this morning. Peter was a hard man on the pitch - no-one worried him. It was myself, Peter and Ron Henry as the three at the back as we used to line-up in those days (in a 2-3-5 system). Not much got past us! It was a great team. We only missed two games between the three of us and we played together as a unit. There aren’t many of us left now, just four of the regulars. It’s so sad really."