Xtra - captains' week
12 November 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Danny Blanchflower’s final game for Spurs – against Manchester United at Old Trafford on November 9, 1963.
Meanwhile, when Michael Dawson led the team out against Newcastle on Sunday, it represented his 299th appearance for the club and he’s set to become the 42nd player to reach the 300-game milestone in the club’s history when he next pulls on the famous white shirt.
In a special feature this week, we look at five of our great captains of the past 50 years – next up, our record appearance holder and Mr Tottenham Hotspur, Steve Perryman.
STEVE PERRYMAN, 1969-1986
A born leader, Steve signed for Spurs as an apprentice in July, 1967, turned professional in January, 1969 and went on to play 854 matches for us in all competitions until his departure in 1986. That’s 264 appearances more than Pat Jennings, who is second on our all-time list.
He’d already won the League Cup twice and UEFA Cup when he took over the captaincy from Martin Peters and went on to help the club back into Division One at the first attempt following relegation in 1977 and lead the team to the glory of the 1980s – back-to-back FA Cup wins in 1981 and 1982 followed by the UEFA Cup in 1984.
Legendary manager Keith Burkinshaw visited the Training Centre earlier this year, and gave his views on his captain.
“For me, Steve was the one that understood the team. He would ring on a Sunday and we’d talk for a couple of hours about how the team had done on the Saturday, the preparations and what we’d do for the following week. We’d talk for ages.
“Steve was tremendous for the club. He understood how I looked at football. He was my captain and a big influence over the rest of the players. Everyone looked up to him.
“He was the best captain I ever came across.
“I used to say him ‘when you are out on the field, if you see something that can improve the team, do it without coming to the sidelines and if it comes off, fantastic’. If it didn’t I took the blame. That’s how we were.”
Meanwhile, Steve gave a fascinating insight his role as captain in the Tottenham Hotspur Opus.
What kind of captain were you in the dressing room at half-time?
Steve: “I never planned what I was going to say, or how I was going to behave in the dressing room. It was always off the cuff and depended on what had gone on in the first 45 minutes.
One week I could be ranting and raving at the players and the next I could be completely silent. I never minded the other players having their say if they had something worthwhile to say. Sometimes it’s better for a manager or captain to let players sort out their own problems - when you’ve got someone like Ray Clemence in your side, why wouldn’t you listen when he wants to talk about how we’re defending corners?
“Then the job of captain changes - you back up the player who’s talking sense, or who can see things from a different perspective. Then you become the number two, the one who makes sure the players listen. Of course, if I thought someone was saying something just to cover his back if things were going wrong, then it was my job to say so.”
Tomorrow: Gary Mabbutt.