Xtra - captains' week
11 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 (since we joined the Football League in 1908) 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, starting with the man who led us to the double in 1960-61.
DANNY BLANCHFLOWER, 1954-1964
The link between the players and Bill Nicholson, the intelligent tactician, magnificent passer of the ball and an inspiration captain of the double team, Danny Blanchflower is seen as one of the greatest players in the club’s history.
Danny joined us from Aston Villa in December, 1954, won the Footballer of the Year Award in 1957-58, led Northern Ireland to the World Cup Finals in 1958 and then lifted the league championship in 1961, FA Cup (1961, 1962) and UEFA Cup Winners Cup (1963) before his final game against United.
He officially retired at the end of the 1963-64 season having made 382 appearances for us.
Featured in the Tottenham Hotspur Opus, Danny’s double-winning team-mates Cliff Jones and Bobby Smith speak about their captain...
Jones: Danny was a character, wasn’t he?
Smith: Yeah, but he was some player. Some people used to have a go at Danny, but he knew what he was doing.
Jones: Bill was the manager and he would tell us what to do. But when we went onto the field, Danny would take over. If there were any changes to be made, Danny would organise them. He was intelligent and he was a very good player. Tactically, there was a lot of stuff he saw on the field that the rest of us didn‘t.
Jones: I remember in one of the first games I played alongside Danny, he turned round to me and said, ‘Cliff? Do you realise the ball is round, it’s going to roll?’ And I said ‘Yes’ and he said, ‘Why don’t you pass the thing then?’! That was his way [Laughs].
Smith: But he was a great player wasn’t he? I liked Danny. He was his own man.
Jones: He kept himself to himself as well. He was very popular among the players. He kept away from some of us at times because we were always being a little bit silly and mad, but he was a great captain for Tottenham Hotspur.
Smith: His team talks went on a bit though, didn’t they Cliff?
Jones: [Sighs] Oh yes. Bill would have his team talk and he’d tell us what to do.
Smith: We were footballers. We listened, but we didn’t say anything. Once he was finished everybody shut up and Bill would say, ‘Does anybody want to say anything?’ Danny would always say ‘yes’. And then he would be talking and none of us would understand a word of what he was saying. He would go on and on and on. It would go right over our heads. He’d go on for about 20 minutes. Then he’d say ‘I’m just going to finish on this point now’. Then he’d go on for another 20 minutes. But that was Danny for you.
Smith: He’d talk all day, but he was a nice lad and a great player.