the name' Bond ...
This article originally appeared in MEHSTG Vol.2 Issue 24 - Xmas 2001
After the great double side broke up, a number of players were tasked with filling their boots. Some only played a handful of games and went on to do well elsewhere, like Derek Possee and Keith Weller. Some showed they little chance of doing so and were discarded, while some did well when they were in the side and had competition from more established players. Dennis Bond faced strong competition for a midfield birth from Alan Mullery and never really established himself in the first team although he did well when he was in the side.
Dennis Bond joined Spurs from Watford in March 1967 while he was suffering from chickenpox! This was an unusual start to his Tottenham career. He was born in Walthamstow and after playing for the district boys' team, he was selected for the London and England boys' sides. He went to Watford after leaving school and made his debut in the first team for the Hornets at the age of 17 in the Third Division. He was a neat passer of the ball at an early age and settled into the position of inside forward and midfield. He was quite slender and at 5 feet 7 inches tall he had to work hard to make his mark. After he signed for Spurs in 1967, he made three appearances for the Combination side before the end of the 1966-67 season. He made his first appearance for the first team against Liverpool as a substitute before the end of the same season replacing Dave Mackay! What a lot he had to live up to! He had scored one and set up another goal in his first appearance in Spurs 'colours in the reserves' Combination Cup Final first leg game at Leicester. He did not make the first team for the FA Cup win in 1967, but was in the wings waiting for his chance.
It was much the same story during the following season, when he made just six first team starts in the League but played consistently for the reserves making 18 Combination starts, scoring four goals. When Dennis appeared for the first team, he showed good skills and neat passing without really dominating the midfield. This was probably due to his slim frame as his game was mostly built on his subtlety and passing ability rather than strength and tackling. His most prominent game for Spurs was in his only European game against Olympique Lyonnais in the second leg of the European Cup Winners' Cup in December 1967 when he got his chance due to a number of injuries in the side and having to battle against a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in France.
In a side including Greaves and Gilzean and Jones, Spurs were appearing to stroll through to the next round with a 2-0 lead at half time. Spurs first goal was scored by Greaves after Dennis had shot brilliantly and forced a corner. Dennis was tripped in the area just before half time and a penalty was awarded and Greaves scored again. A series of errors by the Spurs' defence let the French side back in the game which finished at 4-3 to Spurs on the night but 4-4 on aggregate with Lyonnais going through on the away goals rule. Bill Nicholson was furious after the match, as Spurs had thrown it away. Jimmy Robertson and Dennis had done well in the first half, but neither could find enough stamina when another goal was needed. Dennis had done well in midfield showing intelligence and impudent skill showing that he could live with some of the best.
Dennis still struggled to make the first team with just two appearances in the 1968-69 season, but had two starts in 1969-70, scoring his first goal. His last season for Spurs came in 1970-71 hen he made only two appearances in the team that included Martin Peters and Alan Mullery in midfield.
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