from the 1-0 victory over Norwich, we were shocked to
receive the news that Cyril Knowles had died, aged 48,
after a long illness, A cloud descended on our excellent
day out in the sun, containing a game that, no doubt,
Cyril would have approved of. The attacking instincts of
the two sides would have pleased the full-back who always
had an eye for the option to go forward, And that will be
the abiding memory for me of a man who always seemed to
take a great pride in turning out for Spurs and loved
playing the game.
He was a player who
epitomised the ups and downs that occur in football as he
played parts in those I most remember, The 1973 League
Cup semi-final second leg at White Hart Lane v Chelsea.
The Hudson free-kick, Knowles on the near post completely
missing his kick an d allowing the ball to trickle into
the net to make the score 2-2, enough to take Chelsea
into the Final. Understandably, he was as distraught as
any Spurs fan that night but the other occasion that
sticks in my mind was a happier one. The tension before
our home game against Leeds on that hot April night was
almost unbearable. The capacity crowd fully realised that
only a win would keep Spurs in the first Division and
facing the successful Yorkshire side, who sat in 9th
place in the League, made the task even harder.
However, the two goals by Cyril were typical of his play.
A pressure penalty and a second after a marauding run up
the wing helped Tottenham retain their place in the top
bracket. His part in the 4-2 victory cannot be under played, His style and dare in such a crucial match made
the difference between playing in the first rather than
His own life was not always
as happy as he appeared to be, I could only have been
about nine or ten, but I clearly recall hearing the news
that his son had died following a freak accident, where a
stone was thrown up from the road and crashed through the
window of the car into his head, His brother, Peter, gave
up a career as a footballer with Wolverhampton 'Wanderers
to become a Jehovah's Witness, l only ever saw him play
the once and that was in Cyril's testimonial against
Arsenal, but what I did see proved to me that he was a
great loss to the team. He didn't play the whole game,
but he showed some superb skills that would have made him
the footballing equivalent of Gascoigne in his day.
Cyril moved into management
with Darlington before moving onto Torquay and
Hartlepool. In each case, he took a team in decline to a
good League position and left them in a healthier state
than that he started with. He always wanted his teams to
play in the style he had adopted as a player. When he
brought his teams (Torquay and Hartlepool) to White Hart
Lane in the Rumbelows Cup, he was warmly received and
although his teams were defeated on the night, they did
not disgrace him, In fact, perhaps the best result in his
managerial career came on a rainy night at Plainmoor when
Torquay gained a 1-0 first leg victory over Tottenham.
During his football career,
he played a meagre four games for England, which never
bore testimony to his achievements and attitude to the
game. Kept out of the England side by Terry Cooper, his
chances were few and far between and were restricted to
filling in when the Leeds man was injured. The sight of
Cyril Knowles flying down the wing and the smile on his
face will live long in my memory.
All at MEHSTG send our
condolences to his wife and family.