One Christmas I travelled up
to White Hart Lane by car with a friend. We normally caught the train
but they donít run from Hampshire up to London on a Boxing Day. We
parked in a random car park near the ground and grizzled about the
exorbitant cost to do so. As we got out of the car, an elderly gent was
getting out of an old Cavalier or such-like vehicle. My friend and I
looked at each other and then back at the man. It was Bill Nicholson.
We were too stunned to say
anything stronger than Ďhelloí and that was the only time Iíve met
him. All through the 4-0 defeat of Watford Ė Ginola was rampant that
day Ė we mused about the absurdity that our greatest ever Manager and
current club President didnít take up his right to have the best car
parking space at the ground. Let alone that he quietly joined the throng
of supporters strolling to the ground.
Upon reflection and with the
all the evidence surfacing in the past few days, I guess I shouldnít
have been surprised at all.
In all the years Iíve been
regularly going to Spurs games my eyes have only seen the glory of the
Worthington Cup. Successive Managers have tried and failed to emulate
the silk and steel of the sides that Bill Nick sent out to play for
Tottenham. In fact, itís been more enjoyable to read the literature
and what video coverage there is of the days of yore than to watch the
contemporary action. The legendary names of the 60s and early 70s roll
off the tongue as do the great European sides that visited the Lane pre
Champions League. It may be common place for sides like Benfica,
Feyenoord and AC Milan to play in England now but it wasnít back then.
Those names were reserved for teams that deserved to face them and Bill
Nickís Spurs teams were one of them.
Having not seen any of Bill
Nickís teamsí play I canít add any first-hand anecdotes about
them. All I will say is that he gave us a history to be proud of. Itís
somewhat ironic that our closest rivals are playing a brand of football
thatís quoted as being closest to that of our double-winning side.
Spurs fans have often been criticised for harping on about the glory
glory days but thatís because weíve not had it so good since and
probably never will again. We owe the majority of our proud history and
our world wide reputation to Bill Nicholson.