BRIAN MOORE INTERVIEWS... CLIFF JONES
Cliff Jones was an old-fashioned winger who played
more than 300 games for Spurs between 1957 and 1968, helping
them win the Double in 1961 and the 1963 European Cup-Winners'
Cup - the first British club to win a European trophy. He also
won 59 caps for Wales and played in the 1958 World Cup. And as
he told our Brian, them were the days you used to buy your fans
a drink after the game.
Brian Moore: What is the greatest single achievement
in your career, with Spurs, Swansea or Wales?
Cliff Jones: Oh, that would have to be winning the
Double with Spurs in 1961. To be part of the first team to do
the Double this century. That would be the pinnacle of my
Brian Moore: That was the peak, but you joined back in
1957, and for a while things didnít go very well for you, did
Cliff Jones: No, thatís right. Iíd just finished
Service when I signed for Tottenham. Iíd been playing
rugby and hockey in the army, and I broke my leg in pre-season,
so things took a while to get going, under the then manager
Brian Moore: When did things start to change for you
and the team? Was it the arrival of Bill Nicholson as the
manager in 1958?
Cliff Jones: Yes it was. Bill was a big influence on
all of that team. He was a great believer that managers should
take responsibility for what happened on the pitch. Take for
example, referees. He hated to see players chase after refs. He
would say, ďLook, referees are human. They are going to make
mistakes. I just hope they donít make as many mistakes as you
lot out there. He also used to remind us that most players
didnít understand the rules of the game as well as referees,
and he was right. That, for me, is leadership.
Brian Moore: He was a man who had a lot of little
sayings. One of them I remember is ďWhen the ball goes dead,
good players come alive,Ē
Cliff Jones: Yes, thatís one I used myself when I
was a teacher. Another one Bill loved to use was ďIf youíre
not in possession, get in position,Ē. For me that sums
football up. When you havenít got the ball, get ready to
support the man who has.
Brian Moore: He was bringing an amazing side together
at that time, in the late 50s and early 60s, wasnít he?
Cliff Jones: Well, it was 1959 when he really sorted
things out. That was when he got Dave Mackay.
Brian Moore: That transformed Spurs, did it?
Cliff Jones: Dave gave us that edge, that machine-like
approach and the competitive side to the game, that I wonít
say we lacked, but we needed a bit more. Dave brought that and
we took off from there. The rest is history.
Brian Moore: Most Spurs fans can remember that great
Double-winning side. Players like Bill Brown, Bobby Smith and
Maurice Norman, and that's without even mentioning Danny
Blanchflower. Like many people I regard that team as the
best club side I have ever seen. How do you think todayís
players compare with those Spurs greats?
Cliff Jones: Well, you know, I go to Spurs a lot and I
love to watch David Ginola, heís a class act. People often ask
me how I would feel about playing today. But I turn it round. I
ask them how todayís players would have fitted into the side I
played in? Iím not so sure they would have.
Brian Moore: Spurs were involved in some tremendous
matches during those years. What are your great memories of the
big games, like the Cup Finals against Leicester
Cliff Jones: Well, I remember the Leicester
final in 1961 wasnít a very good game. They lost Ken Chalmers
early on to injury and they made it very difficult for us from
Brian Moore: It may be hard for some people to believe
today, but in those days, Burnley
were a very good side, who played very good, exciting football,
much like Tottenham.
Cliff Jones: Yes, well, they were one of the best we
played against in that era. We took a lot from them in terms of
free-kicks and corners, which we became quite successful at.
When I look at todayís games, I think players donít work on
them enough. They just come up and try to bend this new light
ball around the wall. That's it, nothing else.
Brian Moore: Domestic success took you into Europe,
tell us about your memories of those great exciting European
nights at Tottenham.
Cliff Jones: I remember the first game against Gornick.
At one point over there we were four-nil down, but we scrambled
a couple to finish at four-two. We took some stick in the press
for that. But BiIl and the fans got us geed up for the return. I
tell you, Brian, when we walked out at White Hart Lane that
night, the atmosphere was electric. There were 57 or 58,00
people in the ground and the same number outside. We were a goal
up before the start, you could tell the Polish mob were
Brian Moore: The semi-final of the European Cup
against Benfica was not as successful, but was also an
Cliff Jones: Unfortunately the tension of the crowd
got to the players, and we didnít play as well as we should
have. We tried to get the ball up to our forwards too quickly,
and we by-passed our midfield playmakers, Danny
Blanchflower and John White. In many ways we played in to
Brian Moore: Iíd like to talk to you about two other
players. The first is Jimmy
Jimmy was the greatest goalscorer Iíve ever seen.
Every season he would score 30-35 goals. And he was a great man
to know. I very much enjoyed his company. You know his whole
motivation was to score goals. It didnít matter to him if
weíd had a good or a bad game, so long as heíd scored, he
was satisfied. I couldnít see it like that.
Brian Moore: The other player I want to ask you about
is John White. He is still revered at White Hart Lane after he
died so tragically young.
Cliff Jones: He was a great talent. People ask me what
he was like. I say that he was like Glenn Hoddle. But he was
different to Glenn in some ways. Glenn was someone who you had
to bring into a game, whereas John White would bring himself
into a game. If youíre not in possession, get in position,
that was John White. He was always available if you needed to
pass to someone.
Brian Moore: You still go to White Hart Lane
regularly. Do you still see Bill Nicholson?
Cliff Jones: Yes, I do and its always great to chat to
him. And you know, when I look at todayís players, Iím
reminded of what Bill used to tell us about the club. Bill used
to say that the fans were the most important people at the club,
not the players and not the manager. The fans work 40 hours a
week, then come here. You must repay that. He also used to tell
us how important the club was to the fans and that we had
conduct ourselves accordingly. That, to me, is leadership.
Modern players donít seem to have the same approach.
Brian Moore: Something else that has changed is the
camaraderie between the players and supporters.
Cliff Jones: Oh, yes, we used to go to the Bell and
Hare just by the ground after home games and buy drinks for the
supporters. That could never happen today, and I think the game
has lost something as a result.