Great Reputations: Tottenham 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

IT IS hardly surprising, but when Tottenham Hotspur’s great teams and players are discussed, the conversation rarely moves beyond 1951 and 1961. The latter’s achievement, the then-hallowed double, would be something of a millstone round the neck of the club and its long-serving manager, Bill Nicholson, but 10 years on, Spurs did manage to rekindle some of the lustre of old and put together a … Continue reading Great Reputations: Tottenham 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

72 Classic: London’s lost cup

LONDON’s top clubs had a mixed start to the 1971-72 season. Not everyone was surprised, however, for despite the capital city scooping all the domestic prizes and a European trophy, the football establishment still looked to the north of England as the hub of the game in the early 1970s. “I wonder sometimes if the London lads are as dedicated,” commented Huddersfield Town manager Ian … Continue reading 72 Classic: London’s lost cup

City and the dangerous pursuit of excellence

REMEMBER Leeds United in 1970? They were chasing a treble and ended with nothing. They finished in second place in the league, runners-up in the FA Cup final and lost in the “Battle of Britain” against Celtic over two legs in the European Cup semi-final. They were worn-out, heart-broken and stressed – above all, they were potless. Leeds had a relatively small squad with 12 … Continue reading City and the dangerous pursuit of excellence

When and where trophies are won

PRIOR to the 2018-19 season, the most successful Premier League team, in terms of domestic trophies won over the past decade, was Chelsea with eight wins. Just behind the Blues were the Manchester duo, City and United, with seven apiece. City have since drawn level with their League Cup victory earlier this season and in all probability, they will move ahead of Chelsea very soon. … Continue reading When and where trophies are won

1971: Geoffrey and Gordon

ONE OF the privileges of being born in the late 1950s was that your formative years, from a footballing perspective, were the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was a great time for English football as the nation basked in the glow of World Cup 1966. As the passage of time moves on, and history plays tricks with the memory, sometimes you have to remind … Continue reading 1971: Geoffrey and Gordon

London cooling? Not quite yet

IT MAY not be the most successful city across Europe, or the most productive in terms of league titles in the UK, but if you want to see top division action in the European Union’s capitals, London has the highest percentage of clubs among the leading leagues. There are six London clubs in the Premier League (Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham), … Continue reading London cooling? Not quite yet

Great Reputations: Swindon Town 1969, winners of the “People’s Cup”

IT COULDN’T happen today, could it? A third division (league one in the current money) team winning at Wembley. It didn’t happen much then, but for two out of three years in the late 60s, two teams from that level of the game created major shocks that have never been forgotten. Arsenal fans won’t need reminding of one of the most humiliating days in their … Continue reading Great Reputations: Swindon Town 1969, winners of the “People’s Cup”

Johnson’s Bristol cream and the margin between success and failure

JOSÉ MOURINHO might have felt Bristol City were lucky to have won their English Football League Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United, but their 2-1 triumph was a much-needed and much-welcomed reminder that shocks can still happen in top level football. Everyone outside the United support base must have raised their hat to the Robins, it was an old fashioned victory for the little man … Continue reading Johnson’s Bristol cream and the margin between success and failure

Rosary, Moleskine and Mourinho – Chelsea’s triumph of relief

It was supposed to be all about Diego Costa versus Harry Kane. The pundits were trying to big-up the contest and inflate Tottenham’s chances against the Premier League champions-elect. They pointed to Spurs’ 5-3 win against Chelsea a few weeks back and saw it as a portent of what was to follow. But what did we get? A good first half from Spurs but Chelsea … Continue reading Rosary, Moleskine and Mourinho – Chelsea’s triumph of relief

Chelsea, the history men

The banners hanging from the top tier of Chelsea’s Shed End stand told you everything you needed to know about Liverpool. All very Jethro Tull. “Spion Kop…A true democracy”. “Liverpool, European Royalty”. “Shankly’s red army”. “We live for the nights to remember…1977, 1978, 1981, 1984 and 2005”. “Five times…FACT”. These were all calling cards for a club that hankers for its glorious past. The people’s … Continue reading Chelsea, the history men

Calling in on….Crystal Palace, the parish of Steve

I heard someone whistling Blaydon Races at London Kings Cross at 8.30am and I knew that either an impromptu Lindisfarne gig was taking place or that Newcastle United were in town. Later that day, in the early evening autumnal glow, the trains out of London Bridge fairly well resonated to the sound of the Tyne. “The Toon” (when did they stop being the Magpies?), wearing … Continue reading Calling in on….Crystal Palace, the parish of Steve

Swansea can be flag-bearers for realistic success

So the Bradford City bandwagon ground to a halt at Wembley and Swansea hammered the League Two side 5-0 in the Capital One Cup. Sympathy for Bradford that they come up against a club desperate to secure their first piece of significant silverware. In some ways, they may have had a better shout against a team more accustomed to lifting major prizes. Some people bemoaned … Continue reading Swansea can be flag-bearers for realistic success

Bradford have certainly embarassed the misfiring Gunners

Walsall, Swindon, York, Wrexham and now, Bradford City. Giant-killing tales are not uncommon to Arsenal. It is what makes cup football so intriguing and in the modern currency of the game, it is little wonder that the big clubs try to devalue these competitions – they don’t want to be embarrassed! But hang on, Arsene Wenger has said he’s not embarrassed. He’s either taking it … Continue reading Bradford have certainly embarassed the misfiring Gunners