It was nine years ago today (23rd Oct) that one of Spurs greatest managers died: Bill Nicholson. A gentleman in football where the word “gentleman” is sometimes hard to use where football managers are concerned, more so in the modern game.
Spurs fans still talk about the great Bill Nicholson. He is so great that Spurs even named a road after him at the entrance to their ground. A ground where he brought us so much glory.
So Bill Nicholson was, or is still, our greatest manager. That is taken as read. However, that is sad in its own way. That tells us nobody has come along and taken us to another level. Which means, for the moment, we have to look backwards into the past to talk about our Glory nights and great managers we have had (we also mustn’t forget Arthur Rowe as well, who brought us our first League Division one Title and started the Spurs revolution).
Look at the great managers United has had. If I reeled them off today people would probably say “who?” that is because of Alex Ferguson coming in and putting past managers in the shade (he is now their greatest manager-ever!). The same with Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. So on one hand Bill Nick is a great Spurs manager and should be remembered for past achievements. On the other hand to say that Bill Nicholson is our greatest manager is deflating news; nobody, since he retired, has even dared to walk out of his shadow (Burkinshaw came close). For a club like Spurs, yes we should honour our greats, but only in glancing back and paying homage to our past. He should have been way down the list, like the great Matt Busby is down the list of Manchester United managers. Or even Bill Shankly who is almost forgotten to the modern generation because of the great managers that followed him. It only shows us that we’ve got some catching up to do to walk in the same footsteps of the likes of United, Arsenal, Liverpool and the Chelsea’s of this world.
To me, I know where we went wrong. When Bill retired he suggested to the Tottenham board that Danny Blanchflower should take over. In the boards wisdom they dismissed his recommendation and waved him good bye. A disgraceful treatment of such a loyal servant to our club. If he had been allowed to play a part in the selection of Spurs’ next manager we might have saved ourselves of the humiliation of picking an Arsenal man (Terry Neil), and also might have taken a different path that could have built upon Bill Nicks greatest achievements. Bill Nicholson had to wait until the noggins on the Spurs board were finally amputated from their lofty perch and replaced with more forward thinking chairmen. In 1991 he was awarded the title of Club President. Anyway that is in the past.
Let us hope that AVB knocks Bill Nicholson off his perch (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Bill Nicholson who? Oh, yes… didn’t he win the double For Spurs (the first club to do so in the 20th Century) and a few Cup trophies on the way …. Oh, and also became the first manager in Britain to win a European trophy? Yes, I remember him. But not as good as what AVB (?) had achieved…!!!!! But God bless Bill Nicholson for his services to a great club with great traditions. One day, hopefully we will be able to say that… for the time being we’ve only got the past to look back upon for those Glory, Glory memories to bring the tears to our eyes and the smile to our faces. All thanks to that great man Bill Nicholson. A true gentleman.
In the meantime let us have a silent prayer for that great man who put the Glory, Glory days into White Hart Lane. Rest in peace: Bill Nicholson (1919-2004), you won’t be forgotten.
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