He joined the club in 1936, moving from his home in Scarborough, and turned professional in August, 1938. He made his League debut at Blackburn Rovers on 22nd October, 1938, playing left back in a 1-3 defeat. He made a number of appearances that season and started the next in the left back position. However, the outbreak of war curtailed that season and Nicholson joined the army to serve his country.
On the resumption of League football in 1946, Nicholson played mostly at centre-half but the following season saw him move to right half, the position that became his own for the next eight seasons until his retirement in 1955. He made 318 League appearances for Spurs and while he was not the most skilful player, he was totally committed and was a vital member of Arthur Rowe’s ‘Push and Run’ team which won the 2nd and 1st Division titles in successive seasons. He won one International cap for England and scored with his first touch but he missed the next match through injury and was never got another chance.
On retirement he took up coaching and in October, 1958 he was appointed manager of Spurs and in his first game in charge the team beat Everton 10-4 at White Hart Lane. During his first few seasons he re-built the team and he bought a number of players who were to become ‘Legends’ at the club – Dave Mackay, John White and Bill Brown were stars of the ‘Double’ winning side of 1960-61. Nicholson enjoyed great success as a manager, winning the FA Cup on two further occasions, the League Cup twice and two European trophies – the Cup Winners Cup and the UEFA Cup. Spurs under Nicholson were the first club to win the ‘Double’ in the 20th century and the first British club to win a European trophy.
He left the club in 1974, after a poor start to the season and very much disillusioned with football. However, he returned when Keith Burkinshaw became manager and acted as adviser and various roles including President of the club. Even after retirement, he kept close contact with the clubs and was a great favourite of the supporters.
Bill Nicholson loved Spurs and always wanted them to play football with style to entertain the fans who had paid for the pleasure of coming to the games. He was Mr Tottenham Hotspur and is regarded by all Spurs fans as ‘Sir’ Bill of Tottenham.
It was with great sadness that Spurs fans and football in general heard of his passing and the many tributes by fans and the club were most appropriate for someone who had dedicated his whole life to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Bill Nicholson will always be remembered by Spurs fans around the world for all that he did to make the club great.