Sunday, October 29, 2006

Spurs' Legends - Praise for The 1950s 'Push and Run' Team

Spurs Legendary 1950-51 'Push and Run' team managed by Arthur Rowe

Below is a letter written by Graham A. Rowe, the son of the manager of the famous Tottenham Hotspur 'Push and Run' team of the early 1950s, to the Financial Times, replying to a recent article that appeared in the paper.


The former Spurs centre half, the late Arthur Rowe, became manager of Spurs in 1949 and immediately turned them from a team unable to escape the clutches of the 2nd Division where they had languished since relegation in May, 1935, to a team which won promotion as clear Champions and won the 1st Division title for the first time the very next year. That team played a style of quick passing football never before seen in the English game.


Super Spurs predated magic Magyars

Published: October 28 2006 03:00 Last updated: October 28 2006 03:00
From Mr Graham A. Rowe.

Sir, In his piece "Magyars mourn their lost magic" (FT.com, October 22) Jonathan Wilson states: "Half a century ago Hungary were not merely the best in the world but possibly the best team there has ever been."


I disagree with his assessment of the Hungarian soccer team. The great Hungarian team of 1953 played the same fast, short-passing game that humiliated England and was played by Tottenham Hotspur from 1949 to 1953. During that reign they won the then second division championship, followed by the first division championship, and followed that up by being runners-up to Manchester United and FA Cup semi-finalists.


In 1952 they toured North America playing a style of football called "push and run", a fluid, fast-moving style that entertained capacity crowds wherever they played.

That Spurs team was managed by my father, Arthur Rowe, who had won championships while in charge of Chelmsford City, a Southern League club, from 1946 to 1949.

After a stellar career as a Tottenham player in the 1930s, my father took a coaching position in Budapest, Hungary, before returning to England in 1939 to join the army.

In Budapest were sown the seeds of the "push and run" approach, which for the next 13 years, incubated and ultimately manifested itself in that great Hungarian team. But it was a style that was first played by the glorious Spurs team of 1949-53.

In an FT article of July 1 1998, Peter Aspden wrote of "the beautiful version of the game, invented by the Hungarian side of the 1950s". The Hungarians did not "invent" the beautiful version of the game. If anyone "invented" it, it was my father.

On my wall at home there is a photograph of my father with Ferenc Puskas, the peerless member of the Hungarian team of the 1950s, and my thoughts turn to what kind of a game might have been played between those two great teams. What a feast it would have been.

Graham A. Rowe,
Los Angeles, CA 90049, US

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

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