Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tottenham's Joy of Winning the Cup 6 (1967)

From mid-January, 1967 through to the end of the season Tottenham went on an undefeated run which lifted them to third in the 1st Division and to the first all London FA Cup Final.  At Wembley they had too much for Chelsea and lifted the trophy for the fifth time.

1967 FA Cup Final
Chelsea 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Unsung Heroes Win Trophy for Spurs
Kinnear, Saul, England and Gilzean
While everyone was looking to Jimmy Greaves or Alan Gilzean to provide the winning goals for Tottenham at Wembley in the FA Cup Final, it was two of the lesser known players who scored the goals that took the trophy back to White Hart Lane.  Wingers, Jimmy Robertson and Frank Saul each scored a goal in each half to give Spurs a two goal lead and a late consolation for Chelsea was not enough to spoil Spurs' afternoon as they lifted the FA Cup for the fifth time in their history and for the third time in seven years.  Bill Nicholson had spent a large amount of money to recruit players in his rebuilding programme after the demise of the successful team of the early 1960s.  He had bought nearly an entire team - Pat Jennings, Cyril Knowles, Alan Mullery, Mike England, Jimmy Robertson, Alan Gilzean and Terry Venables had been purchased while Joe Kinnear and Frank Saul came through the youth system.  Only Dave Mackay, Jimmy Greaves and Cliff Jones remained from the team of the early 60s.

Road to Wembley:
3rd Round v Millwall (a) Draw 0 - 0 
Tottenham faced a difficult game against 2nd Division London rivals, Millwall, at their compact, hostile and muddy ground, The Den.  Spurs had chances to win but were relieved to return to White Hart Lane for the replay the following Wednesday evening.  Pat Jennings ensured that would happen with a number of important saves to earn the scoreless draw.

3rd Round Replay v Millwall (h) Won 1 - 0 Gilzean
Millwall made it difficult for Spurs in the replay at White Hart Lane and saw two chances cleared of the Spurs line.  Only a goal scored by Alan Gilzean separated the two teams and that came when Jimmy Greaves intercepted a back-pass to the goalkeeper who blocked his shot but the ball fell to Gilzean to knock in to an empty net. 

4th Round v Portsmouth (h) Won 3 - 1 Gilzean (2), Greaves 

Tottenham had to fight to get past Portsmouth and again found it difficult against opponents they were expected to turn aside with ease.  After a scoreless first half Gilzean headed the opening goal seven minutes after the interval and a minute added the second.  Ten minutes later Greaves scored an exquisite third while Portsmouth had to settle for a late consolation. 

5th Round v Bristol City (h) Won 2 - 1 Greaves (2)
Another tie that Spurs should have won with ease was to prove very difficult.  In a dramatic opening, Dave Mackay could have been sent off but having survived that difficulty, Spurs went ahead through Greaves after ten minutes.  Throughout the half Spurs continued to attack but without adding to the score.  Early in the second half Bristol missed an opportunity to equalise and then missed a twice taken penalty.  Jennings saved the first attempt but the second effort was put wide by a different player.  In the final minute Spurs were awarded a penalty and Greaves showed Bristol how to score and gave Spurs a comfortable lead, if not a comfortable win.  

6th Round v Birmingham City (a) Draw 0 - 0
Tottenham's first sojourn from London and they found it quite a struggle against a very physical Birmingham side.  Neither side deserved to win but Spurs were grateful for a match saving save from Jennings towards the end. 

6th Round Replay v Birmingham City (h) Won 6 - 0 Venables (2), Greaves (2), Gilzean, Saul
Tottenham finally showed their quality to outclass Birmingham and reached the semi-final in style.  Terry Venables put them ahead inside two minutes and added a second after twenty.  Gilzean quickly headed a third and in the second half Greaves scored two more after fifty and seventy five minutes.  The final goal came from Frank Saul with three minutes remaining.  Saul had replaced Cliff Jones in the team for the game at Birmingham.  

Semi-Final v Nottingham Forest (at Hillsborough) Won 2 - 1 Greaves, Saul
The two teams vying for second and third places in the League were drawn together for this semi-final.  Expectations were high and no-one was disappointed with the quality of the football on display.  Forest dominated the early play but after half an hour Greaves put Spurs ahead with a vintage goal.  Spurs were determined to hold their lead and added to it through Saul midway through the second half.  Forest were stunned but roused themselves for a final flourish in the dying minutes and managed to pull one back but it was too little too late. 

FA Cup Final v Chelsea (at Wembley) Won 2 - 1 Robertson, Saul
Cup Finals can sometimes throw up unexpected heroes and so it was for Spurs with their two vital goals coming from Jimmy Robertson and Frank Saul.  The eagerly anticipated first all London FA Cup Final was an anti-climax and Chelsea failed to do themselves justice with their performance.  Tottenham were comfortable throughout and did what was required of them.  Greaves found himself closely marked by Ron Harris and so proved less effective in front of goal while Spurs prevented Charlie Cooke from having an influence on the game.   

Joe Kinnear had a starring role, attacking from the right full back position as Tottenham became the dominant team.  Towards the end of the first half, Alan Mullery picked up a quickly taken free-kick and ran towards the Chelsea goal.  The defenders, mindful of Greaves, backed off allowing Mullery time to shoot.  The ball was deflected to Robertson who hit it first time and scored.  

In the second half Spurs continued to be in control and added a second when Saul received the ball from Robertson.  With his back to goal, he turned and shot and scored.  'Glory! Glory!' to Spurs.

Chelsea managed a late goal when Jennings misjudged a cross but the Cup had been won by Tottenham for a fifth time.  That made it five FA Cup Finals for Spurs and five wins.  it wasn't the most memorable of Finals or performances by Tottenham but they had done what was required of them and Dave Mackay lifted the trophy and his third FA Cup winners medal. 

Team: Jennings; Kinnear, Knowles; Mullery, England, Mackay; Robertson, Greaves, Gilzean, Venables, Saul.  Sub: (unused) Jones

Frank Saul
Frank Saul had progresses through the ranks at Tottenham and made his debut in the 'Double' winning season of 1960-61 at the age of seventeen.  He made six appearances that year, scoring three goals.  He continued as a useful reserve stepping in when more senior players were injured, including in European games, but never had the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular position.  At the start of 1964-65 he was given that chance and played more frequently over the next three seasons.  Towards the end of the Cup campaign he replaced Cliff  Jones in the team and held on to his place, playing in the four games from the 6th Round and scoring three goals.  

A hero in May but gone by January sums up Saul's career.  In total he made 116 appearances for Spurs and scored 37 goals but when Bil Nicholson looked to sign a new centre forward from Southampton, Frank Saul was used in part-exchange for Martin Chivers.

Bill Nicholson had seen his 'Double' winning team disintegrate with age, injury and death in the mid-60s and his rebuilding had taken longer that expected but the acquisition of Mike England and Terry Venables had added experience to the team.  Jennings, Knowles, Mullery and Robertson were now experienced players and he was looking to these players to provide the basis of his next successful era at Tottenham.  However, it didn't occur immediately and it would be another few years before Tottenham were able to reclaim a position at the top of English football.


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