'61 Double winners v modern Spurs: Who is better?

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Tottenham moved to within three points of the top of the Barclays Premier League table after their comfortable 2-0 win against Everton on Wednesday.


The win over the Toffees has prompted just one question: can Harry Redknapp’s men emulate the last Spurs team, back in 1961, to take the title?

The similarities between the two sides are remarkable: Redknapp's side have enjoyed their best start to a season since the '61 squad, and where only 17 players were used in the '61 season, in the present squad only 20 players have been handed starts.


Bill Nicholson's team were the first to win the league and cup double in the 20th century and followed it up two years later in 1963 by becoming the first British side to win a European trophy.


GMF is here to see just how Harry’s men stack up against some the key players who helped delivered the historic double to the White Hart Lane faithful over 50 years ago.


Danny Blanchflower/Luka Modric


Ranked by the Times as the greatest to ever pull on a Tottenham shirt, Danny Blanchflower was the lynchpin of the double winning squad of the 60’s, renowned for his vision and passing, not unlike a certain Croatian who holds the current Spurs midfield together.


Modric’s vision is crucial to Spurs ability to break down the opposition, especially when they come up against teams willing to put plenty of men behind the ball.


Add into the mix his body movement which buys him time on the ball and decent finish, Spurs have a complete player in the centre of the park.


How do they compare: Living up to the legacy of a man with a reputation like Blanchflower’s is no easy task, and if Modric stays at White Hart Lane and helps the club to trophies then it may be a close call, but for now, Blanchflower remains in a league of his own.


Dave Mackay/Scott Parker


Another to write himself into the annuls of Tottenham’s history as one of the best players to have ever played for them, Dave Mackay jointly won the Footballer of the Year award in 1969, but before that he was making himself a hero at the Lane.


Harry Redknapp put himself in the firing line of the club’s old guard when he compared Scott Parker to Mackay after another inspired performance against QPR in October.


Parker has won Tottenham’s player of the month award three times in a row since joining in the summer and brand of gutsy, give it all football has certainly endeared himself to the Spurs faithful, while he is more than capable of trigging attacks on the break.

How do they compare: Perhaps not as powerful as Mackay going forward or as lethal in front of goal, Parker with a lot to achieve before he can call himself one of the greats alongside Mackay. However he has all the ingredients to help drive Tottenham to success and claim his own place in the history books.


Cliff Jones/Gareth Bale


Two Welsh wizards at the top of their game, the similarities between Cliff Jones and Gareth Bale are uncanny.


Both considered to be amongst the best exponents of their profession during their respective eras - Jones himself admits Bale is a “special” player, and is his successor to his throne as Wales’ best ever player.


Jones perhaps had a more natural goal-scoring instinct having bagged 15 goals in the 1960/61 season, but Bale is no slouch in front of goal, and his brutal speed and his razor-sharp delivery mark him out as one of the brightest young talents in world football.


How do they compare: Most likely the closest in terms of talents when it comes to comparing the two teams, the qualities that Bale possesses mark him out as something particularly special; something never before seen at the Lane.


Bobby Smith/ Emmanuel Adebayor


As one half of perhaps the most dangerous strike partnerships ever seen at White Hart Lane alongside Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Smith was the archetype of a big man up front; menacing, dangerous and without fear, the England international also had a deft touch that didn’t exactly fit in with his persona.


Not unlike Emmanuel Adebayor, who can count his strength and his deft touch as his best qualities.


The Togolese striker has bought with him some more surprising qualities since joining on loan over the summer, most notably his work rate and turn of pace that helps terrorise defenders across the country and beyond.


How do they compare: Smith finished top scorer in the ’61 season and scored in the F.A Cup final that year as well, while he scored 13 goals in his 15 England appearances.


Adebayor meanwhile is Tottenham’s leading Premier League scorer, but is at times wasteful, spurning numerous opportunities in front of goal and his tempestuous reputation proceeds him.


Despite this the former Arsenal and Man City man has become something of a fan favourite because of the technical abilities he possesses while the assists he has provided this season counts in his favour, but he needs plenty more goals over a longer period before ranking alongside Smith.




John White/ Rafael Van Der Vaart


The most enigmatic figure of the double winning side, John White earned himself the nickname ‘the ghost’ for his ability to pop up out of nowhere and find the back of the net or create something out of nothing.


His life was tragically cut short at just 27, something that cannot be said of Rafael Van der Vaart, who at 28-year-old is in perhaps the best form of his life.


The Dutchman prowls and patrols the midfield and picks passes with the best of them, and while speed and stamina are certainly not one of his strengths his link up play and finishing mark him out as something special in the current side.


How they compare: Another close call, Van Der Vaart’s reputation, built at some of the biggest clubs in Europe marks him out as one of the finest of the current crop.


Slightly different players in terms of their physique; Van Der Vaart is slower and more muscular with a knack for finding the net, White’s balance and agility made him something special.

Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League

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