Bill Nicholson RIP

Mr Tottenham, Bill Nicholson, passed away on this day in 2004. He achieved Spurs immortality by producing a side in 1961 to achieve a feat that was considered impossible in 20th century football, the double of League Championship and FA Cup.

The Impossible Double as it was known paved the way for other teams to follow just as Sir Roger Bannister did with the 4 minute mile. No one could achieve it but once he did it was regularly broken and so it was with the double. Once we had shown it could be done other clubs have since followed in our footsteps.

With that great side Bill won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963 becoming the first British team to win a major European trophy. Again once we had shown it could be done other followed in our footsteps.

Bill Nicholson set standards, standards that some of our fans have forgotten about so it's as well to remind the new generation of the Tottenham tradition and what better way than with a few of the great man's quotes.

"It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory."

"If you don't win anything, you have had a bad season."

"Spurs have got to be the best in the land, not the second best."

"It's no use just winning, we've got to win well."

"Any player coming to Spurs whether he's a big signing or just a ground staff boy must be dedicated to the game and to the club. He must be prepared to work at his game. He must never be satisfied with his last performance, and he must hate losing."

"There's no use being satisfied when things are done wrongly. I want perfection."

"I always said that it was an honour to serve Tottenham Hotspur and I feel the same every time I walk back into the stadium."

"The public can't be kidded. They know what they want to see, what is good and what is bad and what is just average. At least I believe they do."

"If you don't have to drag yourself off the field exhausted after 90 minutes, you can't claim to have done your best."

"When it is played at its best football remains the greatest game of all. And Tottenham, so close to my heart, is still to me the greatest club."

"We must always consider our supporters, for without them there would be no professional football. It would be better to have more fans watching football the way they like it played, rather than have a few fans watching football the way we would like it played."

"Naturally I'm a Tottenham man. So far as football is concerned, it means almost everything, doesn't it really? Because I can reflect back to being a player with, and manager of some of the finest players that have ever been in the game."

"It's been my life, Tottenham Hotspur, and I love the club."

There are sentiments in there that can be seen in the management of today's team. The winning mentality, the no excuse culture, the high aims, the high standards expected of players on the field. Mediocrity is not good enough once again.

The club under Daniel Levy and Andre Villas-Boas have found a couple that want a return to the standards set by the late Bill Nicholson. We once again reach for glory, fifth today is second new place, but quite frankly fourth has that feel about it.

Lofty aims can only be achieved through constant improvement, not settling for what we have as many fans do, but to analyse each and every performance, good or bad, win or loss and say "what could we have done better?" Constant little improvements add up to a big improvement over time and that philosophy is one everyone should adopt in their own lives.

We love the club, we want the players to love the club, to give us everything, to be the best they can be. A win is a win but a good win is a better win. I for one make no excuses for setting my standards high, mediocrity is not an acceptable level. It wasn't for Bill Nicholson, it isn't for me. Standards in society have dropped over the last 30 years and it's about time we raised them again the way Levy and AVB are raising ours.

The average performance should be a good performance and a good performance should be a great one. It depends where you want to set your bar, what you want the club to achieve. Strive to be great and the performance against Norwich City becomes the average.

Accept that and you risk the chance of success.

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The Bill Nicholson Spurs Honours Board (as player and manager)

Football League First Division
Champions: 1951, 1961
Runner-up: 1952, 1963

Football League Second Division
Winners: 1950

FA Cup
Winners: 1961, 1962, 1967

Football League Cup
Winners: 1971, 1973

FA Charity Shield
Winners: 1951, 1961, 1962
Shared: 1967

European Cup Winners' Cup
Winners: 1963

UEFA Cup
Winners: 1972
Runner-up: 1974
Semi-finalists: 1973

European Cup
Semi-finalists: 1962

RIP Bill.


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