Danny Blanchflower: A legendary association with both Spurs and Barnsley
Arguably the most influential player in Spurs’ 135 year history, to ever don on the famous lilywhite shirt of Tottenham Hotspur. Danny Blanchflower was more than just a footballing legend for our club, the captain of the famous double winning side of 1960-61, Blanchflower is an integral part of Spurs’ DNA, and the famous club that they are today. Later today Spurs and Barnsley go toe to toe in a league cup third round tie at the national stadium, when the draw was first announced the first thing that popped in to my mind was Blanchflower’s association with both clubs during his playing careeer. The Belfast born wing half made his first foray into English football when he signed for the Yorkshire club Barnsley for a fee of £6000 back in 1949 from Northern Irish club Glentoran. Blanchflower played 68 times for the Yorkshire club as they played their football in the then old second division. A visionary of a player, the highly intelligent footballer becoming an important part of then managers Angus Seed’s side before transferring to Aston Villa in 1951. The Northern Ireland international and former manager of the national team, Blanchflower’s Spurs career was one for which few could better. The on the field brains behind our famous double winning side of 1960-61. Captain fantastic as he was known won an additional FA Cup with Spurs in 1962 as well as a European cup winners cup before retiring at the age of 38. The late Spurs legend is my footballing hero along with many others, and that makes this evenings cup tie all the more special for supporters of both clubs.
You couldn’t summarise Blanchflower’s wonderful career in just a short article, so I’ll end it on an amusing story from his Barnsley days. The former tykes manager Angus Seed, who was the brother of former Spurs great Jimmy. Was approached by Blanchflower who had just come back from an international match having been unhappy with his ball control and skill due to the high opposition players he had faced. The wing half said to Seed that he wanted to come back to Barnsley’s training ground in the afternoon with a ball, Seed almost collapsed when Blanchflower made this unheard of request. Seed replying: ”We can’t have that here, we believe if you don’t get the ball during the week you’ll want it all the more on Saturday.” Blanchflower replied by saying; ”if I don’t get it during the week, I might not recognise it on Saturday.” There’ll never be another Danny Blanchflower in the game, he was light years ahead of his time, with his magnificent footballing ability and various ideas about the game. His great quote is still remembered so fondly to this day by our club; “The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”