Looking back at the Spurs A team who won the Eastern Counties League during the 1960-61 season:
(This is the only photograph that I could find that had the most Spurs players together who played in that A team. Included in the photograph is David Sunshine, Barry Roffman, Terry Lloyd, Roy Moss and Roy Low. A big thanks must go to David Sunshine, Derek Tharme and Eddie Clayton for helping me to write this article.)
During the 1960-61 season, apart from our first team winning a historic league and cup double, our old A team also won the league, the Eastern Counties League. Made up predominantly of non league sides and reserve teams, the young Spurs boys had to adapt to the physicality of playing against grown men. The physicality and the toughness of the Eastern Counties League could make or break young players. This was the second season in a row that Spurs had won the Eastern Counties League, after winning it in 1960, they would also win it again the following season in 1961/62. However, during the 1960/61 season Spurs started the campaign against Cambridge City Reserves on Saturday the tenth of September 1960. Spurs won 4-0 thanks to goals from Norman Lee, Joe Fleming, Bert Wilkie and Ronnie Piper. After beating Cambridge the young Lilywhites would go onto win their next five league matches, before losing 3-0 to March Town United in early November. March Town United would be one of Spurs’ main competitors for the league that season. Spurs were consistent throughout the season and they thoroughly deserved to win the league. Recording some memorable victories along the way, such as their 9-0 win over Sudbury Town and another 9-0 win over Biggleswade Town. Spurs picked up 53 points from 32 matches (they won 25 of those games) and they also scored a phenomenal total of 114 goals and conceded just 27. A side of which included future first team players Ronnie Piper and Roy Low contained important regulars such as goalkeeper Frank Smith and full back Derek Tharme. Prolific centre forward Colin Brown led the line with distinction while you had the likes of Norman Lee creating chances from midfield.
Then you had some of the younger members of the side such as Ronnie Piper, Barry Roffman, Roy Low and Terry Lloyd who all did well for the A team when called upon. This was a really talented Spurs side and many of the players had they have been playing in a different era, would have likely gone onto play for the Tottenham first team. After a long and tough season the Spurs players were presented with the Eastern Counties League trophy on the first of May 1961 at White Hart Lane, after their final league game of the season against March Town United (Spurs lost the game 2-1). It was a very successful time in Spurs’ history at all levels of the club, and in the following piece I am going to be looking back at the Spurs players who made up the A team side that season.
Some questions with former Spurs A team player David Sunshine:
Could you describe to me what it was like to play in the Eastern Counties league?
David: To be quite honest with you it was great because I broke into the Eastern Counties league when I was young and when I was still on the ground staff. Coming from junior football (the South East Counties League) to playing with men such as Derek Tharme and Frank Teece was great and I really loved it. That league sorted the men out from the boys, because a lot of them (young boys) only played a few games and then never played again. However, I thought that it was a good strong league and in a way it built confidence. Playing up at Eynesbury Rovers or March Town United (country boys) they were all out to get you with you being a Tottenham player because that was the highlight of their careers (they would also have there biggest crowd of the season) but I enjoyed it although it was a tough league. It brought out the best of players like Derek Tharme, Bert Wilkie and Frank Teece and including myself. Them players from the other teams would run around like chickens with no head, and we thought that we were fit! However, they were good and tough games, and it was a good league for the up and coming players.
What was the most difficult thing about playing in the league?
David: I didn’t find anything difficult about it I just enjoyed it and that’s the honest truth. I had better games in the Eastern Counties League then I did in the South East Counties League because I was playing with men in the A team.
What are your memories of that season?
David: Well of the 1960/61 season the thing I remember about that was spending two lovely evenings at the Savoy hotel when Tottenham did the double! You had Johnny Wallis keeping an eye on you in case you had a drink as we were underage. I used to take football as it came and that included the Eastern Counties League because I didn’t win a lot of trophies in my career however, I’d have still enjoyed that league just as much if we’d have been struggling because that was my attitude towards the game.
What was it like to win the league and be presented with the trophy at White Hart Lane?
David: It was great but I still took it as it came. After winning the league we had a buffet in the directors boardroom at White Hart Lane and I was even allowed a few beers. However, as I say we won it but I would have been just as pleased or happy if we had have been battling relegation.
Who were the toughest opponents that you came up against that season?
David: One of the toughest we came up against that season was March Town United and I tell you what they were big boys and they wouldn’t have looked out of place at Twickenham. They were a really tough side who loved to pump the ball up the field. Another good side in that league was Cambridge City Reserves and they were a good team but there were also lots of good sides in that division because it was a strong league. I loved it!
Do you remember much about that game against March Town United at White Hart Lane (the final game of the season)?
David: I remember it was at the end of the season and in them days Tottenham’s pitch was atrocious and nothing like it is today. It was a good game but not a great game as the ground was rock hard and uneven however, I can’t remember much more than that about it.
Frank Smith: The Colchester born goalkeeper was by all accounts a very talented one who was unlucky not to make the grade at Spurs. The big goalkeeper who joined Spurs from Colchester Casuals is still fondly remembered by by his former A team teammates. Tall, slim, strong and very good in the air, Frank Smith was trusted by his defenders. The goalkeeper made 28 appearances for the A team that season and he also featured on one occasion for the reserves in the football combination league. After leaving Spurs in 1962, Smith joined QPR before later playing for Wimbledon who he made over 150 appearances for. Upon retiring from the game Smith went into the banking business, now retired he lives in County Surrey.
Brian Lumley: Hailing from County Hertfordshire, goalkeeper Brian Lumley made four appearances for the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season (Lumley used to play for Hertfordshire boys). Lumley has been described by former Spurs A team teammate David Sunshine as quite a shy man. It is unknown where Lumley went after leaving Spurs.
Derek Tharme: An A team stalwart, Brighton born fullback Derek Tharme played 26 times for the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season. Tharme was a very intelligent player, who was strong and pretty fast, was also as a good all round left back. Formerly on Brighton & Hove Albion’s books Tharme would join Spurs in 1956 and upon his arrival he lived in digs in Ponders End with Spurs great Mel Hopkins. Tharme was a very important player for the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season and his presence and experience helped out the younger members of the side. After leaving Spurs in the early 1960’s Tharme would later play for the likes of Southend United, Whitehawk and Hastings United. Now retired, Derek lives back on the south coast. I have been privileged enough to have got to know him over the last two years.
David Sunshine: A tenacious and tough tackling fullback, the aggressive David Sunshine (nicknamed ‘ Monty ’) was a player with good pace who opponents wouldn’t dare mess with. A good both footed player, Sunshine was born in Bethnal Green, London and brought up in Walthamstow. David wasn’t the tallest of fullbacks but he had a good leap and he was good in the air and he provided good cover for the A side. Making 11 appearances for the A team that season, while still a youngster, Sunshine had been described by former Spurs first team player Eddie Clayton as a ‘ boy wonder ’. After leaving Spurs Sunshine went onto play for the likes of Millwall, Leyton Orient and Faversham Town. His career and my interview with David made absolutely fascinating reading, and he is one of the nicest guys that your ever likely to meet, he also has an exceptional sense of humour. Sunshine currently resides in County Essex.
Freddie Sharpe: The Brockley born centre half played 22 games for the A team during the 1960/61 season. A good central defender who would play twice for the Spurs first team in competitive competitions, scoring one goal. Sharpe was an important player for the A team and he asserted himself well on the team. After leaving Spurs, Sharpe went onto join Norwich City who he played 111 competitive appearances for. Freddie would then later go onto play for Reading who he made 64 appearances for. After retiring from football Sharpe became a school football coach before later becoming a salesman. The 82 year old currently resides in County Berkshire.
Alan Dennis: Born in Ashcot, Somerset but brought up in Bermondsey, South London. The talented fullback who captained an England schoolboys team which included David Pleat. Dennis was very good as a schoolboy at Arsenal and he did well to progress to the Spurs A team for the 1960/61 season after joining them. He made three appearances for them that season. Dennis was a good left back who after leaving Spurs would later go onto play for Cambridge City (under former Spurs player Tony Marchi), Dover, Ramsgate Athletic, Harwich & Parkeston, Clacton Town and Tilbury. Now retired, Alan currently resides in County Kent.
Bill Dodge: The late wing half was a tough tackling defensive minded player who was also good on the ball. From Hackney in East London, Dodge was signed to Spurs from Eton Manor in October 1957 and he would go onto make 13 appearances for the Tottenham Hotspur first team (some of them came when the great Danny Blanchflower was dropped from the first team in the late 1950’s). However, during the 1960/61 season Dodge, whose main skill was his tackling, made two appearances for the Spurs A team in the Eastern Counties league. Dodge left Spurs in 1962 when he went to join Crystal Palace although he only played three games for the ‘ Eagles ’. He would later go onto play for Kettering Town, Ashford, Leyton-Wingate and Aylesbury.
Dennis Walker: A right back by trade Dennis Walker only made one appearance for the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season. Walker, who would only train at Spurs once a week, never did play for the A team a lot during his time at the Lilywhites. It is unknown where Walker went after leaving the North London club.
Anthony Smith: Strong and skilful centre half Anthony Smith was a mainstay in the A team during the 1960/61 season, making 28 appearances for them. Smith was a tall defender who was remembered for his ball juggling skills and communication skills, and he was a talented player who in the eyes of his former Spurs teammates was unlucky not to make the grade at Spurs. Smith was from Royston in Hertfordshire and after leaving Spurs he would later emigrate to South Africa where he played for Durban United under former Spurs great Peter Baker. It is unknown where Smith currently resides or who he played for after leaving Durban United.
Eddie Hawkins: Ilford born centre half Eddie Hawkins was of stocky build and he played on three occasions for the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season. Hawkins was never on the Tottenham ground staff and it is unknown where he went after leaving the Lilywhites.
Norman Lee: Norman T Lee (nicknamed ‘ Rosy Lee ’) hailed from Trealaw in the Rhondda Valley, Wales. Lee was a midfield player (mostly on the right side) but he would have found it extremely difficult to break into the Tottenham first team during the early 1960’s due to the quality of the players that they had in that position. Lee was a good midfield player who had good vision for making long raking passes. The Welshman who was quite tall, was also good in the air and he loved scoring goals from outside of the box. Lee made 22 appearances for Spurs’ A team that season, scoring six goals. After leaving Spurs, Norman went on to play for Southend United before then playing for fellow south coast club Bournemouth. Sadly Norman passed away in Brighton in July 2014.
Alan Reed: Ilford born and described as a brilliant wing half by David Sunshine, who was unlucky not to break into the Spurs first team. He was a real talent and during the 1960/61 season Alan J Reed made 23 appearances for the old A team, scoring two goals. Unfortunately it is unknown where Reed went after leaving Spurs.
Jimmy Lye: Ireland born during the Second World War but brought up in Hackney, East London. Jimmy F Lye operated as a fullback/midfielder and he would go onto become a good player for the Tottenham reserve team in future seasons. After leaving Spurs, Lye would go onto play for a talented Barnet side along with old Spurs teammates Ben Embery and Roger Smith. Lye who was described as a good player, only made two appearances for the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season.
Joe Fleming: Scotland born and formerly of the Banks O’ Dee football club in Aberdeen. Fleming was a little winger who possessed great pace, balance and skill and who according to David Sunshine his only criticism was that he would hold onto the ball for too long. The Scotsman made 20 appearances for the A team during the 1960/61 season, scoring five goals. Fleming would never play for the Tottenham first team and after leaving the Lilywhites he played for Cardiff City though I am unsure if he ever played for the ‘ Blue Birds ’ first team. After retiring the former winger moved to the Algarve in Portugal.
Roy Peacock: Roy Peacock made 18 appearances for the A team that season, scoring one goal. Peacock who is from Dagenham, was a strong player who was adept at playing as a centre forward or as an inside forward. Peacock’s current whereabouts or where he went to after leaving Spurs is unknown.
Brian Fittock: A very skilful left winger, Brian Fittock was also a good striker of a ball, and he scored nine goals from 18 appearances that season for the A team. Fittock was a good two footed winger and he hailed from East Ham in East London. Fittock is remembered for having a good sense of humour however, it is unknown where he went to after playing for Spurs.
Graham Thomson: From Kings Lynn and formerly a player of Kings Lynn FC who he still holds the record for, for being their youngest ever player. Thomson was a creative inside forward who was quite a skilful player and he made nine appearances for the A team that season scoring two goals. Thomson would also play for the reserve side on two occasions that season, scoring two goals. It is unfortunately unknown who the outside right played for after leaving Spurs however, now retired he currently resides back in County Norfolk.
Bert Wilkie: A Scottish inside forward who was born in Dundee and joined Spurs from Lochee Harp in 1956. Wilkie made one competitive appearance for the Spurs first team however, during the 1960/61 season the prolific and skilful left winger scored 25 goals from 26 appearances. Like many in that A side Wilkie didn’t get a lot of opportunities with the Spurs first team however, his impact on the Tottenham A side during the 1960/61 season was immense. Now retired Wilkie is living back in Scotland.
Roy Low: Watford born winger Roy Low would go onto make eight appearances for the Tottenham Hotspur first team but during the 1960/61 season he made two appearances for the Spurs A team. Low, who used to play for England schoolboys was a good winger who would later go onto play for Watford and Bedford Town. He left Spurs in 1967.
Roy Moss: The Maldon born centre forward was a goal scorer who was also a highly skilled player. Moss made 22 appearances for the A team scoring an impressive total of 14 goals during the 1960/61 season however he found it difficult to break into the first team and he left Spurs in 1962 to join then fourth division side Gillingham. Moss made 14 appearances for the ‘ Gills ’ first team scoring three goals. After leaving Gillingham the centre moved to Canterbury City before residing in the Chatham area of Kent for many years.
Ron Piper: Lowestoft born inside forward Ron Piper began his career as an amateur with Arsenal before joining Spurs in 1960 and staying until 1963 (he made one competitive appearance for the first team) before moving on and playing for Wimbledon and Guildford City. Another important member of the Spurs A team during the 1960/61 season, Piper made 28 appearances scoring 19 goals. Ron who is now retired, currently resides back in Lowestoft, County Norfolk.
Roger Smith: A good left winger who was born in Welwyn Garden City, Roger Smith made one appearance for the A team during that 1960/61 season. Smith would later play for Exeter City and Barnet. He now works for Arsenal as a video scout and resides in County Essex.
B King: Most probably only a trialist at Spurs during the 1960/61 season, King only played once for the A team that season and is not remembered by any of the other members of the Spurs A team, and therefore I was unable to identify his first name.
Barry Roffman: The lively London born inside forward played two games for the A team that season, scoring a hat-trick in a 9-0 win over Biggleswade Town. Roffman sadly passed away in 2014.
Terry Lloyd: A centre forward by trade who was also adept at playing out wide, the young Terry Lloyd only made one appearance for the Spurs A team during the 1960-61 season. Lloyd was an extremely quick player and he was also good with both feet. He would compete with Frank Saul for a place in the A team the following season. From East Ham in East London, Lloyd would later go onto play for West Ham United and a host of non league sides. Lloyd would then go onto work in the London docks before later training to become a London black taxi driver. A job that he did for many, many years. Now retired, Terry currently resides in central County Bedfordshire.
Colin Brown: A prolific centre forward for the A team who was formerly of Aylesbury United where he netted 15 goals in 56 appearances, for the Buckinghamshire based club. Brown was an enthusiastic striker although only part time at Spurs however, the young Colin D Brown (also known as ‘ Buster Brown ’) who was born in Watford, was a goal scorer (he had a powerful right foot) who was also good in the air despite not being very tall. Brown was a key component of the Spurs A team who won the Eastern Counties league that season and he scored a hugely impressive 28 goals from 29 appearances for the Lilywhites. Unfortunately nobody knows where Brown went to after departing Spurs in the early 1960’s and it is not known if he continued his playing career. However, there is no doubting that the consistent centre forward was a major reason why Spurs won the 1960/61 Eastern Counties League.
(To any of the ex Spurs players from the old A team reading this it would be great to hear from you).