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Football Boots

When I made my Spurs debut in 1958 v the Arsenal at Highbury, my football boots, or more specifically, the state of them, led to my first dressing down from Bill Nick. In those days, players tended to have one pair of boots and if you were doing well whilst wearing them, you were reluctant to use another pair. Subsequently my boots at that time had seen me in the best form of my career at my home town club Swansea and also reach the World Cup quarter final with Wales. Now following my big money move to Tottenham I was hoping to get one more season out of my ” lucky boots ”. They were a typical 1950s boot with heavy leather and the studs were effectively nails covered in leather which were hammered into the sole of the boot. Unfortunately my boots had been on the anvil too many times and refused to accept a full set of studs. When Bill saw them he suggested I wear another pair from the kit man, but I was having none of it and convinced him they would be alright. During the game I received the ball on the wing, cut inside the fullback, sprinted into the box and as I was about to put the ball past the Arsenal keeper, I slipped over! The game finished 4-4 and waiting for me as I entered the dressing room was Bill. ” What did I tell you about those boots Jonesey” he said shaking his head. I knew not to reply and accepted that would be the last time I saw my ” lucky boots” again.

Over the next couple of seasons the design and manufacture of the football boot improved considerably. They became lighter, better fitting and now had screw in studs. A German company Adidas led the way and soon all our team was wearing them. Not that we got them for nothing, we had to buy our own boots, but did get a discount from ‘ Elseys ‘ the sports shop in the High Road. We even took part in a Adidas advert prior to the 1962 cup final.

The boots were now resembling the boots of today.

The new design helped my game tremendously, as I felt quicker and had better control of the ball at my feet. We still had to contend with the muddy pitches and the water sodden ball, but you can’t have everything!

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the new training facility at ‘ Hotspur Way ‘ It is without doubt the best in the country and every aspect of helping the players improve is catered for. The first team dressing room is huge with each player allocated a space, with bespoke units for their clothes to hang. I noticed every player has about 8 pairs of new boots in their alcove, all different shades and colours. My fellow countryman Ben Davies had this Adidas pair, which were personalised with his name. They were a nice lightweight boot, which would have been a joy to wear. The football boot has come a long way, I am sure Bill would have approved….. well maybe!!

 

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White Hart Lane

For over 50 years our stadium ‘ White Hart Lane’ has always been close to my heart. I had 10 years there as a player and many years up to the present day, as a match day host. When I joined Spurs in 1958 and saw the stadium for the first time it took my breath away. I had come up from South Wales having spent my early years playing for my local club Swansea Town. Their home pitch was the ‘ Vetch Field ‘ a compact stadium nestled behind Swansea prison and growing up it was my lifes ambition to play there. When I signed for Swansea and achieved my dream I thought the ‘ Vetch ‘¬† could never be matched, but then as I walked through iron gates at the entrance to WHL, I realised this was at a different level. Everything was bigger, better and the pitch itself was fantastic. Of course in those days all pitches were good for the first few months of the season, until conditions turned them into mud and sand, but despite that, somehow during our Glory Years we managed to play the brand of football that saw record crowds at the Lane, win trophies and forge memories never to be forgotten. When I played, apart from the pre season, which was at the Cheshunt training ground, we went to WHL every day to train. There was an indoor concrete pitch which you did not want to go down on and Dave Mackay was to be avoided at all costs, as he trained the way he played and made no allowances for teammates!

We utilised the whole ground, lapping around the pitch and running up the stairs on the stands. Bill Nick was always there, first in and last out, his life was Tottenham, as a player then manager and I doubt any one man has devoted as much of his life to a club as Bill.

The new stadium will be fantastic. I have had the privilege of attending several presentations of the stadium, which together with our new training facility at ‘ Hotspur Way ‘ will be the best in the land. I look forward to its opening and hope it will help us continue the progress we have made with our current manager and team and they too can win trophies and make lasting memories, for themselves, but more importantly our passionate¬† Tottenham fans.

Cliff Jones

Nov 2017