Very sad news over the weekend of the death of Bobby Smith, one of the Spurs Double winners. He was often portrayed as the classic powerful, bustling English centre forward – and he was certainly a tough character on the pitch – but he was as skillful as he was strong. The goal he scored at Wembley in the 1961 FA Cup Final, described by Brian Glanville in this morning’s Guardian as “an expert pivot and a thump” was just one example of his fine craftsmanship.
Team-mate Cliff Jones said, “He used to sort out one or two defenders for us. But he was a very good, very skillful player too.” Only Jimmy Greaves scored more goals for Spurs. All Spurs fans have an affinity for the men who won the Double. I never saw them play live, and of the team I’ve only ever met Dave Mackay. But having researched the team in depth for a book on that great side each one seems a little more than simply a figure from the past, which added to the sadness I felt at the news.