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Danny was a boy who is worth singing about; Ron's Pitch; Match on Tuesday Ed's views on all things football from home and away.

ALTHOUGH it really should do, it is unlikely that today's date will hold any significance for many football fans here.

The reason I say it should is because, had he lived, one of our most famous exports to the English game - Robert Denis (Danny) Blanchflower - would have been celebrating his 89th birthday.

Born this day in 1926, Danny - the older brother of former Manchester United player Jackie - left an indelible mark across the water when he captained Tottenham to a League and FA Cup double in the 1960-61 season.

Danny joined Spurs from Aston Villa in 1954 for a transfer fee of PS30,000 and made 382 appearances for the White Hart Lane club up until 1963.

Obviously, only those of a certain age are in a position to vouch for the midfield skills of Blanchflower, but a 1963 quote from former Tottenham player and England manager Terry Venables - carried in the July edition of Charles Buchan's Football Monthly - gave some indication.

"There was one player in particular who captivated me; entertainment value apart, it was a sheer education to watch him perform. He was Danny Blanchflower. What a model for any budding young wing half ? In watching Danny, I realised that football is an art.

His cultured play and powerful influence on the rest of the Spurs team were an inspiration to me."

Now I don't know what you think, but for someone like myself who never saw Danny perform in the flesh, that Venables recommendation clearly illustrates the quality of the man.

A number of our senior Northern Ireland followers did have the privilege of watching Danny in action at Windsor Park and further afield when he was winning 56 caps for his country, including an appearance at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden.

It was, of course, closer to home that the football career of Blanchflower (left) began when he signed for Glentoran in 1946 where, during his three years at the Oval, he impressed enough to earn a PS6,000 move to Barnsley.

While at the Oakwell club Blanchflower's frustration with his manager Angus Seeds' tactics and training methods brought about a few altercations, one of which was later carried in a programme.

Seed: "If you don't see the ball all week, you'll be more keen to get it on Saturdays."

Blanchflower: "But if I don't get some practice with it, I won't know what to do with it when I get it on Saturdays."

Not surprisingly Blanchflower's personality did not entirely fit in the Yorkshire set-up, and he was sold to Aston Villa for PS15,000 in 1951.

However, once again a dispute about team tactics and the aspect of training with footballs brought about another move and in 1954 Spurs beat Arsenal to his signing by offering PS1,500 above what the Gunners bid.

This made Blanchflower the most expensive midfielder in Britain at the time and he went on to skipper the side in 265 matches, his final game in the captain's role coming against Manchester United in the First Division on November 9, 1963.

During his time at Spurs he was one of only a handful of players to be named English Footballer of the Year on two occasions, winning in both 1958 and 1961.

As articulate off the park as he was accomplished on it, Danny is also remembered for his incite into the game and I think this particular quote should be on the wall of every football changing-room.

"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."

Hear, hear Danny.


TWO GOOD The Tottenham double-winning team with their 1960-61 season spoils
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 10, 2015
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