The Glory Glory Nights by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley

Order this book. As a Spurs fan, you must, or else drop so many hints to your loved ones that you wake up on Christmas morn to find ten coffee-table book sized parcels under the tree. Between now and then, listen to the radio, read the blogs, watch TV and make a note of how many callers and pundits say either that the Champions League is vital for financial survival or that finishing fourth defines success.

Then read the Glory Glory Nights. Take a quiet moment, all to yourself. Turn the pages slowly. Take in every detail of the photographs that cover every page. Read the text that describes the exploits of bygone times, of heroes whose time has passed but who will never be forgotten by those of us who ever seen the all-white strip with the proud cockerel.

Now close your eyes. Under lights, your world is spread before you. Nothing exists beyond the shimmering bright rim, not for 90 minutes at least.  Close your eyes and feel the chill in your lungs, the breath billowing steam from 50,000 pairs of lungs rising high into the dark north London sky. Feel the Lane shaking beneath your feet. This is what Europe means to Tottenham Hotspur. Glory. It’s what football means. Read and marvel at the glory of those european nights and anticipate nights to come.

This loving history takes its title from a book written in the mid 1980s and commissioned by Irving Scholar, which co-author Spurs blog 87Martin Cloake wryly describes as the best thing he ever did for the club. It keeps two key elements of the style too, the liberal use of photos and incorporating quotes and headlines from the following morning’s backpages, which gives a sense of time and place. As Martin says,  until comparatively recently fans relied on the papers for an account of the match because there was no other way of finding out what happened. Even the radio was confined to the bigger ties.

However, this is no mere revamp. It stands up in its own right as a tender tribute to a glorious past and brings out the enticing beauty and wonder of this entralling, all-consuming passion. The unobtrusive but insightful text sets the match reports, one for every single game, in context. Then, it allows the reader to explore the story for themselves as it unfolds. The images are stunning, chosen with care by Doug Cheeseman with an eye for the drama and passion the glory glory nights inspire. While the book rightly gives due regard to our modern successes, the black and white images are irresistibly evocative. Fans with rattles and cut-out cups gathering at the gates, players celebrating together and plenty of goals frozen in time. Mixed in is the surreal too; the Double team on an open-top bus with a man dressed as a clown clutching a stuffed monkey toy, Peters leading out the team past a row of giant Romanian urns in the tunnel or a man dressed as an ‘Aspurnaut’ parading round the pitch in the early 70s.

As a kid I had no doubt as to the meaning and significance of Spurs in Europe. My glory years began in the early seventies. We may have put 9 past Icelandic part-timers Keflavik but I knew I was part of a great tradition, the first British side to win a European trophy. Erratic and underachieving in the league (nothing changes…), play in all-white under the lights and we were transformed, a team that could beat any side in the competition. Frequently the glory glory lifted us to new heights, and to see Spurs win the UEFA Cup on our own ground not once but twice will live with me forever.

The book does my memories justice. There are extensive interviews with managers and players. In an age when we tend to think of players as primarily motivated by personal glory and vast wads of cash, it’s refreshing to see that they too bought into the myth. Europe was special to them and still is. The book avoids falling into the trap of becoming just a nostalgia-fest by giving due prominence to our remarkable Champions League run. Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson both fully recognise the magic of the Glory Glory Nights and were inspired by them. Make no mistake: those games away and home versus Inter or the astounding away victory at Milan rank up there with the best of the best.

European ties were magical affairs in far-off, mysterious places. It’s not that long ago, for example, when Spurs would kick-off not having seen their opponents play before. They had to think on their feet, changing tactics at half-time in order to cope with the unknown.  And Spurs were pioneers; the Cup-Winners Cup in 1963, the first to win two trophies, the first fans to fly abroad to watch their team. It tells the story of why Spurs and Europe have a special relationship, the tale of what it means to be a Spurs fan. Simply wonderful.

The Glory Glory Nights: The Official History of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley published by Vision Sports. Click here for a special site to see inside the book

Look out for an interview with Martin Cloake, coming soon.

10 thoughts on “The Glory Glory Nights by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley

  1. Pingback: The Glory Glory Nights by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley - Unofficial Network

  2. We’ve, rather supinely imo, let Man Utd nick our Glory Glory song and Everton almost take over It’s a Grand Old Team in England (though I think that’s a Celtic one originally) and we are left essentially with Oh When the Spurs Go Marching In (which is great when the Lane is in full voice – but is a Saints song first and foremost in football terms I reckon, and I heard no end of clubs’ fans sing it just this weekenf (from Stoke to Liverpool). So this book is a timely reminder of our football firsts heritage and our pioneering of great nights in European competition. A bit of a forced segue, but I have been worried about this ceding of Tottenham heritage for some time.

    I had the first Glory Glory Nights book, though I seem to have mislaid it across many moves in the intervening years, so this is a timely release in those terms too.

    Julie Welch and Cloake/Powley are lucky to have you wax passionately, knowledgeably and lyrically about their offerings. I look forward to the interviews with them all. Thanks Alan.

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  3. Glory Glory Hallelujah makes a comeback at least once a game, usually. Comes from the east upper south end by the sound of it, so others recalling the heritage and sticking to the songs that are really ours. The atmosphere is not great at the Lane this season although it has got better recetnly, but that’s another story.

    Regards,

    Al

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  4. April (Easter) 1964. I will never forget the first time I went to see the Spurs ‘live’! I was 12 years old and it was my first professional game. Kids today seem to start at 5 or under, but then my dad was a Geordie, who’d been to Wembley to see all the Newcastle FA Cup successes of 1951, 52 and 55, and wasn’t really interested in driving from Harrow, NW London, where we lived, along the North Circular to see the now great Spurs. With me being born a Londoner, however, it was only a matter of time before I made my choice over the Magpies ..and started dragging him to Tottenham until I could get there myself. He’d been to the Lane on 4/5 occasions to see Newcastle, and was locked out once when there were 70,000 fans inside. My dad, who could have been a professional footballer himself if not for the war, and was one of the top army footballers, was not like dads today who smother their sons with too much football, and insist on organising matches for kids while screaming from the touchline. Dads didn’t really get involved back then. They let their sons find their own level, and in their own way, with their own independent organisation, playing areas (from quiet back roads to local parks), and let kids build on their love of the game from that. It kept the magic flowing for our national game and didn’t dull the senses or make kids cynical about the game before they reached their mid teens. But I’ve digressed.
    I’d seen the glorious Lillywhites on old black & white TV winning the cup in ’62, and then again (all in white ..a magical sight) winning the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1963. Everyone talked about them, and I just had to see them live and in full blazing colour! I can still see the journey to Tottenham, my first sight of White Hart Lane, the queues, the smells (sweet tobacco), walking up the steps to the corner of the Park Lane and East Stand standing area (where it was heaving even 40 minutes before kick-off) and beholding the amazing sight spread out like a great feast before me. I won’t forget the crowd lifting me above their heads and passing me all the way to the front, after my dad asked a bloke next to him to help start ‘pass this parcel’. And most of all I won’t forget the Spurs coming out of the tunnel to the tune of ‘oh my name is Macnamara, I’m the leader of the band’…led by a man whose like we have never seen since at Tottenham, Dave Mackay! Alongside Jimmy Greaves, that giant of a man was the hero of all footballing heroes. I saw them all that day ..including Bobby Smith, Maurice Norman, Cliff Jones, Bill Brown, and the great John White, the Ghost, who depressingly echoed that description a few months later when, playing golf by himself, he got killed by lightning. Oh, what a loss he was!
    And the match itself? We lost 3-1 to Liverpool (a club led by Bill Shankly and on the way up). I think Roger Hunt scored, and they certainly outplayed us that day ..it effectively put an end to our title challenge.
    But so what! I was mesmerised by the experience, and I’d also prepared myself, inadvertently, for the agony and the ecstasy in following the Spurs,
    But no one prepared me for the intense and ever growing love for my club and the magical feeling that, whether the team was suceeding or failing, it really was about the Glory of, and for, Tottenham Hotspur!

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    • Great memories. Seeing Mackay is enough to inspire any young boy – I saw him only a few times but he has a real presence. There’s just a little something about this book where that magic returns, that somehow the players of that era are a bit more than just flesh and blood.

      Regular readers (hahaha!) will have spotted that your last sentence has been On My Mind over the last few weeks especially. We have two books that provide context and perspective. Of course we want Spurs to succeed but we shouldn’t lose sight of the glory there is to be had in the trying.

      Regards, Al

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  5. Pingback: What Tottenham Hotspur Means To Me – Martin Cloake « TOTTENHAM ON MY MIND

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