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Tottenham Legends – John White

For those that love looking back through the eras then it is well known that many teams have had spells during a decade which still get talked about now. For Tottenham the decade of the 60’s was a special one, and it contained great players such as Danny Blanchflower, David Mackay, Jimmy Greaves and John White.

The latter name of John White will forever hold a special place in the heart of Tottenham fans old enough because of the tragic way in which he passed away. At just the age of 27, White was killed by lightning while sheltering under a tree during a thunderstorm at a golf course in July, 1964.

The Scottish midfielder, who appeared 22 times for his country, played a great part in helping Tottenham become the first team in the 20th century to do the league and cup double, during the 1960-61 season. His main skills were his passing, ball control, his off-the-ball runs and arriving unexpectedly in the opposition’s penalty area- which earned him the nickname ‘The Ghost’.

White, although very unfortunate not to go on to greater things, played under one of Tottenham’s greatest ever managers in Bill Nicholson. During the early 60s White was part of the Spurs teams that won the FA Cup twice, the First Division title and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963. Tottenham won that trophy by beating Atletico Madrid 5-1, with White scoring one of the goals. Goal scoring was another area in which White showed his worth to the team. Between 1959 and the double winning season of 1960-61, White contributed 18 goals- a decent total for a midfielder. In total White played 183 games for Tottenham and scored 40 goals in a five year stay with the club, from 1959-1964.

The £20,000 signing made an immediate impact with a goal on his debut and it seems like he never looked back after that. During his career with Spurs, the club never finished outside the top four and remarkably Tottenham only won one of the 15 matches that White missed.

The Scottish Football Association also recognised White’s achievements by having a portrait of him in their Hall of Fame. There was also a testimonial for him at White Hart Lane, when a Tottenham 11 faced a Scotland 11.

White’s team-mate, Jimmy Greaves, clearly held the player in high esteem and said: “Had he lived he could have been one of the greatest footballers of all time.”

Do you have any Tottenham Double memories you’d like immortalised in print? Contact the author of the big Tottenham book of this summer direct at

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Article title: Tottenham Legends – John White

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