Blanchflower inspired a great side to new heights
The thinking person’s footballer, Danny Blanchflower was both a famous player and football visionary, defining the game he graced through writing and journalism as well as on the field of play. Blanchflower was a winner, but also appreciated the need for entertaining, vibrant play.
Born in east Belfast on February 10, 1926, Blanchflower first came to prominence with local club Glentoran. Aged 22, he became a professional footballer for Barnsley in England, and later Aston Villa. But it was at Tottenham Hotspur he became a legend.
As captain of the ‘Spurs’ team managed by Bill Nicholson in the late 50s and early 60s, Blanchflower inspired a great side to new heights. They won the League and Football Association Cup ‘double’ in 1961, the FA Cup again in 1962, and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963, becoming the first British club to win a European trophy. In all he made a total of 382 appearances for Tottenham, retiring in 1963.
Blanchflower also captained Northern Ireland for much of his career, winning 56 caps and leading the side to the quarterfinals of the 1958 World Cup. While still playing, he also wrote thoughtfully about the game for a number of national newspapers, and expanded his journalistic career after his retirement, before a brief, late flirtation with management.
The final years of his life were blighted by Alzheimer’s disease and Blanchflower died in a Surrey nursing home on December 9, 1993.