Keith Burkinshaw - The General

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Mrs Perryman

I'm a Cockney Malteser 👑
when I saw him in Malta last year, I was amazed how fit he looked and he hadn't really changed much, appearance wise - should have asked him for his secret! Can't believe he's 81 - thought he was in his early 70s. Really nice, genuine guy to boot. Always thought we shot ourselves in the foot when we let him go. I know he chose to but only because he didn't feel that he was properly supported by the Board.
when I saw him in Malta last year, I was amazed how fit he looked and he hadn't really changed much, appearance wise - should have asked him for his secret! Can't believe he's 81 - thought he was in his early 70s. Really nice, genuine guy to boot. Always thought we shot ourselves in the foot when we let him go. I know he chose to but only because he didn't feel that he was properly supported by the Board.
I think the same.I think with the two title challenges we had within 3 years of him going may have panned out differently.That said, he left on a high.
Use to see him a fair bit as he lived near my dad's work mate and fishing pal in Wormley.Their daughters were friends IIRC.The Borough of Broxbourne was boring,but as a kid i saw plenty of my idols :)

Airfixx Here to help.
anyone care to repeat the interview in a format that I can actually read please, thanks:thumbup:

A Interview With Keith Burkinhsaw

They say you should never meet your heroes, they say you'll be disappointed by your own expectations. Thats not always true. Over the course of this season I've been lucky enough to interview some very special players from the Tottenham teams I supported as a kid. I had a wish list and have almost completed that with a few surprise ones in between. The one I thought Id never get though, the one that was the pinnacle and a dream was the one I completed recently and is here now ready for you to enjoy. Keith Burkinshaw is in my opinion, right up there with Bill Nicholson with what he achieved for this club of ours. He understood the traditions of what Bill had started and developed it and bought myself and fellow Spurs fans moments that we still talk about almost 40 years later.

He is fondly known as the General by those of a certain age but also, he was the creator of dreams and the deliverer of trophies. He did it all in a way that meant the spotlight didn't fall all that often on himself, he allowed the players to have that spotlight. When I spoke to Keith, it was wonderful to hear the passion and love that he still has for the club flow from every answer he gave me. He didn't not answer any of my questions and was very gracious in the time he gave me. I could have spoken to him for hours about his time at the club. It was a wonderful experience and I hope I've done him justice in the following interview. Ladies and Gentleman it is my absolute pleasure to share with you An Interview With Keith Burkinshaw.

AH: You started your career at Spurs as a coach to then manager Terry Neil, having moved down from Newcastle Utd where you were coaching at the time. When he left for Woolwich was there a chance of you going as well or had you already been lined up to replace him as manager?

KB:Well the situation was I was away on holiday when it happened, and I read the newspaper saying Terry had left and gone to Woolwich, and I remember saying to my wife at the time that I've come all the way from Newcastle and looks like I may get the heave-ho. I may as well put in for the job and I might just get it and thats how it happened.

AH: So you had no idea at all that Terry was looking to leave?

KB: No none at all

AH: Did Bill Nicholson offer any words of advice in the early days of your career there?

KB: Bill was with West Ham when I first went to the club and he was still there when I became manager, I thought to myself well there's no one that knows this club better than Bill Nicholson so I spoke to him and he agreed to come back to Spurs and he was the one who was looking at players for me.

AH: We were relegated in your first season in charge were you worried the club would replace you?

KB: Well I always remember the Chairman saying to me were going down but we the directors believe in you and were going to give you another season but make sure we come straight back up to the first division.

AH: No pressure then?

KB: No none!

AH: Gaining promotion at the first attempt must have been a huge confidence boost for you?

KB: Yes it was but it was a hard season that one, we were expected to return straight away and win the title, in the end it came down to the last game of the season when we got the draw at Southampton. We nearly blew it at one stage but got there in the end.

AH: I recently met Ossie Ardiles at a legends night and he told the story of how he signed for Spurs not knowing they had just been promoted to League 1. How did his and Ricky's transfers come about?

KB: The manager st Sheffield Utd who had an Argentinian coach with him, told him that Ardiles would be available for an English side, he was a friend of mine and he rang and said Im going out to Argentina at the weekend, we haven't got the money for him but would you be interested. He was voted the best player at World Cup and here was a mate saying that I could potentially sign him! So we got there on the Saturday, Rattin the Argentinian who got sent off against England in the 1966 World Cup was my guide whilst I was out there. He showed me around and help set up the meeting with Ossie. I met Ossie and his wife on the Sunday and I knew after that first meeting that he was going to join us. It was just a case of persuading Ricky to come as well, which was an added bonus for us.

AH: My first memory of Spurs was the 1981 FA Cup Final and 'that' goal was the reason I fell in love with the club, what memories do you have of those two games?

KB: In the first game against Man City I felt they were a little bit physical, one or two of them tried to kick us off the park I felt. We were a little bit lucky Glenn took a free kick and it hit one of their players to go into the goal to make it 1-1 and of course that happened I was pretty certain we would win the replay, I dont know why it was just the way I felt. Ricky had a really poor game in the first game and I took him off in that game and he wasn't too pleased about it. I remember Steve Perryman saying to me " We cant play him in the replay because he was really poor today and we cant take the risk, we need to put someone else in the side". I didn't agree with him and told him so. Ricky was the type of player who either played very well or not so well, so I thought to myself there is a good chance hell play very well in the next match and of course he did.

AH: We retained the cup the following year, how confident were you of doing that?

KB: The games caught up with us in the end we had 66 games to play that season, we were in every thing and only won the FA Cup. We got knocked out at of the Semi Final of the Cup Winners Cup by Barcelona, a little unlucky to lose that one I felt. In the League Cup Final against Liverpool we were 1-0 up when Steve Archibald went through one on one with the keeper and didn't take the chance. They were winning everything back then as well. One of the things I remember most from that game that not many people would know about, was at the end of the game before extra time, it was a nice hot day and the players laid on the grass trying to get some energy back but the Liverpool management didn't allow their players to do that, they made them stay on their feet. That was something I learned from that game, when it happened again I made them stay on their feet and move about. We won the FA cup but we had 16 games to play in eight days. We played a game every two days before the Cup Final and I put a weakened team against Southampton and got fined £15,000 for it.

AH: Wouldn't happen today would it?

KB: No it wouldn't

AH: The UEFA Cup Final game was your last ever game in charge at Spurs, Micky Hazard in an interview I did with him said that the players were supremely confident of winning as they thought the teams name was on the cup, did you feel this way? Or were you more apprehensive about the game?

KB: We were much the better side over there and we didn't take the chances. In the Second Leg we had a lot of players missing, Steve Perryman didn't play, Glenn Hoddle didn't play, Ossie Ardiles I didn't play because he had, had an injury, Ray Clemence didn't play thats four of our top players who didn't play in the second leg. I had to bring young kids in to play out of the youth system to field a team. It was very special to what we did.

AH: Who were your favourite three players during your time as manager and why?

KB: Glenn was the best technical player that we had, I think he was the best technical player I ever come across. Ossie always made something happen in a game a very special talent, terrific player, Steve Perryman was the best captain I ever came across. He on the field did what I wanted the team to do he made it happen. He was such a good bloke, he would ring me every Sunday and we would talk for hours about what had happened on the Saturday what we were going to do the following week, how we were going to set up against the next opponent, you know this was every match. He was a terrific captain Steve was.

AH: What would you say was your greatest achievement at Spurs?

KB: Well I think its like it is now with Spurs we hadn't been winning things, and we had to win something. The FA Cup in those days was massive, nowadays people arent that bothered about it. Back in those days it was on a par with winning the league. To win that first trophy was special and Im not being big headed but I think if I had stayed on we would have kept winning things.

AH: The reasons why you left Spurs in 1984 are well known to us older fans and your quote of 'There used to be a football club over there' is often quoted about that time at Spurs, do you regret leaving or was it the right time to go?

KB: I dont regret it no because the owner at the time told me that I wasn't going to be a manager anymore. So what was I supposed to do stay there and have no say in anything that went on. The answer to that is no so thats why I left.

AH: Who from the current spurs team would you like to have managed?

KB: Harry Kane obviously hes a fantastic player, Heung-Min Son who is a brilliant player, I think Dele will come good hes been a bit inconstant this season and things haven't looked right for him but hell get that back and Im sure hes going to be a terrific player. Erikson and Dembele I think are terrific players. They just need that first bloody trophy, I've been to see the new stadium and I have to say its going to be absolutely magnificent, I think it will be the best football stadium in Europe its something every special, its terrific. I said to Daniel Levy Id love to have a wander around it a couple of weeks before its opened, just to see it when its done.

AH: Im sure they'll do that for you?

KB: I hope so its going to be a terrific place to play and watch football.

AH: Who was your best signing apart from Ossie?

KB: Tony Galvin on the left wing. He cost me £3,000. I got to know about him because I was at Scunthorpe in my later playing days and one of the directors there was a big pal of mine and he phoned me when I was manager at Tottenham and said there is a player playing for Gruel, and he said if Im a judge of anyone hes terrific. I dont think I sent anyone to have a look at him, for £3,000 he was a bargain buy if he worked out. He became one of the best players we had. Graham Roberts was another good one he cost £35,000 a steal in today's money. We had some terrific players in that side, Micky Hazard on his day was another its hard to pick individuals out of them all.

AH: Keith thanks for doing this for me, I've been grinning all the way through it, its been such a joy to do. Thanks so much.

KB: Your welcome.

Special thanks at this stage to the wonderful Jackie Burkinshaw who answered my random request and was gracious enough to arrange this between myself and Keith. I still cant believe I did this one! Thank you to them both for their time and patience. Anthony
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