61: The Spurs Double

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The Independent Culture

Tottenham Hotspur may be riding high in the Premier League and facing lower-League opposition in Charlton in the FA Cup this afternoon, but few even of their own supporters give them much of a chance of emulating their Double of 50 years ago.

The feat has been achieved eight times since, but the first Double of the 20th Century still seems special, and not just to Spurs fans. The memory of that team is well-served by this handsome tribute elegantly presented in a cloth-covered slip case.

Cliff Jones, the side's fearless Welsh winger now working as a matchday host at White Hart Lane, wrote the foreword and assisted the team of writers, who have interleaved pen portraits of all the players with a month-by-month account of that epochal season.

The researchers who assembled the copious photographs and illustrations unearthed some unexpected gems, for instance the meticulous player records compiled by the inspirational but down-to-earth manager, Bill Nicholson.

Vision Sports Publishing have been going less than eight years but are rapidly earning a reputation for their "tribute" books, including Twickenham's centenary and Wimbledon's Centre Court last year.

As the publishing industry consolidates into ever-larger conglomerates, let us give thanks that smaller, independent firms such as VSP and others – SportsBooks, the historically inclined Desert Island Books, the rugby league specialists Scratching Shed and the cricket imprint Fairfield Books come to mind – continue to offer alternative outlets. Their willingness to take on titles for which their enthusiastic expertise sees a market that the big boys often don't is important for authors and readers alike; let's hope that they survive and thrive to enjoy many anniversaries of their own.

Published by large-format hardback by Vision Sports Publishing, £30