Tottenham Hotspur

Cyril Knowles - Tottenham Hotspur - Biography of his career at Spurs.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 31 March 1972

Click on image to enlarge

      Left Back
      Thursday, 13 July 1944
      Fitzwilliam, England. (Died Middlesbrough 30th. August 1991 - aged 47.)
  • Tottenham Hotspur
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 22nd August 1964 in a 2-0 win at home to Sheffield United (Aged: 20)
    • Club Career
      402 League apps (+1 as sub), 15 goals
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Cyril KNOWLES - Tottenham Hotspur - Biography of his career at Spurs.

The late Cyril Knowles in action for Tottenham Hotspur, at White Hart Lane, during their game against

Coventry City - won by Spurs 1-0.

(Part 1) 1964-69.


 Cyril Knowles joined Spurs from Middlesbrough in May 1964 for a fee of £45, 000. The full-back made his debut in August's 2-0 home win over Sheffield United. The stylish 20 year old defender missed only 4 of Spurs 46 league and cup games during that first season at the club. His first taste of the North London derby came at White Hart Lane in October, when Spurs defeated Arsenal 3-1. With his side finishing 6th in Division 1, it was a solid start to the Yorkshire man's Spurs career. The following season Knowles missed only a single game throughout the whole campaign. His first goal for the club came in August in a 4-2 home win over Leicester City. Two further goals came in January's two 2-2 home draws with Everton and Newcastle. Throughout the 1966-67 season Cyril was an ever present as Spurs finished 3rd in the league and won the F.A. Cup, courtesy of a 2-1 victory against London rivals Chelsea.


In December 1967 Knowles made his full England debut in a 2-2 draw with the U.S.S.R. at Wembley. The following season saw Knowles ever present again in the Tottenham defence, making 52 appearances as Spurs finished 7th in Division 1 and lost out to Olympique Lyonnais in the European Cup Winners Cup 2nd round. Cyril won the remainder of his England caps in 1968 when appearing against Spain, Sweden and West Germany. Knowles played 45 games for Spurs during 1968-69, as the Londoners reached the League Cup semi-final and finished 6th in Division 1. Manager Bill Nicholson described Cyril as having an 'educated' left foot and praised his tough tackling defender for his style and composure. His willingness to give his all for the cause and to attack at any opportunity made him a genuine hero to adoring Spurs fans. As the sixties drew to a close, there were skinheads on the terraces and Cyril Knowles was about to become a cult hero. (Tony Smith).



Tottenham Hotspurs's Cyril Knowles is pictured on Saturday February 3rd 1973 during the game

with Derby County at The Baseball Ground.       Photo  George Herringshaw.  ©


(Part 2) 1969 -1974.


Tottenham endured a very mediocre 1969-70 season, finishing 11th in the league and going out of both cup's at the early stages. Thereafter the early 1970's proved to be the most successful period of Cyril Knowles Spurs career. The Londoners finished 3rd in Division 1 in 1970-71 and won the League Cup, beating Aston Villa 2-0 in the Final at Wembley. Although no longer an England international, Knowles appeared in 49 of Spurs 54 competitive matches. He played 47 times for Spurs during the following campaign, scoring twice in April's 4-3 home win over Leicester in the league. Tottenham finished 6th in Division 1 and were beaten League Cup semi-finalists but in the UEFA Cup they tasted success, beating Wolves over two legs in the first ever all British European final. In 1972-73 Knowles gained further silverware with Spurs and found himself the subject of a chart topping hit.


Injury prevented the Yorkshireman playing in seven league games, but he appeared in all of his side's League Cup matches, culminating in the Londoners defeating Norwich City 1-0 in the final. In a brave attempt at retaining the UEFA Cup, Knowles played in all 10 of Spurs games, with Liverpool defeating the holders in the semi-final on the away goals rule. In a 1973 ode to Cyril Knowles, the Cockerel Chorus reached number 14 in the charts with 'Nice One Cyril'’ and it became a popular tune on the White Hart Lane terraces. Bill Nicholson's side were by now beginning to fade and in 1973-74 could only manage 11th in Division 1. Although exits in the opening round of both cups were largely over looked by another European campaign, the writing was on the wall for many of the Spurs team. Knowles had missed most of the season with injury and played in only 4 of Spurs UEFA Cup games. The ex-England international missed the latter stages of the competition, where Spurs lost out in the final to Feyenoord. It had been a poor season for Cyril Knowles and, sadly, there was worse still to come. (Tony Smith).