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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Fans honour Nicholson
Bill Nicholson
Bill Nicholson still lives and breathes Tottenham
BBC Sport Online's Andrew Warshaw profiles Tottenham legend Bill Nicholson after his testimonial at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.

He still lives a stone's throw from the ground, goes to almost every home game and, 40 years on, maintains an undying passion for his beloved club.

Some testimonial matches have little or no meaning to the public at large.

But Bill Nicholson is different.

The original one-club man, the Tottenham Hotspur icon was honoured on Wednesday night when Italian giants Fiorentina provided the pre-season opposition at White Hart Lane.

Spurs put on a fitting performance, beating the Italian outfit 3-0 courtesy of goals from Les Ferdinand, Steffen Iversen and Gus Poyet.


I personally feel he should have been knighted
  Hoddle on Nicholson

Known simply as "Bill Nic" by fans and officials alike, Nicholson is one of the living legends of English football.

As a player, he made 344 appearances for Spurs and was a member of the famed "push and run" side that won the championship in 1951.

Yet that was nothing compared to his contribution a decade later.

In 1961, Nicholson won the title again, this time as Tottenham manager. He won the FA Cup as well as Spurs became the first team of the 20th century to claim the cherished double.

A year after retaining the FA Cup in 1962, Spurs became the first British side to win a major European trophy, trouncing Atletico Madrid 5-1 in the Cup Winners' Cup.

Special aura

Since then, despite several other cup triumphs, the domestic title has eluded Tottenham and their frustrated fans.

Hence the aura Nicholson still has whenever he walks through the gates at White Hart Lane.

"I always said it was an honour to serve Tottenham Hotspur and I feel the same every time I walk back into the stadium," said Nicholson, still president of the club at the age of 82.

Wednesday's game gave was Glenn Hoddle's final warm-up match before the season kicks off on 18 August.

Glenn Hoddle
Hoddle hopes to follow in Nicholson's footsteps

"If I can come anywhere near to what Bill Nicholson achieved for this club - if I can achieve 50% of it - I'll be a very happy man," said Hoddle.

"I personally feel he should have been knighted by now.

"Bill always was and remains totally dedicated to Spurs. He laid the foundations for everything that is good about the club."

Sadly, with the proud Tottenham cockerel struggling to crow, many of those foundations have been laid to waste in recent years.

It is Hoddle's task to put that right. Meanwhile, for one night only, memories of a famous era came flooding back.

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