The Anonymous Widower

Did Gareth Bale Learn A Few Tricks From Tommy Harmer?

Tommy Harmer wasn’t a famous footballer to many, but to those, like me, who saw him play for Spurs in the 1950s, he was recognised as one of the most skilful ball-players of the time.

The second goal scored by Wales yesterday, was certainly a repeat of quite a few, I saw scored by Spurs in the 1950s, with Gareth Bale standing in for Harmer.

Harmer would accept a very short corner and with the ball glued to his feet, he’d advance slowly up the line towards the goal.

There was usually one of three outcomes.

  • Harmer was able to pull the ball back to someone like Bobby Smith, who hit it first time towards goal from just outside the six-yard box. Last night Connor Roberts played Smith to perfection to score  from Bale’s pullback.
  • Harmer was tackled and he got another corner, from which he sometimes repeated the dose.
  • In some cases, the inevitable happened and Harmer was fouled inside the penalty area. And who scored from the penalty spot? – Harmer of course!

He was one of the best penalty takers I’ve ever seen, Wikipedia says this of his penalties.

Sublime unstoppable penalties, tucked into the side netting behind an upright.

Some would probably be illegal these days, as he sometimes waited until the goalkeeper moved. More fool the keeper!

Did Bale And Harmer Ever Meet?

Tommy Harmer sadly died in 2017, but on Radio 5, it was said around 2014, that he was working as a meeter-and-greeter at White Hart Lane and had been for some time.

So I suspect that someone at the club could have introduced the two players to each other, during Bale’s first spell at the club between 2007 and 2013. They would have made an odd pair, with a height difference of seven inches.

And of course, I suspect Spurs have a few videos of Harmer.

In many years of watching football, I haven’t seen this method of taking a corner used since those days in the 1950s, by Harmer.

I suspect Gareth Bale has changed all that! Wales got a goal, but Bale was also using it as a way to run down the clock!

June 17, 2021 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gareth Bale, Cliff Jones and Taffy O’Callaghan

Tottenham Hotspur have a tradition of Welsh players, who were fast and skilful.

The one, I’ve seen most was Cliff Jones, who was an integral part of the Spurs double side and a few years afterwards. On form he could be brilliant and he could tear defences apart with his speed, in a manner not unlike that of Gareth Bale. What is often forgotten about Cliff Jones, is that on the death of John White and the retirement of Danny Blanchflower, he played much more as a midfield playmaker, rather than an outright winger.  In some ways, isn’t this how another Welsh footballer;Ryan Giggs’s career has progressed at Manchester United?

I’ve put Taffy O’Callaghan in this post, as my father felt he was an amazing footballer from before the Second World War. He was supposed to be fast and my father told me that the team of those days was nicknamed the ‘greyhounds’, which is confirmed in Wikipedia. My father always said, he’d never seen anybody hit a football so hard. And they weren’t the lightweight balls of today!

We all know that Gareth Bale is good, but I won’t compare him directly, with his two predecessors.  Although, it is informative to read Cliff Jones thoughts on Gareth Bale in this report on the BBC. In the article Cliff Jones doesn’t say that Real Madrid and others courted him continuously in the 1960s, but he stayed at Tottenham.

Perhaps being Welsh, he preferred the green grass at home?

There is also this article on Gareth Bale in the Guardian, which has this priceless quote from Blanchflower about yet another Welsh football legend; John Charles.

Everything he does is automatic. When he moves into position for a goal chance it is instinctive. Watch me and you’ll see I am seconds late, but all my thinking has to be done in my head. My feet do not do my thinking for me as they do for him.

The article says this could be applied to Gareth Bale. But then Blanchflower knew his football, both on and off the field. He was a unique talent himself!

March 2, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Long Can Spurs Keep Gareth Bale?

It’s some years since I’ve seen a more outstanding British footballer, as Gareth Bale. Last night, he helped to bring Spurs a victory at West Ham, and even stored the winning goal. The match and Bale’s influence on it is reported here on the BBC.

But then how long can the real money-bags clubs of the world, let this situation continue, before they make the player and Spurs an offer they can’t refuse?

I doubt, he’ll be playing for the club next year! But it will be the biggest transfer fee of recent times.

So just how good is Bale?

Although, I have a history of being a Spurs supporter until the 1970s and saw the great double side, I’m much more of an Ipswich supporter these days, as I have lived in the county for forty years.

But now, as I have Sky through my BT broadband, I generally make sure, that I see Spurs if I can.  Partly because of my history, but also to see what sort of fireworks Bale will produce.

He has certainly delivered in recent weeks.

No other footballer has had such an effect on me.  Let’s hope that kids these days, want to be the next Gareth Bale, as his style of play is very exciting.

He seems to combine the skill and thinking of a Blanchflower or a Beckham, with the speed of Cliff Jones and the power and ball skills of a Gascoigne or Puskas.

Let’s hope he behaves off the field like Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Trevor Brooking or Gary Lineker.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | 3 Comments