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John White
Personal information
Full name John Anderson White
Date of birth 28 April 1937(1937-04-28)
Place of birth    Musselburgh, Scotland
Date of death    21 July 1964 (aged 27)
Place of death    Crews Hill, England
Playing position Inside forward
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1955-1958
1958-1959
1959-1964
Alloa Athletic
Falkirk
Tottenham Hotspur
068 (26)
030 0(8)
183 (40)   
National team
1959-1964 Scotland 022 0(3)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

John Anderson White (28 April 1937 – 21 July 1964) was a Scottish international football midfielder and sometime inside right who played a significant role for Tottenham Hotspur during their Double winning season in 1960-61. His younger brother, Tom, was also a footballer.

White had originally played for Alloa Athletic under the management of Jasper ‘Jerry’ Kerr (the John White Lounge is still a feature at the Clackmannanshire club's ground) before being sold onto Falkirk F.C., where he played alongside Dougie Moran, but his lasting fame was assured when Tottenham manager Bill Nicholson took him to London for £22 000 in October 1959. White’s weak appearance had been the cause of considerable concern resulting in a number of English First Division clubs choosing not to risk the investment but following the reviews received from Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay (who had played in internationals alongside him) and information received from the Army that White was a celebrated cross-country runner, Nicholson decided to make good his interest.

White initially occupied the inside-left position, having been bought by Nicholson to replace Dave Dunmore, but his talent flourished as an inside right as a replacement to Tommy Harmer. White’s worth to the team could be calculated in terms of goals scored (between 1959 and the conclusion of the Double winning season (a season in which he was ever-present) he contributed 18 goals) but his success mainly lay in a combination of skills: his passing, his ball control which helped sustain the attacking momentum but so too his runs to find space off the ball, arriving unexpectedly in the opposition’s penalty area which resulted in the White Hart Lane faithful giving him the nickname ‘The Ghost’. With him Tottenham never finished worse than 4th in the First Division and in the 15 matches missed by White while on their books, Tottenham won only once.

Spurs had come unstuck against Benfica in the 1962 European Cup semi-final but the next season White was part of the successful campaign that saw Tottenham become the first English winners of a European trophy when they destroyed Atlético Madrid by five goals to one in Rotterdam to lift the European Cup Winners Cup, with White scoring one of the five goals himself. Cliff Jones, his Welsh international teammate said of him: “He was a great talent. People ask me what he was like. I say that he was like Glenn Hoddle. But he was different to Glenn in some ways. Glenn was someone who you had to bring into a game, whereas John White would bring himself into a game. If you’re not in possession, get in position, that was John White. He was always available if you needed to pass to someone”.

White was killed by lightning at the age of only 27 while sheltering under a tree during a thunderstorm at Crews Hill golf course, Enfield, in July 1964. His portrait has been erected in the entrance to the Scottish Football Association’s Hall of Fame.

White’s testimonial was staged later in the year he died, on 10 November 1964, at White Hart Lane, when a Tottenham XI faced a Scotland XI.

References

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