A prolific goal-scoring winger, Johnny Gavin was brought to Spurs to add goals to the side, but he found difficulty settling with the club and only stayed for a year.
Born in Limerick, Johnny worked as a painter and decorator on the Irish Railways and played for Limerick City, with his performances attracting interest from English clubs. West Ham were interested, but Norwich City got in first, offering to bring his team-mate Kevin Holman over with him. Costing the Canaries £1,500, he went on to score 79 goals in 221 games and he played his part in their FA Cup giant killing runs beating Liverpool and Arsenal as they progressed against the bigger clubs before moving to Tottenham in October 1954.
Brought in to add his pace on the wing and to bring his goal-scoring ability to the side, Gavin found it tough to settle in at the club, but during his time at Spurs, he scored 15 goals in 32 games. The Irishman never really took to London and when Spurs expressed their interest in centre-half Maurice Norman in 1955, they agreed a part exchange deal that took Johnny back to Carrow Road in a deal was worth £28,000, where he obviously felt at home, as he went on to score a further 53 goals in 117 appearances before moving on to Watford in 1958 and then south to Crystal Palace. Following his retirement from the professional game, Gavin turned out for Cambridge City, Newmarket Town and Fulbourn.
Johnny became the first
player for Tottenham to represent the Republic of
Ireland and won seven caps in total for
his country. He scored in his first game ...
direct from a corner and his final cap also saw him
score, this time from a penalty.
After his playing career ended, he became a publican in Cambridge, and a painter and decorator - returning to his first trade. Although Johnny needed a hip replacement, he attended Norwich matches when he could and in 2002, he was inducted as an inaugural member of the Norwich City Hall of Fame. His record of 132 goals in 338 appearances for the Canaries in his two spells at the club, with 122 goals in 312 league matches, still stands today and is unlikely to be broken.
Johnny Gavin died on Tuesday 20th September 2007 in the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge after a long illness.