alan mullery mbe - fact file

1963 - 1972        midfielder


Born on 23rd November 1941 in Notting Hill, West London, England.

Height : - .m  (5' 9")

Weight : -  - kgs    (12st 4lbs)


Alan Mullery's star was on the rise from a very young age when he starred in West London Schools football and was picked up by Fulham in 1957 with a professional deal signed within a year, at the age of 17.  His talent was fast-tracked into the first XI and within two months, he had made his full debut and his talent kept him in the team amongst more experienced players such as England international forward Johnny Haynes.  A talented right-half, his ability to win the ball to provide possession for other sin the team was a much prized asset for.

Raised in Notting Hill and attended St. John's School and played as an outside right or centre-forward when at school, but switched to right half when selected for West London Schools.  Alan had been a member of the Rugby Boy's Club in Notting Hill when younger and boxed, played cricket and football for the club.

Moved to Tottenham in March 1964, when he had made the England Under-23 team and at White Hart Lane, he went on to win 35 full caps for his country.  But things could have been so different, with Bill Nicholson identifying Mullery as a right back, rather than to play in his usual midfield position.  He would have won caps for his country earlier, but Alan suffered a back spasm when shaving just before he was due to travel on England's South American summer tour in 1964.

He read in the paper that Tottenham were looking for a replacement for broken leg victim Dave Mackay, with Mullery and Bobby Moore their targets,  Fulham's general manager was Frank Osborne, a former Spurs forward of the 1920s and when he called Mullery to see him the next day, the player recalls that he was told that it was “all paper talk, they want Mooro.  I've got it on good information.”  So, he didn't think any more about it … until three weeks later, when, on a Friday night at his Worcester Park home, preparing for a game against Liverpool, he was phoned by Osborne, who wanted him to make the 10 minute journey to Epsom.   

Mullery found the general manager sitting in an armchair with his trilby on his head and his jacket on, with a glass of whisky in his hand.  He offered Alan a sherry, but the player responded that he did not like sherry and had to be back in bed for tomorrow's game, so demanded to know what he had called him over for.    “I remember when you first came to Fulham as a 15 year old and used to clean my Sunbeam Rapier.  I was never happy with the way you cleaned it and it came to signing your contract, you wanted this and you wanted that.  I nearly had a heart attack.” 

When Mullery asked why he was there, he was told “Bill Nicholson is coming over.  He wants to sign you for Tottenham.”  The player did not want to leave, but the chairman had agreed a fee and was expecting him to go.  Bill Nicholson and Eddie Baily arrived and Bill asked if Mullery could play full-back.  They had another midfielder lined up to further strengthen the side if Mullery could play in defence.  “I'm not interested.  I don't want to come.  I'm being forced out of Fulham by (chairman) Tommy Trinder and the board.  Take me as a midfielder or don't take me at all.” 

Bill wanted Mullers to play for Fulham the following day against Liverpool and beat them, so it would help Tottenham's cause.  He swore Alan to secrecy (apart from his wife) and would return at 7:00 p.m. to get the forms signed.  Mullery failed to get any sleep and turned up at the ground, keeping his secret to himself, until at half time, with Fulham beating the Reds 1-0, Johnny Haynes asked the midfielder what he was doing after the game.  “Going to Tottenham,” Mullery replied. 

“Is there a dance ?” asked his skipper. 

“No.  I'm being transferred.  I'm signing straight after the game.”  

Haynes went mad and went to see team manager Bedford Jezzard to ask him if he knew Mullery was joining Spurs.  Jezzard then went to confront Trinder and Osborne and when he had his answer, he walked out of the ground and didn't go back.  However, Fulham hung on for the 1-0 win without a manager and Alan Mullery left after the game to sign for Tottenham. 

Bought by Nicholson to start his re-building after the break up of the Double team, Mullery was the man to take over Danny Blanchflower's mantle.  Big boots to fill, Alan found it tough to win over the Spurs crowd and his first year was a battle to persuade them that his dynamic, hard-working style was suited to the way football had developed.  He replaced another Double hero, in Dave Mackay, as captain when the Scot left in 1968 for Derby County. 

His move to White Hart Lane had brought him to the attention of the FA selectors and he made the England team, getting sent off against Yugoslavia in the European Championship finals in 1968 and becoming the first England player to do so in the process.  However, he recovered his good graces with the men in blazers and was among the squad picked to defend the World Cup in Mexico in 1970, where he scored in the 2-3 quarter-final defeat to West Germany.  Later still, he captained England on one occasion. 

With Tottenham re-establishing themselves as a cup side, he was in the side that beat Aston Villa 2-0 in the League Cup final in 1971, lifting the trophy after struggling to overcome the Third Division side.   

Mullery had been suffering with a deep-seated pelvic condition after the World Cup and had missed a fair chunk of the season, even being loaned to Fulham to  get him playing again, although it was only on Mullery's insistence after Bill Nick wouldn't play him because he felt he wasn't fit.  A month's loan was agreed with Bill Dodgin, the Fulham boss and four games later, with Mullery proving his fitness, the Easter programme of fixtures was looming.  A phone call from Bill Nicholson enquired about how he was doing.  “OK,” said Mullery, but the Spurs manager knew this already as he had scout Charlie Faulkner watching every game and he had noted Mullery was the best player in the team.

“On Monday morning, get your boots and get back over here.  John Pratt's broken his nose, Phil Beal's injured and we are playing AC Milan,” Nicholson told him. 

He felt a bit of an outsider, having not trained with the first team for three months, but he was given the captaincy back in his first game and with Spurs contesting four competitions, he was recalled near the end of the season, with the team heading for a UEFA Cup semi-final against AC Milan. Mullery also scored a cracking volley at Highbury in a win over Arsenal as the team went 11 games unbeaten at the end of the season.

His 25 yarder that hit the net in the San Siro earned a draw on the night and an aggregate victory to see Spurs through to the final against Wolverhampton Wanderers.  Not the most exotic of opposition, but a beatable one and having won away in the first leg, the game at the Lane was set alight when Mullery threw himself head-long at the ball in the six yard box and was injured in the process of scoring what became a vital goal, with Wolves equalising eleven minutes later.  Both goals were important and when Mullery was lifted off the pitch shoulder high by Spurs fans after collecting the huge trophy, little did many of them know that this was to be his last appearance for the club. 

Having completed pre-season training without a problem with his groin injury, he felt fit and ready to go, but Bill Nicholson took him aside and told him that Spurs were looking for another midfielder. 

“It wasn't a surprise.  You were never assured of your place.  You accepted Bill for what he was.  There was no grandeur about him, but he was one of the great, great managers.” 

Spurs did not want to let the midfielder go, but it was his “emphatic wish” to leave the club, preferring to leave while at the top.  Fulham were pleased to have Mullery back in June 1972 and spent a further four years at Craven Cottage, including a run to the 1975 FA Cup final, where the Cottagers lost to West Ham United.  He played with George Best and Rodney Marsh as Fulham attracted some skilful players and become great entertainers. 

Mullery retired in May 1976, having played 374 games for Spurs hitting 30 goals and Alan also played 364 matches for Fulham and scored 37 goals.

Awarded a MBE and became manager of Brighton and Hove Albion (July 1976 - June 1981 and 1986 - January 1987), Charlton Athletic (July 1981), Crystal Palace (June 1982-May 1984) and QPR (July - December 1984), before taking up a part-time position as a football pundit on radio and TV.


NICKNAME :  Mullers

Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Fulham ?? ?? ??  v Orient (Second Division) ?? ??
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 14th March 1964 £72,500 21st March 1964 v Manchester United (First Division) (home) 373* 30
Fulham June 1972 ?? ??  ?? ??
- ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

* includes 1 abandoned match

Career Record
199 League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals
313* League appearances; 25 goals
33 FA Cup appearances; 1 goal
18 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
10 European appearances; 4 goals
55 Other appearances; 10 goals
* includes 1 abandoned match


- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals

England international
35 full caps  (33+2 as a sub);  1 goal
Debut : - 9th December 1964  v Holland (Amsterdam) (friendly)  drew 1-1
3 Under-21 caps; ?? goals
FA Cup winners medal 1966-67  (THFC)
FA Cup runners-up medal 1974-75  (Fulham)
League Cup winners medal  1970-71, 1972-73  (THFC)
UEFA Cup winners medal 1971-72  (THFC)

2 appearances for the Football League XI
Named as England Footballer of the 1970 World Cup by the London Evening Standard
Footballer of the Year 1974-75

- appearance


02.05.2009  (THFC programme)

Favourite pre-match meal : -  Steak
What player of today would you like to have played alongside ? :  -  Wayne Rooney
What player of your day would be worth £30 million today ?  : -  Jimmy Greaves
Favourite away ground : -  Old Trafford
Most memorable game : -  FA Cup Final 1967
When were you at your best ?  : -  1967-72
Most difficult opponent ? : - Dave Mackay
Hardest opponent ?  :  Dave Mackay
How much was in your first pay packet ? ; -  £5 a week as a ground staff boy at Fulham
How would your Spurs side do in the current Premier League ? : -  Top five, but I would be sent off in the first five minutes.

07.09.1968  (THFC programme)

Drove a Rover 2000 and would have been a printer if he hadn't been a footballer.

Regarded Tom Finney as fine a footballer as he had ever played against.

Most memorable match was the 5-1 win over Manchester United in 1965 when he said of the side “our play reached the highest peak in team-work.”

Alan Mullery played for Rest of UK v Wales, in a specially arranged game for the Coronation of the Prince of Wales. Pat Jennings was on the same side, with Mike England playing for the Welsh.

Alan and wife June live in Worcester Park, Surrey with 20 month old daughter Samantha.



What they said about Alan Mullery
Wife June Mullery on Alan being the first player to be sent off playing for England...  .. ()

"You're a disgrace to the family."

? ...  .. ()




What Alan Mullery said about ...
... becoming the first England player to be sent off against Yugoslavia in 1968 ...  23.05.2012 (BBC website)

Incensed by the rough-house tactics of his opponents, and with England trailing 1-0 in the dying stages, Mullery retaliated after a bad tackle and kicked Dobrivoje Trivic where it hurts.

"Bobby Moore rolled me a ball to the halfway line and I had my back towards their goal. I knocked it back to him but this fella came in and caught me on the left calf.  Whatever he had on his studs it wasn't very nice and as I looked round the back of my sock it was red, the blood was pouring out and my heart was beating really fast.  In sheer anger I turned round and kicked him in the groin, and down he went like a sack of spuds.

The referee was about three yards away and just told me to get off. Frustration had set in with such little time left, and the referee had not protected any of the English players at all.

I apologised to the players, but Alf was very, very good to me. He came in, looked at me with a stern face and said: 'I'm glad somebody retaliated against those b******s.' He was very angry about it.

When I got back, the Football Association fined me £50 and Alf paid the fine, which was absolutely unbelievable.  Fifty quid was a lot of money back in 1968."

... ? ...  .. ()





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            For other articles on Alan Mullery

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            Books on Alan Mullery

          "In Defence Of Spurs" By Alan Mullery  (1969 - Stanley Paul)

          "Alan Mullery" By Alan Mullery (1985 - Pelham)

          "Alan Mullery - An Autobiography" By Alan Mullery (2006 - Headline Books)

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