There was once a time when Chelsea and Tottenham had a good relationship, as retrofootballblog.com explains.
You have to go back 71 years to find an example, though. It involved Eddie Baily, the brilliant inside forward in Spurs’ first league title triumph.
Baily was on Spurs’ books as an amateur in 1939, but the Second World War happened and the exciting youngster was sent to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany with the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
However, rumours that Baily was killed in action soon made their way back to north London and his registration was allowed to lapse. Unaware of this, he returned to Britain to find himself without a club and so decided to sign for Chelsea.
John Fennelly, the Spurs historian explained the error was only spotted when Baily dropped by White Hart Lane to collect his kit, but once the mix up was explained to Chelsea, they released him from his contract and in February 1946 he was a Tottenham player again.
“In a team of class performers, Baily was the true star,” Fennelly told tottenhamhotspur.com.
But he was more than just one of Spurs’ best players. His flair and intelligent play saw him stand out among his peers and you’ll find almost every reference to him claim he was one of the best inside forwards of his generation; a vital part of the 1951 title winners, who made the ‘push and run’ style famous under Arthur Rowe.
He made his Tottenham debut in January 1947 and by 1950 he was a Division Two champion, with the club winning their first top flight crown a year later.
Bill Nicholson was his team-mate in that side and he later brought Baily in as his assistant in 1963 where it wasn’t uncommon to hear him use wartime metaphors in his pep talks such as ‘right, bayonets on’ or ‘over the top. Let’s have them!’
He left with Nicholson in 1974, having won two League Cups, the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with the club on top of his playing honours.
He retired from football in 1992 and died in 2010 at the age of 85, but his status as a Tottenham icon had been established long before then.
And to think Spurs and their fans owe such huge thanks to a team that became such a huge rival in later years.
This article first appeared on retrofootballblog.com