On this day in 1964: John White, Scots footballer, passes away

Spurs and Scotland footballer John White - the 'Ghost of White Hart Lane'. Picture: Allsport
Spurs and Scotland footballer John White - the 'Ghost of White Hart Lane'. Picture: Allsport
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ON July 21st 1964, Scottish football - and football in general - lost one of its star players. Tottenham Hotspur inside forward John White, born in Musselburgh, died after being struck by lightning on the golf course.

He was just 27, a star performer in Bill Nicholson’s double-winning Spurs side of the 1960/61 season as well as a Scotland international.

His arrival at White Hart Lane came after spells at Alloa Athletic and Falkirk, and in the midst of his 22 appearances for his country, and Nicholson was planning on building the Spurs team around the influential White.

Dubbed the ‘Ghost of White Hart Lane’ due to his pale complexion and tendency to unexpectedly appear in opposition penalty boxes, White’s influence ensured that Spurs never finished lower than fourth with him in the starting XI.

In the 15 matches he missed while on Tottenham’s books, the side won just once, and he was part of the Spurs team that defeated Rangers 5-2 and 3-2 in the ‘Battle of Britain’ European Cup Winners’ Cup tie in 1962, scoring two in the first-leg victory at White Hart Lane.

After the first session of pre-season training ahead of the 1964/65 season, White went to play golf in Enfield, despite the stormy weather.

White was sheltering under a tree at Crews Hill golf course when he was struck by lightning, and died.

John White’s portrait hangs in the entrance to the Scottish Football Hall of Fame; a plaque has been installed at Crews Hill and The John White Lounge is still a feature at Alloa’s stadium.


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