Full name : – Alfred James Conn
Born on 5th April 1952 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.
Height : 1.72 m (5′ 8″)
Weight : 72.1 kg (11st 5lbs)
Alfie Conn was a flamboyant ball-playing forward, who was the most un-Bill Nicholson type signing you could imagine, but his brief career with Spurs made him a cult hero.
Signed from Glasgow Rangers in July 1974, he was the son of Alfie Conn senior, the Scottish international forward who played for Hearts at the same time as Dave Mackay.
Born in Edinburgh, Alfie attended Prestonpans Primary School and Preston Lodge Secondary School. He played football at primary school, but Preston Lodge only played rugby union and Alfie went on to play stand-off for the East of Scotland Schools side. After playing rugby on Saturday mornings, he would rush off to play football in the afternoon, as that was his favoured sport. Playing for local sides Edina and Musselburgh Windsor, Alfie started getting attention and it was while playing for the latter that he was spotted by Glasgow Rangers, who he supported as a boy.
Invited to start training with the ‘Gers and after a few months at the age of 15, he joined the ground-staff and winger Willie Henderson took him under his wing, trying to keep the youngster on the straight and narrow. He progressed through the ranks to play in the Rangers side that won the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup and his all round play attracted Tottenham to pay £140,000 for him in 1974. Being a player who was marked out as a “maverick”, he seemed like the sort of player who would not appeal to Nicholson’s way of setting up his team, but he had achieved success with other Scots through his career and his last signing had been a player he had been watching for a couple of years.
When Spurs were struggling against relegation, Alfie made a difference to both the team and the crowd. When he got the ball his team-mates and the fans were sure something special was going to happen and whether that was his first three goals in a 5-2 away win against Newcastle in January 1975 or him sitting on the ball in the crucial home game – the last of the season – against Leeds United at the end of the 1974-75 campaign to try to retain Tottenham’s First Division status, there was always something to remember Alfie Conn by. Even if it was just his long mane of hair and white shirt hanging out !!
Earned two Scottish caps while at Spurs in 1975 and was instrumental in keeping Spurs up during his time at White Hart Lane, which was not the best of times. A controversial character, he was taken to the hearts of the Spurs crowd and his brief time at the club came to an end, when Conn became the first player after the Second World War to play for both Glasgow clubs when he left Spurs in March 1977 to go on a month’s loan, which was made permanent in early April of that year. Alfie had to take a pay cut from £240 down to £70 to move to the Scottish club though !!
While he spent a couple of seasons at Parkhead, after that he took a nomadic career path leading to Derby, Spain, the USA and then back to Scotland with a jaunt to Blackpool in between.
After leaving the game, Alfie didn’t fancy going into coaching or management, so he went into the haulage industry then the licensed trade. In 2008, Conn was doing shift-work as a warehouseman and courier at DX in Livingston, West Lothian.
|Glasgow Rangers||1968||Trainee|| 13th November 1968 v Dundalk (Fairs Cup R2 L2) (away) Won 3-0
||127 + 27 as a sub||13|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||July 1974||£140,000||11th September 1974 v Middlesbrough (League Cup) (home) Lost 0-4 (as a sub)||38+5 as a sub||7|
|Glasgow Celtic||March 1977||Loan||v Aberdeen (Scottish Division 1) (away) lost 0-2 (as a sub)||??||??|
|Glasgow Celtic||April 1977||£550,000||??||32||7|
|Pittsburgh Spirit (USA)||1979||Free||??||21||15|
|San Jose Earthquakes (USA)||1980||Free||??||2||0|
|Hartford Helions (USA)||1980||Free||??||??||??|
|Heart of Midlothian||1980||Free||??||17||3|
Tottenham Hotspur career
35+3 as a sub League appearances; 6 goals
2+1 as a sub FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
1+2 as a sub League Cup appearances; 1 goal
0 European appearances; 0 goals
2 full caps; 0 goals
Debut : – 20th May 1975 v Northern Ireland (Home Internationals) (Hampden Park, Glasgow) (as a sub) Won 3-0
European Cup-Winners Cup winner 1972-73 (Glasgow Rangers)
Scottish League Division 1 Championship winner 1976-77 (Glasgow Rangers)
Scottish FA Cup winner 1972-73 (Glasgow Rangers); 1976-77 (Glasgow Celtic)
Scottish League Cup winner 1972-73 (Glasgow Rangers)
|What they said about Alfie Conn|
| Keith Burkinshaw on Conn’s alleged comments on Tottenham’s troubles … 30.04.1977 (THFC Programme)
“From The Manager …
Many of our fans will have read the article by Alfie Conn, published last weekend in the Sunday Mirror, in which he expounded his own views on why we are in our present League predicament.
His comments were critical of myself and some of our players and I feel justified in stating that they contained much that is untrue and distorted.
I never cease to wonder at the way that certain sections of the press publish material of this kind without full knowledge of the facts. The players are as astonished as I am that such an article should have been published.”
| ?? (-) on – … . . (-)
|?? (-) on – … . . (-)
|?? (-) on – … . . (-)|
|What Alfie Conn said about …|
|… joining Celtic from Spurs after previously playing for Glasgow Rangers … 1978 (Marshall Cavendish Football Handbook)
“Other people seem more concerned about me joining Celtic than I was. I’m a professional paid to do a job, not someone who went over to the other side.”
|… of his father … 17.08.1974 (THFC programme)
“He has been of tremendous help to me in every way. I had the benefit of his advice from my earliest years. Yet he never in any way forced me towards football. It was his gentle encouragement that helped me most.”
|… Willie Henderson, Glasgow Rangers winger, who took Alfie under his wing … 17.08.1974 (THFC programme)
“Willie was quick to point out my faults and to keep me on the right track at a time when there was so much to learn.”
|… Spurs … .. ()
“The club is highly thought of back home in Scotland. The facilities, with two gymnasiums, are tremendous. In fact, I would describe the whole set-up as “out of this world.””
| … his career … 30.01.2008 (Daily Record)
“In 1970, I played in the League Cup final for Rangers against Celtic and – because of my age and the fact I was not a first-team regular – I was on £15 a week. Even when I was in Rangers’ first team, the ceiling was £60 a week, going down to £40 in the close season.
When I moved to Tottenham, I got about £7,000 from the transfer fee and my wages were £180 per week, with better bonuses. I know it was more than the man in the street but, when you consider what clubs took at the gate, we were, in the words of Billy Bremner, ‘paid slaves’. But there was nothing we could do about it. The clubs were all-powerful. Now it’s the players and I say good luck to them.”
| … signing for Glasgow Celtic … 30.01.2008 (Daily Record)
“They all ask me the same question – ‘Why did you sign for Celtic?’ “They all get the same answer – Jock Stein. He was the manager and he was the main reason.”
|… ? … .. ()
|… ? … .. ()
|Other features focusing on Alfie Conn …|
His most memorable moment was a last minute goal against Celtic that started an unbeaten run from January until April 1974.
His most emotional moment was the Scottish Cup final when Rangers beat Celtic 3-2 in front of 122,714 fans at Hampden Park. Alfie scored one of the goals that day.
He said “For the last three seasons, I seemed to be playing well up to about January, only to find myself on the injured list.”
Alfie was married to Sue, also from Edinburgh, in May 1974 and they moved from their Kirkcaldy home to settle in the Hoddesdon area of Broxbourne, making Conn happy, as it would be closer to the training ground than Kirkcaldy was to Rangers’ facility, which was 60 miles away !
A golfer with a handicap of 10, Alfie had not played for 18 months.
Drives a Cortina GT.
Likes Clint Eastwood films and horse racing and detective thrillers on TV.
Personal ambition “I’ve GOT to play for my country !”
Other articles on Alfie Conn …
By Richard Porter
Books on Alfie Conn