Micky Dulin

“True gentleman”of football, whose Spurs’ career was cruelly cut short by injury


He had the world at his feet until his biggest passion in life was cruelly taken away from him by a career-ending injury.

Born in Stepney, Micky Dulin, the middle of three brothers, was a sporting champion in his own right from a young age. He represented England juniors in field hockey and Herts juniors in tennis, while at the same time, being more than handy at golf and table tennis.

But his number one love was football. When his family moved to Hitchin Dulin played a starring role at the local grammar school. His star qualities were there for all to see and he represented England Schools and Hertfordshire at youth level before joining Welwyn Garden City in 1952.

Renowned for his skills, trickery and pace as a right-winger, he developed into a top player and was picked up by scouts from Tottenham Hotspur, signing professional terms in November that year while still at school.

Dulin made his Spurs’ debut in a friendly at Lille Olympique before stepping up for his first senior appearance at Burnley in December, 1955. He went on to play 11 matches for the first team, scoring twice that season in the first division. But tragically, his time as a professional footballer was cut short by a cruciate ligament injury while playing against Birmingham, from which he ultimately never recovered. His battle to regain fitness ended in disappointment and sadly it proved to be the end of what had looked an extremely promising career. He was forced to retire two years later and he became a welfare officer in the Fire Brigade.

Recalling his playing days when interviewed for a book on Jewish football, Dulin admitted he preferred to play down his background, and said: “When I played at Tottenham they didn’t really know I was Jewish. They thought I was Turkish or Greek. You could be all things to all people. I was dark-skinned. With Jews, we don’t go out of our way to broadcast. We keep quiet and let other people get into it. You meld into the background.”

Dulin was never one for confrontation and had his own way of dealing with antisemitism. He continued: “Things are said that’s not right. You think, ‘What do I do here?’ You turn away. If there are three or four of you, though, it’s a different story. In my era, if you were Jewish, you weren’t welcomed into tennis clubs or golf clubs. We all kept shtum. That was just the way it was in those days.”

Away from the pitch, Dulin found love in 1967 when he met Pauline Stuart, a widow, at a party hosted by Tottenham legend Dave Mackay. They married five years later, had a daughter and moved to Waterford, Hertford.

Pauline recalled that Dulin “did not have a barmitzvah as he was too busy playing football.” They enjoyed 49 blissful years together, including holidays in Australia, South Africa and the Mediterranean.

“My Micky was generous,” she said. “He had a great sense of humour, enjoyed socialising and nice holidays.”

After leaving the Fire Brigade Dulin started a new role in local government as sports development officer for Waltham Forest.

Arguably one of his proudest moments came in 1973 when managing the Maccabi Great Britain Open Football team at the Maccabiah Games in Israel. Appointed to the role a year earlier, Dulin made a huge impression on the group, including Jeff Bookman. Bookman recalled: “I met Micky aged 19 when he contacted me about the Maccabiah. We didn’t lose a game but failed to qualify from our group, which contained Israel.

“He was very knowledgeable about the game and never liked to shout about how good he had been as a player. He was very well liked and well mannered. He always spoke to players individually and made big calls with a personal touch.”

Dulin moved into non-league management with Wingate FC in 1974, returning there after spells with Barking and Ilford. He subsequently served Wingate as director of football and life vice president. He ended his association with the Finchley club in 1992.

Wingate & Finchley FC paid tribute to Dulin, who struggled with various health issues for the last 14 months, saying : “Micky was a true gentleman of the game who played a major role in building the club after his football career was so cruelly cut short while playing for Tottenham. We have lost a great friend who will be sorely missed.”

Bookman remained close to Dulin long after their association at Wingate, and he described him as a wonderful football manager and human being. “Micky was someone who demanded that people were good at their jobs and he did not discriminate. He just wanted good people around him.

“He played for Spurs when they had arguably one of the finest teams in the world. He was close friends with Terry Dyson and Cliff Jones and brought them both to Wingate FC, Cliff as a player and Terry as assistant-manager. Both respected him immensely.”

One of Dulin’s favourite anecdotes was an experience when he played for the legendary Spurs manager Bill Nicholson . He revealed team selection by advising his players whether they could have steak and chips or just steak for dinner. Of course, for a time, Dulin was always served steak.

Dulin is survived by his wife Pauline, daughter Rachel and brothers Alan and Robert.

Danny Caro

Micky Dulin: born October 25, 1935. 
Died March 16, 2021

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