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A Month in the Illustrious History of Spurs


(Compiled by Logan Holmes)



Dynamo Kiev 1 Spurs 2 (Friendly) Spurs undertook a three match tour of the USSR during the close season.  It was their first visit to the country and in ‘The Double’ by Ken Ferris, this Russian tour is identified as the time when Spurs ‘began to lay the foundations of a great side’. Both Nicholson and Blanchflower began to realise that there was the makings of a great team.  Many of the players were already at the club and with a few more signings and a little tinkering, the great team of the early sixties would appear.  Two goals from Brooks gave Spurs their second victory of the tour and weariness from the excessive travel contributed to their defeat in the final game, three days later.  The tour was a great success, bringing the players closer together and Dave Mackay is quoted as saying, ‘…I shall always believe we laid the foundations of the team-spirit and genuine friendship which has since played a notable part in the success of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.’  Other players, Cliff Jones and Ron Henry support that view with similar comments, ‘That’s where we saw the first signs,’ (Jones) and ‘It all came together in Russia.’ (Henry)



‘Celebration’ As Champions of the First Division for the first time in the Club’s history, a celebration banquet was held at the Savoy Hotel in London.  Over four hundred guests were present to mark this momentous occasion with representatives from all of the ninety two League clubs and other dignitaries.  The Chairman bestowed glowing praise on the players who in successive seasons had won the Championship of the Second Division and then the Championship of the Football League. He also paid tribute to the work of manager Arthur Rowe whose skilful handling of the players had brought such splendid results.  He reported that for the second successive year, the Club’s average attendance for home League games was the largest in the country – a tribute to the fans.  



‘Other Celebrations’ The Club celebrated the winning of the Second Division Championship at the Savoy Hotel.  Three hundred and fifty guests along with the directors and players who had brought about this success.  It had been almost thirty years since the Club had tasted major success, winning the Cup in 1921, so also in attendance were members of those previously successful teams – Jack Kirwan, the only surviving member of the 1901 Cup winning team, and Jimmy Seed and Arthur Grimsdell from the 1921 team.  The Chairman paid tribute to the manager and to the ‘team spirit’ that was so much in evidence.

On this day in 1961, at the same venue, the Club held a celebration banquet to mark the winning of ‘The Double’.



Spurs 1 Glasgow Celtic 1 (Friendly in Vancouver) During the close season Spurs went on an eleven game tour to Bermuda, U.S.A, Canada and Mexico.  It included three games against Celtic.  Having lost the previous two games by a single goal, 0-1 in Toronto and 1-2 in San Francisco, Spurs came back from a goal down at half-time to secure a draw with a goal scored by Terry Venables who had signed from Chelsea just before the end of the previous season and made his debut in the final game of the season, a one goal victory at Blackburn Rovers.



Spurs 2 Everton 2 (Friendly in Palermo) Spurs embarked on a close season tour of Argentina and Uruguay where they played seven games in twenty days during the month of June.  They travelled with Everton and the two clubs played each other twice during the tour.  This was the first game of the tour and Spurs goals were scored by Walter Tull and Bert Middlemiss.



Spurs 3 Bermuda Select XI 1 (Friendly) This was the final game of a tour that included matches in Kuwait, Malaysia, Japan and Bermuda.  Undefeated during the tour, the team had won the Japan National Cup by defeating Dundee United 2-0 in Tokyo.  However, such was the nature of this game that goalkeeper Aleksic played on the right wing and a number of the backroom staff appeared in the team, including Assistant Secretary Peter Day and physiotherapist Mike Varney.  Also four Bermudan players were included as second-half substitutes for Spurs. The goals were scored by Colin Lee, Chris Jones and  Bermudan Alan Marshall.



Spurs 1 Barnsley 1 (Second Division) This is the only time that Spurs have played a Football League game in June.  The season had been extended because of severe weather during February causing the postponement of many fixtures and the government restriction on midweek football during the first peace-time season.  Spurs last match had been on 17th May and in this game gave a debut to Ernie Jones who they had signed from Swansea Town earlier in the month.  Spurs goal came from a penalty scored by Ronnie Dix.



Spurs 3 Glasgow Celtic 1 (Friendly in Vancouver) The nine match tour of North America included four games against Celtic and Spurs had been successful in the first two matches.  Throughout the games Bobby Smith had proved a great problem to the Celtic defence, scoring five times in the first two games. This match was no different as Smith scored his second hat-trick against the Scottish team.  A crowd of 24,198 watched the game, which was the second highest attendance in Canada for a football match.  The largest attendance had been during the 1952 tour when Spurs played Manchester United.



Spurs 3 Japan XI 0 (Friendly) This was the final game of a three match tour to Japan.  A full strength squad won all three games against an All Japan XI.  The first two games had been won convincingly by 6-0 and 7-2.  In each of the first two games Martin Chivers had scored twice and in this game he continued to prove a handful for the Japanese defence by scoring again.  Spurs other goals came from Alan Mullery who scored two, one from a penalty.



Trabzonspor 0 Spurs 4 (Friendly)  After winning the F.A.Cup Spurs played three games in Bahrain and Kuwait at the end of May, winning all of them.  In mid-June they went to Turkey for two games which they also won convincingly.  For this game Archibald was the only member of the Cup winning team not to play.  Mark Falco replaced him and scored one of the goals, the others being scored by Villa, Ardiles and Crooks.



Manchester United 0 Spurs 2 (Royal Swazi Sun Challenge) Spurs played two games against United in Swaziland, losing the first match by 1-2 a week earlier. This game was won with goals from Steve Perryman and Gary Mabbutt.  A full strength team took part in the tournament which Spurs won in a penalty shoot-out after this game.  Spurs won 3-2 on penalties with Alan Brazil, Paul Price and Perryman scoring.



Mexico National XI 0 Spurs 1 (Friendly) On their close season tour, Spurs played two games in Mexico City. Originally, this game had been billed as against ‘local opposition’ but was changed to a game against the Mexican International team who were leaving for the World Cup finals in England.  The match was played in front of a crowd of 100,000 people in the newly built stadium with Alan Gilzean scoring the only goal of the game, ten minutes from time.  The only first team member missing from the touring party was Jimmy Greaves who was with the England team in their preparations for the World Cup.



Olympique de Marseilles 2 Spurs 1 This was Spurs first overseas tour after the Second World War where they played four games in France inside nine days.  Their last overseas tour had been to Malta in 1929, although they had played games in the Channel Islands in the intervening years, the last occasion being in 1935.  The tour party was based in the South of France but travel was made difficult because of a French rail strike. However, most of the players had recently left the Armed Forces and were able to cope with such minor discomforts.  Spurs goal was scored by Harry Gilberg.



Alan Sugar/Terry Venables Court Case.  From the time when their acrimonious fall-out became public knowledge a month earlier with Venables being sacked as Chief Executive, the media gave extensive coverage to the never-ending supply of claim and counter-claim that surfaced on behalf of the two sides.  Venables had been immediately re-instated on a temporary injunction but following a three day hearing in the High Court, he lost his case and was sacked from the club.

Exactly twelve months later, an F.A.Commission into the charge of making loans to players between 1985 and 1989 found the club guilty and severely punished them - a £600,000 fine, 12 points deducted at the end of the following season and expelled from the F.A.Cup.  These were the severest punishments ever handed out and was regarded as relegation by a slow painful process.  Fans were devastated but Alan Sugar immediately announced an appeal.



Manchester United 1 Spurs 7 (Friendly in New York) Nearing the end of their North American tour Spurs played United twice in twenty four hours.  The previous day, in Toronto, Spurs had won 5-0 and as League Champions United were looking for revenge in this game.  They took an early lead but Spurs equalised within a minute through Bennett and scored another three in the next eighteen minutes for a 4-1 lead at half-time.  A further three goals in ten minutes midway through the second half made Spurs very comfortable winners. The goals were scored by Len Duquemin (4), Les Bennett (2) and Sid McClellan.



It was announced that Spurs would be floating on the Stock Market, the purpose being to raise £3.8million. Increasing debts caused by the development of the stadium and the spiralling cost of players’ salaries meant that alternative ways of producing income had to be found.  The eventual floatation was a success, being over-subscribed three and a half times.  Many ordinary supporters bought their shares for the Club and still have them today, enabling them to attend the annual Share-holders Meeting.  In theory they can ask questions of the Board but in practice the meeting is usually orchestrated to avoid any awkward questions and certainly few clear answers are ever given.



Spurs were playing in the Southern League and although they had turned professional in 1895 and won the F.A.Cup as a non-League club in 1901, the club had not applied for a position in the Football League.  However, this close season they resigned from the Southern League and applied for a place in the Football League but were out-voted, Bradford City replacing the bottom club, Lincoln City who had four votes more than Spurs. On this day, Stoke City resigned their place in the Second Division for financial reasons, creating an opening which Spurs were able to fill, being elected to the Football League at the end of the month.



Spurs 8 Quebec F.A. 0 (Friendly in Montreal) Spurs long close season tour to North America finally came to an end with this victory.  They remained undefeated throughout the tour, winning all ten matches played, eight against local opposition and two exhibition games against Manchester United.  The goals were scored by Sid McClellan (3) who had relaced Len Duquemin who had been injured in an early tackle, Les Bennett (3), Ralph Wetton and Les Medley.  Two days later, the party set off on the seven day return voyage on the ‘Empress of Canada.’



Ardiles appointed Manager.  With the departure of Terry Venables, Alan Sugar required a manager who would appease the fans who were still very angry and in shock following the revelations and press attention of the previous six weeks.  Having missed out on his original choice, Glenn Hoddle, he turned to another Spurs favourite, Ossie Ardiles who was managing West Bromwich Albion.  Sugar realised that he needed to appoint someone who would be popular with the fans which he hoped would buy him time to restore calm and order to the club.  Keith Burkinshaw had been Ardiles Assistant at WBA but he did not follow him to WHL.



Spurs 9 Rosario 0 (Friendly in Argentina) The penultimate game in the summer tour to South America.  While there are records of teams and scorers for the other six games of the tour, there appears to be no such record for this game, other than the score which shows Spurs as emphatic winners over the local opposition.



Saint-Etienne 0 Spurs 2 (Friendly) The final game of Spurs four match tour in France.  Having lost the first two game Spurs restored some pride by winning the other two games.  Their goals against Saint-Etienne were scored by Charlie Rundle and Les Bennett.



Saved!! Spurs had won the F.A.Cup in May but Paul Gascoigne had been injured and the uncertainty about the Club’s future lingered on week after week with conflicting reports about what was going to happen and whether Tottenham Hotspur would even be in existence come the start of the new season.  The mounting debts at the Club were the major problem but finally the £7.25 million takeover of the Club by Alan Sugar and Terry Venables was completed.  Sugar became non-executive Chairman and Venables became non-executive Managing Director.  The Club had been saved from extinction.  



The only recorded event for this date is a story from the South American tour.  As Spurs were without a game, they went to watch two local teams.  A large crowd attended and when there was a small pitch invasion the response was unexpected.  The Argentine cavalry came onto the pitch and started to drive the invaders off using the flats of their swords.  Order was restored very quickly and the match continued without further incident.



Macabbi Tel Aviv 2 Spurs 3 Spurs played two games during a tour to Israel.  They won both matches and in this final game the home club put up a trophy for the winners, the John White Cup, in memory of Spurs Scottish International who had been killed tragically by lightning while playing golf, the previous summer.  The goals were scored by Alan Mullery, Dave Mackay and Alan Gilzean.



Following the departure of Keith Burkinshaw after the club won the EUFA Cup, Spurs required a new manager.  The appointment was confirmed on this day that Peter Shreeves, Burkinshaw’s Assistant would take control.  Shreeves had joined Spurs in 1974 as youth team manager and then reserve team manager before being appointed assistant manager in 1980. He had the backing of the players who made the Board aware of their support for Shreeves. He appointed John Pratt as his Assistant.



The World Cup Finals in France saw England defeating Columbia by two goals to nil.  Darren Anderton scored the first goal and the win ensured that England qualified for the knock-out phase of the competition.  Anderton, commonly known as ‘Sicknote’ because of his frequent absences through injury had only played 15 times for Spurs during the previous season – starting 7 games and 8 appearances as substitute. However, he regained his fitness for the final six games of the season, making three substitute appearances and playing in the last three games.  This was sufficient to convince the England manager, Glenn Hoddle, that he was fit enough for the World Cup.



My birthday and there is only one event to record for this date and it happens to be for the very day that I was born.  Spurs returned from their longest ever tour.  They set off on 12th May to North America and played ten games in Canada and the United States.  They were undefeated throughout the tour and scored 85 goals while conceding only six.  The club made a huge impression in North America during the tour, overshadowing Manchester United who had gone there as Champions.



This day marks the birth of John Pratt. He was a loyal servant to the club for whom he signed as an amateur, before signing as a professional in 1965.  His debut was against Arsenal at Highbury in March,1969.  Although the team lost 0-1, Pratt kept his place and started eight of the last ten games of the season.  For the next three seasons he made infrequent appearances although his first goal was in a 3-2 victory at Arsenal in September, 1969.  At the start of season 1972-73following the departure of Mullery, he got his opportunity in midfield.  He was part of the successful League Cup winning team that season but his appearance in the Final lasted only 20 minutes before he went off injured.  He was part of the UEFA Cup team which reached the Final in 1974 and continued to be an important member of the team until 1980.  In all he made over 300 League appearances and scored 39 goals.  A fully committed Spurs player, he went to America but later returned as a coach and was Assistant manager under Peter Shreeves. (And don't forget the TOPSPURS "Pratt Tribute" - click here



On this day Spurs were elected members of the Football League.  However, it was a close run thing.  Spurs had lost out in the original election but when Stoke resigned in early June, Spurs had a further opportunity to stake their claim for a place in the Second Division.  However, by the time of the meeting Stoke had changed their minds and were also looking to return to the League.   Lincoln, Rotherham Town and Southport were also up for election.  In the first vote Spurs and Lincoln tied with 17 votes each.  When the others withdrew it became a straight vote which was tied with both clubs receiving 20 votes.  This left it to the League Management Committee to decide and Spurs received five votes taking them into the Football League.



Chris Armstrong was signed from Crystal Palace for a fee of £4.5 million to become Spurs most expensive player.  He had been bought to replace Jurgen Klinsmann who had returned to Germany.  The initial reaction was not very positive with newspaper reports of Teddy Sheringham being less than complimentary about his new striking partner.  However, he did form a very effective partnership with Sheringham but he had an impossible task to try to replace Klinsmann in the eyes of the supporters. His career at Spurs ended when he was released in 2002 following a long period of injury.



Acknowledge the work of Graham Betts in his book ‘Spurs Day – to – Day Life at White Hart Lane