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A Month in the Illustrious History of Spurs


(Compiled by Logan Holmes)



Spurs against Authority – The Ernie Payne Affair.  Even in the earliest days Spurs found themselves facing the wrath and judgement of the football authorities.  They had been reported by Fulham for poaching a player and for alleged infringements of the amateur laws.  They were found not guilty of poaching by the London F.A. because while Payne was on the Fulham books he had not played for some time.  However, having given Payne ten shillings (50p) to buy a pair of boots when his went missing, Spurs were found guilty of a breach of the rules as it was regarded as an unfair inducement to the player to play for the club. For this misconduct Spurs were suspended for two weeks and Payne for one week.  Spurs appealed but lost.  The club had been considering the possibility of turning professional but this incident was probably the catalyst for them to make that decision in 1895.



Spurs 1 FC Nantes 0 UEFA Cup 2nd Round (2nd Leg) Spurs had achieved a scoreless draw in the first leg, a game which Hunter Davies covers in great detail in his book ‘The Glory Game’.  In this return game Spurs dominated and created many chances especially in the first half and should have had the game won by half-time. However, being unable to convert the chances created, the game remained on a knife edge.  The winning goal was scored early in the first half by their Captain, Martin Peters but Spurs were unable to add to it.  At one point after confusion over an injury and a substitution, Nantes had twelve players on the pitch.



Spurs 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 As League Champions, Spurs continued their good home performances with a sixth win and only one defeat in eight games.  However, early season injuries had disrupted the team and they were finding it difficult to produce the football that had become characteristic of the ‘push and run’ team of previous years.  Over 61,000 spectators watched as Spurs scored through Alf Ramsay (pen), Sonny Walters, Les Bennett and Len Duquemin.  In spite of a poor run in mid-season Spurs managed to finish as runners up four points behind Manchester United but ahead of Arsenal on goal difference.



FC Kaiserlautern 2 Spurs 0 UEFA Cup 2nd Round (2nd Leg) Spurs’ last game in Europe ended in great disappointment.  Having won the first leg thanks to an Iversen penalty following a foul on David Ginola, manager George Graham decided to omit Ginola from the team.  This gave the Germans a psychological advantage and they immediately changed their team, having submitted it to the referee, omitting the player designated to mark the Frenchman.  However, when the game reached the ninetieth minute scoreless, it appeared to have worked for Spurs who seemed set for the next round.  Then the Germans scored in injury time to bring the aggregate score to 1-1 and immediately they got a second when Stephen Carr put through his own goal in the dieing seconds.  There was much disappointment at the nature of the defeat and criticism for Graham’s defensive approach.  Spurs’ appeal over Kaiserlautern changing their starting line up once they realised that Ginola was not playing was unsuccessful.



Spurs 5 Fulham 1 Spurs’ best start to a season continued with their sixteenth game undefeated and only one point dropped.  Spurs were sitting comfortably at the top of the table and started the game six points clear of their nearest rivals, Sheffield Wednesday.  Fulham were seventh but had no answer to the goal scoring power of the Spurs forwards.  Les Allen and Cliff Jones had Spurs two ahead at the interval.  Fulham scored early in the second half but further goals from  Jones, John White and Allen in the last fifteen minutes sealed Spurs victory.



Burnley 2 Spurs 1 Carling Cup (3rd Round) The wheels were starting to come off the Glenn Hoddle management roller-coaster.  It was to take another ten months but serious questions were being asked about his managerial ability and the attitude and commitment of the players. Doubts were being raised in the minds of the fans who idolised Hoddle and wanted him to succeed at Tottenham.  On a wet winter’s night Spurs took the lead through Gus Poyet but once Burnley went ahead in the second half there was only going to be one winner.  An inept and very disappointing display as Spurs went out of the competition to a lower Division team without showing any fight or pride.  The clock was ticking for Glenn Hoddle as manager of Spurs.



Spurs 2 Arsenal 1 This is the last occasion when Spurs were victorious over Arsenal who ‘suffered a day of shame as they crashed against arch-rivals Tottenham.’  In an explosive game Spurs were two ahead inside twenty minutes.  Steffan Iversen scored after six minutes with Tim Sherwood getting the second.  Arsenal pulled one back just before half time but in the second they had Ljungberg and Keown sent off and a total of six players booked as the ‘red mist’ descended on them.  Spurs had played with passion in a game that was described as ‘brutal and unremittingly ferocious.’  It was a good win for Spurs who displayed a new level of commitment and determination.



Arsenal 2 Spurs 1 Very much a case of what might have been.  Spurs went into this game having lost at home to Bolton the previous week but were ahead after four minutes when Darren Anderton scored.  Spurs had two opportunities to increase their lead in the first half when Helder Postiga was clean through on goal but he lost his composure and was unable to score.  Postiga, restored to the team and starting only his fifth game of the season had a real chance to make a name for himself at Spurs but the opportunity was gone.  In the second half, Spurs were comfortable until Arsenal scored a debatable equaliser, looking offside, and with a deflected shot. Spurs left Highbury deflated and frustrated at not getting anything from all their effort.



Blackburn Rovers 1 Spurs 2 Littlewoods Cup (3rd Round Replay)  Apart from defeating Notts County in the earlier round, Spurs previous victory had been in the League in late September.  Six games without a win and four successive League defeats preceded this game.  The first game at White Hart Lane had been scoreless but in the replay Mitchell Thomas gave Spurs the lead but a late equaliser took the game into extra time where Paul Stewart scored a deserved winner, Spurs having shown resilience and determination to progress to the next round.



Liverpool 1 Spurs 3 Worthington Cup (4th Round) Going to Anfield is always a difficult game but the ground was only half full as Liverpool were in poor form and in some managerial disarray.  Spurs’ fans enjoyed the game, taunting Liverpool, as they watched their team under George Graham continue their Cup progress with a comfortable and deserved victory.  Spurs scored with goals from Steffan Iversen after two minutes, John Scales on twenty and Allan Nielsen in the second half.  Spurs spurned other goal scoring chances and Liverpool’s goal was a late consolation following a mistake from goalkeeper, Espen Baardsen.  



Spurs 2 Scotland XI 6 (John White Memorial Match) This game gave Spurs’ fans the opportunity to pay their respects to a Legend of White Hart Lane, the late John White, the Scottish International who had so tragically died when struck with lightning while playing golf during the summer.  John’s brother, Tommy who played professionally both in Scotland and England appeared as a guest player for Spurs, scoring one of the goals with the other coming from Tony Marchi.  Over 29,000 spectators attended the game which had been postponed from the previous night because of fog. Two of the Scotland XI’s goals were scored by Alan Gilzean who was to sign for Spurs from Dundee a few weeks later.  John White had been a very important member of the ‘Double’ team and his death at the age of twenty seven was a tragic loss.  The programme for the game contained many tributes to the player from respected managers, players and journalists.



Sheffield Wednesday 2 Spurs 1 Hillsborough has never been a ‘happy hunting ground’ for Spurs.  Their last win on the ground had been in 1937 and that had been their only success in twenty five League and Cup visits. Wednesday were second to Spurs in the League and in a full-blooded game brought Spurs’ undefeated run to an end.  Both teams had chances to score in the first half before Wednesday went ahead after forty minutes but Spurs levelled two minutes later when Maurice Norman scored after a free-kick.  Spurs threatened to take control in the early stages of the second half but Wednesday went ahead at the mid-way point and Spurs were unable to come back again, losing their unbeaten run in the seventeenth game.  



Oldham Athletic 2 Spurs 5 In those days teams met home and away in successive weeks.  Newly promoted from the Second Division Spurs were having a mixed season.  They had lost home and away to Aston Villa and Burnley but had won home and away against Manchester United (1-0 & 4-1) and Chelsea (5-0 & 4-0). Spurs had beaten Oldham 5-1 at White Hart Lane seven days earlier and a full strength side showing just one change completed an emphatic double over them.  Jimmy Seed scored twice, just as he had done in the home game, centre forward Charlie Wilson also scored two and Bert Bliss scored once as he had done the previous week. Spurs went on to finish sixth in the League but the team will be remembered for their Cup Final win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.



Arsenal 0 Spurs 0 This was the occasion of George Graham’s first visit to Highbury with a Tottenham team.  After only four League games in charge, Graham went to Highbury with an uninspiring record, one win, one draw and two defeats in the League. Spurs started the game in the lower half of the League and Graham used his usual defensive techniques to organise the team and restrict Arsenal.  Goalkeeper Espen Baardsen was outstanding along with the three central defenders as Spurs earned a hard-fought draw.  As one report put it ‘Graham had managed to turn those players with a reputation for lacking spirit, fight and resolve under previous managers into a team knowing the meaning of hard work and respect for their boss.’   



Gerry Francis appointed as Manager. Following the sacking of Ossie Ardiles, Alan Sugar used the break for the Internationals to search for a replacement.  Steve Perryman had been put in temporary charge for the next game and as usual there was considerable press speculation as to who would be appointed.  Gerry Francis had resigned as manager of Queen’s Park Rangers on a point of principle when the Board tried to appoint Rodney Marsh as Chief Executive but failed to tell Francis.  Following discussions Spurs announced his appointment along with his own coaching staff meaning that Perryman would be leaving White Hart Lane.  Francis was the third Spurs manager in two years.



Spurs 4 Luton Town 1 Spurs were a goal behind in the second half and looked likely to lose this game when the floodlights failed.  On the resumption after a break of fifteen minutes, Spurs were revitalised and went on to win, scoring four goals in the last quarter of the game.  Substitute Scott Houghton equalised, scoring his first goal for Spurs.  Houghton scored a second and Gary Lineker also scored twice as Spurs ran out comfortable winners against the team who were to be relegated at the end of the season.



Spurs 1 Arsenal 1 The North London derby occurs quite frequently in the month of November.  This was Glenn Hoddle’s first home derby in charge and the team came into the game in a good vein of form in spite of losing their previous game at Leeds.  However, the main focus of attention was the return of Sol Campbell who had defected to the other team in North London during the summer. The atmosphere was hostile as Spurs fans vented their anger against their former captain. Spurs played well with Ledley King outstanding but it was Arsenal who took the lead late in the second half and looked like holding on to take the three points until the final moments when Gus Poyet equalised with a volley that slipped through the goalkeeper’s fingers.  



Spurs 7 Newcastle United 0 An exhibition of ‘Push and Run’ football at its very best. Arthur Rowe’s team produced one of the finest displays ever seen at White Hart Lane.  Spurs were newly promoted and Newcastle came into the game in second place in the League, while Spurs were fourth having won their previous seven matches.  The highest crowd of the season, 70,336, watched the game which saw Spurs three ahead at half-time.  The opening goal came from Les Bennett, Eddie Baily added a second and Les Medley scored the third.  In the second half Medley scored the fourth, Sonny Walters got the fifth while Medley completed his hat-trick for the sixth.  The final goal was scored by Alf Ramsey from the penalty spot.  Newcastle were not as outplayed as the scoreline suggests but Spurs took their opportunities and played exceptionally well.  True to Tottenham form, a week later they went to Huddersfield, a team near the bottom of the League, and lost 2-3. Typical Spurs!



Spurs 2 Woolwich Arsenal 1 (Friendly) The first game played against the team who were to become the club’s near neighbours and greatest rivals. The match was played at Tottenham Marshes, one of the last games Spurs played at their original home.  The visitors were based in south London, their place of origin, before their re-location to north of the river.  The match started late due to the visitor’s late arrival and had to be abandoned with fifteen minutes remaining because of bad light.  Spurs were leading 2-1 when the game came to an early conclusion but the goal scorers and the team for this first win over Arsenal are unknown, no records having been kept.



Arsenal 1 Spurs 0 Football League Cup Semi-Final (1stLeg) This was only the second occasion that Spurs had played Arsenal in a Cup competition.  The previous time was in the FA Cup in 1949.  Spurs had reached their first League Cup semi-final in only the second year that they entered the competition by overcoming Aston Villa, Exeter, Peterborough and Southampton.  The goal came in injury time as Joe Kinnear attempted to head the ball back to Pat Jennings but his header was too weak and was cut out by the Arsenal striker who scored. This set up an intriguing match for the second leg at White Hart Lane but made it that bit more difficult for Spurs.



Spurs 9 Port Vale 3 (2nd Division) The first time that Spurs scored nine goals in a League game, something they have only done on a further two occasions.  Spurs had just missed out on promotion at the end of the previous season but the new season was proving a big disappointment although they had won their previous home game by 6-2 against Swansea.  Prior to the game Port Vale were above Spurs in the League table but Spurs ran out convincing winners.  Centre forward George Hunt scored twice and the rest of the goals came from the right side of the team.  Right winger Willie Davies scored a hat-trick, inside right Jimmy Brain claimed two, while right half Dave Colquhoun and right back Albert Lyons scored one each, Lyons with a penalty.



Oxford United 2 Spurs 4 Do successful teams come about through careful planning or due to some good fortune?  That question could be asked after this game which is regarded as the first occasion that Spurs played with five players in midfield and Clive Allen as the lone striker.  The five midfield players were to support Allen who was having an exceptional goal scoring season.  With twelve League goals before this game he added two more in the first half as Spurs came back from an early goal scored by former player David Leworthy to end Oxford’s unbeaten home run.  Chris Waddle scored the other goals, his first of the season.  Belgium International Nico Claesen was the player to miss out with the introduction of this new system which proved very effective although it didn’t lead to any silverware adorning the Boardroom at White Hart Lane, missing out in all competitions - Spurs ‘Nearly’ team under David Pleat.  Clive Allen finished the season with a record breaking total of 49 goals in all competitions. [League – 33, Littlewoods Cup – 12, F.A.Cup – 4]



Bayern Munich 1 Spurs 0 UEFA Cup 3rd Round (1st Leg) The previous season a weakened Spurs side had crashed out of the European Cup Winners’ Cup competition on a fog-bound night against Bayern, when no-one could see the pitch.   However, on this occasion, in freezing conditions (-5C), Spurs gave a good account of themselves defensively, only conceding the goal in the final five minutes, thus giving themselves a good chance with the return leg to be played at White Hart Lane.



West Ham United 0 Spurs 2 (aet) League Cup (4th Round Replay) The first game had been scoreless and Spurs were facing a difficult match in order to progress in this competition in Terry Neill’s only full season in charge.  The game remained scoreless until extra time when centre half, Willie Young scored and then John Duncan added the second.  Spurs had already defeated Watford and Crewe to reach this stage and had yet to concede a goal in the competition.



Spurs 3 Leicester City 0 Les Ferdinand showed his goalscoring prowess in this game.  A hat-trick to maintain Spurs’ unbeaten home run.- seven wins and a draw since the start of the season.  George Graham was keeping the home fans happy but away from White Hart Lane it was a different story – only one point from seven games and that had been earned in the first away game of the season.  The away games were very disappointing for the loyal group of travelling supporters.



Bolton Wanderers 1 Spurs 0 (2nd Division) Having been relegated the previous year Spurs were endeavouring to spend the shortest possible time out of the 1st Division.  Spurs had started the season well and their record showed only two defeats in the League.  Throughout the season four teams were the main contenders for the three promotion spots - Spurs, Southampton, Brighton and Bolton. With the competition so intense between these teams, the matches against them were critical in the fight for promotion. Incredibly, the fixture list had decreed that Spurs would play all of their rivals in successive games.  They had dropped a point* the previous week in a scoreless draw at home to Brighton and were in second place behind Bolton.  It looked as if this game was also going to be goalless until the last minute when Bolton scored.  Spurs had had a goal disallowed and now Bolton were four points ahead of them in the League.  The following week Spurs had another scoreless draw at home to Southampton.  The promotion road was proving rather more difficult than it had at first appeared.  [* in 1977 it was two points for a win and one for a draw]



Bolton Wanderers 6 Spurs 1 Coca-Cola Cup (4th Round) One of Spurs many low points of the past decade.  Spurs’ reputation as a Cup team was in tatters as they succumbed without a fight.  Bolton were in the 1st Division striving for promotion, which they achieved, to the Premier League but Spurs lacked fight especially in the second half.  A goal down early on Spurs equalised through Teddy Sheringham but Bolton took the lead before half-time and in the second half ran Gerry Francis’ team ragged scoring four more without any reply.  It could have been seven as a shot hit the post and rolled along the goal-line.  The decline in Spurs’ fortunes was becoming a very serious problem with the players showing no fight or commitment away from home.  This was the start of a situation that has only been addressed occasionally since and has been a priority for the new management team.



Spurs 2 Bohemians Prague 0 UEFA Cup 3rd Round (1st Leg) Spurs managed to take a two goal lead into the second leg but could count themselves fortunate as Bohemians were by far the better team on the night.  Spurs’ first goal was an own goal when a Prague defender sliced a John Chiedozie cross into his own net.  Bohemians continued to be the more creative team and Spurs were fully employed in defending their goal.  In the last minute Gary Stevens scored the all important second goal to give Spurs some hope for the second leg.  A 1-1 draw in Prague ensured Spurs continued progress in the competition.



Everton 0 Spurs 2 Christian Gross, an unknown Swiss manager had been appointed to replace Gerry Francis and he started with a comfortable win at Goodison Park.  His compatriot, Ramon Vega, scored the first goal and David Ginola got the second to ensure that Spurs took the three points.  The star of the show was goalkeeper, Espen Baardsen, who made a number of important saves to keep Spurs in the game as Everton toiled to get some reward for their efforts.  If his managerial career at Tottenham started brightly for Gross reality set in quickly in the next game at home to Chelsea when Spurs were totally outclassed.



Manchester United 3 Spurs 4 United were in third place and Spurs were without an away win all season. United took an early lead but Spurs scored four goals in the next twenty five minutes.  Bobby Smith equalised and then put Spurs ahead before Danny Blanchflower’s brother, Jackie, scored an own goal for Spurs third. Smith then scored again to complete his hat-trick before half-time.  United showed determination in the second half and pulled two back but Spurs defended well to win against a team much higher up the League.  Bobby Smith finished the season with 36 League goals to equal the record set by Ted Harper in season 1930-31, although that was in the 2nd Division.  Jimmy Greaves was to break the record five years later when he went one better to record 37 goals.


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


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