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A Month in the Illustrious History of Spurs


(Compiled by Logan Holmes)



Spurs 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 On a Thursday afternoon Spurs made their Football League debut in this 2nd Division game against the F.A.Cup holders.  The game attracted a crowd of 20,000 and they had to wait for only six minutes for Spurs first League goal scored by Vivian Woodward.  From a free kick fired in by Walton, the ball came out to Woodward who tapped it home.  Two further efforts were disallowed for off-side in the first half but in the second half Woodward scored again and then Tom Morris scored from 30 yards to secure victory.



West Bromwich Albion 3 Spurs 4 Spurs unbeaten start to the 2nd Division season continued with this victory following two 1-1 draws at home to Birmingham and at Newport County.  Johnny Morrison who was playing his first game of the season scored twice in the first two minutes and Ronnie Dix gave Spurs a 3-1 half-time lead.  WBA scored again before Morrison completed his hat-trick.  However, these results were expunged from the records after the outbreak of the Second World War which was declared the following morning.  This had been developing for some time but there had been a feeling that life would continue along normal lines but League football was abandoned and many players went off to serve their country.  



Newcastle United 2 Spurs 2 This game marked the debut of Paul Gascoigne as the previous week’s home game had been postponed for safety reasons due to the ground renovations not being completed.  During the summer Terry Venables persuaded Gascoigne that his future was at WHL and not with Manchester United – those were the days!  Spurs signed him for £2million and his debut was at his former club.  Gascoigne was met with jeers from disgruntled Geordies and throughout the game he was pelted with Mars bars every time he went near the crowd.  Spurs were two down by half-time but came back with goals from Chris Waddle, scoring straight from the kick off, and Terry Fenwick.  In not the best of debuts, Gascoigne was substituted before the end.



Spurs 4 Notts County 1 (Friendly) This was a game to mark the opening of Spurs new ground where they have played for the past 105 years. Only after the First World War did it become known as White Hart Lane, before this it had been called ‘The High Road Ground’ although the club had favoured Percy Park after Sir Henry Percy, Harry Hotspur. Spurs acquired a lease on the ground from Charrington’s Brewery who owned the land, a disused nursery, beside the White Hart public house.  Having obtained the ground Spurs moved the stands which had been used at their previous Northumberland Park ground and prepared for this game against First Division opposition, the oldest club in the country.  A crowd of 5,000 attended and saw Spurs go behind to an own goal.  However, Tom Pratt had levelled by half-time and in the second half David Copeland completed a hat-trick, although for the last two goals County had been reduced to ten men as their goalkeeper was injured.



The Day it all Began. This is accepted as the date of the formation of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.  It was formed when a group of schoolboys who played cricket for the Hotspur Cricket Club decided to form a football club for the winter months. It was known as Hotspur Football Club and as the first subscriptions were due on 5th September, 1882, this is taken as the date for the formation of the club.  After two years due to confusion with another club, London Hotspur, the name Tottenham Hotspur was adopted. They played their first games on Tottenham Marshes and from such humble beginnings grew the world famous Spurs.

5th September, 2000 saw the start of the ‘Topspurs’ website following a 3-2 victory over Everton at White Hart Lane with Rebrov’s first goals.  Check out those early Editorials in the archives:  http://www.topspurs.com/thfc-jmdview(sep2000).htm

From those early beginnings we now have the best and most informative website available on all things ‘Spurs’.



Goodbye Christian Gross.  Gross’ nine month spell as manager at White Hart Lane came to an end when Alan Sugar sacked him. Under pressure throughout with constant media attention from his arrival with his ‘tube’ ticket, the players unresponsive to his methods, poor dealings in the transfer market and poor results. His first match in charge, the previous November, had been a victory at Everton and his final game also brought victory at Goodison Park – he must have wished that he played them every week!  Having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season the early season’s results brought a 3-1 defeat at Wimbledon where ‘the grass was too long’ and a 3-0 reverse at home to Sheffield Wednesday where a disinterested Spurs were outplayed. The victory over Everton came too late, the damage had been done and the Chairman used the break for International football to start his search for another new manager, having again appointed David Pleat as caretaker manager.



Spurs 7 Burnley 0 A day in history with many high scoring games involving Spurs, but not all in their favour.  This was only Spurs second League win of the season and was the start of a successful three month period with only one defeat in 18 League and Cup games – this included seven League wins and four in the Cup.  The older players were having a successful time - Greaves was in a prolific scoring spell which saw press calls for his return to International duty and Cliff Jones was enjoying a ‘swansong’ prior to his departure to Fulham. The goals were scored by Jones (2), Jimmy Robertson, Greaves 3 (1pen) and Martin Chivers.



Spurs 3 Derby County 0 Spurs undefeated start to the season continued with this Gascoigne master class.  He scored a hat-trick and the score line should have read Gascoigne 3 Derby 0 or more precisely Gazza 3 Shilton 0 as he managed to put three great goals past the England goalkeeper, giving him no chance.  After he had seen Gascoigne inspire Spurs to victory, the Derby County manager, Arthur Cox commented, ‘If he were a Brazilian or Argentinean you would kiss his shoes.’  

In the following Monday’s Times this report appeared:

‘Gascoigne Tops a Bill that is Full of Talent.  The advance publicity was right, the rave reviews fully justified, the Greatest Show on earth, presented by Tottenham Hotspur and starring Paul Gascoigne, duly brought the house down at White Hart Lane on Saturday.’



Spurs 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 This was Spurs 2000th League game, excluding abandoned matches.  The previous week Spurs’ unbeaten run of 28 League and Cup games that had started with a home won over Burnley the previous January and included an F.A.Cup Final victory over Chelsea, came to an unexpected and undistinguished end with a 1-5 defeat at Burnley.  However, a home win in mid-week over Wolverhampton Wanderers and this game restored some order.  The game was won with goals from Alan Gilzean and Frank Saul.



Arsenal 2 Spurs 3 Spurs’ seventh consecutive win at the start of the ‘Double’ season brought them their first victory at Highbury since January, 1956.  Bobby Smith and Cliff Jones were still injured but they were not missed as goals from Frank Saul, Terry Dyson and Les Allen brought Spurs victory.  Spurs had gone two ahead and the only question seemed to be the margin of victory but Arsenal came back to equalise before Allen lobbed the goalkeeper to earn another two points for Spurs.  The newspaper headline of the time read:

‘SPURS ARE STREETS AHEAD – They can score goals almost to order’.



Spurs 0 Middlesborough 4 (League Cup) The final game in an illustrious career at Tottenham for manager Bill Nicholson.  Having handed in his resignation, Nicholson refused to listen to persuasion from Board members, players or supporters but this was not the way anyone would have wanted him to leave.  Having joined the club in 1936 he had served them well as player, coach and manager.  It was a sad day that brought down the curtain on the club’s most successful manager.  He will forever be remembered as the man who managed the ‘Double’ team, brought success in Europe and many successful Cup winning teams.  Considered by some to be a dour Yorkshireman, he brought success in a style that had Spurs revered around the world.

Danny Blanchflower commenting on Nicholson’s departure said: ‘I think of the trophies he has won for the club. Think of the fine players he has brought to White Hart Lane.  Nick managed great teams before Shankly and Revie and has given 38 years of devoted service to Tottenham as player, coach and manager.  But he himself was one of the club’s greatest assets of all.’



Manchester United 1 Spurs 5 This must rate as one of Spurs best ever performances at Old Trafford.  They played with style and a flair that saw them score three goals inside ten minutes midway through the first half.  Dave Dunmore, Bobby Smith and Tommy Harmer scored for Spurs but United managed to pull one back just before half-time.  Spurs started the second half with ten men when Bobby Smith was unable to play because of a facial injury.  Spurs defended well and Smith was later able to return and managed to score minutes from time with Dave Mackay completing the scoring one minute later - his first goal for Spurs.



Gornik Zabrze 4 Spurs 2 Spurs first experience of European football in the European Cup was nearly their last.  Spurs found themselves four goals down early in the second half after making a number of uncharacteristic defensive errors.  They incensed the 90,000 home fans with their robust tackling which saw the home team reduced to nine men.  Spurs managed to claw their way back in to the tie with goals from Cliff Jones and Terry Dyson.  Dave Mackay, the chief villain of the peace in the eyes of the crowd, was the provider for both goals.  At the end Spurs were booed and whistled off the pitch by the home supporters.



Spurs 2 West Ham United 1 The previous Thursday, the day after Nicholson’s last match in charge, Spurs announced the name of their new manager.  The Board had ignored Nicholson’s recommendation of Blanchflower and Johnny Giles, instead appointing the surprising choice the Hull City manager and former Arsenal captain, Terry Neill.  Apart from his Arsenal connections, his record as a manager did not commend him as a top appointment.  However, the deed was done and the players responded by winning his first game in charge with the goals scored by Mike England and Martin Chivers who were to have a difficult time under the new manager.  Although they won the next game, normal service was resumed and it was to be a long, hard struggle with relegation only being avoided in the last game of the season.



Stoke City 1 Spurs 6 As reigning League Champions Spurs opened their season with defeat at Middlesbrough but recovered to win the next three games.  Another visit to the north east brought a humiliating 7-2 defeat by Newcastle.  Manager Arthur Rowe persisted with most of the Championship winning team and they recovered to draw two and win one of the three games prior to this visit to the Potteries.  Stoke were doing even worse and were at the bottom of the table having conceded more goals than any other team.  Spurs took advantage of their difficulties with early goals from McClellan and Bennett before Stoke missed a penalty.  Ramsay then scored a penalty to give Spurs a 3-0 interval lead.  In the second half Walters scored a spectacular fourth and Medley got two before Stoke scored their consolation.  Tommy Harmer was the only forward not to score but he was involved in much of Spurs fine play.  This was Spurs best away win for quite some time and was not to be equalled until 1962-63 at West Ham.



Ajax Amsterdam 1 Spurs 3 Spurs return to European football in the European Cup Winners’ Cup saw them drawn to visit   Holland where their last appearance had ended in defeat and crowd trouble.  Much was expected in this game between two exciting teams and Spurs showed their capabilities with an outstanding performance and thoroughly deserved their victory which came through goals from Ricky Villa and two from Mark Falco.  This result in the first leg made the return match a formality.  



Hibernian 1 Spurs 5 For a couple of years after the introduction of floodlights and before the commencement of European competitions an Anglo-Scottish Floodlight competition was played.  Five teams took part and Spurs played the three Scottish teams home and away, but the matches had to be played as friendlies as the tournament had not received official sanction.  This was the opening game and Spurs won with goals from Bobby Smith (2), Danny Blanchflower, Tommy Harmer and Terry Dyson.  Spurs also played Hearts and Partick Thistle, winning three, losing twice with one draw.  The other English representative was Newcastle United.



Spurs 5 Oldham Athletic 0 Teddy Sheringham was having a very productive start to the season having scored six goals in the opening seven games.  His good form continued against Oldham as Spurs made a superb start scoring three times in the first eight minutes.  Sedgley opened the scoring after six minutes then two poor clearances from the Oldham goalkeeper presented Sheringham and Sedgley with further goals in the next two minutes.  Spurs other goals came in the second half from Durie and Dozzell, scoring his first goal for the club.  Spurs lost full back Dean Austin who was stretchered off with a broken leg.



Grasshopper Zurich 1 Spurs 5 On paper the UEFA Cup 1st Round (1st Leg) match appears to have been an easy victory but in reality the victory was very much due to the outstanding performance of Pat Jennings.  He showed his goalkeeping ability after Martin Chivers had given Spurs an early lead.  Grasshoppers piled on the pressure but Jennings stood firm and then after half an hour Ray Evans scored Spurs second.  The home team scored from a penalty just before half time and then in the second half Jennings made a number of outstanding saves before Chivers scored again and Alan Gilzean scored twice to ensure an amazing victory.  After the match Bill Nicholson commended Jennings on his brilliant performance.



Spurs 8 Gornik Zabrze 1 Two goals down from the 1st Leg Spurs appeared to have an uphill struggle to progress to the next round.  However, with the crowd behind them and the famous ‘Tottenham Roar’ to terrify the opposition, Spurs quickly set about correcting the disappointment of the first game.  Spurs hit the bar in the first minute, scored with a Blanchflower penalty after nine minutes and then Cliff Jones terrorised the Gornik defence with a seventeen minute hat-trick before half-time.  Gornik had scored but Spurs were 4-1 ahead on the night, 6-5 on aggregate.  Bobby Smith scored at the end of the first half and again in the second half.  The scoring was completed with goals from Terry Dyson and John White.  The start of Spurs ‘Glory! Glory!’ nights of European football at White Hart Lane.  A ground ticket to watch this entertainment would have cost you 4/- (4 shillings = 20p).



Watford 3 Spurs 6 Coca-Cola Cup 1st Round 1st Leg This match typified the Ossie Ardiles’ philosophy of attack and let the defence take care of itself. Four of the famous attacking five played, only Barmby was missing.  Sheringham, Anderton and Dumitrescu all scored and with Klinsmann scoring a hat-trick his star continued in the ascendancy.  While the team was creative going forward and Spurs were seemingly able to score at will, the defence was porous and conceded goals frequently.  Against lesser opposition this policy worked but in the sterner test of League football Spurs and Ardiles were having difficulties and were heading for a parting of the ways.



Spurs 2 AC Torino 0 Anglo-Italian League Cup Winners’ Cup The winners of the English and Italian League Cups met over two legs at the start of the season. Spurs had won the first leg in Italy with a goal scored by Martin Chivers.  Completing their victory in the second leg, Chivers scored again with Alan Gilzean getting the other.  An attendance of 34,000 saw Spurs win their first trophy of the season and helped them prepare for further encounters in Europe.



Norwich City 2 Spurs 2 At the beginning of the season Terry Venables signed Gary Lineker from Barcelona and with Gascoigne and Waddle Spurs were looking to be a very exciting team.  However, Waddle was sold to Marseilles and Lineker took time to settle.  He failed to score in the opening six League and Cup games of the season and results were poor.  However, he turned the corner in this game heading Spurs second goal to earn a point at Carrow Road.  He then proceeded to score a hat-trick the following week-end at home to Queens Park Rangers.  He proved his worth, finishing the season as top scorer with 26 League and Cup goals, including a second hat-trick in the home game against Norwich.



Watford 2 Spurs 3 This game was about Archibald and Hoddle.  In the second game of the season against Coventry Steve Archibald had angered manager Keith Burkinshaw by coming off the pitch near the end, claiming he was injured and not wanting to risk further injury. Spurs had already used their subs and finished the game with ten men.  Burkinshaw immediately dropped Archibald but he returned as substitute for this game.  Hoddle turned the game for Spurs with a great goal that everyone remembers.  Spurs were a goal down when he received the ball moving away from the goal - he cleverly turned the defender, moved round him and coolly chipped the ball over the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net – a goal that is frequently shown on television.   Now enter Steve Archibald as substitute to prove his point and score the second, Chris Hughton scored the third to earn Spurs the points, while Watford managed a late goal to reduce the arrears.



Queens Park Rangers 2 Spurs 3 A poor start to the season had seen Spurs gain only two points from the first four games.  Both home games were lost but draws were achieved away from White Hart Lane.  However, September brought a turn in form and five straight League and Cup wins.  Sheringham was leading the way having scored four in the previous three games and he was on the score sheet again, scoring twice, one penalty.  Things didn’t go according to plan early on in this Monday evening televised game.  Spurs were a goal down at half-time and found themselves two behind a minute into the second half.  The recovery started a minute later when Spurs were awarded a penalty which Sheringham scored.  Spurs then gave a display of attacking class and Jason Dozzell equalised after 72 minutes, with Sheringham scoring the winner two minutes later.  A concern for Spurs was the injury to Darren ‘Sicknote’ Anderton who had just played four matches after returning from a previous injury.  Anderton was to miss almost the complete season but managed to return in time for the final few games and be selected for England in the European Championships.



Spurs 3 Leeds United 3 This game was surrounded in much speculation that the Leeds manager, George Graham, was about to be appointed as the next Spurs manager.  Promised demonstrations by both sets of fans towards George Graham never really materialised, despite the odd jibe.  Leeds took an early lead, only for Ramon Vega to equalise.  Leeds then went two ahead after an hour, before Spurs started to make a come back.  On 71 minutes Steffen Iversen pulled one back and with three minutes of injury time gone, Sol Campbell headed the equaliser for Spurs.  Spurs showed commendable spirit which must have impressed their new manager, George Graham, who was duly appointed during the week.  

Commenting on the prospect of Graham compared to Pleat at Spurs, the Daily Express reporter wrote:  ‘Graham already looks and talks the part of the Tottenham manager.  Compare his suave sophistication on the White Hart Lane touchline with the eccentric appearance of David Pleat, who looked as if he had been dragged from the river-bank clutching a fishing rod minutes before kick-off.’



Spurs 4 Hajduk Split 3 A seven goal thriller in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, but it wasn’t really.  Spurs had won the first game by two goals and were comfortably in control.  Jimmy Robertson, Alan Gilzean and Terry Venables scored in the first half but then with ten minutes left Hajduk scored twice in a minute. Three minutes later Robertson added his second and when Cyril Knowles conceded a penalty in the 90th minute Hajduk got their third to make the score line respectable. Spurs had easily qualified for the next round on a 6-3 aggregate overcoming Hajduk and the failure of some of the floodlights.



Spurs 9 Keflavik 0 The second leg of this UEFA Cup 1st Round game was a formality as Spurs were five goals ahead from the 6-1 victory in Iceland.  This was Spurs first time in the UEFA Cup, all their previous European experience having been in the European Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.  Even though they were well ahead in the contest, it was still a full strength team which appeared at White Hart Lane.  That they didn’t beat the record British aggregate win in Europe (16 at the time held by Leeds) was down to the fact that the forwards squandered a number of good scoring opportunities.  The goals came at regular intervals through the game – they were four ahead at half-time, the goals scored by Martin Chivers (2), Steve Perryman and Ralph Coates.  In the second half Chivers completed his hat-trick while Cyril Knowles, Alan Gilzean (2) and substitute Phil Holder scored the others to give Spurs an aggregate win of 15 – 1.



Spurs 9 Nottingham Forest 2 Prior to this game Forest had conceded only 11 goals in ten games and afterwards they had their goalkeeper to thank that the score didn’t reach double figures.  However, after five minutes Forest went ahead following a mistake in the Spurs defence.  Spurs equalised within a minute through Greaves, went ahead five minutes later with Greaves’ second and had to wait for only another four minutes for the third from Jones.  After half an hour Spurs scored their fourth through White and then Medwin and Greaves, his hat-trick, made it six before half-time.  Spurs were playing slick, interchanging football and continued in the second half with an Allen penalty and a second goal from Jones.  Midway through the second half Forest forced Brown into a number of excellent saves but then late on Spurs re-asserted themselves and Greaves scored his fourth and the Forest keeper saved them from further humiliation.  Forest did manage a second four minutes from time.  Throughout his career Greaves had a tremendous goal scoring record against Forest, scoring 24 League goals against them, fifteen of them for Spurs.



Spurs 0 Radicals 2 This is the first recorded game of the new football club Hotspur FC.  A two goal defeat in a friendly against local rivals but little else is known about the game.  The fact that the game was played, only came to light when the club’s accounts for this period were discovered.  A group of schoolboys playing a friendly game for enjoyment would never have dreamt that their little team was going to develop into one of the most famous and successful teams in world football.  The accounts show that they bought their first ball on the morning of the match which could suggest that they played at home.


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