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History Of Tottenham Hotspur


From formation to Nicholson


In 1882 the Hotspur Football Club was formed by grammar school boys from the bible class at All Hallows Church. They were also members of Hotspur Cricket Club and it is thought that the name Hotspur was associated with Sir Henry Percy (Sir Harry Hotspur) who was "Harry Hotspur" of Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 1, and who lived locally during the 14th century and whose descendants owned land in the neighbourhood. In 1884 the club was renamed Tottenham Hotspur Football and Athletic Club to distinguish itself from another team called London Hotspur.

At first Spurs played in navy blue shirts. The club colours then varied from light blue and white halved jerseys, to red shirts and blue shorts, through chocolate brown and old gold and then finally, in the 1899–00 season, to white shirts and navy blue shorts as a tribute to Preston North End, the most successful team of the time.

In 1888 Tottenham moved their home fixtures from the Tottenham Marshes to Northumberland Park where the club was able to charge for spectator admission. An attempt to join an aborted Southern League, instigated by Royal Arsenal (later Arsenal), failed in 1892 when they were the only club of the 23 applicants to receive no votes. They turned professional just before Christmas 1895 and were then admitted to the Southern League and attracted crowds nearing 15,000. Charles Roberts became chairman in 1898 and stayed in post until 1943.

In 1899 Spurs made their final ground move to a former market garden in nearby High Road, Tottenham. In time the ground became known as White Hart Lane, a local thoroughfare. Tottenham were the considerable beneficiaries of the escalating unionisation of the northern professional game in the 1890s. Both John Cameron and John Bell, formerly Everton players came to play for Tottenham as a result of the conflict caused by their organisation of the Association Footballers' Union, a forerunner of the Professional Footballers' Association. As a direct result of this in 1900, Tottenham won the Southern League title and crowned this achievement the next year by winning the FA Cup - becoming the only non-League club to do so since the formation of the Football League. The cup was presented to Spurs captain Jack Jones with coloured ribbons on, tied there for the first time by the wife of the Spurs director, Morton Cadman, thus starting the long held tradition of tying ribbons in Cup competitions, which continues to this day.

Tottenham won election to the Second Division of the Football League for the 1908–09 season, immediately winning promotion as runners-up to the First Division. Their record between 1910–1911 and the Great War was poor and when football was suspended at the end of the 1914–15 season, Tottenham were bottom of the league.

Arthur Grimsdell displays the FA Cup to fans on the Tottenham High Road after Spurs' victory in the 1921 final.When football resumed in 1919, the First Division was expanded from 20 to 22 teams. The Football League extended one of the additional places to 19th-place Chelsea (who would have been relegated with Spurs for the 1915–1916 season) and the other to Arsenal. This promotion - Arsenal had finished only sixth in Division 2 the previous season - was controversial, and cemented a bitter rivalry (begun six years earlier, with Arsenal's relocation to Tottenham's hinterland) that continues to this day. Tottenham were Division Two Champions in 1919–20 and in the following year, on 23 April 1921, Spurs went all the way to their second FA Cup Final victory beating Wolves 1–0 at Stamford Bridge.

After finishing second to Liverpool in the League in 1922, Spurs experienced a steady decline, culminating in 1928's relegation. Spurs were unable to advance beyond the quarter finals of the FA Cup, getting that far three years running 1935–1938. On 3 September 1939, as Neville Chamberlain declared war, Spurs were seventh in the Second Division. League Football was abandoned for the "duration".

Following the war, football was an extremely popular interest attracting thousands of supporters each week-end. By 1949 Arthur Rowe was manager at the club and developed the “push and run” tactical style of play. This involved quickly laying the ball off to a team-mate and running past the marking tackler to collect the return pass. It proved an effective way to move the ball at pace with players' positions and responsibility being totally fluid. Rising to the top of the Second Division,by 1949-50 they were dominant champions.The next year, Tottenham ran away with their first ever league title, winning the First Division Championship in 1951. Playing heroes at the time included Alf Ramsey, Ronnie Burgess, Ted Ditchburn, Len Duquemin, Sonny Walters and Bill Nicholson.

The years following this period of success were tough for the Spurs, as age, injuries and other teams adapting to Spurs revolutionary style of play meant a struggle for the once dominant champions.They finished second in 1951–52, grabbing second on goal average as a young Manchester United team beat them to the title. A bad winter, and the terrible state of the White Hart Lane pitch, even by the standards of the day, contributed to this. In 1952–53, the Spurs only finished tenth, as age began to wear down the great "Push and Run" team. 1954 was notable for the signing of one of Spurs most celebrated players, Danny Blanchflower, for a record £30,000. Also in that year, Spurs experienced FA Cup heartbreak, with an Alf Ramsey error gifting Blackpool the goal that knocked out Spurs.

By this stage, Arthur Rowe had begun to suffer from ill health. He resigned in 1955, with mid-table finishes and boardroom dissent, along with Rowe's health, contributing to his departure. Long time club servant Jimmy Anderson took over. The 1955–56 season was a disaster, with Spurs nearly being relegated, and finishing eighteenth, just two points from relegation. However the next season, the club experienced a revival, finishing second, though eight points behind the winners, the "Busby Babes" of Manchester United. Third the next season was embodiment of the revival. But ill health now meant Anderson had to quit, being replaced by the now legendary Bill Nicholson. But eighteenth in the league in his first season in charge didn't signal the success that was to follow in the sixties

The 1960s and 1970s

Spurs shirt badge from 1967–1983Bill Nicholson had joined Tottenham Hotspur as an apprentice in 1936. The following 68 years saw him serve the club in every capacity from boot room to president. In his first game as manager on 11 October 1958, Spurs beat Everton 10–4. This was their record win at the time and a sign of things to come. He subsequently guided Tottenham to major trophy success three seasons in a row in the early 1960s: the double in 1961, the FA Cup and European Cup Semi-final in 1962, and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1963. Key players included Danny Blanchflower, John White, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, Jimmy Greaves and Terry Medwin.

After 1964, the "Double" side began to disintegrate due to age, injuries and transfers. Nicholson rebuilt a second successful team with imports like Alan Gilzean, Mike England, Alan Mullery, Terry Venables, Joe Kinnear and Cyril Knowles. They beat Chelsea to win the 1967 FA Cup Final and finished third in the league.

Nicholson added the League Cup (1971 and 1973) and the UEFA Cup 1971–72 to Tottenham's illustrious history before he resigned at the start of the 1974–75 season due to both a poor start, and his disgust at seeing rioting fans in Rotterdam in a UEFA Cup final, which Spurs lost.

Nicholson had won 8 major trophies in 16 years and his spell in charge was without doubt the most glorious period in the club's history. However, what he left behind was an ageing squad and Spurs could no longer claim to be a true force in English football. Nicholson wished to select his replacement and lined up a 'dream team' of Johnny Giles and Danny Blanchflower to take over, but the Spurs board ignored his advice and appointed ex Arsenal player Terry Neill, who narrowly avoided relegation at the end of 1974–5. Never accepted by the fans, Neill left the club in 1976 and was replaced by his assistant Keith Burkinshaw that summer.

Tottenham slipped out of the First Division at the end of the 1976–77 season, after 27 years in the top flight. This was soon followed by the unwise sale of their Northern Ireland international goalkeeper Pat Jennings to arch rivals Arsenal, a move that shocked the club's fans and proved to be a serious error. Jennings played on for another eight years for Spurs' rivals, while Tottenham took until 1981 to replace him with a goalkeeper of genuine class in Ray Clemence from Liverpool.

Despite relegation, the board kept faith with Burkinshaw and the team immediately won promotion to the top flight, although they came mighty close to missing out. A sudden loss of form at the end of the season meant the club needed a point in the last game at Southampton. To great relief, the game ended 0–0 and Tottenham won promotion. In the summer of 1978 Burkinshaw rocked the football world by signing two Argentinian World Cup stars Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa which was the kind of transfer coup never seen before in British football. But it took time for a new team to be forged into a successful unit.

The 1980s

Spurs opened the 1980s on a high with an FA Cup replay win over Manchester City, 3–2, thanks to Ricky Villa's memorable and remarkable solo goal. They lifted the FA Cup again against QPR the next season, and were in contention for four trophies, including the First Division title in which they threatened Liverpool at Easter but ended up fourth. Liverpool also denied Spurs the Football League Cup in extra time and Barcelona won at home in the Cup Winners' Cup semis after a 1–1 draw at the Lane.

Key players such as Steve Archibald, Garth Crooks, Glenn Hoddle, Osvaldo Ardiles, and long-serving Steve Perryman inspired Tottenham to UEFA Cup glory in 1984, but several weeks before this victory Burkinshaw announced he would be leaving at the end of that season. Spurs had lost a manager who won three trophies in four seasons and managed a remarkable run at the top that made Spurs a major club.

New manager Peter Shreeves and owner Irving Scholar took over with Shreeves managing to a third place finish in 1984–85 and slumping the following season, while Scholar attempted to restore the club's financial fortunes. They had looked like strong contenders for the league title for most of the 1984-85 season, topping the table at Christmas [3], but they were later leapfrogged by champions Everton and runners-up Liverpool. Their final position of third place in the league would have booked them a UEFA Cup place, but on 29 May 1985 the Heysel disaster which saw 39 spectators crushed to death by a wall when Liverpool fans rioted at the European Cup final saw all English clubs banned from European competitions indefinitely. This ruled Tottenham out of the UEFA Cup for the 1985-86 and 1987-88 campaigns. Although the ban on English clubs in European competitions was lifted in 1990 (1991 for Liverpool), Tottenham's third place finish in the 1989-90 First Division was not enough for a place in the 1990-91 UEFA Cup as only the second placed side (Aston Villa) were able to represent England in the competition.

Luton Town manager David Pleat was appointed the new manager, and for much of 1986–87 it looked as though it would be a very successful season. Playing with a five man midfield (Hoddle, Ardiles, Hodge, Allen, Waddle) backing Clive Allen, Tottenham remained in contention for all domestic honours. Arsenal stopped Spurs in the League Cup semi-final,[1] they missed on the first division title, and as favourites for the FA Cup over newcomers Coventry, stumbled 3–2 in a disappointing end to a great season. Pleat quit in October 1987 following allegations about his private life. He returned a decade later, but his short spell in charge was one of the great 'if only' stories in the club's history. Former Spurs player Terry Venables was named Pleat's successor, and after two league seasons, guided the club to third place in 1989–90 and an FA Cup win in 1991. The new-look Tottenham team included two players who starred in England's run to the semi-finals of the 1990 FIFA World Cup – Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker.

Since 1990

In 1990, a slump in the property market left chairman Scholar on the verge of bankruptcy. Venables joined forces with businessman Alan Sugar to take over Tottenham Hotspur PLC and pay off its £20 million debt, part of which involved the sale of Gascoigne. Venables became chief executive, with Shreeves again taking charge of first-team duties. His second spell as team manager lasted just one season, before he was dismissed in favour of joint coaches Ray Clemence and Doug Livermore. Tottenham's first Premier League season ended with a mid-table finish and Venables was removed from the club's board after a legal dispute with Sugar. Ossie Ardiles became the club's next manager in 1993.

Under Ardiles, Tottenham employed the Famous Five: Teddy Sheringham and Jürgen Klinsmann up front, Nick Barmby just behind, Darren Anderton on the right and Ilie Dumitrescu on the left. Klinsmann was a sensation, scoring freely and becoming a firm fan favourite. Ultimately these expensive signings made little difference to Tottenham's form and Ardiles was sacked in September 1994.

During the 1994 close season, Tottenham were found guilty of making illegal payments to players and given one of the most severe punishments in English football history: a 12 point deduction, a one year FA Cup ban, and a £600,000 fine. Sugar protested and the Cup ban and points deduction were quashed.

Ardiles was replaced by Gerry Francis. He initially turned around the club's fortunes dramatically. Tottenham climbed to seventh in the league, and reached the FA Cup semi-finals, an embarrassment for the FA was averted after Spurs lost 4–1 to eventual winners Everton. Francis was unable to take the club forward from this point and his judgement in the transfer market was flawed.

1996–97 saw Tottenham finish in tenth place, and at the end of the season star striker Teddy Sheringham was sold to Manchester United after contract negotiations broke down. In November 1997, with Spurs second from bottom and in danger of relegation, Francis was sacked. Christian Gross, coach of Swiss champions Grasshoppers, was appointed. He failed to turn around the club's fortunes, however, and the team battled against the drop for the remainder of the campaign. Legendary striker Jürgen Klinsmann was re-signed in January, but initially failed to recreate the form of his first spell at the club. Four goals in a 6–2 win away to Wimbledon in the penultimate game of the season was, however, enough to secure survival.

Gross, despite having finished the last season on a high by only losing one of their last nine games, was sacked just three games into the following season, and George Graham was soon hired to take over. Despite heavy criticism from fans due to Graham's previous association with Arsenal, in his first season as Spurs manager the club secured a mid-table finish and won the League Cup. In the final against Leicester City at Wembley, full-back Justin Edinburgh was sent off after an altercation with Robbie Savage on the hour mark, but Spurs secured a dramatic victory through Allan Nielsen's diving header in the 93rd minute of the game. Spurs also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they were beaten 2–0 by Newcastle after extra-time, after the referee had not given Spurs a definite penalty for handball in normal time. To cap a good season, star player David Ginola won both the PFA Players' Player of the year 1999 and Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year 1999 awards.

Another disappointing league finish followed in 1999–00 and in 2001, Sugar's patience broke. He sold his controlling interest to ENIC Sports PLC, run by Daniel Levy.

Team management passed to Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle who took over in April 2001 with the team lying thirteenth in the table. His first game saw defeat to Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final. The club captain, Sol Campbell, defected to Arsenal on a Bosman free transfer that summer.

Hoddle turned to more experienced players in the shape of Teddy Sheringham, Gus Poyet and Christian Ziege for inspiration, and Spurs played some good football in the opening months of his management. Season 2001–02 saw Spurs finish in ninth place, as well as reaching the League Cup final, where they lost to Blackburn Rovers, having been the favourites after their 5-1 demolition of Chelsea in the previous round.

The only significant outlay prior to the following campaign was £7 million for Robbie Keane, who joined from Leeds United. 2002–03 started well, with Tottenham in the top six as late as early February. But with just seven points in the final 10 games, the club finished in tenth place. Several players publicly criticised Hoddle's management and communication skills. Six games into the 2003-04 season, Hoddle was sacked and David Pleat took over on a caretaker basis until a full-time successor could be found.

Robbie Keane prepares to take a penalty kick at White Hart LaneIn May 2004, Tottenham signed French team manager Jacques Santini as head coach, with Martin Jol as his assistant and Frank Arnesen as Sporting Director. Santini quit the club in bizarre circumstances after just 13 games. He was replaced by Jol. The big Dutchman became a favourite with the passionate Spurs crowd and secured a ninth place finish. In June 2005, when Arnesen defected to Chelsea, Spurs appointed Damien Comolli as Sporting Director.

During 2005–06 Spurs spent six months in fourth place but ended fifth. Going into the final game of the season, they led rivals Arsenal by a point, but were forced to play their match at West Ham with half the team suffering from Norovirus, a viral form of gastroenteritis, commonly known as "Winter Vomiting Disease". Spurs lost and were pipped to a Champions League place, but it was success nevertheless in gaining a place in the UEFA Cup. They finished fifth for the second season in a row in 2006–07.

Martin Jol was sacked early into the 07–08 season, with Juande Ramos ex-Seville coach replacing the Dutchman. Spurs went on to win the Football League Cup, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final in February 2008.[2] Nevertheless, Ramos was in turn sacked in October 2008 after losing to Udinese in the UEFA Cup and with Spurs seemingly rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. 2008-09 saw the worst start to a season in the club's history. The following day Portsmouth Manager Harry Redknapp confirmed that he had agreed to become the new manager of TottenhamDirector of Football Damien Comolli was also sacked, after criticism of the sales of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane. Tottenham returned to a "traditional" setup with Redknapp in charge of coaching and player transfers.[ In his first two weeks in charge Redknapp took the club out of the relegation zone, winning ten out of the twelve points available with wins against Bolton, Liverpool and Manchester City and a draw against North London rivals Arsenal.









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