History of Tottenham Hotspurs F.C.
Formation and early years (1882–1908)
The club, originally named Hotspur Football Club, was formed on 5 September 1882 by a group of schoolboys led by Robert Buckle. They were members of the Hotspur Cricket Club, and the football club was formed in order to play sports during the winter months. A year later the boys sought help with the club from John Ripsher, the Bible class teacher at All Hallows Church, who became the first president of the club and its treasurer. Ripsher helped and supported the boys through the club’s formative years, reorganised and found premises for the club. In April 1884, due to mail for another club London Hotspur being misdirected to North London, the club was renamed Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to avoid any further confusion.
Initially, the boys played games between themselves and friendly matches against other local clubs. The team entered their first cup competition in the London Association Cup, and won their first competitive match on 17 October 1885. The matches of the club began to attract the interest of the local community and attendances at its matches increased. In 1892, they played for the first time in a league, which was the short-lived Southern Alliance.
The club turned professional on 20 December 1895, and in the summer of 1896 they were admitted to the Division One of the Southern League. On 2 March 1898, the club also became a limited company, the Tottenham Hotspur Football and Athletic Company. Soon after, Frank Brettell became the first ever manager of Spurs, and he signed John Cameron, who took over as player-manager when Brettell left a year later. Cameron would have a significant impact on Spurs, winning the club its first trophy, the Southern League title. The following year, on 27 April 1901, Spurs won the FA Cup after beating Sheffield United 3–1 in a replay of the 1901 Cup final, and became the only non-League club to have ever achieved such a feat since the formation of The Football League in 1888.
Early decades in Football League (1908–1958)
In 1908, the club was elected into the Football League Second Division, and won immediate promotion to the First Division when they finished runners-up in their first year in the league. In 1912, Peter McWilliam became manager; however, Tottenham finished bottom of the league at the end of the 1914–15 season when football was suspended due to the First World War. Spurs were relegated to Division Two on the resumption of League football after the war, but quickly returned to Division One as Division Two champions of the 1919–20 season.
On 23 April 1921, McWilliam guided Spurs to their second FA Cup win, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0 in the Cup Final. In 1922, Spurs finished second to Liverpool in the League in 1922, but would finish mid-table in the next five seasons. Spurs was relegated in the 1927–28 season after McWilliam left. For most of the 1930s and 40s, Spurs languished in the Second Division, apart from a brief return to the top flight in the 1933–34 and 1934–35 seasons.
Former Spurs player Arthur Rowe became manager in 1949. Rowe developed a style of play, known as “push and run”, that proved to be successful in his early years as manager. He took the team back to the First Division after finishing top of the Second Division in 1949–50 season. In his second season in charge, the team won Tottenham’s first ever League Championship title when they finished top of the First Division of 1950–51 season. However, he resigned in April 1955 due to illness from the stress of managing the club. Nevertheless, before he left, he signed one of Spurs’ most celebrated players, Danny Blanchflower, who would win the FWA Footballer of the Year twice while at Tottenham.
Bill Nicholson and the Glory Years (1958–1974)
Nicholson would become the club’s most successful manager, guiding the team to major trophy success three seasons in a row in the early 1960s: the double in 1961, the FA Cup in 1962 and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963. Nicholson signed Dave Mackay and John White in 1959, two influential players of the Double-winning team, and Jimmy Greaves in 1961, the most prolific goalscorer in the history of the top tier of English football.
The 1960–61 season started with a run of 11 wins, followed by a draw and another 4 wins, at that time the best ever start by any club in the top flight of English football. The title was won on 17 April 1961 when they beat the eventual runner-up Sheffield Wednesday at home 2–1, with three more games still to play. The Double was achieved when Spurs won 2–0 against Leicester in the final of the 1960–61 FA Cup. This is the first Double of the 20th century, and the first since Aston Villa achieved the feat in 1897. The next year Spurs won their consecutive FA Cup after beating Burnley in the 1962 FA Cup Final.
On 15 May 1963 Tottenham would also become the first British team to win a European trophy by winning the 1962–63 European Cup Winners’ Cup when they beat Atlético Madrid 5–1 in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final. Spurs added another European trophy when they won the 1971–72 UEFA Cup with a rebuilt team that included Martin Chivers, Pat Jennings, and Steve Perryman. They also won the FA Cup in 1967, and two League Cups (in 1971 and 1973). In total, Nicholson won eight major trophies in his 16 years at the club as manager.
Burkinshaw to Venables (1974–1992)
Spurs went into a period of decline after the successes of the early 70s, and Nicholson decided to resign after a poor start to the 1974–75 season. The team was then relegated at the end of the 1976–77 season with Keith Burkinshaw as manager. Burkinshaw however, quickly returned the club to the top flight, built a team that included Glenn Hoddle as well as two Argentinians Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa, whose signings were particularly uncommon in the British game as foreign players in British football were rare at that time. The team that Burkinshaw rebuilt would win the FA Cup in 1981 and 1982, and the UEFA Cup in 1984.
The 1980s was a period of change that began with a new phase of redevelopment at White Hart Lane as well as a change of directors. Irving Scholar took over the club and moved it in a more commercial direction, the beginning of the transformation of English football clubs into commercial enterprises. Debt at the club, however, would again lead to a change in the boardroom, and Terry Venables teamed up with businessman Alan Sugar in June 1991 to take control of Tottenham Hotspur plc. Venables, who became manager in 1987, signed players such as Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker. Under Venables Spurs won the 1990–91 FA Cup, making them the first club to win eight FA Cups.
Premier League football (1992–present)
Spurs was one of the five clubs that pushed for the founding of Premier League, created with the approval of The Football Association as replacement for the Football League First Division as the highest division of English football. Despite a succession of managers and players such as Teddy Sheringham, Jürgen Klinsmann and David Ginola, for a long period in the Premier League until the late 2000s, Spurs finished mid-table most seasons with few trophies won. They won the League Cup in 1999 under George Graham, and again in 2008 under Juande Ramos. Performance improved under Harry Redknapp with players such as Gareth Bale and Luka Modrić, and the club finished in the top five in the early 2010s.
In February 2001, Sugar sold his share holding in Spurs to ENIC Sports plc, run by Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy, and stepped down as chairman. Lewis and Levy would eventually own 85% of the club, with Levy responsible for the running of the club. The current manager is Mauricio Pochettino who was appointed in May 2014.
Spurs played their early matches on public land at the Park Lane end of Tottenham Marshes where they needed to mark out and prepare their own pitch. Occasionally fights may break out on the marshes in dispute with other teams over the use of the ground. The first recorded match took place on 30 September 1882 against a local team named the Radicals, which Hotspur lost 2–0. The first Spurs game reported by the local press took place on Tottenham Marshes on 6 October 1883 against Brownlow Rovers, which Spurs won 9–0. It was at this ground that in 1887 Spurs first played the team that would later become their arch rivals Arsenal (then known as Royal Arsenal), leading 2–1 until the match got called off due to poor light after the away team arrived late.
As they played on public parkland, the club could not charge admission fees, and while the number of spectators grew to a few thousands, it yielded no gate receipts. In 1888, the club rented a pitch at Asplins Farm next to the railway line at Northumberland Park at a cost of £17 per annum, where spectators may be charged 3d a game, raised to 6d for cup ties. The first match on the ground was on 13 October 1888, a reserve match that yielded gate receipts of 17 shillings. The first stand with just over 100 seats and changing rooms underneath was built on the ground for the 1894–95 season at a cost of £60, however, the stand was blown down a few weeks later and had to be repaired. In April 1898, 14,000 fans turned up to watch Spurs play Woolwich Arsenal. In the overcrowded ground, spectators climbed up onto the roof of the refreshment stand, which then collapsed causing a few injuries. As Northumberland Park could no longer cope with the larger crowds, Spurs were forced to look for a larger ground and moved to the White Hart Lane site in 1899.
White Hart Lane
The White Hart Lane ground was built on a disused nursery owned by the brewery Charringtons and located behind a public house named White Hart on Tottenham High Road (the actual White Hart Lane road lies a few hundred yards north of the main entrance). The ground was initially leased from Charringtons, and the stands they used at Northumberland Park were moved here, giving shelter for 2,5000 spectators. Notts County were the first visitors to ‘the Lane’ in a friendly watched by 5,000 people and yielded £115 in receipts; Spurs won 4–1. QPR became the first competitive visitors to the ground and 11,000 people saw them lose 1–0 to Tottenham. In 1905, Tottenham raised enough money to buy the freehold to the land as well as land at the northern (Paxton Road) end.
After Spurs was admitted to the Football League, the club started to rebuild the stadium, with new stands designed by Archibald Leitch being constructed over the next two and a half decades. The West Stand was added in 1909, the East stand was also covered this year and extended further two years later. The profits from the 1921 FA Cup win were used to build a covered terrace at the Paxton Road end and the Park Lane end was built at a cost of over £3,000 some two years later. This increased the ground’s capacity to around 58,000 with room for 40,000 under cover. The East Stand (Worcester Avenue) stand was finished in 1934 and this increased capacity to around 80,000 spectators but cost £60,000.
Starting in the early 1980s, the stadium underwent another major phase of redevelopment. The West Stand was replaced by an expensive new structure in 1982, and the East Stand was renovated in 1988. In 1992, following the Taylor Report’s recommendation that Premier League clubs eliminate standing areas, the lower terraces of the south and east stand were converted to seating, with the north stand becoming all-seater the following season. The south stand redevelopment was completed in March 1995 and included the first giant Sony Jumbotron TV screen for live game coverage and away match screenings. In the 1997–98 season the Paxton Road stand had a new upper tier as well as a second Jumbotron screen added. Minor amendments to the seating configuration were made in 2006 bringing the capacity of the stadium to 36,310.
By the turn of the millennium, the capacity of White Hart Lane had fallen significantly behind compared to other major Premier League clubs. Talks began over the future of White Hart Lane with a number of schemes considered, such as increasing the stadium capacity by redevelopment of the current site or the use of the 2012 London Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Eventually the club settled on the Northumberland Development Project, whereby a new stadium would be built on a larger piece of land that incorporated the White Hart Lane site. In 2016, the northeast corner of White Hart Lane was removed to facilitate the construction of the new stadium. As this reduced the stadium capacity below that required for European games, Tottenham Hotspur played every European home game in 2016–17 at Wembley Stadium. Domestic fixtures of the 2016–17 season continued to be played at the Lane, but demolition of the rest of the stadium started the day after the last game of the season, and White Hart Lane was completely demolished by the end of July 2017.
In October 2008, the club announced a plan to build a new stadium immediately to the north of the existing White Hart Lane stadium, with the southern half of the new stadium’s pitch overlapping the northern part of the Lane. The club submitted a planning application in October 2009, but following critical reactions to the plan, it was withdrawn in favour of a substantially revised planning application for a larger stadium and other associated developments. The new plan was resubmitted and approved by the Haringey Council in September 2010, and an agreement for the Northumberland Development Project was signed 20 September 2011.
After a long delay over the compulsory purchase order of local businesses located on land to the north of the stadium and a legal challenge against the order, resolved in early 2015, planning application for another new design was approved by Haringey Council on 17 December 2015. Construction of the new stadium started in 2016, and the stadium is scheduled to open for the start of the 2018–19 season. While the stadium is under construction, all Tottenham home games in the 2017–18 season would be played at Wembley Stadium. The new stadium is as yet unnamed.