Tottenham Facts

Random Quite Interesting Spurs facts:

  • Tottenham are the the third most successful club of all time in the FA Cup, behind only Manchester United and Arsenal. We have won the competition 8 times since 1901 and have reached the final 9 times.
  • Despite being well-known for our support of homegrown talent, the club has pioneered the use of foreign stars in the English game. We famously signed Argentine duo Osvaldo Ardiles & Ricardo Villa back in 1978 for just £700,000 but our international influences stretch back much further than that. German Striker Max Seeburg joined Spurs way back in 1907 whilst still in the Southern League and became the first foreigner to play in the English Football League when Spurs were elected to join the Second Division in 1908.
  • Not just the first and only team to have won the FA Cup whilst still plying their trade out-side of the Football League, Spurs set a whole host of standards for the competition in 1901. Our star striker of that year, Sandy Brown, is still the only player to have scored in every round of the competition by netting an immense 15 goals, itself a record that re-mains unbroken. Spurs also became the first team to tie their colours to the trophy in celebration, a tradition which has stayed ever since.
  • Tottenham Hotspur FC have an impressive musical past having charted numerous pop songs over the years, largely thanks to the club’s connections with the duo Chas ‘n’ Dave who released 5 singles on the club’s behalf throughout the 80’s and early 90’s. The most successful of these was the classic “Ossie’s Dream” which got released in 1981 to support the FA Cup run and reached number 5 in the charts. The players themselves even got in on the act with Tottenham’s famous midfield pair Hoddle & Waddle, who missed a trick by releasing the single under their forename’s Glenn & Chris, climbed to number 12 in the charts with their song “Diamond Lights”. They even made an appearance on ‘Top of the Pops’ back in 1987 and they were not the only Spurs players to have done so. Just a couple of years later in 1990, Paul Gascoigne performed a cover of Lindisfarne’s “Fog on the Tyne” and got all the way to number 2 in the UK singles chart! The entire Spurs first team released an album to celebrate the 1967 FA Cup Final. It was recorded at the world famous Abbey Road studios and included “Glory, Glory Halleluja” and “Hello Dolly” as well as Terry Venables singing “Bye, Bye Blackbird”, Allan Mullery, Cyril Knowles, Frank Saul & Eddie Clayton singing “Maybe its because I’m a Londoner” and Greavsie’s version of “Strollin’”.
  • Tottenham Hotspur are the fifth most successful club in the whole of Europe and the second most successful in England in the UEFA Cup competition. Spurs were the first team to win the competition when it was created in 1971 and have had a further 2 ap-pearances in the final, winning it for a second time in 1984. Only Liverpool have done better from the UK, winning all 3 of their UEFA cup finals. In 1962 Tottenham also be-came the first British team to achieve success abroad when we won the European Champion’s Club Cup, once considered the most valued prize in European football be-fore it was aborted in favour of the UEFA Champion’s League in 1992.
  • Ossie’s dream was realised in 1981 with Tottenham’s FA Cup triumph but he allowed his joy to get to him when he celebrated by grabbing the trophy and diving into the dressing room baths, hurling the cup into the air. It smacked the ceiling and dented the rim and whenever the trophy has been photographed since, this defect has had to be slyly hidden, often with a carefully placed hand clutching the edge.
  • Arsenal Football Club made themselves permanent enemies of the Tottenham faithful when they moved their South London home at Woolwich to North London and into Spurs territory. They only fueled the hatred when, just one year later, Spurs were relegated and joined Arsenal in the Second Division. The Football Association decided to extend the First Division by another 2 teams and historically this meant that the teams scheduled for the drop would stay up instead. Somehow Arsenal’s chairman managed to persuade the FA that they should take Tottenham’s place despite only finishing in fifth place in the second division, 4 points behind third place Barnsley who stayed down.
  • The very day in 1919 that Arsenal pinched Tottenham’s place in the First Division, the club’s pet parrot collapsed and died. The parrot had been a gift from a ship’s captain as the Spurs team returned from a 1908 tour of Argentina & Uruguay and it lived a healthy and happy life on its perch at White Hart Lane for a full 11 years before its untimely end. It’s death is thought to be where the phrase “as sick as a parrot” came from.
  • White Hart Lane has been the home of Tottenham Hotspur for over a hundred years but, for a brief period during the First World War we had to play our home games at Highbury as the Lane had been taken over as a gas mask factory. Similarly, for a short while during the Second World War, Arsenal used White Hart Lane whilst Highbury was commandeered as a First Aid and Air-Raid Precaution centre. Legend tells that Arsenal made the promise that, as a thank you to Spurs for accommodating them, they will always incorporate a tiny bit of blue somewhere in there kit. They always wore a bit of white and often had blue socks but, interestingly, from 1946 Arsenal changed their socks from red & blue hoops to white & blue. The design lasted for 15 years right up to 1960 but whether it was done on Tottenham’s behalf is debatable as they had worn blue & white socks previously in the 30’s. After 1960 blue only appeared in the Arsenal strip for 2 years between 1967-69 but from 1982 up to the present day there has always been a bit of blue & white in the Arsenal strip, if only in the badge
  • In 1910 a statue of a cockerel atop a football was erected above the West Stand at White Hart Lane. Crafted by ex-Spurs player William James Scott, the bronze shows a fighting cock and, although nobody knows its true meaning, with it’s head held high and it’s puffed out chest, it is thought to represent the pride ad courage of Harry Hotspur who was said to have been keen on cock-fighting. A huge spur adorns the Cockerel’s ankle in reference to the club’s nickname and the bird stand confidently on the football as if claiming ownership. It has become synonymous with the football club and stands as an emblem of our unique style of play. There was a myth that Scott had hidden a treasure within the football and when the statue was moved across to the East Stand in 1958, they opened it up to discover an old yearbook from 1909!
  • It is believed that whilst a train crosses over a railway bridge, no manager of Tottenham Hotspur should pass beneath. The superstition goes way back and nobody really knows its true origin although it may have something to do with our original home on the Tottenham Marshes. Nobody knows the exact location of the pitch but, when the sole survivor of the founding members, Bobby Buckle, was asked in the 1950’s to point it out he indicated to the area between the curve of what is now Marsh Lane and the River Lea. This land sits right next to the train depot and there is a railway bridge that crosses over Marsh Lane. It is unknown whether a specific incident gave rise to the superstition but it is not hard to see how it might have come about when playing so near to the tracks.
  • It is perhaps not surprising to hear that the Premier League’s fastest ever goal was scored by Newcastle United’s prolific striker Alan Shearer when he netted in just 10 seconds against Manchester City in 2003. However, the record is shared with a slightly less likely goalscorer in Tottenham’s talismanic centre-back Ledley King who also struck in 10 seconds against Bradford City 3 years before Shearer in 2000.
  • Originally Tottenham bore a shield with a large letter ‘H’ upon their chests that stood for Hotspur. However, in response to the popularity of the bronze statue that towered over White Hart Lane since 1910, the emblem was redesigned to incorporate the strutting cockerel. In 1956 it evolved into a coat of arms that added other local landmarks to the composition. A pair of lions were assumed from the Northumberland family’s arms in recognition of their involvement in the area and stood either side of the club’s badge. To the top left of the shield is a crudely drawn castle that represents Bruce Castle. Bruce Castle was built sometime in the early 16th century and has long been associated with the area. It now stands just 500 yards to the south-east of White Hart Lane stadium. In the top right there are seven trees that correspond to the seven sisters from which the district gets its name. Originally, seven elm trees stood in a circle on Pages Green, Tot-tenham. The place is considered very ancient with the elms being over 500 years old and said to stand on the site of a sacred grove, Pages Green perhaps being derived from Pagan’s Green. Interestingly, the elms were replanted to the east in 1886, the year Spurs first started playing competitively, and seven Lombardy Poplars were then planted once more on the original site in 1955, the year before the football club redesigned it’s crest to include the symbolic trees. Finally, the latin inscription that adorns the scroll at the base of the emblem reads “audere est facere” and translates as “to dare is to do” and probably refers to the daring exploits of Harry Hotspur who gives his name to the club.
  • When Spurs were last relegated to the Second Division back in 1977 their support never waned. Instead fans recorded average attendances of over 33,000 which exceeded rest of the Second Division’s crowds by 8,000. Spurs were cheered back into the top flight on their very first attempt.
  • Many people know that the club was started by a group of schoolboys but few realise that most of them were as young as 12 years old! They surely could not have imagined the importance of their decision to play football and within 10 years were attracting crowds of about 4000 to their games! It is said that when the boys visited Luton Town in 1887 the opposition captain poked fun at their young age. Jack Jull promptly put him in his place telling him that, despite being only schoolboys, Tottenham can beat them. Spurs won the game 2-1. Although none of the founding members remained at the club long enough to take part in proceedings once the club turned professional in 1895, a few kept strong connections right into the 20th century and must have been proud to witness Spurs begin to assert themselves at the top tier of English football in the 50’s.
  • When the club first changed it’s name from Hotspur FC to Tottenham Hotspur Football & Athletic Club not many people know how close we were to playing under an altogethar different moniker. The boys at the club had been impressed by a Blackburn Rovers side they had watched win the FA Challenge Cup and wanted to do something to commemorate that team. As we all know by the anniversary kit released last year, they settled on adopting the half-white/half-blue strip that Rovers played in but the Blackburn team could have had an even greater impact than that when it was decided the name needed changing from Hotspur FC to avoid confusion with another nearby team named London Hotspur FC. Having also just moved to a new home at Northumberland Park as well as Hotspur’s connection with the Northumberland family, Tittenham Hotspur very nearly became known as Northumberland Rovers instead!
  • The world renowned football superstar that was Diego Maradona never played his foot-ball in England. However, Tottenham Hotspur FC became the only English club the great man ever lined up for when he ran out alongside the likes of Mark Falco, Chris Waddle, Clive Allen, Gary Mabbutt, Graham Roberts, Paul Allen and Glenn Hoddle when Spurs took on the might of Inter Milan in Ossie Ardiles’ testimonial game in 1986. Tottenham won the game 2-1 with goals from Falco and Clive Allen. Ardiles captained the side and Maradona wore the number 10 shirt. Despite having retired from club football a year earlier, Pat Jennings came on in the second half to replace Ray Clemence in his last ever first team appearance for the club before heading off to play for Northern Ireland in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
  • Another famous name to come from Spurs was Graham Souness. Souness was best known as captain of the great Liverpool side of the 80’s and won several league titles and European honours with the reds before eventually leaving to join Italian giants Sampdoria. However, he perhaps owes his successful career, as so many do, to the great Bill Nicholson who brought him through the Tottenham youth system. Souness only made one appearance for Spurs in a UEFA Cup tie when he came on as a substitute for Allan Mullery in the first round tie against Icelandic team Keflavik in 1971. We won the game 6-1 and went on to lift the trophy but Souness never again played for Spurs.