A Victorian Hotspur. Part 3
In this concluding part of the series we discover how Spurs moved away from the Marshes and uncover its first cup controversy. We also meet a club from south of the river whilst Luton have a problem with our size of our players.
The following season 1886-87 and the ambitious Spurs entered the London Association Cup, even though they were advised to enter the Junior Cup, and lost away to the holders in the first round at Upton Park (no relation to West Ham).
We also entered the East End Cup. Here we overcame Phoenix 6-0, Park 2-0 and St Lukes 2-1, all at home. Then in the semi-final (1) we played London Caledonian's. The game was due to be played (in Greenwich) but the pitch was in such a bad condition the two clubs agreed the game would carry friendly status only. We lost that game 0-2. It was agreed the following weekend to play the re-arranged game at home. However Caledonian's failed to arrive, Tottenham kicked off, scored, claimed victory and retired from the field. The Caledonian's later appealed the result and the game was replayed in a match we lost 0-1. Reports claim that the goal came from a low shot going through the goalkeepers legs.
We have details of 20 games that season, (winning 14). The East End Cup campaign had raised the profile again and there was interest in friendly encounters from a ‘higher class’ of opponent from a wider area. This of course would require the team generating more income than just the player’s subscriptions. A benefit concert brought in fifteen pounds which would help but was not the answer. At this point crowds had grown and the club was roping off the playing area to avoid encroachment. Many of the crowds enjoyed a good game however; others wanted to ‘heckle’ the other team. As P J Moss who played for Spurs at the time and later became a sports journalist remembered when he wrote several articles about the club (2). ‘In some of the games with no gate money taken it is no exaggeration to say that 4,000 spectators surrounded the field, they were not always considerate of the feelings of visiting teams and I well remember some cup ties in which the visitors were pelted with mud, turnips and other refuse.’
Other accounts point out the home players were quite likely to be subjected to abuse from sections of the crowd as much as the visitors. This in part was due to the crowd drawing illegal betting rings and wagers being made about the outcome. The local press had carried stories being critical of the club for the crowd’s behaviour but as they replied in the press it was a public space and they had no control over what people did. Clearly if the club were to continue something had to happen.
That season also saw the first encounter with the Edmonton Association, which Romance of football described as ‘ These were the matches of the season and they were fought out fiercely, no quarter being given or asked, every player sore and weary at the finish.’ For the record we won 3-1.
The end of the season saw another concert at the Park Lane Drill Hall which raised £15,
six shillings, three and one half pence.
The 'whole club' at the St. Alban's match 1895 - Top R. Amos, L. Brown, T. Wood, T. Bumberry, J Anderson, J. Ripsher, H. Casey, second - J. Thompson, W. Tyrell, F. Lovis, J. Jull (Capt), H. Goshawk, W. Hillyer, S. Leaman (2nd XI Capt), F. Payne, J. Randall, third - J. G. Randall, B. Buckle, G. Burt, G. Bush, P. Moss, W. Mason, B. Hartson, F. Cottrell, H. Bull, (5).
The next season (87/88) would be the last on the Marshes. The only competitive game that year was in the London Senior Cup and we lost that away to Hendon. There’s a record of fifteen friendlies of which eleven are victories. One notable new name appearing in our fixtures that year is a trip to Luton Town. Tottenham were still a very young side and when the sides tossed up the Luton skipper commented on the age and size of the Spurs players. Jack Jull responded ‘wait till after the match, old man, before you say any more, schoolboys or not we can beat you.’ Spurs won 2-1.
Another first that autumn was the visit of Royal Arsenal on 19th November. They turned up late for the kick off then when they were losing after 75 minutes they appealed to the referee for the light and the game was abandoned. The only report I could find (3) informs us that Hotspurs played two new men, G. Baldock and J.Bird who had joined from the recently disbanded Park FC. Arsenal had in goal ‘Fred Beardsley who had recently joined from Notts Forest and it was Beardsley who saved Arsenal from an over whelming defeat. After Arsenal took a lucky lead within the first ten minutes Spurs pressed them hard for the rest of the game and only the splendid Beardsley kept the scores down to two goals.’ We played them again away later in the season and lost on the day as we only fielded nine players.
The last recorded ‘home’ game in this period fell on 7th January 1888 and a 3-2 win over St. Brides. The last Tottenham scorers on the Marshes being, Buckle, Cottrell and Mason. Six away matches are known to have been played after that date.
During the summer of 1888 Bobby Buckle, Sam Casey, Frank Hatton and Jack Jull discovered a pitch on private land they could use. It was just off Northumberland Park, the road that leads from the level crossing at the top of the marshes around to the High Road. It can be seem today as where the Sainsbury supermarket is just north of WHL and still less than a mile from that lamppost.
Another team (The Foxes) was already using the ground but it was thought it was big enough for two sides. There are records of us having played the Foxes at home but as far as we know not away on the new ground. The first reports of the ground were that it provided an excellent playing surface, so much so that at the time during the summer it was used by a tennis club.
An annual rent of ten pounds was agreed (4). There just remained the question of should the club move. Fierce debate raged within the club over its future direction. One side felt they should move as it would provide control over the crowd, bring money into the club and attract ‘bigger’ teams to play Tottenham. If we don’t move the club will stagnate and die.
The other view was apart from the occasional cup games (there had been none at home that season) the team only played friendlies. Yes they had a good crowd on the Marshes but that was free, would people pay to watch the team? It was still just a field with no stands for spectators. Would they be able to meet their expenses? Was the club simply over reaching itself, or as was often said at the time, ‘just too big for their boots.’
The club decided to move and the following season (1888/89) would see Tottenham celebrate its 7th birthday playing on privately owned enclosed land on the ground that would become known as Northumberland Park but was referred to locally and in the press of the day as ‘The Park.’ The next chapter of the clubs history had begun and we will discover what happened next in the near future in Northumberland Days.
t- Keith 16024542
f - https://www.facebook.com/keith.harrison.9659
You can my full archive at - View Full Bio
Acknowledgements appear in Talking Tottenham - 1882 and all that.
See also – Hotspur by Gaslight link –http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-by-gaslight
& Talking Tottenham –Adventures in N17.
Top - Hamilton (Sam) Casey
1 – It has been suggested that this was actually the final and not the semi. However both Bob Goodwin and Phil Soar register it as the semi-final and the club acknowledge that the clubs first ever final was in 1897.
2 - P. J Moss’s articles include for the Football News (1900) and the Daily Mirror (1909)
Moss is featured in the team photo above. One has to wonder just how accurate some of his crowd figures actually were.
3 – Julian Holland’s history of Tottenham published in 1956. Normally a fair and even text describing the clubs faults as well as successes.
4 – This would increase to seventeen later when Tottenham became the sole tenants.
5 - There were two J. Randall's, believed to be brothers.
30/9/2020 05:32:37 pm
I just came across your blog while trying to track down some information about PJ Moss who played in these early Spurs teams. My researchers and I are trying to confirm what shirts Spurs wore between 1886 and 1888. According to the club minutes book these were "blue and white" and we are assuming this was a change from the light blue & white adopted in 1884. A piece written by Moss in 1929 implies that the 1886-88 shirts may also have been light blue and white but his reference is ambiguous and written over 40 years after the event so may not be reliable. Can you help? DM
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