I was interested to note the number of royal connections with the club whilst having a wander around this week.
Lets start by looking at actual fans. You should be aware if you read my twaddle on a regular basics that King Harald V of Norway follows the Spurs (2).
What you may not know is that Mark Phillips, Olympic Gold medalist and former husband to Princess Anne and their son Peter are both Tottenham supporters. Also to be found in the Royal Box, HRH Sheikh Nader Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the nephew of the King of Bahrain.
I've also been informed, that we also have a royal supporter in the King of Malaysia King Syed Sirajuddin. I will try and confirm that one.
The idea for this piece came about when I thought of a conversation I had with a friend of a friend some time ago. I was chatting to a history buff ! (1) and he was saying that the Prince of Wales (later Edward 7th ) had attended White Hart Lane on several occasions to watch Tottenham play. Which did not over surprise me but then he added that some years later the famous Mrs. Simpson who married Edward 8th had also visited White Hart Lane, which I admit I had not a clue about. At the time I did not think (or need to) check these facts as why would he say otherwise and I'm sure he is right. I had a quick look round this week and found one reference to Edward 7th but cant really confirm his presence. If I do uncover anything at a later date I will let you know.
During these quick wanders to see what I could discover I stumbled upon the fact that on November 29th 1930 two Indian princes, His Royal Highness Raj Rishi Shri Sewai Maharej Dev of Alwar and The Shri Maharaj of Jhalawar were guests of the club when we played Port Vale. It seems that they were in London representing the Indian Round Table and expressed a wish to see some London working life.
Another Royal visitor to White Hart Lane was Prince Feisal of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He visited Tottenham to watch the Spurs play in 1926. This Prince Feisal was the son of the governor of Mecca which would be one of the most powerful posts in the country at that time.
Whatever your feelings about the Queen’s honour’s list it does offer the opportunity to give recognition for service to ones country. A number of people connected to the club have ‘picked up gongs’ over the years. Not always directly associated with the their Tottenham days. Bill Nicholson received an OBE. Our former player Alf Ramsey collected a knighthood for his services to football, especially his achievements as England manager. Pat Jennings received an MBE in 1976 and this later became a OBE in 1987. Other MBE’s have been presented to Martin Peters, Mike England, Steve Perryman, Gary Mabbutt and Teddy Sheringham. Whilst OBE’s have gone to Gary Lineker, Garth Crooks and Ray Clemence.
Its not always the famous that have their work noticed. Johnny Wallis worked at Tottenham from 1948 to 1993. His career covered being a player, assistant trainer, first team trainer, Physio, ground staff member and kit manager. He received a MBE in 1993.
Whilst our former schoolboy coach Dickie Moss was awarded a MBE in 2005. He collected his award at the age of 80 and at that time was still working at the club. Grant Cornwell, the Chief Executive of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has been awarded an MBE.
So if we turn our attentions to the various FA Cup Finals involving Spurs. In 1961 the teams were presented to the Duchess of Kent before the game. She noted to Danny Blanchflower that the Leicester City team had their names on their tracksuits and asked why Tottenham didn’t. Danny famously replied “That’s because we already know each other”.
May 1923 and the first Royal visit to White Hart Lane arrived when the Duke of Royal watched us beat West Ham 5-2, including a Hartley hat trick, in a charity match. Then in December 1930 Prince Edward, Prince of Wales attended a game at Upton Park where Tottenham played a game to raise funds for the British Legion charity which assists ex-servicemen. The game played in dreadful conditions was won by Spurs 2-1 with goals from Davies and Bellamy.
To come right up to date footballers often use their celebrity status to promote charities. In the top image we find Jermain Defoe at St James Palace in 2012 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Prince's Trust Football Initiative with the current Prince of Wales.
Notes 1 - When I say history buff he is actually a History professor, an acknowledged author in his field and turns up on telly regularly ! As he doesn’t plug my stuff I won’t plug his.
2 - Connections Norway - 26/11/13.
Thanks- London University, BBC, THFC, THOS, Bob Goodwin, The Times, The FA, Getty Images, Daily Mail, APF Photos.
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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