Tottenham have engaged German sides in friendly contests over the years, in this article we look back at some of the earlier ones including the first of these which was back in the early days of White Hart Lane, on 8th January 1901 when we entertained a side touring England under the name The German Association (although all the players were from the Berlin club) as they became the first side from mainland Europe to face Tottenham. Playing in four inches of snow the two sides served up a fifteen goal entertainment.
It was the tourist’s second game on their tour and the game was played on a Tuesday afternoon with a layer of four inches of snow on the pitch. This would account for the crowd being just 800. Spurs fielded a strong side with only Cameron and Clawley being absent. Brown opened the scoring with a header following a cross from the right wing. Tom Morris scored a penalty and Hyde scored from long range. An own goal, Morris again and Kirwan made the score 5-0 at half time. Spurs then made a number of changes and both Kirwan and Brown took turns in goal. The two fullbacks playing as wing forwards. The German side won the second half by 6-4, (so 9-6 to Spurs). All four of the second half goals came from defender Sandy Tait (1) The visitors are described as ‘plucky’ and claiming that after the break ‘there was some clowning.’
Another report said the German side gave a ‘very creditable show. It is true that they have no very great idea of defensive play. The forwards played well and I was considerably surprised at the irresistible dash they infused into their play. If some of our crack league clubs only showed half the dash of the German gentlemen football would be far more interesting. The goalkeeper with the unpronounceable name was very smart and the ball was presented to him as a memento of the occasion.’
Following this Spurs were invited to visit German that summer but the FA declined to sanction the trip (2). Tottenham finally got there in 1911 during our fourth overseas trip (3).
Sadly little detail seems to have survived however we know they played six games. We started by beating a North German Combined XI 4-1 in Hamburg. This was followed by a 7-0 win over Preussen and 4-1 over Hertha both in Berlin. We moved on to Leipzeg and beat Wacker FC 8-1. Brunswick and a 4-1 over Eintracht. The tour ended in Frankfurt and a 6-0 win over Kickers-Victoria.
The team would return to Germany during our European tour the following summer (1912) for the second of three tours to that country before World War One. This involved just one game in the country, a 3-1 win over Bewegungs Spiele in Leipzig (6). Grimsdell, Tattersall and Bliss
The third tour (1914) is the famous one with the team being attacked by a mob and is dealt with in 'The Unfriendly Tour,' (4).
Spurs would not return to the country until two world wars had passed in 1950 as newly crowned Division Two champions. That trip saw us play four games and one in Belgium. We kicked off winning 3-0 in Hanover, Willis (pen) Harmer and Scarth scoring. We moved to Berlin and beat Tennis-Borussia 2-0, Gilberg and Walters. We stayed in Berlin and beak the Wacker club 5-2. The scorers this time were Baily 2, Bennett and Duquemin and an own goal. Baily had previous played for the British army in an international on Christmas Day in the country. The last stop was a recent adversary, Borussia Dortmund and 4-0 win (Walters, Duquemin, Baily and Gilberg, Our only defeat came in the last game after we crossed in to Belgium, 1-2 (Duquemin) to Royal Beershott.
In part 5 – we look back at some more clashes in European competition. We will return for some later day friendly encounters later in the series.
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Top image - four goal Sandy 'terrible' Tait.
Notes – 1 – Goal scorers are as credited by the press at the time. Other sources suggest one of Tait’s goals was scored by Brown.
2 - Planet Spurs 7 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/planet-spurs-7
3 - The early Tours - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-early-tours
4 – The Unfriendly tour - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-unfriendly-tour
5 - This photo (which is dated) is sometimes captioned as before the game with Arsenal in Leipzeg. We did play Arsenal eight days later in Vienna. I believe this is because a contemporary article labels the picture with the date but is largely devoted to the later game. The line up that day was - Kunn, Browning,, Gliddon, Lightfoot, D Steel, Grimsdell, Middlesmass, Minter, Elliott, Bliss and Tattersall.
6 - Yet another source states the name of the team we played was VFB Leipzig who were then the Mittel-Deutschland champions and had reached the semi finals of the national championships.
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