An extra trip to the archives this week to reflect on some earlier ‘last days’ involving Tottenham. There was a time when just two teams were relegated and promoted at the end of the season. This meant that many teams went into the last weekend with little to play for and lots of players clearly already had their minds on the beach. The change to three down and the introduction of four teams entering the Champions League etc has seen the introduction of some serious nail biting in more recent times whilst trying to keep a breast of four other games either via on-screen graphics or a radio earpiece at the ground.
Last day memories over the years has seen Tottenham in a few tight finishes of our own. Lets start by going back to 1909/10 and our first season in the First Division. Tottenham had gained promotion to the First Division at the first attempt the season before. The season however had not gone as well as hoped. Partly due to Vivian Woodward retiring at the end of the previous year and we had struggled to find a replacement in the early part of the season. The last day arrived. Bolton, who had come up with us as Champions were already relegated. Five clubs including Tottenham and our visitors that day Chelsea could still join them. The task was simple, to win and stay up. Tottenham had been stunned earlier in the season when Woodward came out of retirement and started playing for Chelsea, even though he was still a Director at Tottenham. His arrival at Chelsea did mean we could sign the now unwanted Percy Humphreys from them. This was the first season we had met Chelsea in competitive action, they beat us in the first game 2-1 but we had knocked them out of the FA Cup with a Humphreys goal away in the Second Round.
Strangely John had scored on the last day two seasons earlier in a one-one draw at Manchester United. John had five seasons with Spurs before joining Swansea on loan for a period in 1994. He then later moved to Motherwell. He ended with five league goals in 17 games. His other two goals came on his debut at Norwich and his only home goal V Wimbledon.
The tightest finish ever to a League campaign came in 1927/28. Tottenham finished the season 21st out of 22 teams. Their last game was a 0-2 defeat at Liverpool. They took only four points in their last eight games. Two of them in a 2-0 win over Arsenal. Spurs finished on 38 points, SEVEN teams finished on 39, one on 40 and three more on 41 points.
2006 saw us lose Champions League football on the last day when we lost at West Ham and Arsenal overtook us. Our players had stayed at the Marriott hotel the night before and had gone down with food poisoning, the hotel was later cleared, as Tottenham struggled to find 11 men who can stand, even if they were vomiting on the pitch. Tottenham fought hard but the effects showed towards the end and a 5th place beckoned.
Promotion was won in 1977/78. Having been relegated the previous season for the first time in more than 25 years. Spurs were keen to bounce back at the first attempt. We went to Southampton. Both teams knew a point would see them up. In what can only be described as a long, tense afternoon we watched a team defend solidly. Southampton nearly scored several times but the game finished 0-0. Brighton claimed the two teams had conspired together to deny them. Bolton were Champions with 58 points. Southampton 57 then Spurs 56 over Brighton because of goal difference. We were the highest scorers in the division that year and our goal difference was +9. Which was the score we had beaten Bristol Rovers by earlier in the season.
The last day also sees the players do a lap of thanks to the fans, (Michael Dawson top image).
images - Top & 2 - Daily Mail, 1- Daily Mirror, Thanks also to THFC, The Daily Express, ESPN, Bob Goodwin, Phil Sour and Logan Holmes.
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