Hotspur Towers 58
After recent events, by the time you read this the Club should of completed the final legal process's and now be in a position to move forward with developing White Hart Lane. This Hotspur Towers was prepared sometime ago and as you take your trip around the Lane I will be in North London taking my own tour. I'll pass on my thoughts upon my return.
In previous editions of HT we tended to have an element of a mixed selection. This time along with various stories and events I thought I'd concentrate on the West Stand. Especially after the events revealed in HT46. We start in front of the old stand, this is from 1978.
Those two passageways either side of the staircase led to a paddock area in front of the seated areas, up the stairs. On the rare occasion I watched a game from this side of the ground my main memory was three groups of people trying to get through one space at the final whistle.
This next image is from 1950. You will notice the cockerel is still on his lofty perch at this point. Down at ground level those letters are the half time scoreboard. In the programme you would find a list of other fixtures being played and at halftime someone would hang numbers to indicate the current score in that game.
Before the kickoff any changes to the lineup would be placed along the ground in front of the board. E.g. 7 Jones. This wasn’t too bad until you had seven changes and six of them were just players changing the number they would wear.
This was the days before twitter and squad numbers.
This next picture is jumping forward to 1963. You will notice that the design on the Mock-Tudor gable has changed. The cockerel has flown and extra floodlights have been added. see notes.
On the left you will see fans in the Park Lane End wearing the good old bobble-hat. These were either shop bought or treasured knitted presents from your aunties. You will see there are two different styles. On the far left the wool has been pulled up and the treads make what looks like a crown. To his right a younger fan has one with a rounded (more likely shop bought) style.
A quick break from the West Stand to include this lovely photo from 1925. The ground staff lay thousand of bales of straw to protect the pitch. Knowing they will then have to pick it all up again.
When the club first moved into WHL and started work at their new home some of the neighbours were disturbed when the club had to use dynamite to break up the old foundations of the nursery glasshouses.
In the publication “Caxtons Associated Football” The purchase of the ground is described as “In 1900-1901, the club purchased the freehold of the ground from Charringtons at the rear of the White Hart Hotel for the Spurs could have a dwelling place in Tottenham forever."
Its 1981 and the new West Stand is being constructed. You may notice what looks like rail tracks in front of the stand. These were laid so a large crane could be positioned and lift the higher sections into place.
A rather lovely story I like about WHL is the day we hired the band of the Grenadier Guards to play at the Lane for the first home game of the 1934 season after we won promotion back to the First Division. This fell on a Monday afternoon V Wolves. Then it was discovered that the lateness of the kick off meant the band could not attend (it was still an afternoon game, floodlights arrived in 1953). So the kick off was moved forward.
This resulted in Tottenham playing in front of their lowest crowd of the season at home. Spurs still won 4-0. More than double attended the next home game at the weekend V Villa.
This next picture is from 1932.
On 4th February 1975 England played both Arsenal and Tottenham on the same day. England had been due to play Cyprus in the European Championship. The game was called off due to civil unrest. England with a 28 man squad turned the break into a training camp.
Both games were played behind closed doors.
In the morning an England B side which contained only two capped players (and Steve Perryman) went to Highbury.
They won the game 2-0. The England camp then moved to White Hart Lane and after lunch the full England side, with future Spur Ray Clemence, lost to Tottenham 1-0.
Martin Chivers scoring the only goal in the first half.
1981 and the West Stand has been leveled (above) so work can start on the new stand. It seemed very odd that football continued. Watching on TV you had a game in the foreground and behind the action you could see the people and buses along the High Street.
Right - Building work continues.
The most famous game at the Lane was never actually played. In 1939 our ground was chosen to host the FA Cup Final if a replay was required. Sadly from our view the first game ended with Portsmouth beating Wolves by 4-1, so we never hosted the game.
This is from the 1920's. The White Hart public house on the left and the Red House on the right. Down what was sometimes called 'White Hart Yard' at the time are what would become The Bill Nicholson gates. Behind them the old stand.
One of the most iconic parts of the ground is of course the famous ‘Nicholson’ gates. You might not know that during the 1980’s when the West Stand was being demolished and re-built that there was a suggestion that these gates be removed and repositioned elsewhere. This idea gathered very little support at the time.
To finish this trip down to the ground that has been called a cathedral of the sporting world. You may dream of watching the boys from the bench. Not the best of views and as this last image shows it can have its drawbacks.
Notes - To learn more more White Hart Lane do check out Hotspur Towers 46, 5,16 and 33. A well as Hotspur Towers - The Cockerel and White Hot Lane.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
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