Hotspur Towers - Arsenal 1911
During this season we have been celebrating White Hart Lane and some of the great matches played there since 1899.
Today a special festive look at events (largely taken from the reports of the time) from this day in 1911 when Woolwich Arsenal were dispatched by five goals to love.
left - Two goal hero, Woolwich born, Billy Minter
Tottenham entered that Christmas week facing three games in four days having spent a few days at Southend training. They had returned to White Hart Lane and lost in a closely fought tie by 2-3 to Bradford City, the Cup holders. The side had one day off before back to back games with Woolwich Arsenal.
That Woolwich game on Christmas morning licked off at 11am. For Spurs Ed Lightfoot was injured so Charles Rance would come in for Spurs at center half after being out for two months. While with Charlie Brittan injured against Bradford it meant Fred Webster would come in for his debut.
It was Tottenham’s third season in Division One. Woolwich Arsenal had drawn at Spurs two years previously and lost to Spurs the year before. The visitors arrived in the middle of a bad run winning one of their last five games.
The various papers ran with the headline’s such as ‘Thousands unable to see the match. An enormous crowd of 50,000 being packed into the enclosure and thousands more unable to get in.’ The official figure would be 47,109.
Forgive the poor quality image but its the only one I can find of the match, thanks to Daily Mirror.
The top picture is Tottenham's second goal.
middle - The crowd as Spurs score.
bottom left - Billy Minter
right - Middlesmass scores the first goal.
Tottenham pressed the visitors from the start. Middlemass scoring after nine minutes after good work from McTarvish, (top picture). Five minutes later Minter scored a second after he ‘turned to equally good account a pass from R. Steel while McTarvish had the third, an excellent piece of individual play. With Cameron missing an open goal it was 3-0 at half time.
In the second half spurs were down to ten men for ten minutes whilst Rance was treated for an injury. ‘but they did quite well’ Tottenham adding two goals before his return. First Darnell and then Minter each scored a point.’ Darnell’s being described as ‘coming from a corner,’ or ‘a lofty kick that swerved in’ from close range.’
Minters second coming from close range after a pass from Middlemass. Another report stating ‘Tottenham were expected to win. They did so for at the close the Woolwich found the score five goals to love against them, Spurs were superior throughout in all departments and it was only as they eased up towards the end of both halves on a very heavy pitch that Arsenal came into the game.’
Another reported ‘Spurs were always the better side with Lunn and the backs being too good for them.'
The Club photograph for 1911-12 –
Back Row – J.Over (groundsman) C Rance, J Joyce, T Morris, Coleman (assist. secretary).
row 2 – Directors H. Carter and M. Cadman, T Forman T Collins, T Lunn, F Wilkes, F Webster, H Middlemass, J Kennedy, A Turner (secretary) T. Deacock (Director).
row 3 – W Minter, R Steel, J McTavish, D Steel, R McTavish, F Bentley, W Tull, J Darnell.
front row- E Bowering, J. Nie (trainer) E Lightfoot, J Curtis, A Young, P Humphries, E Newman,
E Crompton, D Clark. J. Warren (Assist. trainer).
The match was called ‘a capital game, the sides playing with scrupulous fairness fouls being a rarity.’ The win lifted Tottenham to third in the table with a goal difference of 37-27, behind Newcastle and Bradford. Woolwich were down in 15th place. Seven points behind Spurs and just two above the relegation places. Woolwich would win the return in dreadful weather the following day.
The Spurs team that day was – Tommy Lunn, Tom Collins, Fred Webster, Daniel Steel, Charlie Rance, Jabez Darnell, John McTavish, Ernest Newman, Billy Minter, Bobby Steel and Bert Middlesmass.
John McTavish (left) and his brother, Robert, both joined Spurs from Falkirk. John played for the Scottish League and Scotland prior to joining Tottenham.
John played just 42 games for Spurs whilst his brother Robert managed 11 matches.
The only game they played together was V Blackburn on the last day of the 1910-11 season.
Debut boy Fred Webster (right) signed from Gainsborough Trinity.
He played for Spurs both sides of the First World War appearing in 87 games for Spurs.
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