Hotspur Towers - Bobby Buckle
Quite simply you would not be a Spurs fan if it wasn’t for this man.
Bobby Buckle wasn’t just one of the founders of the Hotspur football team he was at the center of every major moment in its development off the field during the first twenty years of its existence.
While on the pitch he was the team captain in that first season and is the first known goal scorer in the clubs history. A speedy winger he remained a main stay of the side for ten years.
Born on 17th October 1868, , he actually lived in White Hart Lane, and was one of the main instigators when a group of friends gathered under a gaslight in the High Road in the late summer of 1882 and decided to form a football team.
Bobby’s biggest legacy is his actions of the field but he certainly made his mark on it. The Tottenham Grammar schoolboy played in our first ever game on 30th September 1882, captaining the side at thirteen.
He was a regular throughout that period and is credited as the first known goal scorer, on 20th October 1883, although the team had scored a number of earlier goals. Those early years, where many of the early games have disappeared into history would have been friendly encounters but he was present when we play our first competitive game in October 1885 in the London Association Cup. Then the following year when the team reached its first cup semi-final in the East End Cup he scored three times in the campaign. In October in 1888 he also scored when we played the Old Etonian’s one of the top amateur sides in the country.
Although records are somewhat limited he was still playing till towards the end of the 1891-92 season, only Jull of the players from that first season played longer. We know he played in 54 games and scored 28 times. The actual figures must be much higher. Much of those ten years he partnered Billy Hartson inside him and they formed an excellent combination as he would have set up many chances for him and the other forwards.
It was however of the field that Bobby most influenced the clubs growth. He was a committee member from its earliest days and later served as both treasurer and secretary. He was one of the people who saw the need to move and sought out and found the Northumberland Park site for the side to play on in 1888 as we outgrew the Marshes. He also championed the need to turn professional and when the club voted to turn professional in 1895 it was he who proposed the motion.
Then when the limited company was formed it was again he who proposed the idea and would become one of its first directors. Bobby along with Charles Roberts, the Chairman, met and negotiated a deal for the club to use what would become the future White Hart Lane.
By that time he was working as a solicitors clerk in the City of London and has been credited with helping conduct much of the clubs affairs including the written agreement with Charrington’s regarding the new ground.
He also represented the club when the club was in trouble with the FA on several occasions while on a happier note he proposed the toast at both the 1901 and 1921 FA Cup winning banquets.
In 1901 he married and moved away from the area but stayed a loyal supporter. Julian Holland in his history of the club describes the long discussions he had with Bobby in those later years about the side and how he wanted descriptions of the players and their style of play. As Holland says ‘Robert Buckle had as considerable a hand in the making of Tottenham Hotspur as any man.’
Bobby passed away in April 1959, the last surviving founder. He is yet to be inducted into the clubs Hall of Fame but I am aware that there is a move to have him honoured locally.
May I can leave you with this from the Weekly Herald in 1883. It’s a report from the game with Brownlow Rovers. “Hartson, Casey, Jull and Buckle did good service for Hotspur.” How right they were.
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Thanks also to the works of Andy Porter, John Fennelly and Bob Goodwin
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