Hotspur Towers - Finding Glory
Having been carried shoulder high from the field by their large traveling support the players made their way back to Tottenham where as they stepped down from the train they were met by the Tottenham Town Band and more excited supporters who serenaded their heroes return to the ground. In their first season in their new home and John Cameron’s first full season as player / manager Tottenham had won their first major trophy.
The last weekend of the 1899/1900 season had seen only two teams in contention for the title. Portsmouth were managed by ex-Tottenham manager Frank Brettell. Brettell had offered the New Brompton players a bonus if they stopped Spurs from winning. Tottenham went into that last game requiring just a draw to secure the Southern League title. Portsmouth did not play their last game until later in the week. The deciding game at New Brompton (Gillingham) had seen Spurs start the better side but it was the home team that took the lead. In the second half of the game goals from John Cameron after three minutes and David Copeland (23 minutes) following a Sandy Tait free kick, ensured the title was heading for Lilywhite hands.
Spurs had finished with 44 points from 28 games, 3 points clear of Portsmouth. Southampton were third nine points behind the winners.
The previous summer Cameron had signed seven players which became the core of his team that won major trophies over the next two years. We had kicked off the season with a 3-1 win at Millwall, Copeland and two goals from Kirwan for Tottenham. The next game was the first competitive game at the ground that became known as White Hart Lane. It was a 1-0 win over QPR with a goal from Tom Pratt. The good start continued with a 3-2 at Chatham and then two home games Reading 2-1 and Gravesend 4-0.
In fact Tottenham dropped only three points in their first thirteen games. Our next game would later be written off the record books as we beat Brighton United 6-1 with a Kirwan hat trick.
Left - Tom Pratt - he hit 32 goals that season in 51 games in all competitions.
Later in the season we won 3-0 away to them, this time a Tom Pratt hat trick. Brighton however later withdrew from the competition and the results were expunged. Cowes also withdrew from the league but not before we had 6-1 away and a Copeland hat trick.
Another result worth noting was the 7-0 win at home to Thames Ironworks (West Ham), another Tom Pratt hat trick. We were also winning our Bristol Rovers meeting at home game 1-0 when fog brought the game to a halt. We won the rearranged game 5-1 in a season that saw us go unbeaten at home, dropping just one point.
Our two games with Portsmouth ended in a 3-0 win on Christmas Day at home before we went down by the only goal in March, one of our four defeats that season.
After a 3-0 win at Sheppy on April 16th we had a twelve day break before our last game also away at New Brompton. Tottenham filled this void with a friendly with Aston Villa who were about to win the Football League, Spurs losing 3-4 and several games in the Southern District Combination.
Left - David Copeland, Scorer of the winner on that final day. He netted 84 times for Spurs in 263 games,.
Tottenham only competed in this trophy the one season and finished second. In the FA Cup it was the first season we entered at the first round proper when we traveled to Preston and lost by the only goal.
Tottenham’s goal difference for the Southern League was 67 – 26. Tom Pratt top scored with 24, Copeland 17, Cameron and Kirwan finished with 13 each.
In total the club played 67 games winning 49. The reserves finished second in the London League and the club had made a profit after a deficit the year before. The press dubbed them the Flower of the South, a title they would be repeated many time over the next year. That first season in their new home had been a great success and the future was Lilywhite.
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Note - You will find some records suggest the competition was won on at least two other dates. I have based my findings on the newspapers of the time and an article from Andy Porter the former historian. At least one of these previous articles can be proved that their reaching of a different date is due to the assumption that all teams play all their games on the same date and time. Whereas this is very far from the case and teams sometimes had three or four games difference in those played at any one time. Whilst the papers of the time were not except from errors (but at least free from much of the wild speculation that today's versions brandish as fact) I find it unlikely that a series of them would mistake when the title was actually won, not to mention the cerebration.
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