Hotspur Towers - Fit for a King
Spurs certainly had a week to remember in October 1920. They played Chelsea twice, won both scoring nine goals and delivered a royal performance in front of the King as well as 120,000 other people.
The first game on the 9th saw Chelsea visit White Hart Lane and Tottenham won by 5-0. Tottenham were by far the better team but the Chelsea defence “was strong enough for much shooting.” Bert Bliss finally opened the scoring just after the half hour and that was the score at half time.
After changing ends, Tottenham’s continued being the superior team and “Chelsea were outclassed.” Twenty four minutes in “Dimmock’s brilliance led to goals by Bliss and Wilson, while Bliss kicked a fourth (his hat trick) from Walden’s center. Three goals being scored in ten minutes. Dimmock shot a brilliant fifth goal with Chelsea badly beaten”(1) The official attendance was 47,000 but newspapers vary that figure between 50 and 60 thousand.
Left - Tottenham take the field in the first game.
Below - A rare Chelsea attack, note the people on the East Stand roof.
The Sunday saw Arthur Grimsdell named in the England team to meet Ireland the following week. A game England won. It was Grimsdell’s third cap and after that he was named England captain.
The score line and the manner of the Spurs performance meant the build up to the second game, (at that time reverse fixtures were played back to back), was eagerly anticipated and would provide a bigger crowd than normal.
The press described it as “the match of the season so far as London is concerned. Intense interest is being taken in the fixture and its arrangements to house a terrific crowd, after their inglorious display last week the home team are thought incapable of winning”.
Tottenham would make one change Banks coming in for Seed whilst Chelsea made four changes.
The game was attended by King George V. Before the game both teams were presented to him and he then met a number of war veterans.
Spurs laid on a performance fit for a King. The Sunday Post report of the match claims that Wilson scored twice for Spurs, both being set up by Walden. “After this Chelsea improved but Spurs were the cleverer team.”
Right - Action from the second game, with anther Spurs attack.
At half time the teams were unable to leave the field as the crowd (76,000) had encroached on to the cinder track around the pitch.
The Post again, “After the interval Tottenahm did all the attacking and Dimmock finished a remarkable dribble by scoring brilliantly.” The various reports say Chelsea were seldom dangerous. Bliss added a fourth for Tottenham.
Those two games left Spurs 7th (they finished 6th and London’s top club in their first season back in the top flight) in the table and Chelsea bottom but they would climb to 18th. Tottenham would then return to Chelsea in April and win the FA Cup final beating Wolves, again in the presence of the King (2).
The Tottenham team was – Jacques, Clay, McDonald, Smith, Rance, Grimsdell, Walden, Seed (Banks), Walters, Bliss and Dimmock.
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Notes -1- some texts report the score as being 2-0 at half time but having checked a number of press cuttings of that week they all agree on the details provided above.
2 – See the three part Tottenham and the Roaring 20’s
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