Hotspur Towers - Frank Brettell
Another major milestone in Tottenham’s early history was the appointment of its first manager. Frank Brettell, was certainly a character, an Irish Liverpuddian, and has been described as ‘A jovial, assured but impatient man.’ He was secretary-manager of St Domingo’s (later Everton) whom he had helped found and also worked as a columnist and reporter for the Liverpool press. As well as being a pupil teacher (2)
Frank had started his playing career as a forward although later after an injury he converted into a goalkeeper. In 1883 the papers aid of him ‘No one has ever kept goal better than Frank Brettell.’ Another broken leg forced his retirement and he joined the club committee. In 1892 when Everton left Anfield he remained with the newly formed Liverpool. Later in 1896 he moved to become secretary-manager of Bolton Wanderers. The local paper here said he was ‘Willing to talk but rather lath to be dragged in to conversation which might savior of blowing his own trumpet with unnecessary force.’
Charles Roberts the Tottenham manager brought him to Spurs in March 1898 as the club was in the process of becoming a limited company. Tottenham were one of the top sides in the south and it was hoped Spurs could be lifted to match Southampton. His first action was to bring several Wanderers players with him, much to the displeasure of the Bolton board. Over the coming months he recruited a number of players including John Cameron who would succeed him and bring Tottenham’s first major honours.
Brettell left Tottenham in February 1899 (less than a year after joining) to join Portsmouth who doubled his wages. Its been suggested he had became frustrated with the slow progress of the club and with Roberts.
The following season he would lead Portsmouth to second place in the table, finishing behind Spurs (1) when he promised other teams bonuses if they could beat Spurs.
During his time at Tottenham he won 37 of his 63 games whilst overhauling the squad. He was also in charge during that great FA Cup run in 1899 (3). At that point he would have been heavily involved in the office side of the club. The trainer (W.Brierley) would of done most of the work with the players and had a major say in team selection.
He would later move to Plymouth and was in charge for their first meeting with Spurs. Brettell may have been with the club just a short time but he laid some of the foundations for the future success not least his signing of Cameron. Frank died in 1936.
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Notes – 1 -Finding Glory.
2 - 1881 Census
3 – The First Great Cup run.
Extra thanks to toffeeweb
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