We continue our salute to White Hart Lane and this weekend sees the anniversary of a very special match.
Tottenham’s debut in the First Division got off to a slow start with defeats away to Sunderland and Everton. The third game was the first Division One game at White Hart Lane when Manchester United were the visitors on the 11th September 1909.
This article draws ‘quotes’ from several newspaper accounts. A series of press photos from this game have appeared in a previous article (3).
Possibly you may find more interesting than the reports are the newspapers descriptions of White Hart Lane.
The Tottenham team for that first game in Division One at White Hart Lane was Boreham, Coquet, Wilkes, Morris, D.Steel, Darnell, Curtis, Minter, Tull, R.Steel, Middlemass (1).
Manchester United arrived at Tottenham having played a game more than Spurs and having won all three. ‘After three successive victories yielded a point to Tottenham Hotspur at the vastly improved White Hart Lane enclosure.’
‘Played at Tottenham before about 40,000 spectators (2) Manchester made an sensational start scoring within a few minutes’ and ‘a second goal coming from Wall immediately after’. Tottenham scored from a penalty taken by R. Steel which left Manchester leading at the interval by 2 goals to 1. In the first few minutes of the second stage the Spurs forced a number of corners. Their goal in turn had a narrow escape but after a quarter of an hour Tottenham scored again through a second penalty against Hayes. R. Steel taking the kick. The home players strove hard for the lead but without success.’
Another view of Tottenham’s first penalty ‘The official in charge awarded a penalty kick when Roberts in going for the ball fell over Tull (3), the West Indian inside right playing for ‘Spurs. After consulting a linesman the referee awarded a penalty from which R. Steel scored. Another report describes ‘against the stout defence of Tottenham the visitors subsequently could not make much impression.’
As Tottenham had not been awarded a penalty the season before these two became the first Spurs had won in the Football League.
An early and encouraging description of White Hart Lane. “Remarkable progress has been made with the new grand stand on the Tottenham Hotspur ground. In a little over eight weeks a building in which 5,400 people can be seated and 12,000 sheltered from adverse weather conditions has been erected. No matter what position one is placed in this masterpiece of modern football stands the play can be viewed without interruption.
Two dozen turnstiles and a number of staircases will be attended by employees who will guide the spectators to their places. When the stand is finished it will be found that the arrangements are as near perfection as possible.”
Left - The match programme, see note 4.
Top picture - Walter Tull in that game
This result left United top of the Table (they finished 5th) and Tottenham in 16th from 20, two places above Woolwich Arsenal. Tottenham would finish that first season in the top flight in 15th while Woolwich avoided relegation by one place with Chelsea and Bolton going down. Tottenham’s first home win in Division One came in the second home game a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday, (D. Steel, Curtis and Minter).
Right - John Curtis, who had joined Spurs in April in time to help us win promotion. A winger standing just 5'6" he as seem as a very promising buy and in the January that season played in the England international trial match. Not helped by injuries he did not maintain his form and later moved to Fulham having played 91 games and scoring five times for Spurs.
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Thanks - Dundee Evening Telegraph, Yorkshire Post, Nottingham Evening Post, Leeds Mercury, Lincolnshire Chronicle. THFC, Bob Goodwin.
Notes – 1 – That side had played in the first two Division One games away. Six of the side had also played in the first Division Two game the year before (see Hotspur Towers - Wolves 1908). Only Walter Tull was making his Tottenham debut.
2- The recorded attendance was 32,275
3 – Walter Tull was the first ‘black’ outfield player to play in the Football League and his amazing story is told @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-walter-tull
He is also featured in Spurs in South America, @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-spurs-in-south-america
4 - The programme shows another Fred Perry cartoon. This relates to the defeat at Everton and regular character Inspector Dinky Doo saying ‘my dear toffee smacker the bird aint ill no no he’s wisibly affected at the kindness you/re shown ‘im and believe me he’ll repay you four-fold when you come to Tottenham in the new year : not ‘arf!'
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