It’s a case of where Spurs lead England will follow as we look back at Tottenham’s first overseas tours. In this short series we examine how the tours have changed over the years. Whereas nowadays they are major promotional events in partnership with various sponsors they started often at the bequest of the FA in an attempt to develop the international game. In this article we go back to our tours from our pre-league days.
Thus it was in the summer of 1905 when Tottenham set sail (literately) for mainland Europe. The FA had paid the club £600 (1) to undertake a series of exhibition games in the then Austro-Hungary Empire, along with Everton, it was also their first European tour.
Left - David Copeland
There is a limited amount of information regards Tottenham’s earliest tours, indeed Wagstaff-Simmons in his history of the club written in the 1930’s skips straight over them and there is hardly a mention in The Romance of Football (2). In 1905 Tottenham had just finished the season fifth in the Southern League. The first stop was (what is now) Austria and the city of Vienna. Spurs beat the local club 6-0 on the 4th May, seven days after the domestic season ended.
The side of that fateful day, and the only full line-up we have for that tour, was – Eggett; Watson, Tait; Bull, McNaught, Hughes; Glen, O’Hagan, Woodward, Copeland and Kirwan. Tottenham’s goals came from a Glenn hat-trick (3) two from O’Hagan and McNaught.
Just three days later we met Everton for the first time that summer and went down 0-2.
There are no details of the Tottenham team that day. Then on the 10th a third game in the city saw Spurs beat the Vienna Athletic Club 4-1. Once again there are few details other than the scorers that day. Woodward hit a brace whilst there was one each for Morris and Murray.
Left - Woodward in his England strip.
Next stop was the city of Budapest (Hungary) where we met local club Buda Pesth Thorna on the 12th and ran out victors by 7-1. Only the details of the scorers have survived which was a hat trick for Cameron (4), two for Morris, Walton and Stansfield.
Two days later we met Testgyakorborora and triumphed by twelve goals to one. Tottenham’s goals coming on that day from Woodward 4, O’Hagan 3, Glenn 2 and one each for Bull, Cameron and Stansfield.
Those two trophies in the team picture – I have to assume are The Southern District Charity Cup and the South Eastern Counties League Trophy (won by the reserve side) which were won in the 04/05 season, as we only won one trophy the previous season.
From there the side moved to Prague (now Czech Republic) where on the 16th we had another exhibition game with Everton who this time defeated us 0-1. Everton had finished the previous season third in the Football League.
The next day we played Slavia Prague and run out winners by 8-1. Our scorers that day where Bull, Walton, Cameron, all hitting two, whilst Glen and O’Hagan had one a piece.
As for England following, such was the public success of the Tottenham tour that England would undertake their first ever overseas tour three years later in 1908 to the same venue.
England won all four games, we know that Vivian Woodward was in the party and played in at least three of the matches, scoring six goals. This tour in its turn despite being easy victories for the visitors would lead to Austria applying for membership of FIFA.
Right - John Cameron
Two summers after their first venture into Europe, in 1907 Spurs would complete a much less tasking trip when they played two games in Ostend in Belgium. Tottenham had finished sixth in the Southern League, fourth in the Western League and won the Southern Charity Cup.
Three weeks after the season finished Fred Kirkham who had taken over from Cameron in the March led his side back to Europe. The first game was against local side Union Saint Gilloise which Tottenham won 8-1. Seeburg fired a hat trick, Woodward and Payne 2 each and Whyman were our scorers.
The next day we played Fulham who had just won the Southern League title. There was a little revenge as we ran out winners by 2-1. Whyman and Bull winning us the tie. The lineup is unknown other than the scorers and Woodward and Darnell.
Spurs did not tour again the following summer, 1908, and then in 1909 they sailed, again with Everton, to South America. They did not tour in Europe again until 1911. We will explore these tours at a later date.
Please also see - Hotspur Towers - Russia 1959 and
Hotspur Towers - Around the World in 79.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Additional thanks - THFC, Bob Goodwin, Phil Soar, EnglandonLine, The FA, Everton FC and Julian Holland.
Notes -1 – This figure varies in various sources.
2 – The Romance of Football was published in 1921 and tells the story of Tottenham through the pages of the Weekly Herald.
3 – Glen was an interesting character who served during the boar War and is featured in Connections- Scotland.
4 – John Cameron one of the major figures in our club’s history is told in two parts in the Hotspur Towers 32 - John Cameron.
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