We won 19 of our games, lost 14 and drew 9 scoring 70 and conceded 48. The two rivals both winning their home games. We did however beat them in the London Charity Cup and The Professional Footballers Cup. As for Chelsea we beat them 5-0 and 4-0. Oldham also saw us score 5 two weeks running, Bliss again top scored 17+4, Jimmy Seed 12+5 and Cantrell 7+2.
As for the FA Cup (you will see below it was still commonly referred to as the English Cup), Arsenal went out in the first round as Tottenham became the first London team to win the FA Cup since their previous win 20 years earlier. The first game saw us overcame Third Division Bristol Rovers (for the second season running). This game ended 6-2 and Spurs had six different scorers.
Seed giving us a fourth minute lead and Clay added a penalty in the 12th as we were four up at the break. Next was Bradford City, 4-0 including a Seed hat-trick. All the goals came in the second half, two of the goals coming in 30 seconds according to Phil Sours Official History,
Banks added the last one. Seed described this game as ‘the best display of my life.’ That however did not stop him getting a rocket from the boss. For his third goal he scored a 35 screamer but McWilliam thought he was showing off and should of dribbled it towards goal.
Then we were drawn away to Southend. The Third round game (the fifth round today) was played at the Kursaal ground just a goal kick from the sea. The small ground only held just over 11,000 but that day we set the ground receipts record.
Southend were then a Third Division side and took the lead after quarter of an hour. Cantrell pulled us level heading home a Banks corner. Then on the half an hour Southend won a penalty when Smith brought down a forward as he was about to shoot. Fairclough the home teams captain stepped up and placed the ball. The ref moved the ball saying it wasn’t on the spot. Fairclough wanted to reposition it and the ref wouldn’t let him. After a short ’disagreement’ Fairclough became so angry he slammed the penalty kick well wide of the posts.
It was only in the last 30 minutes that Tottenham’s class told when on the hour Cantrell hit the bar but the ball fell to Banks who fired home. Bliss made it 3-1 from a 25 yard free kick and Seed got our fourth. In what was described as our worse game of the season.
The picture left with three of our stars wearing different shorts and socks will give you an idea of the problems faced by trying to ensure detail from the period.
Round 4 saw Aston Villa come to the Lane at the same stage as the previous season. The game set a new ground record of just under fifty two thousand. Which in turn set both club and Cup (outside of a Final) receipts records of £6,992.
After the disappointment of the previous year the two teams laid on a game that has been described as one of the best Cup games seen at the Lane for many a year.
The press reports read that it was Dimmock (right) down the left and his center saw Seed dummy the ball which went to Banks at a narrow angle who fired home whilst bundling both the ball and Seed over the line. Although Seed later said it wasn’t a dummy he just froze.
Then came Preston North End in the semi-final at Hillsbourgh. The fates seemed against Tottenham that day as the press reports claim we had two good goals disallowed and two good penalty claims turned down. One of the disallowed goals was when the ref brought play back for an earlier Spurs free kick from which Dimmock rattled the bar. Banks who was chopped down for one of the penalty claims also had a goal disallowed. The other penalty appeal was for what the press said was a clear handball on the line. Bert Bliss however came up with two goals in the 51st and 56th minutes both created by Grismdell. Preston pulled one back, and it was a Tommy Clay own goal, this after his nightmare of the previous season. That sent the club to its second FA Cup Final, this one to be played at Stamford Bridge against the Wolves.
The 1921 Final saw 72,085 crammed into Stamford Bridge (2). The crowd was so large that the gates had to be opened at 10.30 in the morning and closed soon after 2pm. Very few of these were under cover and many spilled over to sit on the running track. They paid £13,414 at which time was the highest recorded receipts for any game.
The game itself was played in heavy rain with short break of sunshine. The Wolves team changed their kit at half time, something that was rarely done in those days and something many Wolves fans claim brought them bad luck.
Somewhere in that crowd (picture from Chelsea FC) are at least three of my family, let me know if you spot them.
The weather drove many photographers under cover. There are only two known pictures of the winning goal. Other photographs from the game were taken from a building overlooking the ground. All the reports claim Spurs were by far the better team and in good conditions would of won by many more. Tottenham won the toss and played with their backs to the rain in the first half. Tottenham continued to play their usual passing and keeping the ball on the ground even though the players were slipping, sliding and ball control almost impossible. One report describes the puddles getting deeper and the (old leather) ball heavier by the moment. Another claims Spurs played with great confidence swinging the ball from side to side. Tottenham had several good chances hitting the bar and having another shot headed off the line.
There is some newsreel footage of that day at the link below. The first part is some wonderful images of Spurs fans before the game. The second part is filmed from outside the ground and shows little of the play.
The only Spurs player who the press felt did not have a good game was Dimmock. It was he however who scored the only goal. In the 54th Minute Smith started on the right, moved the ball to Bliss on the left and on to Dimmock. He received the ball out wide and went past several defenders before hitting a low hard shot that went into the far corner. He then hit the crossbar near the end of the game.
The Tottenham style in those conditions left some of our players wearily towards the end and both teams had chances to score but Spurs remained the better side. Our center half Charlie Waters played what has been described an ‘inspired’ game and as ‘the best game of his life.’ Full back Tommy Clay played a ‘near perfect game.’ Then behind them Sandy Hunter in goal when called upon at the end produced an excellent save.
The Cup was Tottenham’s and next time in the final part we look at the amazing scenes after the game, our second trophy that season and how Tottenham went on to record their highest ever league finish.
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
Notes - 1- Hotspur Towers 36
2- Some sources claim this figure set a new stadium record, however 76,000 were recorded in the same ground for Tottenham’s league visit the previous October when we beat Chelsea 4-0, following a 5-0 win at home the weekend before.
All images except where stated, THFC, apart from Topical Times which is from a friends collection.
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