This time it really is a case of what happened next. We all know the story of how the club lost its first division status due to the nefarious actions of our ‘good neighbours’ (1,2). Were you aware however how Tottenham responded by roaring back with the second great team in our history. Much like the first great side twenty years earlier they won their leagues title and followed it up with the FA Cup. They set a number of records both on and off the field of play and then also much like the earlier side they did not really fulfill their promise their rein only lasting three years. As the two clubs prepare to meet again this season Hotspur Towers runs a mini-series leading up to the game looking back at that great side.
The 1919/20 season saw the recommencement of the Football League after the first World War. Tottenham having being robbed of their place in the top division they returned to the Second Division. Manager Peter McWilliam’s side took no time in showing the world just how unjust this decision had been by running away with the title. The season opened at Coventry and Spurs romped to a 5-0 win. Then just 48 hours later they thumped Leicester 4-0 at home. It was common practice to play teams two weeks running so next it was Coventry again and this time it was 4-1. In fact Spurs won their first seven games before Lincoln held them to a draw at their ground. We then won the following four games. After 12 games we had 23 points (2 for a win) scored 38 and conceded just 6. Then Bury beat us away. In fact we did not lose at home all season in the league. Only Blackpool and Birmingham managed a draw at the Lane. The latter long after the title had been secured. Tottenham finished the season with 70 points, the highest wining total at that time and a league and club record from 42 games (3). This Football League record stood until 1947. We finished six points clear of Huddersfield and a massive 14 above the third based team. Winning 32 games, drawing 6 with just 4 defeats. In the process we scored a 102 goals conceding only 32.
Tottenham Hotspur - 1919 / 1920 season,
Back (left to right)
Jimmy Archibald, Bertram Smith, William Jacques, Arthur Grimsdell, Harry Lowe, Bob t Brown.
Bob MacDonald, James Banks, Jimmy Seed, James Cantrell, Herbert Bliss, John James Chipperfield.
We had 13 different players score in the league. Our top scorers were Bert Bliss 31 + 2 in the FA Cup. Jimmy Cantrell 18 +3 and Arthur Grimsdell 14+1 (not bad for a wing half). 15 players made they debuts in that season, only five did in the next two. Tottenham failed to score in only three games, two of those after the title was secured. The game at South Shields saw Charlie Wilson score a hat trick on his debut. He also scored four in a London Cup win over Millwall. Bliss got both of our other league hat tricks with Cantrell hitting one in the FA Cup.
The FA Cup had not been held during World War 1 and we started with a win over Bristol Rovers. Next came West Stanley (4) a non league side and we won 4-0 at home in the only game the two sides ever met in. West Stanley’s nickname was the ‘Oakleys Lilywhites.’
Left - Jimmy Banks
Jimmy Dimmock set up Jimmy Banks for the first and Wilson for the second. Wilson made it 3-0 before Fanny Walden set up Bliss for the fourth. This was the 13th home game in a row that Bliss had scored in.
We did play Arsenal that season in the London Professional Football Charity Fund winning 1-0 at Highbury. Then at the end of the season we played the Division One Champions West Bromwich at the Lane in the FA Charity Shield and lost 0-2.
Although this was a major turnaround after finishing bottom before the war. Many of the players had joined the club before the conflict including Grimsdell, described as the greatest half-back of the decade if not all time (6) Bliss, Cantrell, Walden, Banks, McDonald and Clay. While Jimmy Chipperfield (left) Smith and Wilson had all impressed during war time games and were snapped up. Peter McWiliam had become manager during 1912-13 season. Even before the season ended McWilliam was looking to strengthen the side with both Jimmy Seed and Charlie Waters being signed ready for the return to Division1.
The Top image is Bert Bliss in the 1921 Cup Final which we will reach in tomorrows Hotspur Towers when we move forward a season and Tottenham win two trophies as we continue our look at the roaring 20’s. COYS
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
Notes 1 - Hundred Year War
2 - Long Dark Shadow
3 - An odd note about that record highest points total is that in the Football League season before that 1914-15 we set our lowest total, 28.
4 - A number of other FA Cup ties with non league teams are remembered in ‘The Cup - part 2’
5 - Once again the records conflict, some usually reliable sources claim it was only two days later. The game was actually nine days later a defeat to Wales at Highbury in front of just over 21,000. More than 30,000 less than watched the game at White Hart Lane.
6 - Julian Holland in his history of Tottenham.
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