Its that time of the year again as the evening light gives way to darkness and everything hidden in it emerges. When strange noises are heard and in the light of the floodlights you catch a glimpse of something dashing across the night sky. Strange shadows and unexplained bumps in the night. You look under the bed and tell the children its safe and it is ….isn’t it?
Tomorrow is Halloween and Talking Tottenham, before pulling the covers over our heads until its gone away, takes a look at the Spooky’s.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
Curses and Hexes are common in the world of football throughout the world, Several have been noted in England. Although I haven’t tripped over one for Tottenham. Glenn Hoddle did use a faith healer when he was England manager. When Birmingham moved into St Andrews the Romany gypsies evicted from the site placed a 100 year old curse on the site. It seemed to work and when he was manager at Birmingham, Barry Fry in the 90’s the club went three months without winning a game. He was advised by a spiritist the way to break the curse was to urinate on the four corner posts. Fry admitted doing it and said he had problems controlling the flow as he ran from one post to the next.
Did it work as Fry says well we started winning but then I was sacked. Before that another Brummy manager, Ron Saunders in the 80’s, wouldn’t go that far but he did have crucifixes hung from the floodlights and painted the players boots red.
Derby County’s old Baseball ground had a similar problem and County lost six cup semi finals. Just after the second world war the club met and one suspects paid the local Romany’s to lift the curse, the next time they reached the semis they went on to win the trophy.
Thank you Zelda for letting us use her art work.
Hull City and Leeds United grounds have also been reported as having gypsies curses on them.
Another club who tackled the problem was Southampton when they built
St Mary’s had to call in a pagan witch doctor who sprinkled water from a wooden chalice around the stadium. Southampton won their next game.
Halloween when people roam the streets wearing funny costumes !!
While ghosts have been reported and even caught on camera at various football grounds. Although many of these have been dismissed. The Chilean National Stadium where thousands were killed commonly reports sightings. It has almost reached epidemic proportions across the US with nearly every stadium seeming to claim a resident spooky supporter who hangs around after the rest of gone home.
Halloween’s past have seen Tottenham in action as far back as 1891 when we beat Hampstead in the London Senior Cup. The first Halloween at home was in 1900 when we thumped QPR 7-0 and four years later we beat the London FA 4-0. 1908 and the first Football League game on this day is our first meeting with Stockport County which ends in a draw.
We met Hibernian in the Anglo-Scottish Floodlight cup and Glasgow Rangers in our first ever game in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, both games have been covered recently (1). 1989 saw us play our last non competitive game on this day when we traveled to Cherbourg to play Caen.
There is a strange and little known story about this game (2). What might appear to a pointless mid season friendly came at a time when English clubs had suffered a four year ban. The FA and UEFA had been talking about a possible return and this was one of the steps. The actual details of the game were kept quiet to avoid too many fans travelling. The match went off without a hitch and the ban was later lifted. In case you’re wondering Spurs won 2-1 with goals from Paul Stewart and David Howells.
If you know any Tottenham tales with a good ghostly twist do tell.
Until then, be safe!
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes 1- Hotspur Towers - Hibernian and Hotspur Towers - Glasgow Rangers
2 – I was told this story at the time but I was on the other side of the globe so not in touch with UK media. Thanks to Graham Betts for confirming. Thanks also Tony Matthews, THFC.
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