To complete our review of the clubs adolescence our attention turns to the last two seasons at the Northumberland Park. A busy time with the club winning our first international cap and the first ten thousand crowd. The club became a limited company and it also brought problems with the FA and the ground being closed.
1897/98 and the club finished third in the Southern League in their second season in the tournament and were runners up in the United League. On September 25th the visit of Millwall saw the first 10,000 crowd recorded at The Park in the Southern League game and Spurs celebrated by winning 7-0, Meade scoring a hat trick. In a season that saw us unbeaten at home.
It was the United League which threw up a couple of tales, starting with the first competitive Christmas day fixture with Woolwich Arsenal, which ended in a 3-2 win south of the river, Joyce scoring twice and Stormont the other.
The other game saw us in trouble with the FA. The game on February 3rd with Luton Town ended 2-2. At the end of the game home fans attacked some of the Luton players. The FA closed Northumberland Park for two weeks and we could not play within three miles of the ground. We played a home game at Millwall. One of our players (David Black) and three of theirs were censured by the FA after a meeting on the 14th that month. Bobby Buckle representing Spurs at the hearing admitted that some fans had become aggressive but claimed that this had been provoked by the behaviour of their players. The fans were enraged that Luton’s equalizer was clearly punched home but allowed to stand.
Happier times followed for Spurs just a few days later when on 19th February 1898, Jack Jones became the first Spurs man to win an international cap for the club.
He turned out for Wales against Ireland. He would win eleven more caps while he was with the Spurs.
On the pitch we also entertained Sheffield United, Sunderland and Bolton at Northumberland Park that season in friendly ties.
While off the field the committee was concerned about safeguarding the clubs future. The attendances were still not as high as had been hoped and in January a suggestion had been made about forming a limited company to protect the committee against losses.
They consulted Charles Roberts, a local figure who had helped arranged the military tournament the previous summer and had experience raising funds for charities. He suggested the club should be wound up in its current form and then become a limited company. A meeting was called on 2nd March at the Red Lion and the move was proposed by Bobby Buckle.
Although the offer would not be as successful as the committee had planned and the financial problems would carry on being a major concern the Herald could report that within three seasons the club would win two major trophies.
The other ramification of this meeting was that within days the club appointed Frank Brettell as its first manage. And on the following day, so one must assume it was already in progress Tottenham signed Cain from Sheffield United. The Yorkshire club being unhappy to lose him
In the concluding part of the story we look at when the refreshment hut collapsed during the Woolwich match.
Top Pic - THFC 1898
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