There was one final twist to that season’s tale on Good Friday April 8th 1898 and the United League game at The Park with Woolwich Arsenal and a crowd of 14,000 (some say 15,000 and more locked out) watched a 0-0 draw which ensured we would finish above them in the table.
The newspaper accounts vary the numbers involved but The Herald says about 80 youths climbed on to the zinc sheeted roof of the refreshment stand to obtain a better view. The police and officials urged them to come down but they ignored the pleas, ‘Suddenly a crashing sound was heard which announced that the improvised stand had broken under the weight of the people upon it.'
Five people were treated for minor injuries and two suffered fractures and the club realized that a repeat could have a worse outcome and also faced the possibilities of more trouble with the FA. It was clear that the club had outgrown The Park (literally) and despite claims that the ground could house 30,000 it was just as clear that the majority of these would never see any football. It was decided to start the search for a larger home.
Skipping forward one moment, the following January, 1899, the club became aware of the possibility of a piece of land becoming available just a few hundred yards from their current location. That land, an old nursery would become White Hart Lane and the story of how that came about and the history of the Lane has been told elsewhere, as well as how Tottenham were able to escape from the lease they held for the Park ground.
A slightly lighter note, till this point programmes had been produced by the club and several individuals. In an attempt to ensure the proceeds come to the club they decided to register the copyright. This was done, (just before another party who had had the same idea). Although pirate programmes have been appearing at various times over the intervening years Tottenham now were the sole providers of the matchday programme.
So what would turn out to be the clubs last season (1898/99) at Northumberland Park would see Spurs compete again in the same two league competitions, The Southern (finishing 7th) the United (3th in our last season in that competition) as well as the Thames and Midway League, (4th in our only season). It was here we kicked off the season with a 3-0 win over Thames Ironside who would become West Ham. A busy season which saw us win 31 out of 60 games.
The start of that season had seen us appoint a new trainer, W. Briley and John Over moved from Edmonton Cricket Club to become our grounds man. A number of new players, including John Cameron joined the club as well as Harry Bradshaw.
Left - John Over here at WHL.
Top - Newton Heath in the FA Cup game
It was in the FA Cup where the Spurs would see them leave the Park in style as they went past five teams in the competition, including Small Health (Manchester United) and Sunderland before falling in the third round in what can best be desired as the first great cup run, (1).
Just as our victory over Woolwich Arsenal had been our last game as a non-league club three years earlier, a 3-2 win over the same team was our last competitive game at Northumberland Park. Off the pitch Frank Brettell left in March and John Cameron took over as manager. Charles Roberts became chairman when John Olivier stepped down. Olivier’s business had run into difficulties, many felt this was because he spent his time and money on the football club. Tottenham played a benefit game for him in January 1901 and later he was associated with the Leeds City club.
The 1898/99 season saw the club register its first silverware as the reserves won the London League. The clubs last act at Northumberland Park was to dismantle the stands and transfer them the several hundred yards to the new ground. Tottenham showed a healthy balance of £501 at the end of the season. Manager John Cameron signed seven players that summer as he built the first great Tottenham team and the following season would be one worth remembering, (2) as the club won its first major honour.
Everything in the Hotspur garden (or should that be nursery) was looking healthy.
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Notes -1- http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-first-great-cup-run
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