End of season tours are seen as a friendly opportunity to raise the clubs profile and extend its commercial opportunities. This wasn’t the case on the tour when the Spurs players were stoned by a mob, one player was attacked with an umbrella and the chairman robbed.
The club had turned down the opportunity to visit Brazil and in the summer of 1914 headed for Germany.
This was the summer before World War One was declared. There are some reports of anti-British sentiment in the earlier part of the tour but ‘all was well.’ It wasn’t until the end of the trip when Spurs returned to Germany after games in Switzerland and Italy that the trouble broke out. Julian Holland (4) wrote that ‘all was now hostility to the English club.’ He claims that during the games Spurs had a number of good goals disallowed and the home clubs ‘did as they pleased.’
This report from the London Star and was carried around the country upon their return. The press were informed by Charles Roberts ‘That the side was none the worse for their unpleasant experience,’ although he was very concerned and the matter would be reported to the FA. Roberts was quoted ‘we were told by Bradford City (1) who had been there before us that this club had a bad reputation the game had not been going long before Bliss and Lightfoot were unfairly treated. Our captain (Bobby Steele) protested to the referee. The German captain who could speak a little English retorted ‘You’re in Germany now and we are going to win,’ (2). At the end of the game the German keeper kicked Tattersall three times and Joyce (top) tried to force the aggressor away. The crowd rushed on the players pitch and a man broke his umbrella over Joyce’s head causing blood to flow. We had the man under observation for some minutes afterwards but the German officials did nothing. In the stampede to the dressing room I was robbed of 300 marks (15 pounds) We had to leave the ground by a roundabout way and stones and flints were thrown at us I have brought back some samples.’
Roberts would later say “Never again will Tottenham go to Germany while I’m Chairman of this club.” Nor did they. A second report from the Express and also carried widely is shown below.
Jack Pearson gave an interview to his local paper in which he described how they were attacked by infuriated spectators. He had heard someone shout something at him which he was later told translated as ‘hurry back old cock’ and at that point he was hit on the head with a stone.
Chairman Charles Roberts had declined the opportunity to return to South America that summer, possibly he thought of the long sea voyage although he is reported as speaking fluent German which might have influenced him.
The first game was in Hanover and Spurs won 6-3, Bert Middlemass scoring a hat trick, Banks, Elliott and Bliss. As we know from previous articles (3) match details of some of our earlier continent meetings are scare. This was our third trip to Germany having been there in 1911 and 12.
The team moved on to Nuremburg and a 1-1 draw. Next it was Bayern Munich and a 6-0 win. Our goals coming from Sparrow hat trick, Banks 2 and goalkeeper Tiny Joyce stepping up to score a penalty. This was followed by a 2-2 draw with Furth, Bliss scored both, one penalty, before the side crossed into Italy for a game with Milan.
The Reuters news agency sent this report which was carried a number of papers ‘Tottenham Hotspur defeated the International Football Club of Milan by five goals to nil. The Italians offered a good defence. A large crowd witnessed the match. The weather was very fine.’
The Tottenham goals came from Bliss 2, Elliott 2 and Fleming. From there it was to Switzerland and a 6-0 win over Zurich, Bliss 3, Tattersall 2 and Elliott. That was followed by 3-0 over St. Gallen before the return to Germany. Spurs met Pforzheim on the 23th and won 4-0. And the following day (three weeks after the first game) a 1-0 win over Stuttgart completed the tour.
The following summer Spurs visited Switzerland.
The press gave us the touring party when they left as – Joyce, Clay, Cartwright, Pearson, Weir, Steel, Grimsdell, Lightfoot, Tattersall, Banks, Sparrow, Bliss, Middlemass, Elliott and Fleming.
Right - Bliss scored at least eight goals on the tour.
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Notes – 1 - Bradford had played them earlier that month and lost 1-4, (in fact they lost all four games on their tour).
2 - Some accounts have reported it was the referee who said this I merely present what the papers carried. You will note that some of the reports send didn’t carry scorers and also the Express’s report suggests a different scoreline. The figures I’ve mentioned here come from Bob Goodwin’s complete record.
3 - The Early Tours - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-early-tours
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