Tottenham were one of the first English clubs to compete in European competition. They have written themselves into the record books as they led the way for others to follow. This article and its companion 'Audere est Facere'
are a brief record of their adventure and glory.
This original article was written in 2014 and has been updated annually since. You will note these figures may vary from other data bases. These figures reflect only games played, whilst others sometimes include games not played but awarded a scoreline by UEFA. I also only included major competitions whilst some sources include competitions such as the Inter-Toto Cup (3). UEFA also record their figures from the competition 'proper' and not the qualifying rounds. Please refer to note 1 for further detail.
The importance of European competition to Tottenham was summed up by Bill Nicholson when he said. "It's magnificent to be in Europe, and this club, a club like Tottenham Hotspur, if we're not in Europe, we're nothing." European competition is vital to a club like Tottenham in order for the club to grow and maintain its position amongst the biggest clubs on the continent. This journey that started in a mining town in Poland and has to date seen us visit 36 countries (1) and play 95 different clubs in 199 matches (2).
Tottenham were the first British side to reach a European final. The first to win one. That first 5-1 triumph in 1963 is still the highest score in a one game final. The first British team to win two different European competitions and the first to reach three European finals. The first club to win the UEFA Cup twice. The first British club to win European trophies in three conclusive decades and only two English teams have won more than our three European trophies.
Spurs also competed in the first all British European tie and the following year the first all English tie. Then we also won the first all English European trophy final.
To the end of the 2016/7 season our European record stands as, (1) -
Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
Home 99 71 19 9 252 77
Away 99 35 27 37 135 116 (4)
Neutral 1 1 0 0 5 1
Total 199 107 46 46 392 194
Of those 99 home games four have been played at Wembley Stadium (2016/7) resulting in
Ply 4, w1, d1, L2, f6, a6.
This currently season is Tottenham’s 24rd in proper competition. I exclude from that competitions such as the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the Inter-Toto competition, both worthy of their own stories and told elsewhere (3). To fully understand the importance of European competition you will need a brief insight into its genesis. When the footballing authorities actively discouraged teams from competing. The leading clubs of the time including Tottenham, Manchester United and Wolverhampton as well as Hibernian north of the boarder undertook floodlight friendlies with the best that Europe had to offer. When European competition finally arrived at first only two teams would take part. The League Champions in the European Cup and later the FA Cup winners in the European Cup Winners Cup. If only the current qualification procedure had been in place in that era. The story of that time is told in a previous article (5).
Tottenham’s most seasoned campaigner is Steve Perryman with 64 games, followed by Aaron Lennon 58, and Michael Dawson 40. At the start of this season the current players with the most appearances are Jan Vertonghen with 37 games (4th overall), Dembele and Lloris with 36 each.
This article was last revised September 2017.
Further European records including goal scoring, by country and individual competitions are featured in the companion piece Audere est Facere.
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1 - When I cross checked my figures for accuracy I went to three different sources and all had differing figures. This is partly explained in the recent 'Talking Tottenham - Is stats right.' So these totals are the result of an afternoon with the record books, pen, paper and fingers. I trust they are correct. Up to the end of the 2016/17 season.
2 - 36 countries are as they were at the time of the match, e.g. this means we have played in East and West Germany as well as a reunited Germany. Similar occurrences are recorded in Czechoslovakia, Russia and Yugoslavia.
3 - The story of the Intertoto cup is @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-intertoto-cup
and the Inter Cities Cup @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-111
4 - Two of those away games have been played away from the oppositions home stadium because of political tensions.
5 - The first clubs in Europe and their story @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-first-europeans
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The Road to Turin
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Thanks For The Memories
Our Tommy Carroll
The AVB Files: Part1
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The Hand Of Hugo
Connection - Argentina
Creating a Reputation
Flying Down To Rio