When exploring the history of our great club you occasionally stumble across various stories that seem incomplete or quite simply the various records contradict each other. You can end up roaming through various sources, printed, on-line, or old VHS tapes or seeking guidance from ‘experts.’
These then are the Tottenham Mysteries. The first case we will explore is the case of The Missing International.
You may have noticed that with Tottenham having a number of Spurs players making their England debuts over the recent years the various press outlets have disagreed over how many Tottenham men have actually played for the country. This isn’t too much of a surprise when so many seem to have little regard for accuracy. Being intrigued I set out to discover the why and how this arose.
The why was quickly resolved, cross referencing the three most reliable databases, the answer is a Frank Hartley, who played for England V France in May 1923. The how took a little more digging.
Frank Hartley, born July 1896, started his career with Oxford City before signing as an amateur player for Spurs in November 1922, the first of two spells with the club. He still turned out for the Corinthians in March 1923. The same month he was a reserve for the England game away to Wales. Before he played his one match for the club in his first spell, away to Birmingham in April 1923. Just a month after that league debut he was chosen for the England game with France.
The regulations regarding amateur players were certainly different at the time as we have seen before. As Frank was registered with Tottenham at the time but was being allowed to turn out for the Corinthians and Oxford different sources credited his appearance to different clubs.
If we sidestep for one moment, that game V France saw him play at inside left. The right winger was Frank Osbourne, then of Fulham but later of Tottenham, (1).
The French goalkeeper was one Pierre Chayrigues, who himself is the subject of another Tottenham Mystery, but we will return to that another day. Frank was injured and left the field after sixty minutes as England won 4-1.
left - Frank Hartley
Frank decided he did not want to play at the top level, despite Portsmouth trying to sign him from Spurs. He continued to play for the Corinthians (2) scoring 59 times in 87 games and he played for England Amateurs seven times between 1923-27. He was a member of the ‘Amateurs’ side that won the Charity Shield in 1924.
Frank came from a farming family but returned to Tottenham in February 1928, turning professional at the age of 32, thus becoming the first player from the strictly Corinthian side to sign professional forms. We know he suffered a number of injuries and only appeared in six more first team games for Spurs staying with the club till he was released at the end of 1931-32. He scored just the one goal for Tottenham in a 3-2 home win over Wolves in September 1928.
Frank was a talented sportsman having turned out at cricket for Oxfordshire and the Minor Counties. He also had a trial for the England Hockey team (his brother was a hockey international). After leaving Spurs he was the Secretary of Eton Manor a Boys club in North London. Frank passed away in October 1965.
For the record – If we include Frank Hartley as a Tottenham player (the majority of sources do so) then Danny Rose became the 76th Tottenham player to represent England in March 2016 in the game V Germany. The bad news is that the majority of sources provide slightly differing number of caps (either 825 or 827) won by the club. If I’m ever stuck on a desert island then I might just try and work that one out. Although given some games are not always counted as full internationals by both sides and caps are not awarded after the game in some cases (3).
So look out for another insight in the fun life of the history buff when next time in the Tottenham Mysteries we look in to ‘The Case of the Invisible Goalkeeper.’
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes – 1 – You might like to check out 'Tottenham and the Roaring 20’s' and 'The Forgotten Years.'
2 – You will recall them from – http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-spurs-and-the-charity-shield
3 – An example of this is the Sandy Brown cap V England, where some sources do include this game. in Hotspur Towers - Sandy Brown and the Ibrox Disaster. -
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