Lycurgus Burrows: played for Tottenham and Arsenal at the same time.

By Tony Attwood

Lycurgus Burrows was born in Ashton under Lyne, Northumberland, on 26 June 1875, and is first found playing for Melrose in Glasgow, and then in Sheffield, before playing for Woolwich Polytechnic while a student there.

The cause of these moves were the family moving home, presumably in search of work, and it was while playing for the Polytechnic that he was spotted and given his chance with Arsenal while still only 16 in January 1892.

He played once as a full back joining Royal Arsenal and 21 times for the reserves.

Because he was an amateur player he was free to play for other teams in the FA Cup – and indeed did so, playing four times for Tottenham, during his spell as a Woolwich Arsenal reserve team player.

He signed professional forms in July 1893 aged 18 and got ten games across the next three seasons, his debut coming on 6 February 1894 in a league match against Rotherham.

Having failed to make the grade at Arsenal, Ly moved north to Tottenham in October 1894 where he made over 50 appearances in the Southern League.

In the 22nd April, 1896 edition of The Sketch, he gained a mention: 

“Mr. Lycurgus Burrows is the well known full back of the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and one of the smartest men to be found in that onerous position. Born at Ashton under Lyne on June 26nd 1875, Burrows commenced his football career in Govan, with the Melrose. Thence he went to Sheffield, playing there with his school team, St. John’s, until leaving for Woolwich, where he joined the local Polytechnic.

Subsequently, he made a few appearances on behalf of the Woolwich Arsenal, and, as a matter of fact, assisted that professional team before he was 16 years of age. As a back, he is very strong and dashing, and has earned a great name in the Southern district. Burrows stands 5ft 9 inches, and weighs 12st 10lb.”

Despite being taken seriously ill during his time with Tottenham he had recovered enough to stay with Tottenham as they moved over to using professional players.  .

It is said in some reports that he was picked to represent London on a number of occasions although I can’t find records of these games.  If you have the information please do pass in on.  

Meanwhile Arsenal retained his professional registration (as they were fully entitlted to do under the mediaeval “retain and transfer” laws and he played ten times in the league for Arsenal while playing as an amateur for Tottenham.

He left Tottenham in December 1897  and signed for Sheffield United in his new home town city and played a handful of games for them as his business took over as the main focus of his attention.

Here is a record of his Arsenal and Tottenham years until the end of the 1895/6 season

Season Team Competition Apps
1893-94 Arsenal League Division Two 6
1894-95 Arsenal League Division Two 3
1894-95 Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup 4
1895-96 Arsenal League Division Two 1
1895-96 Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup 3

 Lycurgus Burrows died in Gosforth, Northumberland on 23rd August 1952.  I have managed to find a photo of his family gravestone.  It says

Sacred to the memory of Emily E Burrows, who died September 26th 1933 in her
58th year, beloved wife of L Burrows
and the above Lycurgus Burrows, died Aug 23rd 1952, aged 77 years
beloved husband of Kathleen Burrows

 I take it from this that Emily was Lycurgus’ mother, and Lycurgus was married to Kathleen.

 Lycurgus Burrows died in Gosforth, Northumberland on 23rd August 1952 and is buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery.


One Reply to “Lycurgus Burrows: played for Tottenham and Arsenal at the same time.”

  1. Great page, and I’m a Spurs supporter. Every club should have one of these. Congrats!
    I’m posting a link to this in my Premier Premonitions blog this week, due out Tghursday morning in the UK at

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