As it it Christmas and I am away from home, being kindly entertained by others, it ill behoves me to wander off like Isaac Newton in the middle of a dinner party to work on the latest episode of this blog. (Newton was famed for doing just this – although the records don’t indicate any particular interest in football – and had the virtue that he could at least report back later that he had just spent the last half hour polishing off a bottle of claret and inventing calculus. I fear I might attempt the former but certainly not the latter.)
But I do wish to bring to your attention a communication sent to this site by Pete Smith, concerning a debate we have been having about the two Hotspurs – the original club, and the young upstarts that became the team who won the league 50 years ago.
Of course this is an Arsenal site, but as Tottenham has made it their business to criticise all we do in and around north London, I felt this detailed analysis of this particular point was worthy of broader attention than it would get if I just left it in the correspondence columns.
Here’s Pete’s letter in full…
– – – – –
Following a debate on a well known football forum, where several Spurs fans refused to admit that there was another Hotspur club that pre dated THFC. I decided to do some research.
I contacted the author at Historical Kits to ask where he had got his information from about ‘Hotspur FC’, he replied that the information had been supplied by the official THFC historian Andy Porter.
I emailed Andy Porter to ask for more details about Hotspur FC and he kindly gave me the following information:
The 1921 Weekly Herald history of THFC – also known as “A Romance of Football” – mentions on page 8 that:
“the Hotspur had to change their name to Tottenham Hotspur owing to the existence of another club called the London Hotspur. Mr. Sam Casey found that he often received letters intended for the London Hotspur, while letters for the Tottenham club went to the other organisation.”
The addition of Tottenham to the Hotspur FC club name was adopted at the second annual general meeting of members, held on April 2, 1884.
(See http://www.spurshistory.com for an online copy of the 1921 history.)
In fact, there was no London Hotspur club, the other club was also known as Hotspur FC, the name adopted during 1882 by the schoolboy founders of THFC, from the Hotspur Cricket Club (founded 1880).
According to Mike Collett’s book “The Complete Record of the FA Cup” (Sportsbooks, 2003), Hotspur FC were formed during 1878.
They entered the FA Cup for eight seasons between 1879-80 and 1887-88, reaching the fourth round (last 16) during 1881-82.
A THFC correspondent whose great-grandfather played for the other Hotspur FC provided copies of his membership cards for seasons 1886-87 and 1887-88. These confirm that by September, 1886 the other Hotspur FC were playing their home matches on a ground at Merton, Wimbledon, Surrey, adjoining Merton Hall Farm, near the “Leather Bottle”. Dressing room was on the ground, about a quarter of an hour’s walk from Wimbledon Station (L. & S. W. Ry.). Club colours were listed as Dark Blue Shirt, with White Maltese Cross on the left breast; White Knickers and Dark Blue Stockings. Their Hon. Secretary, a Mr. W. H. Harding, was based at 150, New North Road, Islington, N.
Their fixture list for 1886-87 has matches scheduled for their first, ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams, including a visit to Tottenham where their ‘B’ team (reserves) faced Irmac on October 16. Between December 27 and 30 they played at Burnley, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. Their ‘B’ team was due to play at Tottenham Hotspur on February 26, 1887.
Only two teams, first and ‘B’, were run by Hotspur FC during 1887-88. All of their matches were within London and the south east.
The other Hotspur FC are believed to have folded by the mid 1890’s.
Prepared by Andy Porter. 23.12.2010.”
This information is also partly replicated on the official THFC website here: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/history/history_yearbyyear.html
I hope that this information proves to be useful for this website and for those who want to know the truth about the origins of THFC.