A History Thread

Discussion in 'Front Page Features' started by CosmicHotspur, Aug 9, 2008.

  • by CosmicHotspur, Aug 9, 2008 at 1:26 PM
  • CosmicHotspur

    CosmicHotspur Better a wag than a WAG

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    I thought it would be fun to start a thread on different aspects of the history of Spurs.

    If you have any old documents, photos, newspaper articles, etc you can post them here.

    This is my first contribution and I will post many more as time goes by (especially when I get my new scanner up and running as I have some quite old pics and articles).

    I found this one on-line and thought it was interesting reading. It was printed in the Tottenham Herald in 1921.

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Discussion in 'Front Page Features' started by CosmicHotspur, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. CosmicHotspur
    Another programme from yesteryear. And yes, of course I was there.

    A Third Round FA Cup tie that kicked off at 2.45 because Arsenal were also at home saw both sides under-strength. Spurs were without Marchi, Brown, Medwin and Mackay, while the Pensioners missed Houseman and Bonetti.

    We took an early lead after three minutes, when Eddie McCreadie fell with Cliff Jones and referee Finney gave a free kick to Tottenham. Peter Baker played it in, Smith swung at the ball but missed and, fortunately, it fell to Terry Dyson to knock it home past 19 year old John Dunn in the Chelsea goal. With twenty minutes gone, Chelsea levelled when Frank Blunstone's run saw him pass two Spurs defenders and his cross was onto the head of Bert Murray, who beat Hollowbread to make it 1-1.

    The second half was a scrappier affair, with McCreadie clearing Eddie Clayton's shot off the line and Hollowbread denying Barry Bridges' drive. On 65 minutes, Smith crashed Jones's cross against the underside of the bar, but the ball bounced out and that was the last meaningful effort on goal as the game fizzled out into a draw and a replay was needed to sort out the two teams.

    Teams :
    Spurs - Hollowbread, Baker, John Smith, Cliff Jones, Eddie Clayton, Bobby Smith, Jimmy Greaves (c), Terry Dyson
    Chelsea - Dunn, McCreadie, R. Harris, Upton, Blunstone, Mortimore, D. Brown, Bridges, Harmer, Murray
    Crowd : - 49,382

  2. DC_Boy
  3. ShelfSide18
    This was my dads first ever game, what a game to have as your first!

    I got a dull 1-1 draw at QPR!
  4. spursphil
    Tottenham's nursery club

    The concept of the nursery club, whereby a senior club reaches a formal agreement with a more junior
    club that will allow youngsters to develop their skills away from the parent club, has begun to make a
    comeback in recent years. In modern parlance these are now termed ‘feeder’ or ‘satellite’ clubs but the
    relationship between, say, Manchester United and Royal Antwerp or Arsenal and KSK Beveren is
    essentially that of a traditional parent and nursery club. The fact that English clubs now make their
    arrangements with clubs abroad is a reflection both of the globalisation of the game and a desire to
    circumvent the more strict regulations on
    work permits applied here. Nurseries, of
    course, were commonplace in the 1930s,
    indeed the Weekly Illustrated newspaper of 29
    August 1936 noted that, “Most first class
    clubs have nurseries for training and
    developing those men who have talent.” In
    this article I shall focus on the nurseries in
    Kent generally and compare the situation at
    the two best known of these nurseries:
    Northfleet United (Tottenham Hotspur) and
    Margate (Arsenal). At least two other full
    nursery relationships existed within the
    county: Clapton Orient and Ashford (1934-35)
    and Bexleyheath & Welling and Charlton Athletic
    (from 1935-36), plus numerous ‘informal arrangements’ between the county’s clubs and Football League
    sides, and these will occasionally be referred to. I shall consider in turn how and why the nursery
    arrangements were established, how they actually operated, how successful they were in developing
    talent and the advantages and disadvantages for the clubs involved.

    The transition from star schoolboy footballer to professional player was not quite so smooth in the interwar
    period as it is today. Boys usually left full-time education at 14 in those days and were forbidden
    from signing terms until their 17th birthday. There were no apprenticeship schemes, although
    occasionally a talented boy might be taken on the groundstaff of one of the bigger clubs, but even then
    few were ready to take their place in the competitive world of reserve-team football. In fact most of those
    who eventually enjoyed a career in professional football began their working life as an apprentice or
    trainee, often in the industrial sectors that dominated working-class employment. After two or three years
    of operating in age group or junior football they would be spotted by talent scouts and, if good enough,
    signed up by a Football League club. However, there was a long way to go until the youngster was ready
    for action in the Central League or Football Combination, and to bridge this gap Tottenham, and other
    senior clubs, began to develop the practice of ‘farming out’ youngsters to junior clubs in the local area
    during the 1920s. Spurs used a number of clubs in north London including Barnet and Cheshunt of the
    Athenian League and Haywards Sports (Spartan League) and also established a formal nursery based in
    Ebbw Vale in south Wales. Even when senior clubs began to run third or ‘A’ teams the desire to
    accommodate new talent was such that ‘farming out’ continued, but by the early 1930s these
    arrangements started to take on a more formal standing.

    Tottenham’s relationship with Northfleet appears to have been initiated by the junior club in March 1922
    when they attempted to recruit reserve full back Jimmy Ross from White Hart Lane as their manager.
    Northfleet offered terms of £8 per week, suggesting that £1 of this might be paid by Spurs in return for
    their having first call on any players over a three-year period. The offer was rejected, but in May of that
    year a formal agreement was made between the two clubs, unfortunately the Tottenham board minutes
    provide no further information on the nature of this deal. However, the Northfleet club were experiencing
    financial problems and in February of 1923 the situation reached crisis point. “Northfleet are passing
    through one of the worst seasons from a financial standpoint, that has fallen to them so far in their
    history,” noted the
    Gravesend & Dartford Reporter. (3 February 1924) This was something of an
    understatement, however, for the club was in grave danger of folding with expenses well adrift of the
    income from gate receipts. The reasons given were familiar: high local unemployment and a run of poor
    results were keeping the fans away and drastic surgery was needed. Manager Bert Lipsham was sacked,
    star player ‘Jerry’ Barnett was sold to Spurs with W Pilcher moving from White Hart Lane to Northfleet.
    The club now adopted a policy of playing a team of promising youngsters rather than experienced
    professionals, thus reducing their expenses considerably, and this appears to represent the start of a more
    formal relationship with Spurs. From the summer of 1923 up to half-a-dozen youngsters were placed at
    Northfleet, the first intake including Harry Skitt and Bill Lane. The former Falkirk player Billy Houston
    also arrived at the same time, apparently to take on the role of senior professional. Northfleet held an
    annual pre-season trial match behind closed doors at White Hart Lane under the watching eye of the
    Spurs’ management, but otherwise there was rarely any public recognition of the relationship between the
    two clubs. Spurs were still farming out players elsewhere and the evidence suggests that the transition to
    full nursery status did not take place until the summer of 1931. It is from this point that Spurs installed
    Jimmy Anderson as trainer, from when the two clubs effectively shared staff, and also when the Spurs’
    handbook officially acknowledges the existence of the relationship.

    In contrast to the gradual development of the relationship between Northfleet and Spurs, that between
    Margate and Arsenal began in a hail of publicity as a full-blown nursery arrangement. Arsenal were the
    leading club in England at the time, having just completed the second of their hat-trick of Football
    League titles. Manager George Allison, who had succeeded the late Herbert Chapman in June 1934,
    was a regular visitor to the Margate area, where his daughter attended a local school, and had also
    attended the opening of the Corporation medical baths in 1932, it is through the contacts he made in
    the area that the deal was struck. The Margate board seem to have been quite open about their motives
    - not only was there the attraction of playing future stars in their team, but as the club chairman bluntly
    put it, “We are getting a £150 team for a £30 or £40 ‘gate’, which suits Margate.” (
    Isle of Thanet
    Gazette, 28 July 1934) Needless to say, Margate were experiencing some financial difficulties, having
    made a net loss of around £300 the previous season. Arsenal’s reasons for entering into the agreement
    were explained by chairman Major Sir Samuel Hill-Wood at a celebratory luncheon:
    In the past we have suffered very much because we have been unable to take likely boys of eighteen or
    nineteen found by our scouts. We could not play them. Perhaps unfortunately our second team is at the
    head of the London Combination year after year, and we dare not experiment with the team. It would
    only offend players hoping to get their Combination medal. What we wanted was some club willing
    and good enough to teach our young players for us. We can and do find lots of promising young boys,
    but they must have somewhere to play and be taught. (Isle of Thanet Gazette, 7 July 1934)

    Arsenal installed their own manager, Jack Ramsey, and appointed Peter McWilliam as the talent scout
    responsible for recruiting suitable players and allocating them to Margate. This was a significant move,
    for McWilliam had been the Tottenham manager when the initial deal with Northfleet had been made.
    There was a third party to the agreement, Margate Town Council, who owned the club’s Hartsdown
    Park ground. The council appear to have viewed their involvement as an extension of their campaign
    to promote the town as a seaside resort and agreed to spend around £1,000 improving facilities at the
    stadium. Shortly before the start of the 1934-35 season a group of seven youngsters arrived in Margate
    to take their places in the team and soon Arsenal were providing the majority of the players in their
    line-up. The initial batch of seven comprised three young professionals (Carr, Whitehouse and Tuckett)
    and four juniors (Brooks, Brophy, Knott and McCarthy) the oldest of the group was just 21, many were
    teenagers. Part of the deal was that the parent club would pay 60 per cent of their wages, leaving
    Margate to fund the remaining 40 per cent.

    How did the nurseries operate in practise? The former Spurs player Ron Burgess provides a detailed
    account of life at Northfleet in his autobiography:
    Each Saturday those members of the ground-staff who were registered playing members of the
    Northfleet club, would meet at the Tottenham ground to board a coach for London Bridge. There we
    caught a train for Northfleet, or wherever we were playing in Kent, for we were members of the Kent
    Senior League. ... We were a young side at Northfleet, for the average age of the lads, with the
    exception of our skipper and centre-half, Jack Coxford, could not have been more than 19 years. Jack
    was the “old head” amongst that bunch of sprightly youth, and what he didn’t know about the game
    wasn’t worth knowing! He did his best to impart some of his knowledge and experience to us by his
    grand example and influence. ... The football played in the Kent Senior League was far better than
    anything I had encountered up to that time. It was hard and the opposition was robust, but it did us no
    harm, for it taught us the value of all-out effort for the whole of the ninety minutes of each game.
    (Ron Burgess, Football: My Life, London, 1952, pp 27-29)

    The Spurs players trained at White Hart Lane during the week under Jimmy Anderson and only
    travelled to Kent on match days. This was in contrast to the situation at Margate, where the Arsenal
    youngsters lived and trained locally. Both, however operated on similar principles, with a manager
    employed by the parent club and an experienced professional or two to guide a team essentially
    comprising teenagers. Clapton Orient, who had a nursery arrangement with Ashford Town during the
    1934-35 season, similarly appointed their own manager, Tommy Lucas, to run the team.

    Tottenham seem to have done much better in the long term from their nursery arrangement than the
    Gunners. Certainly the arrangement was much more stable - Arsenal faced a number of administration
    problems in the early days of their relationship with Margate, firstly over their wish to play the
    strongest team in the Southern League (they were eventually forced to give precedence to Kent League
    fixtures for 1934-35) and secondly when they were eliminated from the FA Cup over player
    registration discrepancies. A total of 37 players appeared in the Football League for Spurs after
    developing at Northfleet, nine of whom went on to gain full international honours. Margate, which
    served as a nursery for only four years, was not so productive, many of the youngsters only managing
    just a handful of appearances for the Gunners, although often featuring for other clubs later in their
    careers. The
    Isle of Thanet Gazette of 4 September 1937 listed a total of 20 players who had previously
    been associated with the Margate nursery and had moved on. Only one of these, Reg Lewis, proved a
    significant figure at Highbury, and although most of the others played in the Football League only one,
    Mal Griffiths, went on to appear at international level. Reference to Jeff Harris’s
    Arsenal Who’s Who
    suggests that only 13 players in total progressed from Margate to make a senior appearance for the
    Gunners, two of whom, Griffiths and Horace Cumner won full international caps, while a third,
    George Marks, appeared for England during the war. It should be noted, however, that Arsenal were
    one of the country’s top clubs in the late 1930s, with a side packed full of stars, whereas Spurs were a
    Second Division club. Arsenal must have regarded the venture as a success for when the agreement
    with Margate fell through at the end of 1937-38 they set up an ‘A’ team which played in the Southern
    League during the following season operating from Enfield’s ground.

    For the junior clubs involved in these arrangements the rewards seemed obvious: they were gaining a team
    full of talented players for an apparent pittance, large crowds, success on the field and a cupboard full of
    trophies would follow without a doubt. At a time when many of the semi-professional clubs in the Kent
    and Southern Leagues were experiencing money problems, a nursery arrangement seemed to provide an
    instant solution. This was only partly true, although both Northfleet and Margate enjoyed unprecedented
    success on the field during their nursery periods. Northfleet won the Kent League on five occasions
    between 1931 and 1939, the Kent League Cup four times and the Kent Senior Cup once. Margate seemed
    almost invincible at times during their four-year spell as Arsenal’s nursery: in 1935-36 they won the
    Southern League Central and Eastern Sections, the Kent Senior Cup, Kent Senior Shield and Kent League
    Cup, in 1936-37 they won the Southern League Midweek Section, Kent Senior Cup and Kent Senior
    Shield, and even in the final season of the arrangement they won the Kent League.
    There were some obvious downsides: the senior clubs could recall players at any moment, thus
    producing a degree of instability within the nurseries, and the FA eventually banned nursery clubs from
    entering the FA Cup, thus removing the possibility of a lucrative run in the competition. The problem
    of what might happen if a nursery club was drawn against their parent club had already been faced
    when Ashford Town hosted Clapton Orient in the first round in the 1934-35 season, but no decision
    was made until 1937. However, these were relatively minor issues.

    The attraction of becoming a nursery was such that towards the end of the decade it almost reached a
    point when any Kent club facing financial difficulties would actively seek a senior club to provide
    salvation. Shortly before Ramsgate folded in the summer of 1936 the
    Isle of Thanet Gazette (9 May
    1936) noted that, “The most common opinion now is that only by setting up as a rival nursery to
    Margate can Ramsgate hope to attract sufficient support.” Chelsea and Fulham were both mentioned as
    possible partners but nothing materialised and the club folded. The truth was that the economic
    recession had a severe effect on Kent football for most of the 1930s, the semi-professional clubs in
    particular found that attendances (although in excess of today’s levels) were producing income well
    short of that needed to pay wages and other expenses. Clubs unable to find a full nursery partner opted
    for ‘informal’ links with Football League clubs, presumably enabling the senior outfit to farm out
    players on a regular basis for a fee. Canterbury Waverley had an agreement with Crystal Palace and
    Ramsgate with Fulham during the middle of the decade. However, the nursery arrangements needed
    careful financial management to enable the junior club to cope with their additional expenses.
    Northfleet seem to have managed this, although it may have been because they had the solid backing
    of president Joe Lingham.
    However, although Margate’s arrangement with Arsenal produced success on the field of play, it was a
    disaster financially. Each season the Kent club seemed to produce a larger deficit and after the team
    had won almost everything they entered in 1936-37 they were forced to withdraw from the Southern
    League for the following season. The situation went from bad to worse, and the club was reported to
    be losing around £30 a week on the deal. Arsenal, who claimed the nursery arrangement cost them
    around £2,000 a year, refused to renegotiate the terms and by the start of 1938 it was clear the
    arrangement would end when the season closed. The Highbury club were clearly happy with the way
    their youngsters were developing in Southern League football, for they entered the competition under
    their own name in 1938-39, but refused to increase their financial commitment. “We cannot go on
    being a Santa Claus,” announced George Allison, and although the Margate directors grumbled on
    about the ‘tragedy’ that was about to take place, they had little choice but to close down in the summer
    of 1938. When the
    Isle of Thanet Gazette’s correspondent ‘Full-back’ wrote (23 April 1938), “The
    Margate club will never succeed until they stop building castles in the air,” he was probably correct.
    That early comment about getting a £150 team for a £30 gate was of course naïve in the extreme and
    ultimately the venture failed because the directors had been living a dream - the reality in football has
    always been that if clubs cannot match their income to their expenses they will find themselves in
    trouble eventually, however many trophies that find their way into the boardroom cabinet.

    The outbreak of war in September 1939 effectively brought an end to the nursery club arrangements
    and with the development of a more formal national structure for youth football from the late 1940s,
    most senior clubs began to run additional teams: ‘A’ teams and even ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams became
    widespread. Most nurseries did not recommence, although one famous nursery that did exist in the
    1950s was the Wath Wanderers club, which operated as the Yorkshire subsidiary of Wolverhampton
    Wanderers. The nurseries themselves had provided a successful developing ground for the Football
    League clubs, although the junior partners, as we have seen, rarely gained any long-term advantage.
  5. CosmicHotspur
  6. nipponyid
  7. StartingPrice
    I'm sure I got a whiff somewhere that 'the powers' were toying with the idea of ressurecting that one:shrug:
  8. CosmicHotspur
    Having reserve sides that played regularly took over from the nursery club system. We had Northfleet and also Finchley.

    This 1997 article is quite interesting.


    I hadn't realised the system had actually been banned by the FA and things may well have changed in the last 13 years. We no longer have a reserve team, but put players out on loan. I don't like that at all because those players lose their sense of identity and belonging to the club.

    I'd like to see nursery clubs re-introduced as well as reserve football at the Lane.

    Among others, Ted Ditchburn was a product of Northfleet, joining Spurs from them in 1939 with a career interrupted by the war but which really took off when he returned.

  9. TheChosenOne
    I remember all the houses in the Park Lane foreground , must have been a nice earner there for the locals, lots of people used to park their bikes in hallways and badge and scarf sellers used to stash their stuff there also.
  10. CosmicHotspur
    I was born and lived just minutes away to the right, in Argyle Road which crossed with Vicarage Road. Just off the map.

    Our local roads were packed with cars and the odd coach too on match days and before I went to games, aged around six or seven, we kids used to get money to "look after" the cars. Those were good days for the sweet shop just around the corner in Park Lane, as well as for us!
  11. HotspurFC1950

    I was there.
  12. HotspurFC1950

    Yep sixpence Mr ? Farningham Road. Just 6 years of age.
  13. HotspurFC1950

    That's me. I was mackay59 back then.
  14. longtimespur
    Great thread cosmic, brings back memories from the great era.
    Like another on here I used to get passed across the heads and sat behind the goal at the Paxton Road end in the mid 50s..
    Can remember hanging of the fencing on the shelf in the big games back then with crowds in the 55 - 65000s.
    Great times and really good memories as well as sadness from poor refereeing against Benfica and the death of John White.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. HotspurFC1950

    Played against and marked Bridges for Queensland vs an England touring team around 1971 in Brisbane.
  16. Mullers

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