Introducing PL Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur History
The Tottenham Hotspur football club is one of the clubs with the most supporters in England. Yet, many see it now as one of the least lucky clubs that should have had a lot more silverware in their trophy cabinet than they currently do.
The most recent trophy that the Lillywhites have won was the League Cup in 2007. Since then, they even got close to winning the Champions League once but were defeated in the final by Liverpool.
Nevertheless, the entire story behind Tottenham Hotspur is a peculiar one, and I aim to tell it today. So bare with me as we thread along Tottenham Hotspur history and through what makes this club great.
Early Tottenham Spurs History
The club was first created in 1882 and was originally called Hotspur Football Club. It was formed by a group of schoolboys, who belonged to the current Hotspur Cricket Club, as a means to play sports in winter. John Ripsher, their Bible class teacher, helped them out in the beginning, and he also became the club’s first president.
Tottenham Hotspur name origin is not as spectacular as you think it is, as the name was renamed to what we know it today in 1884, only two years after the club’s original creation. They have done so to not to be confused with another London-based club with the same name, as their post was delivered to Hotspur by mistake.
The team mainly played matches among themselves or against local teams as friendly matches. The first recorded game versus a different team was against the Radicals in 1882, which Tottenham lost by 2:0.
The Spurs finally became a professional club in 1895 and, a year later, entered Division One of the Southern League, which would then be the third tier of English football. Frank Brettell became the first manager of the club, who would pull one of the most important moves in the history of Tottenham by signing John Cameron.
Cameron would later become a player-manager with Brettell departing and would help the club win their first major trophy – the Southern League title in 1899. The Spurs would also lift their first FA Cup trophy in 1901 and, with that win, would become the first non-league club to do so.
First Division Promotion
After being elected to the Second Division in 1908, they won their first-ever First Division promotion in the history of Tottenham Hotspur. They would linger around for about six years before finishing bottom last and being demoted to the Second Division once again.
But the Lillywhites did not waste too much time there. They got back to Division One after a year’s absence and even finished second during the 1921-22 season. They would become a stable Division One club, with a few trips back to the Second Division.
However, the club’s glory years would come with the arrival of Bill Nicholson in 1958. He quickly became the club’s most decorated manager, helping the Spurs win the League and the FA Cup during the 1960-61 season. They repeated the same success in the FA Cup a year later as well.
But their greatest success was winning the Winner’s Cup in 1963, becoming the first British club to win a major European trophy. Not only that but in 1971, they became the first club from Britain to win two different major European trophies. That year, they won the UEFA Cup for the first time.
History of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in the Premier League
After the success they had in the 60s, the Spurs went into a bit of decline during the 70s. It even resulted in them dropping down to Division Two again for a season. But they immediately got back up after only spending a year down. Keith Burkinshaw not only managed to get the club back to the top flight, but he also reconstructed the team that resulted in a second UEFA Cup win in 1983/84.
During the start of the 90s, Tottenham was one of the five original clubs that urged for the creation of the Premier League. As we all know today, their advocacy was successful. The Premier League replaced Division One as the top tier of English football in 1992.
However, despite having a good squad and including popular players such as Jürgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham, the Spurs never had major success in the Prem. For the most part of Tottenham Hotspur history, they remained a mid-table club in the Premier League.
But the Spurs would go through a bit of a resurgence during the 2000s. With players such as Luka Modrić and Gareth Bale, run first by Harry Redknapp and later by Mauricio Pochettino, the club would eventually become a top-four team.
Unfortunately, they would also garner a reputation for missing out when it mattered the most. Tottenham finished second in the Premier League during the 2016/17 season and would also lose in the Champions League final against Liverpool in 2019.
Records and Stats
When it comes to record appearances for the club, Steve Perryman holds the top spot. He played 866 games for the Spurs during the period between 1969 and 1986. That record is not coming down any time soon. The current runner-up, Gary Mabbutt, only has 611 made between 1982 and 1998.
As far as goals scored, you can already assume who tops the list. Harry Kane is the most successful goal scorer in the History of Tottenham Hotspur. He scored a total of 280 goals in 435 appearances. The current England captain is also the club’s top scorer in Europe, with 45 goals. However, he is not the top scorer in the Domestic League. That title goes to Jimmy Greaves, who scored 220 goals.
If Kane had stayed longer in Tottenham, he would have probably broken that record, as he currently has 213 goals. He could have also probably managed to break Alan Shearer’s record of 260 goals scored in the Premier League as well. But Kane decided to move to Bayern Munich in 2023 and chase his dream of winning a major league title.
Among active players, Hugo Lloris is the player with the most appearances, with 447 games played. On the other hand, Son Heung-min is the sixth all-time goal scorer for the Spurs and second in European competitions.
Major Derbies and Rivalries
Being a club based in London and a team that has existed for so long would earn you a couple of rivalries. Tottenham sees Arsenal and Chelsea, the two other clubs from London, as their biggest rivals.
While the rivalry versus Chelsea is seen as secondary, the one versus Arsenal is the one which is the most heated. Dubbed the North London Derby, it usually brings fans from both factions, one against the other. The rivalry began around 1913 when the Gunners moved to Highbury. But it truly intensified in 1919 with Arsenal’s promotion to Division One.
The Gunners took the place that Spurs taught was rightfully theirs, forever scolding the Arsenal football club in their memory. The Lillywhites often say that their year was successful as long as they finished above Arsenal.
As far as the rivalry versus Chelsea goes, it actually started in 1967. The Spurs defeated the Blues in the FA Cup final. It was actually the first FA Cup between any London clubs. Chelsea supporters will never forget that loss that could have gone to them.
Current Tottenham Hotspur History
While Tottenham have been considered a top-four club in recent years in England, they are often regarded as laughingstocks by many supporters around England. They are a great club and are putting each team in the Premier League to the test. But in the end, success always manages to escape them.
Many people mention Mauricio Pochettino as the greatest coach ever to manage Tottenham. But even he wasn’t able to bring glory to White Hart Lane and later to London Stadium.
However, currently, under coach Ange Postecoglou, the Spurs are going through a bit of a renaissance. They are playing some of the best football on the Isle and are challenging Man City, Liverpool, and Arsenal for the title. Nevertheless, the season is long and Postecoglou still has a lot to show when it comes to managing the Spurs. So we expect a lot of ups and downs by the season’s end.