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I’m new to the Tottenham community. I’ve been following Spurs for about 2 years but do not have a family background. I’ve been lurking for a while and have picked up a lot but I want to know all of it.

Some things I’m interested in to start:

I want to know the reasons we hate certain clubs.

I want to know who the most hated is.

I’m interested in your personal history of being a supporter.

I’ll take anything else you would tell your son/daughter to help them love this Club.

 

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This extract from Steve Tongue’s book Turf Wars, A History of London Football recounts how the first of many territorial disputes in the capital began. Henry Norris, a politician and social climber with friends in high places, was a Fulham director who set his sights on moving the Gunners far away from their Woolwich home and making them if necessary the first Franchise FC. Having done so, he was about to upset Spurs even more in a manner they have never forgotten…



When Fulham met Woolwich in 1913/14 after the latter’s relegation, the Cottagers won a strange game 6-1, all seven goals coming in the last half-hour. The Woolwich, as they were officially known at that point, finished above Fulham and Orient in third place but the greater significance was that the former south London club now lived on the other side of the river.

The new home might have been Battersea, Harringay or even Fulham itself. In 1910 Woolwich’s debts prompted Norris, often ahead of his time, to issue a cheeky invitation to them to amalgamate with his club at Craven Cottage, and when that was ruled out, he suggested a ground-share, which was also turned down.

He appeared to believe that Woolwich had the better prospects and soon became their majority shareholder and then chairman, still remaining a director at Fulham, while his friend William Hall did the opposite: director of Woolwich, chairman of Fulham. Little wonder the links between the clubs were so close.

Norris, however, would begin to sever them. Faced with the prospect of Second Division football as Woolwich’s calamitous 1912/13 season drew on, he decided on equally drastic measures. ‘Supposing there was a place only ten minutes from Piccadilly where one could go and see a first-rate football match?’ he asked. In Islington, close to what was then known as Gillespie Road underground station, which had been opened in 1906, he found such a site, owned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (later the Church Commissioners).

Many Woolwich supporters who did not relish crossing London to watch their team were horrified. One of them, writing to the Kentish Gazette, used a phrase that would recur many years later in relation to another London club, who wanted to move much further afield: ‘You cannot “franchise” a football club,’ he insisted, ‘Woolwich Woolwich must stay near Woolwich.’

Tottenham and Clapton Orient, already within three miles of each other and fighting for local support, were naturally just as appalled by the prospect, but lost the turf battle, if not the war: a Football League meeting in March 1913 decided nothing in the existing rules could block it.

Norris triumphantly agreed a 21-year lease on the land, agreeing out of respect for the owners not to play on Good Friday or Christmas Day (a stipulation which stayed in place until Woolwich bought the freehold in 1925). The last game in south-east London was a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on 26 April 1913, watched by only 3,000. The first at the new home, back down in Division Two, was on 6 September, when a crowd more than six times larger saw Leicester Fosse beaten 2-1 in a stadium not quite finished. Dressing rooms were an important missing element.

One more point secured during the 38 games – from a 2-2 draw at home to Orient in April, for instance, watched by 35,000 – would have made it the most successful of campaigns, resulting in instant promotion. Crucially, however, Morrell’s team finished behind Bradford Park Avenue on goal average, thanks to the old failing of not scoring enough goals. That would lead indirectly to one of the great controversies of London football history.

By 1918 Henry Norris, a recruiting officer at the War Office during hostilities, had been knighted and become a Tory MP. Among his many friends in high places were the Archbishop of Canterbury, who personally signed Woolwich’s lease for Highbury, and the Football League president and Liverpool owner John McKenna, who would crucially help him and Woolwich at the 1919 league AGM, when the First Division was to be extended from 20 to 22 clubs.

For previous expansions – for example in 1898 and 1905 – the bottom club(s) had simply stayed up and two others were promoted. This time, Derby County and Preston duly moved up from the Second Division and Chelsea, bottom but one in the First Division, were immediately reprieved on something of a sympathy vote, clubs having remembered that Manchester United only finished above them by beating Liverpool in a match-fixing scandal that resulted in seven players being banned for life.

That left one place to be filled, which Tottenham felt should be theirs, despite having been bottom dogs in 1915. Instead, McKenna talked up Woolwich’s credentials as loyal 25-year members of the league and ordered a vote of all nominated clubs. To Norris’s delight and Tottenham’s dismay, it resulted: Woolwich 18, Spurs 8, Barnsley 5, Wolves 4, Nottingham Forest 3, Birmingham 2, Hull 1.

So Tottenham found themselves replaced in the top division by their new, unwanted local rivals, who had been no higher than fifth in the last season before suspension, with Barnsley and Wolves above them in the table.


 
Many Woolwich supporters who did not relish crossing London to watch their team were horrified. One of them, writing to the Kentish Gazette, used a phrase that would recur many years later in relation to another London club, who wanted to move much further afield: ‘You cannot “franchise” a football club,’ he insisted, ‘Woolwich Woolwich must stay near Woolwich.’
Gotta love the auto-correct function!
 
Hello mate and welcome - you’ve made the right choice!

The links that Arty B highlights above are good starting points as is the ‘Tottenham Boys we are here ‘ thread.

The Steve Tongue book is well worth a read for an overview of London football in general.

I completed a Masters degree (blatant) in English as a mature student a few years ago. My dissertation was on football writing. Out of that I’ve had the thought to do a book on London football for some time. When I saw Turf Wars published I thought I’d been beaten to it. However, it’s quite a dry, factual take on things rather than delving into the hatreds, dislikes and allegiances of London football. I’d still like (some day) to start (& ideally finish) my idea. One of the leading questions would be ‘why does everyone hate Tottenham?’

Important as history is - 1915 and all that - it’s the personal experiences that reinforce the rivalries. Consistently losing 1-2 to an inferior long ball Woolwich team in the 1980’s; running the gauntlet of hissing neo-Nazi’s at Fulham Broadway; getting beaten up as a kid at Upton Park etc etc etc
 

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Borodin55

Carpe Diem
This is on for just over three hours so grab a few cans, sit down and watch....fascinating stuff. If it doesn't load up on here then copy and paste the link into Youtube :thumbup: :thumbup:


This is why we love this club........ :coys: :coys:
 

Nutter-Naylor

Supporter
I’m new to the Tottenham community. I’ve been following Spurs for about 2 years but do not have a family background. I’ve been lurking for a while and have picked up a lot but I want to know all of it.

Some things I’m interested in to start:

I want to know the reasons we hate certain clubs.

I want to know who the most hated is.

I’m interested in your personal history of being a supporter.

I’ll take anything else you would tell your son/daughter to help them love this Club.
A) 1. Woolwich are squatters in our territory. 2. Chelsea are racists. 3. West Ham are an annoying little no-mark club that think we are a rival.

B) Woolwich. They have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Their whole history is based on lies, bribery and double dealing.

C) Been a fan since 68. Going since 72. Doing away games since 77. First tear up with Woolwich fans November 1976. Still go and despite not liking modern football very much, still love the Spurs. Its part of my DNA.

D) No one likes us but they all envy what we are about and who we are. Fuck em all, we are the Tottenham and we are the best.
 

Mrs Perryman

I'm a Cockney Malteser
You have to love this club through thick and thin, read up on our history and make your own memories.
It's a bit like childbirth (or so they tell me)...... you forget all the pain when something special happens. Last season we had our Champions League exploits, just a shame that we fell at the last hurdle.
 
I’m new to the Tottenham community. I’ve been following Spurs for about 2 years but do not have a family background. I’ve been lurking for a while and have picked up a lot but I want to know all of it.

Some things I’m interested in to start:

I want to know the reasons we hate certain clubs.

I want to know who the most hated is.

I’m interested in your personal history of being a supporter.

I’ll take anything else you would tell your son/daughter to help them love this Club.

way back in the 60s I pestered my lovely dad to take me with him to Goodison Park. The game was against Tottenham. No segregation in those lovely safe days and we were amongst a crowd of Spurs fans ( 70,000. capacity some games).I was completely captivated by the London accents ,I was given loads of sweets and they even lifted me up on to the crush barrier so I could get a better view;( before anyone says, I don't think they were paedos, just lovely friendly people) . Since then and despite years of ridicule and being the butt of many jokes living amongst accusers. I am completely hooked. No other exists as far as I am concerned Players come and go but we always love the club..I for one am so glad our club is still in the hands of English owners. Long may it last. COYS
 
way back in the 60s I pestered my lovely dad to take me with him to Goodison Park. The game was against Tottenham. No segregation in those lovely safe days and we were amongst a crowd of Spurs fans ( 70,000. capacity some games).I was completely captivated by the London accents ,I was given loads of sweets and they even lifted me up on to the crush barrier so I could get a better view;( before anyone says, I don't think they were paedos, just lovely friendly people) . Since then and despite years of ridicule and being the butt of many jokes living amongst accusers. I am completely hooked. No other exists as far as I am concerned Players come and go but we always love the club..I for one am so glad our club is still in the hands of English owners. Long may it last. COYS
that should be scousers not accusers
 
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