02 October 2008

Football History: Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)

The Hotspur Football Club was formed in 1882 from a cricket club, and was mostly comprised of former pupils of St John's Presbyterian School and the Tottenham Grammar School. They originally played at Tottenham Marshes, moving to Northumberland Park in 1888 (by which time they were known as Tottenham Hotspur) and then White Hart Lane 11 years later.

Tottenham Hotspur entered Division 2 in 1908 having already won the FA Cup as a Southern League team in 1901. Before the war, they added the 1921 FA Cup but had little success in the league (their best finish being a runners-up spot in 1922). Their first major success came in 1951, a year after being promoted, when they lifted the Division One championship for the first time.


However, their best ever period came under the management of Bill Nicholson as they became the third team to win the league and FA Cup double in 1961. A year later, they won the FA Cup again and then, in 1963, won the European Cup Winners Cup. Nicholson's final success came in 1967 with yet another FA Cup triumph before Spurs began a slide which ended in Division Two.


In 1978, they were back with the elite when they made a daring swoop for Argentinian World Cup stars, Osvaldo Ardiles and Riccardo Villa. These two set English football alight and when Spurs reached the 1981 Cup final, it was only right that one of them should score the winner. Surprisingly, it was Villa, the lesser-known of the two who scored after a mazy run.


The Cup was won again the following season and yet again in 1991 under Terry Venables, with a team including England's brighest stars Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker. Post World Cup fever again came to White Hart Lane in 1994 when German striker Jurgen Klinsmann arrived, but the reigns of Peter Shreeves, Ossie Ardiles, Gerry Francis and Christian Gross brought Spurs no closer to the kind of success their reputation deserves.


Former Arsenal player and manager George Graham was not a popular choice to take over from Gross in 1998, and his stoic style of football was anathema to Spurs fans, so they were delighted when the talismanic Glenn Hoddle returned to save them three years later. At least, that was the plan. Unfortunately, Hoddle's reign brought about little success either, and he was sacked early in the 2003/04 as Spurs waited for a real saviour, and in the summer of 2004 Jacques Santini was installed, however he lasted until November before leaving due to personal reasons. Dutchman Martin Jol took over in an attempt to save Spurs' season, but despite signs of promise he eventually left the club to be replaced by Juande Ramos in 2007.


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