Monday, June 05, 2006

Spurs and the Football Authorities

The events surrounding Spurs’ final Premiership game of the season against West Ham United highlighted the chequered relationship the club has had with the football authorities. Tottenham Hotspur is a club respected around the world but when it comes to its dealings with the football authorities, it is invariably treated and dealt with like a naughty schoolboy.

The history of Spurs is littered with examples of how the authorities have acted in such a way as to make an example of the club, whether Spurs have come to the regulators for redress on an issue or over some misdemeanour. The Football Association, Premier League, the Football League before them and even the European authorities invariably found against Spurs.

The list below chronicles the altercations between Spurs and officialdom over the years - from heir earliest days to the present day. Some had major repercussions on Spurs' history while others were most infuriating, especially when Arsenal were involved.

October, 1893 – ‘Ernie Payne’s Boots’

June, 1908 – Entering the Football League

May, 1913 – The Invasion of the Woolwich Nomads

May, 1919 – Spurs Manoeuvred Out of 1st Division by Arsenal

Spurs slipped into the Second Division in 1928 and apart from a two year spell in the early 1930s, they remained there until gaining promotion in 1950 when they began to establish themselves as a power in English football. There may be incidents when Spurs and the authorities didn’t see eye to eye during this period but it is in more recent times that the uneasy relationship again comes to the fore.

May, 1984 and May, 1987 – Fielding a Weakened Team

May, 1994 – Irregular Payments

January, 2005 – Mendes’ ‘Goal’

May, 2006 – The Viral Infection

June, 2005 – Frank Arnesen’s Defection to Chelsea.

In light of Spurs’ record and association with the authorities over the years, it is perhaps not surprising that in this incidence, Spurs decided to go their own way, rather that seek retribution through the Football Association or Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur has received much respect for the way it has handled its business in recent years – it has not gone down the line of shouting the odds and blaming all and sundry – it has acted with dignity and while at times we have felt let down and annoyed at the authorities – that is the Spurs way and the men who did so much to create and establish this great club’s reputation would approve. It was the John Ripsher way, the John Oliver way, the John Cameron way, the Arthur Rowe way and the Bill Nicholson way.

The full article and the details of each of the problems encountered over the years can be read on the wlhatwhl Column at


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