Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spurs First FA Cup Tie v West Herts (Watford) in 1894

 Spurs travel to Watford for their FA Cup 4th Round match on Friday evening.  Their first FA Cup game was a home match in 1894 against West Herts who later became Watford.  Following a 3 - 2 victory Tottenham met Clapton in the next round.

First FA Cup
13th October, 1894

Spurs 3 West Herts 2 F.A.Cup 1st Qualifying Round

This was Spurs’ debut in the F.A. Cup against the team who would become known as Watford.  Spurs first F.A. Cup goal was scored by Peter Hunter. The other two goals came from Donald Goodall.  The match played at the club’s old Northumberland Park ground was watched by a crowd of 2,000.  Spurs progressed to the fourth Qualifying Round before losing in a replay to Luton Town.

From: 'All Those Cup Finals' by wlhatwhl

Spurs’ first FA Cup tie was played at their Northumberland Park home on 13th October, 1894 against West Herts in the 1st Qualifying Round. West Herts was a former name of Watford and they were experienced Cup performers having played in the competition for the previous eight seasons.  Spurs, however, won 3-2, in what ‘The Weekly Herald’ for 19th October, 1894 described as ‘a very hard struggle.’  Spurs scored twice in the first half through centre forward, Peter Hunter and Don Goodall. West Herts levelled after half-time before Goodall scored his second to put Spurs through.

Further in ‘The Weekly Herald’ it was reported that after Hunter scored, ‘Spurs attacked almost continuously from now to half time.’  Reviewing the game at half time, the paper expected that ‘Having had four-fifths of the game with the slope against them it was naturally expected that the ‘Spurs would be the superior lot in the second half.  But how often does the unexpected happen. Whether they had been dosed with some wonderful physic during the interval, I can’t say, but, West Herts now played with the utmost vigour.  A corner was obtained directly after the restart, and Wright directed the ball into the net, cheers from the visitors supporters – of whom, by the bye, there were several – greeting such a successful recommencement.’  In the latter stages of the game, after Spurs had regained the lead, it was reported that, ‘Eccles tried his luck, and it appeared that the ball went under the cross-bar, but the referee ruled otherwise.  The visitors, although trying hard, failed to equalise and so the ‘Spurs won by 3 goals to 2.’

The names of that first FA Cup team will be known by only the most fanatical of Tottenham Hotspur supporters but are worth recording as they were the players who set Spurs off on the road to their wonderful history of success in the competition.

Team: Monk; Jull, Welham: Shepherd, Briggs, Julian; Cubberley, Goodall, Hunter, Eccles, Payne.

Of those players, full-back Jack Jull is the only one who has any connection with the club’s earliest days.  He was one of the founders of the club and was one of the best players at that time, playing for them for fourteen years from 1883 until 1897.  He was made club President in 1895 in recognition of his great service to the club.

Two other players of note are half-back Stanley Briggs and winger Ernie Payne.

Ernie Payne is regarded as the catalyst which brought Spurs into the world of professional football to which Stanley Briggs was so opposed.  In 1893, eleven years after their formation Spurs drew 0-0 in a 1st Round London Senior Cup tie against Old St Marks.  For that game, a new name, ‘Burton’, appeared on the team sheet, to play on the left wing for Spurs.  This was in fact, Ernie Payne who was on Fulham’s books but being unable to get into their team, he had accepted an invitation to play for Spurs.  However, when he arrived at Tottenham he had no kit.  Spurs provided him with shirt, shorts and socks but were unable to find boots to fit him.  They gave him a loan of ten shillings (50p) to buy a pair of boots on the understanding that they would belong to Spurs.  When Fulham heard about this they accused Spurs of ‘poaching’ their player and ‘professionalism’.  Spurs were immediately called before the London Football Association to answer these charges.  The charge of poaching was dismissed but the charge of inducing a player and professionalism was upheld.  The penalty imposed on Spurs was harsh – their ground at Northumberland Park was closed for two weeks, Spurs were suspended for a similar period and Ernie Payne was suspended for a week even though he had repaid the money to Spurs.  An appeal was lodged but it was unsuccessful, the London F.A. being strongly opposed to anything suggesting of professionalism, a view that was holding back the development of football in London.  This matter became known as the ‘Ernie Payne Boots Affair’ and while Payne continued to play for Spurs, he is best remembered for the longer term consequence of the matter in that Spurs within a short period of time decided to turn professional.

Stanley Briggs was one of the best known amateur footballers in London at that time.  He helped to establish Spurs as a top amateur club and captained the side.  However, he was totally opposed to the decision of the club to turn professional in December, 1895 and preferring to retain his amateur status, he did not play as often for the club and went to play for other amateur clubs in London.

In that initial season in the F.A. Cup, having defeated West Herts, Spurs progressed to the 4th Qualifying Round before losing to Luton Town in a replay.  While Spurs were still amateurs, Luton Town had adopted professionalism four years earlier.

3rd November (2nd Qual. Round) v Wolverton (h) Won 5-3 Goodall, Hunter (2), Payne (2)
24th November (3rd Qual. Round) v Clapton (a) Won 4-0 Eccles (2), Hunter, Goodall
15th December (4th Qual. Round) v Luton Town (h) Draw 2-2 Eccles, Cubberley
19th December (4th Qual. Round Replay) v Luton Town (a) Lost 0-4

West Herts merged with  Watford St. Mary's in 1898 to form Watford FC.


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