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How football clubs were formed part 2

Spurs groundThe second part of Poonam's how football clubs were formed looks at Spurs and Everton

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club


The history of Tottenham Hotspur began under a street lamp just across the road from what is now the Spurs Store on High Street Tottenham, London N17.  Some players from the local cricket club and the local grammar school - St. John's Presbyterian - were at a loss as to what to get up to during the summer and so they decided to start playing football.  This was back in 1882. Unsure about what to call themselves, they named themselves after the youngest son of the Duke of Northumberland, Percy, who went by the nickname of "Harry Hotspur".  It was the valiant nature of his derring-do heroics, that they thought it was an appropriate title to adopt, so Hotspur FC was born.  Under the chairmanship of John Ripsher, the club was reorganised in 1883, took to wearing all navy blue and played their games at Tottenham Marshes.

The following year saw the club renamed "Tottenham Hotspur Football and Athletic club" and in 1885, Spurs played their first competitive match against St. Albans in the London Association Cup, winning the game 5-2.  By this time, the kit had transformed into light blue and white halved shirts and a credit balance of nine shillings was recorded !!

In 1887, Spurs had their first match against the "old enemy" (then called Royal) Arsenal and they were denied a 2-1 win as the game was abandoned because of darkness 15 minutes from the end of the match.  It was the year after this that Tottenham Hotspur moved their ground location to Northumberland Park and they charged the princely sum of 3d (1p) to get in !!  In 1890, a further kit change saw the shirts change to red in an act which was tantamount to heresy.  They did stick with the navy blue shorts though.

1895 was an important date in Spurs' history because they adopted professionalism and the following year also contained some milestones.  A friendly against Aston Villa attracted 6,000 to the ground, the club were elected to the Southern League Division One and the colours were changed to chocolate and gold stripes.  Indeed, the next year saw Tottenham reach their first (of many) Cup Finals, losing out to Wellingborough 0-2 in the local Charity cup competition.  

1898 was another landmark year in the history of the club as it became a limited company and the attendance record swelled to 14,000 for a match against Woolwich Arsenal.  Perhaps the most significant move of this year was the adoption of the colours of the "Invincibles" of Preston North End, who had done "the Double" and so Spurs first became associated with the white shirts and navy blue shorts for which they are now world famous.


Everton Football Club


The origins of Everton Football Club go back to an English Methodist congregation called New Connexion, founded in 1797. They decided in a meeting in 1868 to renew their social activities in the Liverpool area by building a new chapel there. The following year, they bought some land on Breckfield Road North, between St. Domingo Vale and St. Domingo Grove. This was located near the district of Everton (originally "Ofer tun"), which had become part of the City of Liverpool in 1835.

St. Domingo Methodist Church's new chapel was opened in 1871; the Sunday School, that was part of it, had been running since 1870. Six years later, a gentleman called Rev B.S. Chambers was selected as the new Minister. He was responsible for starting a cricket team for the youngsters in the parish. Because cricket can only be played in the summer, they had to find something for the kids to play during the winter as well. So a football club called St. Domingo F.C. was formed in 1878.

Since many people outside the parish were interested in joining the football club, they decided that the name should be changed. So, in November 1879 at a meeting in the Queen's Head Hotel, the name was changed to Everton Football Club, after the surrounding district.

Everton's first ground was the southeast corner of Stanley Park. The park had been opened in 1870. The goalposts were self-made and anyone could stay and watch the matches.

Everton's first official match was played on December 20, 1879, when a team called St. Peter's was beaten 6-0. During the early years, Everton played in the regional cups, such as the Lancashire Cup and the Liverpool Cup. When the attendances went up to nearly two thousand, the officials decided that Everton needed a better suited pitch.

In 1882, a generous gentleman named J. Cruitt donated land at Priory Road. Basic dressing rooms were built there and entrance fees were collected outside the ground. The 1882-83 season was the last one at Stanley Park.

The first official match at Priory Road was played between the Liverpool regional team (consisting of Everton players) and Walsall regional team, the match ended in a 3-3 draw. During the first season at Priory Road, Everton won their first ever title, by beating Earlestown 1-0 in the Liverpool Cup final. Everton's star player during these early days was an ex-Glasgow Rangers player, Jack McGill, who was also the club captain.

The need for a new pitch loomed again, this time because Mr Cruitt didn't like the club's vociferous and over-exuberant supporters. The new pitch, Anfield Road, was rented from Orrell Brothers brewery. The rent was handled by John Houlding, also in the brewing business, who had been the most influential supporter in the early days. Houlding was elected as the chairman of the club; all the board meetings were held at Sandon Hotel, which he owned, and he was even the Mayor of Liverpool during this period.

The first match at Anfield was played on September 27, 1884, when Earlestown were beaten 5-0. Everton became a professional team in 1885 like other leading clubs in the country. The idea was to improve the chances of success and produce higher income along with the success. Everton's first professionals were George Dobson from Bolton, George Farmer from Oswestry and Alec Dick from Kilmarnock. Success was quick to follow, as Everton won the Liverpool Cup in 1886 and 1887, beating Bootle 2-1 and Oakfield 5-0 in the finals.

The creation of the Football League and Everton's success in it soon had some undesirable side effects.  John Houlding had bought Anfield and he more than doubled the rent in a few years.  In early 1892, the resentful Everton board, lead by George Mahon, decided to find a new ground for the club.

Mahon already had a reservation for a field in the northern part of Stanley Park, near Goodison Road, called Mere Green Field, which was described as a "howling desert".  The "rebels" were determined, though; they cleared the new area and built fabulous terraces for their new home, giving it the name, Goodison Park, leaving a remnant of the club at Anfield.

Part of the purchasing and building expenses were paid by a wealthy gentleman called Dr James C Baxter.  The new ground was inaugurated on August 24, 1892.  The ceremonies were led by George Mahon, who had been elected as the new chairman.  Also present was Lord Kinnaird, a 9-times FA Cup finalist and the chairman of the FA.  The attendance was 12,000, although no football was played!

The first match at Goodison was a friendly – Bolton were beaten 4-2.  The first League match was played the next day, resulting in a 2-2 draw against Nottingham.


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