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Spurs - Once Upon a Time 2 (Middlesbrough Home)


Once Upon a time

By Dave P
August 20 2005

Once upon a time will this week take a dip into the past and find a few tales of Spurs against the side from Teeside and we will have a look at a couple of games and a couple of players. We will start with the first ever game between the two sides, Once upon a time will this week take a dip into the past and find a few tales of Spurs against the side from Teeside and we will have a look at a couple of games and a couple of players. We will start with the first ever game between the two sides, a friendly which took place on 6th April 1896 at Northumberland Park where we played in those days. We were not in any League until the following season when we joined the Southern League and we only played Friendlies and the FA cup. Anyway, on that day in 1896 we comfortably beat the Teesiders by a 5-0 scoreline with two goals apiece for a certain Mr Brown (who only played for us that season) and Bob Clements and one from Ernie Payne.

Now a certain Ernest George Payne was the Spur that instigated the transition to professionalism in an incident that has been discussed on here before but is still worth telling. However I will let the History of Tottenham published in 1921 'A Romance of Football' tell the story and the following is an excerpt from that publication;

"Amateur clubs of these days experienced great difficulty in meeting their obligations. They had to secure talent of which there was a limited quantity. Matches had to be won, and to obtain the necessary playersof ability many teams had to resort to many methods. The story of "Paynes Boots" was in the nature of such an incident. However, it marked a new era in the Spurs history. Accused of professionalism the Spurs turned their thoughts from amateurism, but let the story delineate the character of the offence. There was at the time on the books of the Fulham F.C. one named Ernie Payne. He was a footballer of whom any team would be proud. He was invited to play for Spurs on October 21st. He consented. On the morning of the match he discovered that someone had taken his boots, shirt and knickers. He came to Tottenham in a sorry predicament. Everything was readily forthcoming but the boots! In the energy of desperation many pairs were tried, but none would fit. So the officials gave Payne 10s wherewith to buy his boots. This was alleged to be a transgression off the amateur law. The Spurs were hauled before the London Football Association who on Novenber 1st, 1893, reported the following as their findings :- "(1) That 10s was given to buy boots; (2) That it was a breach of Rule 10 to give money to a player to buy boots; (3)That the 10s given to Payne for boots was an unfair inducement offered to him to play for the Spurs; (4) The Council are of opinion that the Spurs have been guilty of misconduct and, therefore, acting under Rule 9, the council hereby suspend the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. for a fortnight from date; also that Payne be suspended for one week." A storm of protest and even an appeal failed to set the decision aside. The Spurs ground was closed for fourteen days. Payne returned the 10s., which the Spurs accepted. It was protested that Fulham did without Payne during the previous season. But Fulhams charge and the decision remained! "

Two years later Spurs turned professional, Payne played 140 times scoring 62 goals and ironically remained an amateur for the rest of his playing career.

I thought I would have a look at players that played for both clubs and the list includes such names as Nick Barmby, Sandy Brown, Christian Ziege, Graeme Souness, Paul Gascoigne, Jimmy Robertson, Charlie O'Hagan and others including a certain Chris Carrick. Who I hear you all say? Thats what I thought but whilst doing some research I found this;

Chris Carrick was an outside left born in Stockton-On Tees on 8th October 1882 and had previously played for Middlesbrough and West Ham before joining Spurs in April 1905. He scored 5 goals in 24 games until Spurs travelled to the west country to play matches against Bristol Rovers and Plymouth in March 1906 when Carrick was involved in a 'misdemeanour' with Spurs colleague Peter Kyle. As a result of this neither player played for Spurs again. What that 'misdemeanour' was I do not know but Peter Kyle was known as a temperamental player and the records show he was suspended for a breach of club rules. Incidentally the 1921 history makes no mention of this incident other than to say "There was a falling away from the playing point of view at the end of the season owing to accidents and suspensions" What it does go on to say in the summary of that season is that baseball was taken up as a summer pastime at the ground for a few seasons.

Now I don't know about you but my memories of games against Middlesbrough is one of games played on windy freezing cold tuesday evenings at Ayresome Park and various otherwise unmemorable games but there is a history of high scoring matches between the two sides and one in particular took place on a greasy pitch in February 1915. The score on that day in Middlesbrough was a defeat for Spurs by the scoreline of 7-5. Jimmy Cantrell scored four of those and this was in fact our first ever away hat-trick. Bert Bliss scored the other one.

Our best home performance against 'Boro came on Christmas Day in 1952. We won 7-1 and then travelled to Ayresome Park two days later and won that one 4-0. Goalscorers in the home game were Les Bennett (4), Len Duquemin (2) and Eddie Baily and away the four goals came from Sonny Walters, Les Bennett, Len Duquemin, and a Bilciss own goal.

And did you know Middlesboro's most famous son Wilf Mannion played for Spurs. Well he did, as a guest player during the Second World War making four appearances for us in the 1941/42 London League season.

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