Tottenham Hotspur: The 5 Greatest Moments in Club History

Kevin Ring

Founded in 1882 as the Hotspur Football Club by grammar school boys at All Hallows Church in North London, Tottenham Hotspur has gone on to become one of the most storied clubs in all of England.

It is not only the passing of time that has cemented the team's prominent place in the landscape of football, however. 

There have been many key moments throughout Spurs' illustrious past that have helped them to the position that they enjoy today.  Through their rise to the First Division, numerous cup wins, and continued relevance in the Premier League era, Tottenham is a club with strong history.

To give you an idea of just how Tottenham Hotspur became the team that it is today, here are the club's five greatest moments.

1900-1901: Tottenham Wins the FA Cup

The club may have been founded in 1888, but 1901 was the year that Tottenham Hotspur really put itself on the map.

Spurs defeated Sheffield United in a replay at Crystal Palace to become the first—and, to this day, only—non-League winner of the FA Cup since the formation of the Football League.

The first match ended in a 2-2 draw after forward Sandy Brown matched goals from Fred Priest and Walter Bennett with a brace of his own.

In the replay, Tottenham was not to be denied.  Priest again opened the scoring for United, but goals from John Cameron, Tom Smith and Brown assured a 3-1 victory and the first major hardware in the club's history.

Tottenham has gone on to win the FA Cup another seven times in its history, good for third most all-time behind Manchester United (11) and Arsenal (10).

1950-1951: Tottenham Tops the First Division

Arthur Rowe took over as manager for Spurs at the start of the 1949-1950 season while the club sat in the Second Division.  In his first season in charge, he achieved promotion to the First Division.  In his second, he delivered the club its first ever title in the top flight.

Rowe become renowned for his push-and-run tactics, which today we would refer to as "give and go" or "one-two" passing.  As you can imagine, pioneering such a revolutionary style of play was met with immediate success. 

Spurs ran circles around the competition and rose straight to the top of the table.

Winning the First Division title in the '50-'51 season was a monumental achievement for the club, and one which it would not repeat for another decade.  Other clubs caught on to the push-and-run style and adapted it into their own attack, which inevitably evened the playing field over the following seasons.

1960-1961: Tottenham Does the Double

In the 1960-1961 season, Tottenham became the third club ever—and first of the century—to win the English Double. 

Spurs legend Bill Nicholson managed the team through a glorious patch of success in the 1960s, and it all started with the greatest feat in club history.

Captain and club legend Danny Blanchflower led the team to domestic success in both the League and FA Cup.  Spurs finished eight points clear of Sheffield Wednesday and defeated Leicester City 2-0 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

The club would go on to repeat as FA Cup champions a year later, although they dropped back to third in the league. 

1962-1963: Tottenham Wins the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup

Tottenham became the first British team to win a European trophy when they won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the 1962-1963 season, the third year of the competition. 

The now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup was the second-most prestigious European competition at the time, behind the European Cup (now Champions League).  It featured the domestic cup winners from the previous season much the same way that the European Cup featured the league champions. 

Spurs were coming off consecutive FA Cup victories in '60-'61 and '61-'62, and all-time leading scorer Jimmy Greaves was putting goals in left and right.  They faced returning champions Atlético Madrid in the final, whom they annihilated 5-1.  This remains tied for the largest margin of victory in a single match European final.

Tottenham Hotspur was already a well known name in Britain by this point, but by winning the Cup Winners' Cup, they spread their name across all of Europe.

2010-2011: Tottenham Defeats Inter and AC Milan in the Champions League

Tottenham enjoyed continued success under Nicholson into the '70s, winning another FA Cup, two League Cups and a UEFA Cup.  The early '80s saw the club win two more FA Cups and another UEFA Cup, which solidified Tottenham's identity as primarily a cup team. 

It was not until just last season, though, that Spurs really took the next big step in their history.  By qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since its inception, Tottenham was finally on the world's biggest stage. 

Thankfully, the club didn't disappoint.  Spurs battled through a nervy encounter with BSC Young Boys in the qualifying rounds and were drawn into reigning champion Internazionale's group for the next stage of the competition. 

In the first match between the two teams, Gareth Bale scored a second-half hat trick to minimize goal differential in a 4-3 loss.  In the second match, now home at White Hart Lane, Bale again put on a dizzying performance, leading the team to a 3-1 victory.  Playing well enough against both Twente and Werder Bremen in the other fixtures, Spurs remarkably topped the group and moved on to the knockout stages.

Tottenham drew Inter's neighbors AC Milan in the next round.  A testy encounter at San Siro in the first leg ended in a 1-0 win for Spurs.  Back at home, they were able to hold on to a 0-0 draw to win on aggregate and progress to the quarterfinals of the competition.

Spurs drew Real Madrid next and that's where their luck ran out.  The deep run will forever be remembered, though, for the electric attacking performances that overcame the two Italian giants.  These fresh memories only add to the club's magnificent history.


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