Tottenham Hotspur Profile

Major Honours First Division/Premier League (2), FA Cup (8), European Cup Winners' Cup (1), UEFA Cup (2), League Cup (4)
Year Founded 1882

Tottenham have broken into the Premier League's 'Big Six' in the last decade, reached their first Champions League final and challenged for the Premier League title, adding to a rich club history.

Tottenham Hotspur is a football club based in North London, England, which plays in the Premier League. Tottenham play their home matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which replaced White Hart Lane as their home ground in 2019.

Tottenham won First Division titles in 1950/51 and 1960/61 and made the UEFA Champions League final in 2018/19, losing 2-0 to Liverpool. They have won eight FA Cup titles, the last of which coming in 1990/91.

Known as "Spurs" or "The Lilywhites", Tottenham have had several notable former players, including Jimmy Greaves, Osvaldo Ardiles, Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne, Luka Modric, and Ledley King.

Presently, they are managed by Jose Mourinho and have iconic players on their books such as Harry Kane and Gareth Bale, who returned to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid.

The history of the Lilywhites

Tottenham Hotspur was formed as Hotspur Football Club by a group of schoolboys, who were members of the Hotspur Cricket Club and wanted a sport to play in winter, led by Bobby Buckle.

John Ripsher, the Bible class teacher at All Hallows Church, became the first president of the club after the founders turned to him for help. He played a crucial role in organising the club in its formative years. The club was renamed "Tottenham Hotspur Football Club" in 1884 to avoid confusion with another London club named Hotspur.

Spurs began to draw crowds to their matches. In 1892, they played in a league for the first time, the Southern Alliance. In 1896, they were admitted into Division One of the Southern League. Under the guidance of John Cameron, they won the 1899/1900 Southern League title.

In 1901, Spurs beat Sheffield United 3-1 in the FA Cup final replay after an initial 2-2 draw. Spurs were the first non-league FA Cup winners since the formation of The Football League in 1888. In 1908, Spurs were elected into the Football League Second Division. Immediately, they won promotion into the First Division.

Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United contest the 1901 FA Cup final

Spurs finished second in the top flight at the first attempt. After relegation in 1914/15, they bounced back up to the top flight after the First World War. Spurs won their second FA Cup title under Peter McWilliam in 1921, but the 1930s and 1940s were dark decades which saw Spurs spend most of their time in the Second Division.

Arthur Rowe took over as manager in 1949 and was an instant success. The former Spurs player led the club to the Second Division title in his first season, 1949/50, and then the First Division in 1950/51. Rowe resigned in April 1955 due to stress-induced illness, but not before signing Danny Blanchflower, who shone for Spurs between 1954 and 1964.

The Bill Nicholson era

Bill Nicholson, legendary former manager of Tottenham Hotspur

Bill Nicholson's arrival as manager in October 1958 kick-started a new era of success for Tottenham after a period of stagnation. In 1960/61, they enjoyed their most successful season ever, winning the First Division and FA Cup double.

Nicholson was already an extremely familiar face at White Hart Lane, having already spent 17 years at the club as a player - winning the Second Division and First Division titles in consecutive seasons along the way.

While Nicholson enjoyed plenty of success on the pitch at Spurs after joining the club as an apprentice, it was as manager where he would make an ever-lasting impact at Tottenham.

Nicholson had masterminded the club's best ever season and there was an added status by playing for Nicholson's men. With that in mind, in December 1961, Tottenham signed iconic striker Jimmy Greaves from AC Milan for £99,999, beating Chelsea to the signature of the Blues' former player. The unusual transfer fee was agreed upon in order to shield Greaves from the pressure of being Britain's first £100,000 player.

In 1961/62, Spurs won their second FA Cup in a row, beating Burnley in the final and earned the distinction of competing in the European Cup for the club's history in the same season.

Such was the rate of progress under Nicholson with Greaves leading the line, they became the first British team to win a European trophy just one year later, beating Atletico Madrid 5-1 in the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1963.

In the 1967 FA Cup final, a Spurs team including former Chelsea stars Greaves and Terry Venables beat Chelsea 2-1. Nicholson's side also picked up League Cup titles in 1971 and 1973. In between those successes, they picked up the UEFA Cup in 1971/72, becoming the first British team to win two different European trophies.

Spurs won eight major trophies in 16 years under Nicholson. He resigned after a poor start to the 1974/75 campaign.

To this day, Greaves remains Tottenham's all-time record goalscorer with 266 strikes to his name in just 381 appearances for the club, representing a remarkable scoring record for Spurs. He stayed at the club until 1970, when he joined West Ham United.

The Lilywhites' 1980s resurgence

Having continued their success under Nicholson well into the 1970s, reaching four cup finals in as many years in the early part of the decade up to 1974, Tottenham quickly declined and were almost relegated in the 1974/75 season, following the resignation of their legendary manager after 16 years at the helm.

After a tricky short spell under Nicholson's successor, Terry Neill - who had strong ties with fierce rivals Arsenal - Spurs were relegated to Division Two under Keith Burkinshaw's management in 1976/77, but Burkinshaw oversaw their immediate promotion and another run of success for Tottenham in the 1980s.

Burkinshaw's rebuild featured key player such as England international Glenn Hoddle and Argentine players Osvaldo 'Ossie' Ardiles and Ricardo 'Ricky' Villa - with the latter pair causing a splash by arriving on British shores for a significant transfer fee.

Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa pose after signing for Tottenham Hotspur

With their new stars performing consistently well, Tottenham were back to their best - winning back-to-back FA Cups in 1981 and 1982, before going on to win the UEFA Cup in 1984.

Spurs beat Anderlecht in a penalty shootout after the '84 UEFA Cup final second leg, which was announced to be Burkinshaw's last game as Spurs manager before he took charge of the Bahrain national team.

The mid-1980s were more turbulent years for Spurs and English football in general, after English clubs were banned from all European competition after the Heysel disaster of 1985 saw 39 supporters crushed to death at the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus.

But Terry Venables became Spurs manager in 1987 and won the 1990/91 FA Cup. In June 1991, he and businessman Alan Sugar took control of Tottenham Hotspur plc.

The Premier League years

Tottenham were unable to find a suitable long-term manager for the club in their eyes during the early years of the Premier League. They often finished in mid-table, although they saw some impressive players represent them during the 1990s including Jurgen Klinsmann, David Ginola and Paul Gascoigne.

In 1999, Spurs won the League Cup under the guidance of George Graham, beating Leicester City 1-0 in the final. Nine years later, they repeated the feat under Juande Ramos, beating Chelsea 2-1.

Sugar sold his majority stake in Tottenham Hotspur to ENIC Sports plc, run by Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy, in 2001. Sugar stepped down as chairman, paving the way for Levy to take on this role, which he still holds today. Levy is the longest-serving chairman in the Premier League.

In 2009/10, Harry Redknapp steered Tottenham to fourth place in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League qualification. In 2010/11, they embarked on an impressive run in Europe's premier club competition, beating Inter Milan and AC Milan. They were eventually beaten by Real Madrid in the quarterfinals.

In 2011/12, Spurs again finished fourth in the Premier League under Redknapp, but they were denied a place in the Champions League by Chelsea winning the competition and taking the spot in the following season's competition which would otherwise have gone to Spurs.

Spurs parted ways with Redknapp ahead of the 2012/13 season, appointing former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas to take over. He led them to fifth place in his first campaign, but was sacked midway through his second after a disappointing start to the season.

At the beginning of the 2013/14 season, Spurs had sold their star player, Gareth Bale, to Real Madrid for a reported £85.3 million, which if true was a world record transfer fee at the time. Apart from Bale, Luka Modric also played a key role in the club's success under Redknapp and later won the 2018 Ballon d'Or while on the books of Real Madrid himself.

Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho

Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho manage Tottenham and Manchester United in 2018

Former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino took charge at Spurs in 2014 after the club had a short stint under former player Tim Sherwood.

Spurs finished fifth in 2014/15, missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification, but it was already clear that Pochettino had Tottenham on the right path. They had shown flashes of brilliance that season, including in a 5-3 victory over eventual Premier League champions Chelsea.

Harry Kane led the line for Spurs and would later go on to be appointed club captain. In 2015/16, Spurs finished third in the Premier League after spending much of the season competing for the title with Leicester City.

The 2016/17 season saw Spurs finish second with Chelsea picking up the Premier League title. The club moved out of White Hart Lane at the end of that campaign.

Pochettino did well to keep Tottenham on track while they waited until their new home stadium was ready for them. In the meantime, they played their home matches at Wembley Stadium and finished third in the 2017/18 Premier League.

Spurs finished fourth in the 2018/19 Premier League and enjoyed a superb run to make the final of the Champions League, with a Lucas Moura hat trick overturning a 2-0 deficit to eventually beat Ajax in the semifinals. Spurs would lose the final against Liverpool 2-0, however.

After a poor start to the 2019/20 season, Pochettino was relieved of his duties and replaced by Jose Mourinho. Spurs finished sixth in the 2019/20 Premier League with results improving somewhat, but perhaps not as much as had been hoped.

Spurs' biggest rivals

Tottenham Hotspur's fiercest adversaries in the eyes of most are North London rivals Arsenal, who have generally forced Spurs to live in their shadow throughout history - although the clubs have competed on a much more equal footing in the last decade.

Arsenal have won 13 First Division and Premier League titles, the most in London, but the balance of power tilted during the Pochettino years at Tottenham. In recent years, Spurs have often outperformed Arsenal.

Spurs also have a particularly venomous rivalry with fellow London club Chelsea. Spurs were generally the more successful club up until the last two decades. Since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, they have become the only team in London to win the UEFA Champions League and they have consistently outshone Tottenham for the most part. Like Arsenal, Chelsea have found Tottenham more challenging in recent years.

Current Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho won three Premier League titles over two spells at Chelsea. His presence in the Spurs dugout only serves to heighten their rivalry with Chelsea.

Spurs and their fanbase

Tottenham have long held ties to the Jewish community. The Jewish Chronicle reported that in the 1920s, Jewish support was particularly strong. Although they claimed that Spurs' Jewish support base grew further in the 1930s, they acknowledged that Arsenal were gaining Jewish supporters too by this time.

It is unclear whether or not a disproportionate number of Jewish people support Tottenham in the modern era as opposed to other major clubs. However, the perception still exists that Spurs are a 'Jewish' club. All three of their chairmen since 1982 have been Jewish.

Spurs continue to have one of the largest fan bases in English football and even more Tottenham supporters are now able to see their home matches, with the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium able to house around 65% more supporters than their former home at White Hart Lane.

Multiple fan groups and supporter societies exist around the world in their support for Spurs, with Tottenham's official website recognising supporters' clubs in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Europe, Asia, North America and beyond.

Club finances

Joe Lewis' ENIC Group holds over 85% of the total issued share capital of Tottenham Hotspur. In the club's financial results for the year ending on 30 June 2020, Spurs reported a drop in revenue to £402.4m from £460.7m the previous year.

According to the club's website, the drop in revenue was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the end of the 2019/20 season and Spurs' reduced UEFA Champions League receipts.

Spurs have had heavy investment in the club in recent years, with a record £1billion spent on building the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the playing squad now features world-class talent.

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