Ayrshire men who earned their Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

From my home in Ayrshire to London N17, is almost exactly 400miles.

Today, with the advent of fast planes, fast cars and buses and the advantage of motorways etc, it’s not as arduous a journey, as it would have been, some 60- 120 years ago.

However, many Ayrshire footballers made such a journey, ‘down south’ to join a number of different teams. Here are a few that made the journey to N17, to join Tottenham Hotspur.

– their details are as follows…

John Cameron, b. 13.4.1872 in Ayr, was playing for Everton, when Frank Brettell, who was then manager, brought him to the club in 1898. A year later, Cameron succeeded him and became player/manager. In 1900, he led the club to win the Southern Football League title and in 1901, they won the FA Cup. Following a 2-2 draw against Sheffield Utd, Spurs won the replay, with Cameron scoring the opening goal. As a result, Tottenham Hotspur became the only club outside the English League to win the FA Cup. Under his stewardship, the club finished as runners-up in the Southern League in 1902 and 1904. For Tottenham, he scored 139 goals in 293 appearances. In 1918, he returned to his home town, to manage Ayr United, a team that had evolved from the merging of Ayr Parkhouse and Ayr FC in 1910. However, after one season in charge, the stresses and strains of management took their toll, exacerbated by his time in POW Camp, in the Spandau area of Berlin and he gave it up.

David Copeland b. 2.4.1875, also played for Ayr Parkhouse. Caneron knew him and brought him to the club. Copeland was a forward and featured as a member of the 1901 FA Cup winning side. In 1905, he moved on to play for Chelsea, where he finished his professional career. Copeland died in 1931.

James Collins, b. 21.12.1937, was born in Sorn Village, a few miles from my home. Initially, he played for junior team Lugar Boswell Thistle before joining Tottenham in 1956. An inside-forward, he made his senior debut against West Ham United, on 23 August 1961. Although he only played 2 senior games he spent six years (1956-1962) at the club. Later, he went on to play for Brighton & Hove Albion and scored 44 goals in 201 appearances, up to 1966. It is pretty astonishing, that a young lad from these somewhat remote parts, should go on to play for such an elite club as Tottenham. However, read on and consider the following information, which trumps this…….

Daniel ‘Danny’ Steel, born Newmilns, East Ayrshire, in 1884, was a Scottish professional footballer, who played for Airdrieonians, Glasgow Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur. Steel principally played as a centre-half and made 141 apps. for the club, scoring 4 goals in all competitions, between the years 1908 and 1911. He later joined Clapton Orient (later Leyton Orient) and made 24 appearances there. He died in Marleybone in in 1931.

Bobby Steel, Danny’s brother, was also born in Newmilns (June 1888). He too, joined Tottenham, having played for Greenock Morton, Port Glasgow Athletic and following his Spurs career, Gillingham FC. Bobby Steel also joined the club in 1908 and played mainly in the inside-left position. He featured in 245 games, scoring 45 goals, before joining Gillingham. He died in 1972.

Alex Steel, their brother, born Newmilns in 1866, also played for Spurs, but only on one occasion; 20 March 1909, in Division 2, when a crowd of 8000, saw a thrilling 3-3 draw against Bradford City. This was thought to be the first time, that 3 brothers appeared in the same Spurs side. Both Danny and Bobby scored a goal, the other was scored by Vivian Woodward. Steel had first played for Newmilns then Ayr United. In 1905, he joined Manchester City, where he made 30 appearances scoring one goal. Later he would have spells at Kilmarnock FC, Southend United and at Gillingham, where his career ended.


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