Come on you Tottenham Reds

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

That got your attention. However, it is true that Tottenham Hotspur were called the “Tottenham Reds,” back in the 19th Century, ten years after they were formed.

That is according to the new and well researched Spurs book “The Spurs Shirt: the official history of the Tottenham Hotspur Jersey” by Simon Shakeshaft, Daren Burney & Neville Evans. Everything you want to know about Spurs Shirts throughout our history and much more.

Back in the day (1892), and well before Woolwich Arsenal sneaked into North London on their bellies Spurs experimented with the colour red. Red, along with other limited colours, that were the norm or what was available at the time. “There was nothing contentious about the colour red at the time,” the authors say.

In 1882 a group of North London teenagers formed Hotspur FC, named after the combative Henry Percy, “Harry Hotspur” of Shakespeare’s Henry IV (Part I) whose offspring owned land in the neighbourhood. There are no records of what the team wore in their first season but, as they played just two matches, it is likely the boys wore whatever they could get hold of or even supplied themselves.At the club’s first AGM in August 1883 it was agreed that the club colours would be “dark blue jerseys, white breeches, dark blue stockings and cap.” And a scarlet shield emblazoned with the letter “H” was worn on the left side of the jersey. Following on from there, we’ve worn sky blue half/ white half, followed by blue stripes, followed by red (from 1890/5), followed by yellow/ brown stripes, and so on it goes until we hit the now traditional famous blue and white kit.

In 1888 Spurs moved to an enclosed ground at Northumberland Park and charged 1p admission. In 1890, playing in red shirts and navy shorts, five years later, they turned professional.

A new chocolate and old gold strip was worn for the first time in October 1895 against Royal Artillery. The following season Tottenham were elected to the Southern League and in 1899 they moved into White Hart Lane.

The book starts off with the “Evolution of the Shirt; 1882-1960, the “Cockerel crows (1960-1977) and right through to the present day. It tells you how the cockerel came into play, what was worn on FA Cup, League Cup and all the other Cup finals we played in. The players that wore the shirts and many pictures of the famous club shirts throughout the ages are in this magnificent book.

The book also goes behind the myth of the famous cup final, for the wrong reason, of 1987 (no, not the Mabbutt own goal and us losing to Coventry City), but the mix up with the shirt logos. Some had Holsten on their fronts, and others didn’t (“I bet he drinks Carling Black Label,” one advert cheekily said afterwards). The book tells about those that got the sack because of this cock-up or demoted (such as kit man Johnny Wallis, who had worked at the club for years). What it did achieve though, was worldwide publicity; for the wrong or right reasons? That depends on who you talk to. At least the Spurs name and brand went around the world. I was at that match, and I remember that day very well, including Spurs coming out with and without the logo on it.

You will also find in its pages the reasons why we wore only all-white for European matches and the part Bill Nicholson played in what the players wore. The myths that are attached to Spurs shirts, and the truth behind them.

At the end of the book, there is a comprehensive historical record of the Tottenham Hotspur Football club kit, including a change of colours and variations, from 1883 to the present. Plus photos throughout the book, and what went on behind the scene to get those kits up and ready for the players to wear, and the supporters to appreciate.

This is a great book, priced at £30, it is not available anywhere else other than the official Spurs shop and web site. However, it will be released on Amazon on the 1st August, this year.

As it says on the back of the book “The Story of the famous Spurs colours told through a unique collection of historic match worn shirts.”

If you are a lover of Spurs and want to know about its Shirt history, then this book is for you. Even those that are none Spurs supporters, just lovers of football, will love this book.

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.


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