Manchester United, one of the most iconic football clubs in the world, has a rich history filled with success, glory, and a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come. From its humble beginnings in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club, the team has grown to become a global powerhouse, winning numerous domestic and international titles.
Under the legendary management of Sir Matt Busby, Manchester United achieved unprecedented success in the 1950s and 1960s. The “Busby Babes,” a group of talented young players, captured the hearts of fans and won three league titles before tragedy struck with the Munich air disaster in 1958. Despite the devastating loss, the team rebuilt and went on to win the European Cup in 1968, becoming the first English club to do so.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Manchester United experienced another golden era under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson. With a squad featuring players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and David Beckham, the team dominated English football, winning an incredible 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions League trophies.
Today, Manchester United continues to strive for success under the guidance of current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With a blend of experienced players and promising young talents, the team is determined to reclaim its glory days and add more silverware to its illustrious trophy cabinet.
While Tottenham may currently have a world class talisman to call upon at present, Harry Kane is not the first player to carry such a goal scoring burden and with every finish that breaches the back of the opposition’s net, the comparisons with a former Spurs legend only continue.
The man who Kane is compared to, is none other than Jimmy Greaves and when you consider just how impressive the latter was in front of goal, then it can only be considered a huge compliment to the 27-year-old.
While although the current England captain has netted more than 200 goals for his current employers, he is still some distance from being the club’s all-time top scorer and if he is to finally earn such an accolade, then the target has been set at no less than 267.
That’s because the current record is held by Greaves himself and after scoring 266 goals (in 379 appearances), the mantle of being Tottenham’s best attacker should be safe for at least a couple more years.
The Star of AC Milan
A mantle that was earned in the 1960s, with the fearsome forward being purchased from A.C. Milan in 1961 for a rather interesting fee of £99,999, as then manager Bill Nicholson did not want to saddle his new signing with additional pressure.
Pressure that would ultimately come with the weight of being a six-figure signing and although such an amount is mere chicken feed these days, it was a sizeable outlay for a player who did not have the best of spells in Italy.
However, for all the misfiring that Greaves had to deal with at the San Siro, there was never any doubt regarding his talents, and it was this, that saw Nicholson persuade the Tottenham board to make such a sizeable outlay.
An outlay, that you would have to say was worth every penny and although Tottenham would fail to defend their First Division title, as one half of their incredible double winning success the season before, Greaves would help his new teammates lift the F.A. Cup in 1962.
The following season would see Tottenham miss out on league success once more, as they finished runners up to Everton and although being pipped to the post domestically would be a bitter pill to swallow, there was reason to be cheerful on the continent.
Due to Greaves’ efforts in the ’62 Cup Final, it meant that Tottenham were permitted entry to the European Cup Winners Cup the following season and with them facing Atletico Madrid in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, it would be another night in which the man in question would shine.
On a night where the North London outfit ran riot, it would be Greaves who opened the scoring after 10 mins and add Tottenham’s fourth goal of the night with the same number of minutes in the game remaining.
At this point it was 4-1 and with the goal all but wrapping up proceedings, there was still time for Terry Dyson to also score his second of the game and add to the emphatic nature of their stunning European success., as Atletico Madrid were beaten by five goals to one.
This performance was arguably the pinnacle of Greaves’ time at Tottenham, as apart from more Wembley success in the 1967 F.A. Cup, there would be no more silverware to be placed in the White Hart Lane trophy cabinet.
However, there were plenty of goals, as this edition of the Tottenham side won many hearts in the early 1960’s and with opposition defences being punished on a weekly basis, it was Greaves who acted as the chief tormenter.
Of course, those same hearts would be broken in 1969, as a move to West Ham took place and after scoring on his debut away at Manchester City, he continued his staggering streak of always scoring in his first appearance.
Chelsea, England, AC Milan, and Tottenham had all seen a debut goal and now so had West Ham, he truly was a special talent and were it not for injury, he would have surely started in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final against West Germany.
In those days, only the starting eleven would receive a medal for conquering the footballing world and although the remaining squad members would eventually receive theirs decades later, there is a sense that one of football’s greatest talents was deprived of something he truly deserved.
However, Jimmy Greaves should now be referenced as Jimmy Greaves MBE, as he was awarded the title in the recent New Year’s Honours list and when you consider what he did for Tottenham and the game as a whole, then it is only fitting that his services have finally been recognised.
The North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham has to be one of the most exciting football games in English football.
It delivers exceptional goals, staggering saves, and some remarkable individual performances.
The reason for that has to be the exceptional rivalry between the clubs.
Players do not want to face the embarrassment of losing to their arch-rivals.
And to be perfectly honest, this fierce competition is not out of place. There is history to all this.
Just go to any Spurs fan forum and one name you will notice the senior fans mention with contempt has to be that of Henry Norris. More on that in a bit.
Before that, let us briefly go through the history of Arsenal in the early days.
Early Days of Arsenal
The story of Arsenal starts with David Danskin, a mechanical engineer working at the Royal Arsenal munitions factory.
The Scotsman with his three friends decided to create a football club. And so in October 1886, Dial Square FC was formed.
The club was named so after one of the workshops in the factory. Soon enough, the name was changed to Royal Arsenal after the factory they worked in.The shirts came from Nottingham Forest and the classic red shirt became synonymous with Royal Arsenal.
Royal Arsenal found their first home in The Manor Ground in Woolwich on the outskirts of London.
After becoming professional, the Royal Arsenal players were again discontented with their name and finally settled on Woolwich Arsenal.
After achieving professional status in 1893, the club started in the second division and drew their first ever professional game 2-2 vs Newcastle.
Woolwich Arsenal played in the second division for more than a decade after which they won promotion to the first division in 1903-04.
But the problem for Arsenal in the early 1900s was the minimal attendance and the financial troubles they had to face.
The good old days when all the revenue of a football club came from matchday income!
So to bail Arsenal out came a shrewd businessman Sir Henry Norris.
The Intriguing Henry Norris
To say that Henry Norris had a colourful past might be an understatement.
As Fulham’s director, his work in taking the club from the semi-professional Southern League till Division Two in no time was met with suspicion.
And after the takeover of Arsenal, his first impulse was to merge the two London clubs. Unfortunately, or fortunately (!), that move was blocked by the authorities.
So next he decided to salvage the existing club. And how? There was only one way.
Manor Ground was not getting enough revenue for the club and was on the outskirts of the city with not enough population ready to watch the club.
So he made a bold move. He decided to move North in London to tap into a more populated region near Islington, Finsbury, and Hackney.
The identified new home was the sports ground of the church owned land at St. Johns College of Divinity Highbury.
And with the exceptional bureaucratic links of Norris, the paperwork was done and dusted.
But of course, this move was met with resistance, both internal and external.
The Highbury Hostility
The local supporters thought that the club was Woolwich based and should not be uprooted so emphatically. Some compared it to moving Liverpool to Manchester!
The residents of Highbury also had their reservations with all the clamour of a football club in their neighbourhood.
Again, Norris addressed their concerns by telling them about how it is a great financial opportunity with more than 30000 people coming to watch games every weekend.
There were the church authorities who thought that football was an ungodly act and selling church land for it should not be permitted.
In any case, the land was leased for £20k for a total of 25 years, a sum sure to help out with the church expenses.
Finally, there were direct North London rivals Tottenham, perhaps the greatest hindrance to the move.
The Tottenham Herald stated that Norris was an interloper, an outsider ready to steal from Tottenham.
Chelsea and Clapton Orient also joined in with Tottenham taking the matter to the FA.
Fortunately for Arsenal, the FA declared that Tottenham had no right to interfere in this matter.
Ultimately, the Tottenham Herald appealed to supporters not to go watch the Woolwich Interlopers.
Of course, there was the instance when Norris lobbied to get Spurs relegated, but that is a story for another day!
Slowly but surely, Norris got Arsenal onto their feet. The seed of the rivalry was sown and so the North London Derby began.
There have been raucous instances since then, but these days, the rivalry remains limited to the pitch providing us some exceptional entertainment.
The Future’s Arsenal
From this historical context, it is easy to see why Tottenham hate Arsenal and Sir Henry Norris so much.
As for Arsenal, the rivalry with Spurs has not stopped them from becoming the third most successful club in the English game.
Ultimately, for us football fans, if Henry Norris had not salvaged Woolwich Arsenal, it would have been tough for the club to survive.
And we would not have seen the kind of football we have come to associate with Arsenal. So with everything that happened at the time, we are not complaining!
A group of members of St. Mark’s Church of England, West Gorton, Manchester, founded the football club that would become known as Manchester City, for largely humanitarian purposes. Two church wardens, anxious to overturn the tide of unemployment, drunkenness and loutish behaviour of Gorton’s young men in East Manchester, formed St Marks (West Gorton) in 1880. All men were welcome to join, regardless of religion.
At the outset, it was multi-sport endeavour, with rugby and football played on alternate weekends, as well as a cricket team in the summer.
A group of football clubs grew up at that time around the Gorton area, while the St Mark’s side taking the name Gorton AFC in 1884, following an unsuccessful merger with neighbouring side Belle Vue.
The team’s first recorded match occurred on 13 November 1880, against a church team from Macclesfield. St. Marks lost the match 2–1, and only won one match during their first season in 1880–81 season, with a win over Stalybridge Clarence in March 1881.
The First Manchester Derbies
In the early years of St Mark’s’ existence, several of their players had played for other teams while also turning out for the church side.
The ‘Gortonians’ had established themselves in the northern football scene, picking up victories in various cup competitions against local rivals. Newton Heath, who became Manchester United, faced the Gorton side numerous times throughout the 1880s and 1890s.
Newton Heath dominated the early period of this rivalry recording a 3-0 victory in the first-ever Manchester derby in 1881, and was described by the Ashton Reporter as “a pleasant game”.
Tottenham Hotspur was first formed in 1882. The club originally played its matches on land at the Park Lane end of Tottenham. The ground was on public land, so the club could not charge admission fees, even though spectators grew to the thousands within just a few years. In 1888, the club rented a pitch at Asplins Farm and charged 3 pence a game. However, in 1898, during a match again Woolwich Arsenal, the refreshment stand collapsed when fans climbed up onto its roof. This urged the club to find a new ground. In 1899, the club moved to land behind the White Hart pub.
The Land at the White Hart Pub
The land was well known for its growing conditions and George Beckwith – landlord of the White Hart public house from 1859 to 1898 and also a nurseryman – had set up the Tottenham Nursery on the site behind his pub at 750 High Road.
The land was rented from the Charringtons brewery and a pitch prepared by groundsman John Over. Mobile stands which had been used at the previous ground – situated between numbers 69 and 75 Northumberland Park – were set up on the new site giving cover to 2,500 spectators. The Club offices, previously at 808 High Road, were also housed at the new enclosure.
The first game at the Lane to mark its opening was a friendly against Notts County on 4 September 1899. There were some 5,000 supporters present. The first goal at the Lane came from Tommy McCairns of Notts County, followed by an equaliser from Toms Pratt and a hat-trick from David Copeland ending in a 4–1 home win.