The Biography of Tottenham Hotspur – The Incredible Story of The World Famous Spurs
by Julie Welch
RRP : – £20.00
Black and white and colour photography
Published by Vision Sports Publishing
Journalist and long time Spurs fan Julie Welch has taken on the unenviable task of trying to document the history of Tottenham Hotspur in 336 pages. Helped along the way by some of the most famous participants involved in the subject matter … and some more peripheral characters.
With 131 years to cover, it is no surprise that the older years receive less coverage, both because the writer was not an eye witness to these glories, but also that the coverage of the day is less extensive than the swathes of column inches and web space that is allocated to the beautiful game these days. But I found these chapter so the book the most enlightening. Perhaps because there were new fleshing out of the early pioneers of the club or maybe the modern era is so widely covered that there is little new to discover. Almost half the book if dedicated to the Double and beyond.
With the book covering such a wide period of time, each fan who reads it will have their own memories of their particular era. And with that comes a rose tinted view, with little in the book likely to dispel those nostalgic recollections, but there are some shining moments in the time I have been watching Spurs that were not covered and some that were do not tally with my memory of the incidents (no that of the record books either). Mistakes will creep in through such a monster work, but errors in players names (Carlos Cudicini, for example) are basic, although at least we found out how Christian Gross left White Hart Lane.
And one other niggle I have is the comparisons made throughout the book, as I am not sure who they are aimed at (maybe the younger readers) but Archibald having a Tevez moment is neither apposite nor necessary. Maybe that is also why some of the chapters are entitles “The One Who …” in the style of a ‘Friends’ episode.
But the book is highly readable and you can go through quite a few years in one sitting. And I learned some things I didn’t know previously about the club. And I certainly learned some things about the supporters … within the first few pages, it opened my eyes when they were talking about why they follow Tottenham Hotspur.
We all have our own reasons, but for many, it will always be about the Glory and Danny Blanchflower’s famous quote is trotted out at regular intervals throughout the book. And rightly so. Blanchflower was a man that Welch got to know well and his vision for the club was never allowed to come to full fruition (as is disclosed in the book) and the way Spurs have treated some of their employees over the years has not been glorious, but just look at the main characters in the story and see how loyal they have been to the club.
Many – like supporters – just won’t let go and for a few of those we are eternally grateful, as the club we now follow is testament to their ideas and their dedication. Welch’s application of those concepts had produced a book that every Spurs fan should read.
Marco van Hip