On Tuesday 5 September 1882, the Hotspur Football Club was formed by grammar-school boys from the Bible class at All Hallows Church. They were also members of Hotspur Cricket Club. It is possible that the name Hotspur was associated with Sir Henry Percy, who was "Harry Hotspur" of Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 1, and who lived locally during the 14th century and whose descendants owned land in the neighbourhood. In 1884, the club was renamed Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to avoid any confusion with an already established team called Hotspur FC. Originally, Spurs played in navy-blue shirts and white shorts from 1882 to 1885. The club colours were changed to light blue and white halved jerseys and white shorts from 1885 to 1889 (inspired by watching Blackburn Rovers win the FA Cup at the Kennington Oval in 1884), before returning to the original dark blue shirts for the 1889–90 season. From 1890 to 1895, the club had red shirts and blue shorts, this was changed for 1895 to 1898 to chocolate brown and gold narrow striped shirts and dark blue shorts. Finally, in the 1899–1900 season, the strip was changed to the familiar white shirts and navy blue shorts as a tribute to Preston North End, the most successful team of the time.
In 1888, Tottenham moved their home fixtures from the Tottenham Marshes to Northumberland Park, where the club was able to charge for spectator admission. An attempt to join an aborted Southern League, instigated by Royal Arsenal (later Arsenal), failed in 1892, when they were the only club of the 23 applicants to receive no votes. They turned professional just before Christmas 1895 and were then admitted to the Southern League and attracted crowds nearing 15,000. Charles Roberts became chairman in 1898, remaining in the post until 1943. In 1899, Spurs made their final ground move to a former market garden in nearby High Road, Tottenham. In time, the ground became known as White Hart Lane, a local thoroughfare. Tottenham were the considerable beneficiaries of the escalating unionisation of the northern professional game in the 1890s. Both John Cameron and Jack Bell, formerly Everton players, came to play for Tottenham as a result of the conflict caused by their organisation of the Association Footballers' Union, a forerunner of the Professional Footballers' Association. As a direct result of this, in 1900, Tottenham won the Southern League title, followed the next year by winning the FA Cup – becoming the only non-League club to do so since the formation of The Football League in 1888.
Tottenham won election to the Second Division of the Football League for the 1908–09 season to replace a (at the time) financially troubled Stoke, immediately winning promotion as runners-up to the First Division. Their record between 1910–1911 and the Great War was poor and when football was suspended at the end of the 1914–15 season, Tottenham were bottom of the league. When football resumed in 1919, the First Division was expanded from 20 to 22 teams. The Football League extended one of the additional places to 19th-place Chelsea (who would have been relegated with Spurs for the 1915–16 season) and the other to Arsenal. This promotion — Arsenal had finished only sixth in Division 2 the previous season — was controversial, and cemented a bitter rivalry (begun six years earlier, with Arsenal's relocation to Tottenham's hinterland) that continues to this day.
Following the war, football was an extremely popular interest attracting thousands of supporters each weekend. By 1949, Arthur Rowe was Spurs manager and developed the "push and run" tactical style of play. This involved quickly laying the ball off to a teammate and running past the marking tackler to collect the return pass. It proved an effective way to move the ball at pace with players' positions and responsibility being totally fluid. Rising to the top of the Second Division, by 1949–50 they were champions. The next year, Tottenham secured their first ever league title, winning the First Division Championship in 1951. The playing heroes in the side included Alf Ramsey, Ronnie Burgess, Ted Ditchburn, Len Duquemin, Sonny Walters and Bill Nicholson.
Since the 1921 FA Cup final the Tottenham Hotspur crest has featured a cockerel. Harry Hotspur (from whom the club is said to have taken its name) wore riding spurs and his fighting cocks were fitted with spurs which can be seen in the crests. In 1909 a former player named William James Scott made a bronze cast of a cockerel standing on a football to be placed on top of the West Stand and since then the cockerel and ball have been the major part of the club's identity. Between 1956 and 2006 Spurs used a faux heraldic shield featuring a number of local landmarks and associations. The lions flanking the shield came from the Northumberland family (of which Harry Hotspur was a member). The castle is Bruce Castle, 400 yards from the ground and the trees are the Seven Sisters. The arms featured the Latin motto Audere Est Facere (to dare is to do). In 1983, to overcome unauthorised "pirate" merchandising, the club's badge was altered by adding the two red heraldic lions and the motto scroll. This device appeared on most Spurs' playing kits for the next 23 years. In 2006 to rebrand and modernise the club's image, the club badge and coat of arms were dumped for a professionally designed logo/emblem. This revamp showed a leaner, fitter cockerel on an old-time football.
Tottenham played their first matches at Tottenham Marshes on the available public pitches and remained there for six years. It was at this ground that Spurs first played arch rivals Arsenal (then known as Royal Arsenal), leading 2–1 until the match got called off due to poor light after the away team arrived late. There were occasions on which fights would break out on the marshes in dispute of the teams that were allowed to use the best pitches. Crowd sizes were regularly increasing and a new site was becoming needed to accommodate these supporters. In 1898 the club moved from the marshes to Northumberland Park and charged an admission fee of 3d. They only remained at this ground for a year as in April 1899, 14,000 fans turned up to watch Spurs play Woolwich Arsenal. The ground was no longer able to cope with the larger crowds and Spurs were forced to move to a new larger site 100 yards down the road, to the current ground. The White Hart Lane ground was originally a disused nursery owned by the brewery Charringtons and located behind a public house on Tottenham High Road (the actual White Hart Lane road lies a few hundred yards north of the main entrance). The landlord spotted the increased income he could enjoy if Tottenham played their matches behind his pub and in 1899 the club moved in. They brought with them the stand they used at Northumberland Park which gave shelter to 2,500 fans. Notts County were the first visitors to 'the Lane' in a friendly watched by 5,000 people who provided £115 in receipts; Spurs won 4–1. QPR became the first competitive visitors to the ground and 11,000 people saw them lose 1–0 to Tottenham.
In 1905 Tottenham raised enough money to buy the freehold to the land and became permanent owners of the ground. As the club grew new stands were added. A new main stand was added in 1909, the East stand was also covered that year and extended further two years later. The profits from the 1921 FA Cup win were used to build a covered terrace at the Paxton Road end and the Park Lane end was built at a cost of over £3,000 some two years later. This increased the ground's capacity to around 58,000 with room for 40,000 under cover. The East Stand (Worcester Avenue) stand was finished in 1934 and this increased capacity to around 80,000 spectators. The pitch was thoroughly renovated in 1952. This uncovered a number of items from the old nursery on the site and one year later the first floodlights were introduced. The floodlights were upgraded in 1957 which required the cockerel to be moved from the West Stand to the East and then in 1961 floodlight pylons were installed. The West Stand was replaced by an expensive (and way behind schedule) new structure. Various developments and upgrades were implemented over the years. In 1992 the lower terraces of the south and east stand were converted to seating, with the north stand becoming all-seater the following season. The south stand redevelopment was completed in March 1995 and included the first giant Sony Jumbotron TV screen for live game coverage and away match screenings. With this, the capacity of the stadium increased to just over 33,000. In 1997/98 season the Paxton Road stand had a new upper tier added which included the second Jumbotron screen and increased capacity to 36,240.
White Hart Lane has provision for a Personal Assistant to sit directly behind a supporter in a wheelchair, or sit beside an ambulant supporter in the following areas. The North Stand provides: 29 places for wheelchair users and their Personal Assistant in the lower tier, 8 places for ambulant supporters and their Personal Assistant situated in the lower tier; 6 places for wheelchair users and their Personal Assistants in the upper tier. The South Stand provides: 16 places for wheelchair users and their Personal Assistant in the lower tier; 10 places for Ambulant supporters and their Personal Assistant in the lower tier. The West Stand provides: 17 places for ambulant supporters and their Personal Assistant in the lower tier. Visiting supporters (Barclays Premier League games) are provided with 5 wheelchair / Personal Assistant and 4 Ambulant / Personal Assistant match tickets, which are situated in the South Stand. Whilst these seats are directly in front of the nominated away supporters area, the South Stand accessible area is not segregated.
The Club do everything possible to assist and accommodate those supporters with assistance dogs. Due to the design of the stadium they are only able to accommodate supporters with assistance dogs in the lower tier accessible areas. Any supporter wishing to bring an assistance dog to a fixture must contact the Disability Liaison Officer on 0208 365 5161. Blind or partially-sighted supporters can enjoy match commentary provided at all home games via specialist headsets (subject to availability). Headsets need to be booked in advance 7 days prior to the game through the Disability Liaison Officer. You can now access a specialised travel page that is designed to give travel information for users with disabilities. These maps offer interactive and clearly laid out directions to key places at White Hart Lane. They also display the disabled access points in the stadium and how to reach them. The accessible areas in the North, South and West Stands are wheelchair accessible, offer accessible toilets which are operated using a Radar Key and low level counters at the refreshment kiosks. The Ticket and Members office in Park Lane are wheelchair accessible. An induction Loop system is operational in the Ticket Office for supporters with impaired hearing. Deaf or hearing-impaired supporters are able to contact the Disability Liaison Officer via the Club text phone 0844 4777 462.
There are a number of different tours available for the stadium. Classic Tour: The Classic Stadium Tour is the most popular and frequent tour and it's a great family day out. Lasting between 1 ½ to 2 hours, with professional tour guides, you will have access to behind the scenes in all the key areas at the Club. Legend Tour: Accompanied by one of the professional tour guides, your Legend will lead you around White Hart Lane taking in the areas behind the scenes at the Club. You will hear fantastic stories of their time at Spurs and following the tour there will be a Q & A and signing session and you will receive a limited edition postcard. VIP Tour: Not only will get to see everything from the Classic Stadium Tour, but smaller VIP groups get to see some previously unseen areas too.
Location : Bill Nicholson Way, 748 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 0AP
Capacity : 36,284.
Stadium Tours: Daily 09:30 to 16:30 (excluding matchdays)
Museum : Daily 09:30 to 17:00 (excluding matchdays)
Tickets Classic Tour: Adults £20.00; Seniors £11.00; Children £9.00
Tickets Legend Tour: To be announced.
Tickets VIP Tour: £150 per group (maximum 4 people)
Tel: 0344 499 5000