Unsavoury scenes at the Manor Ground

Woolwich Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal go head-to-head in arguably the most unusual competitive meeting between the two clubs. #YellowSport turns the clocks back 120 years to another odd encounter…

On Tuesday, April 24, 1900, the Southern & District Combination League clash between Woolwich Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, staged at the Manor Ground, Plumstead was brought to an early conclusion due to the actions of those amongst the crowd.

Records suggest between 500 and 1,500 were present that afternoon. In an otherwise close, hard-fought encounter, goals from Logan and Tennant had handed the Gunners a 2-1 advantage – Thomas Pratt with the Lilywhites response before the interval.

However, with emotions running high, the referee called time midway through the second period due to bad language and the angry, aggressive nature of the spectators.

The results subsequently stood – The Kent club exacting revenge for a 4-2 defeat at Tottenham’s new White Hart Lane ground a week previously.

Crowd disorder wasn’t uncommon at the Manor Ground. Abuse directed towards the referee at a match in 1895 led to the stadium being closed for a fortnight, while in 1902,  Tottenham – and former Arsenal – goalkeeper, Charlie Williams, lamped a Gunners fan perched behind his goal after the terrace dweller had fired off a volley of foul and insulting language in his direction during a reserve team fixture. Williams was subsequently suspended for two weeks, while Arsenal was threatened with another enforced closure.

Another two years passed – another incident at the Manor Ground. This time, the agitated audience turned on the Tottenham team after an incident involving Chalmers of the Spurs and the Arsenal man, Thorpe. The Gunners supporters later surrounding the Spurs dressing room before hounding them out of the arena.

Back to April 1900. The Tottenham’s goalscorer – Fleetwood-born centre-forward, Pratt – netted eight times in twelve Southern & District Combination appearances and added a further 20 from 26 games for Spurs’ Southern League side during the same campaign. He would later represent the Gunners, scoring twice in ten games during 1903/04.

In other news from April 24, 1900. Andrew Smith Hallidie – American inventor and cable car pioneer – died aged 64, as did George Campbell – 8th Duke of Argyll and Secretary of State for India (1868-74, 1880-85). He was 76.

Arsenal: Hamilton, McNichol, Jackson, Murphy, Dick, Anderson, Hunt, McCowie, Logan, Shaw, Tennant 

Tottenham Hotspur: George Clawley, Henry Erentz, Alexander Tait, James McNaught, Robert Stormont, Jack Kirwan, Tom Smith, Thomas Pratt, David Copeland, John Cameron, Jack Jones


Brian Jeeves

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