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Ever Wonder why Tottenham have Hotspur in their name?

Joe Prince-Wright dives into the truly unexpected origin story of how Hotspur became a part of Tottenham's name and identity.

Our ‘Ever Wonder’ series will run throughout the 2022-23 Premier League season and focuses on key stories behind the history, tradition and culture of all 20 Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Check out our ‘Ever Wonder’ series in full ]

Have you ever sat there and wondered why certain chants became iconic at a club? Why a team has a certain nickname? Why they play in those colors? How they were founded? Yep, us too.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

This season we will be digging deep to tell the stories of the rich history, tradition and culture from around the Premier League and give you the answers to things you want to know more about.

Ever Wonder why Tottenham have Hotspur in their name?

They celebrated their 140th anniversary as a club on September 5, 2022 and Tottenham Hotspur have a unique name and history. And yet, have you ever sat there and wondered, what is a Hotspur? And why is it in Tottenham’s name?

Okay, here it goes…

Hotspur Cricket Club

In 1882 Hotspur Football Club was formed, as players from Hotspur Cricket Club needed a sport to play in the winter months. The team was formed by schoolboys who supposedly met on Tottenham High Road under a gas lamp, right outside where the current stadium is.

A few names were discussed for the name of the team, with the Northumberland Rovers one option, but Hotspur FC was selected.

Screenshot 2022-09-16 at 15.56.31

Not the only Hotspur FC in London...

The first Hotspur FC side were led by Bobby Buckle who was the first captain of the club, at the age of 13, and was also their first recorded goalscorer in 1883.

The youngsters asked John Ripsher, Bible class teacher at All Hallows Church in Tottenham, for help to run the club and he became the first president and treasurer of the club.

Spurs, trophy

In 1884 the club was renamed Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, as another club from London was called Hotspur FC and their mail had been mistakenly delivered to north London and vice versa. This confusion would not do. The other Hotspur were based in Merton, Wimbledon and were formed in 1878.

So, they were the original Hotspur FC in London, not Tottenham.

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - Premier League

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: General view inside the stadium as fireworks are seen during the Opening Ceremony of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium prior to the the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 03, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I

But why Hotspur? What is that name all about?

You will never guess it in a million years…

The name Hotspur was picked to pay homage to Sir Henry Percy, better known as ‘Harry Hotspur’ from Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Part 1, as he and his family owned land in the area known as Northumberland Park and at Tottenham Marshes, which is where the club played its first games.

In fact, the historic building known as Percy House, which is now home to the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and sits right next to the stadium, was built by Sir Hugh Smithson, Duke of Northumberland, in the early 1740s. Smithson inherited the fortune and lands of the Percy family of Northumberland, whose ancestor was Harry Hotspur.

Harry Hotspur

Who was Harry Hotspur? He was an English knight who fought in several wars against the Scottish Army and in the ‘Hundred Years’ War’ against France.

He was called Hotspur as the Scottish praised his incredible speed on his horse. It was said he must have ‘hot spurs’ on his boots for the horse to run so fast. And that is where the name comes from.

So the next time you watch Harry Kane and Heung-min Son in full flight bearing down on goal, think about Sir Harry Percy ‘Hotspur’ advancing towards the Scottish army at pace on his horse.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with team mate Heung-Min Son after scoring their sides fourth goal during the UEFA Europa Conference League group G match between Tottenham Hotspur and NS Mura at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 30, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

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