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Tottenham Hotspur Brings a Long and Storied History to the MLS All Star Match

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Everyone knows of Tottenham almost making the Champions League and not being able to crack the big four clubs of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United or Manchester City. But Tottenham brings a long and storied history to this match and is one of the top clubs in soccer worldwide.

Spurs Jimmy Greaves in action for Tottenham Hotspur in 1965.
Spurs Jimmy Greaves in action for Tottenham Hotspur in 1965.
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Most people know of Tottenham Hotspur lately being a club of almosts. During the 2014-2015 season they finished fifth in the Premier League Table, lost the League Cup Championship Match to Chelsea, and made the knockout phase of the Europa League. But the club that will be taking on the MLS All Stars on Wednesday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park brings a long and rich history to soccer.

The club was formed on September 5, 1882, as Hotspur F.C. and slowly progressed from a non-league club to being elected to the Football League Second Division in 1908. In 1899, Spurs moved to the current ground where they have its home stadium, White Hart Lane.

They have had great success in England and Europe. They won the Southern League in 1899-00 season, the Football League Second Division in 1919-20 and 1949-50, and the Football League First Division in 1950-51 and 1960-61. Their biggest domestic success has been in the FA Cup. They have won the FA Cup eight times, including back-to-back twice. They are also the only non-league team since the formation of the Football League to win the FA Cup in 1900-01. They have also won the League Cup four times and FA Charity Shield seven times.

In Europe they have also had some great successes. They have won the UEFA Cup, now known as the Champions League, twice, including winning it in the  inaugural year of 1971. Lately they have participated in the Champions League, progressing to the Quarterfinals in the 2010-11 season, losing to Real Madrid. Since then, they have been competing in Europa League and will be there for the 2015-16 season.

Spurs great success was probably in the 1960's. Bill Nicholson, who came to the club in 1938, was named manager in 1958 and guided Spurs to FA Cup and League First Division wins in 1960-61 season, the FA Cup in 1961-62 season and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup (the first British team to win a European trophy) in 1962-63. Nicholson then needed to rebuild the team due to age and injuries, winning the FA Cup in 1966-67. Nicholson continued his success by winning the League Cup in 1971 and 1973 and the UEFA Cup in 1971-72.

The rivalry with Arsenal goes back to the 1919's, and probably before, when Arsenal were promoted ahead of Tottenham, despite Tottenham finishing higher than Aresnal. The football league was resuming after World War I and the First Division was expanding from 20-22 teams. Chelsea and Tottenham were set to be relegated before stopping play for the way. But when the league expanded, Chelsea were given one of the spots and the 22nd spot went to Arsenal despite finishing sixth in the Second Division.

The team makes its home at White Hart Lane. After moving there in 1899, with a variety of different upgrades, the Lane now sits 36,240.  White Hart Lane and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium are only one mile apart, solidifying a rivalry with Arsenal that is about 100 years old.

The club has just received permission to build a new stadium next to the current White Hart Lane and that will sit 56,000. But recently Spurs has submitted a proposal to increase that capacity. Since they have a waiting list of more than 47,000 for season tickets, this is a welcome relief. The construction of the new stadium may force Spurs to play in another stadium for a year or two.

Tottenham have had some of the worlds greatest players suiting up for them over their history including:  Jimmy Greaves, Paul Gascoigne, Glenn Hoddle, Ledley King, Gareth Bale, and Jurgen Klinsmann. Tottenham will be playing against some former players on Wednesday. The Galaxy's Robbie Keane and Sounders Clint Dempsey all put on the lilywhite uniform for Tottenham. Former MLS player DeAndre Yedlin is currently on Tottenham's roster and said he will be at the match on Wednesday.

In addition to Dempsey and Yedlin, American keepers Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel have also suited up for Tottenham.

There are several options to attend events with Spurs supporters this week. It begins on Monday when Colorado Spurs supporters group hosts a welcome event at the Three Lions in Denver. It continues with an open training session on Tuesday morning and finishes with the match on Wednesday.

Here is a complete listing of events:

  • July 27, Supporters Welcome Event, Three Lions Pub, 6 p.m.
  • July 28, Open Training, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 10 a.m.
  • July 28, Supporters Evening, Q&A with Ledley King and Brad Friedel, Blake Street Tavern, 7 p.m.
  • July 29, MLS All Star Match, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 7 p.m.

Take a chance and look into the history of Tottenham. I think you will find a welcome relief to some of the big clubs in England.