Its not too many teams who are actually referred to by their nickname more readily than their official name, for example if your team are due to play them how many of you say “we’ve got Spurs today” rather than “We’ve got Tottenham Hotspur today”, not many Ill bet !!
So anyway, its fairly obvious that the Spurs nickname is a derivation from the official name of Tottenham Hotspur, however what is interesting is why Tottenham picked up the moniker Hotspur in the first place !!
Apparently it was in honour of Sir Henry Percy, whose family owned large areas of land around Tottenham, Sir Henrys nickname was apparently Harry Hotspur, not sure why they thought it was a suitable name for a football team though !!
The card below shows the Spurs nickname in caricature form, it is from a series named AFC Nicknames which was originally released in 1933 by Ogdens. Unfortunately we cant really explain the cockerel that is so synonymous with the football team but apparently fighting cocks used to wear spurs so perhaps the connection was made by someone at the football club and the cockerel adopted ?
The cards were subsequently reprinted in 1997 by Imperial Publishing and the text on the back reads
“Starting in a humble way, like so many other clubs, Tottenham Hotspur became the chief team of the south. In 1901 The Spurs were the first to bring the club to London after its long exile in the north. Thirteen seasons ago they won the trophy again, beating Wolverhampton at Stamford Bridge. Their mascot is a cockerel, and a model of this bird is fixed to the stand. Also on the stand is the little wooden pay box in which officers of the club often used to take the coppers of spectators when the club first played in a roped field. Today they are the richest club in the country and have returned to the First Division.”
Another football cigarette card that mentions the “Spurs” nickname is shown below;
This particular football card was issued by Sweetule in 1959 and shows a caricature of the team nickname and a footballer in the Spurs kit, the text on the back reads;
“The nickname Spurs is presumably derived from from Hotspur, and a very fitting nickname it is for this powerful team which was formed in 1882.”
The cartoon above is Paninis take on the Spurs football nickname, this was part of the Panini 86 sticker series. This sticker, and the other cigarette cards, can be purchased on our Footybits site where they have been mounted in a clear fridge magnet.