This 156-page Minute Book dating from 1885-96 covers a range of meetings starting just three years after a football club was formed by boys from Hotspur Cricket Club and St John’s Presbyterian local grammar school.
The first name used was Hotspur FC, after the Duke of Northumberland’s son Henry Percy (1364-1403), who went by the nickname ‘Harry Hotspur’ and whose fearless heroics it was hoped would symbolise the character of the club.
In 1884 it was renamed Tottenham Hotspur Football and Athletic Club and Spurs played their first competitive match against St Albans in the London Association Cup on October 17, 1885, winning 5-2.
The ledger reflects a period when amateur gentlemen football clubs were under pressure amid widening interest in a game that had made considerable progress in a short time – with northern clubs in particular starting to pay players.
A notable entry from Monday, December 16, 1895, covers a Special General Meeting of Tottenham Hotspur FC held at the Eagle Hotel in Cheshunt Road, Tottenham.
The minutes read: “That in the opinion of this meeting the time has now arrived when the Club should adopt professionalism. Giving as the chief reason for suggesting such as radical change in the constitution of the Club the great difficulty which had been experienced in obtaining amateur players capable of sustaining the reputation of the Club.”
The ledger is being sold by specialist sporting memorabilia auctioneer Graham Budd, estimated at £30,000-40,000. It was consigned among other items from a private UK collection, where it had resided since the early 1980s.