29 June 1908

29Jun08

It was exactly 100 years ago today that Tottenham Hotspur FC was elected to the Football League. This solved a major problem for the club, as they had been expelled from the Southern League shortly before this, their crime being to apply for Football League status. When the initial FL election process took place only one new club, Bradford Park Avenue, was admitted, in preference to Lincoln City. Then Stoke resigned their membership creating hope for the north London club.

A Special General Meeting of the Football League took place at the Midland Hotel, Manchester on Monday 29 June to consider the vacancy that now existed. Five clubs applied: Lincoln, Tottenham, a revived Stoke club, Rotherham Town and Southport Central. Lincoln and Tottenham tied with 20 votes each on two separate occasions before the decision was referred to the Management Committee, which elected Tottenham by 5 votes to 3. The Lincoln press moaned about “the prostitution of justice and established precedent to monetary considerations,” but Spurs justified their election by winning promotion to the First Division at the end of their inaugural campaign.

Lincoln went on to establish a unique record: they are the only club to lose Football League membership on four separate occasions and return after a season’s absence each time. Stoke, meanwhile, dropped down to the Birmingham League and it was not until the 1915 AGM that they regained Football League status – then they had to wait a further four years to play Second Division football as a result of the suspension of the competition due to the First World War.

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