Canadian & American
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Part of The Spur webzine  thespur.html
Top Yank sportswriter supports Tottenham Hotspur

Links to Official Spurs USA Supporters Clubs:

New York City: New York Spurs Supporters Club meet regularly to watch games. Ian Harris at the helm.

Los Angeles: LA Spurs

"And If You Know Your London Club History..."

London boasts more professional football clubs than any other city in the world (except the capital of Argentina, and most of them are broke). Suppose you were an outsider and wanted to pick a club, you might decide on a team by looking at each club's claim to "footballing worthiness" by looking at their footballing roots and historical dedication to the game.

The first four London clubs (currently playing in a professional league) to form were Fulham in 1879, followed two years later by Leyton Orient (1881), and the following year (1882) Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers. However Spurs resisted the idea of turning professional longer than two other London clubs that formed after them, namely Millwall and Arsenal.

Three johnny-come-lately clubs formed seemingly with the sole purpose of financial reward as opposed to the older clubs' love of the beautiful game, and didn't bother with any non-professional apprenticeship: Chel$ea, Crystal Palace, and West Ham United (the latter gaining their current name in 1900, five years after forming as Thames Ironworks, a group of shipbuilders).

Other clubs showed a great deal more restraint in their commercial aspirations. The clubs with the greatest street credibility of simply "playing for the love of the game" are as follows: Brentford with a 10 year amateur apprenticeship; Spurs and QPR 13 years; and Charlton who waited 15 years before turning pro. However, Wimbledon leave even the Addicks in the dust. They were the fifth club to form after the original four (Fulham, Orient, Spurs, and QPR) yet the Dons waited 75 years before even turning semi-pro, though the players were probably getting a bit peckish by this time. Twenty-four years later they won the FA Cup.

So is your London club deserving of street-cred adulation or to be reviled for self-centered shark-like greed? In a nutshell....

Street credibility thumbs up. Fulham, Orient, Spurs, Charlton, QPR, Brentford, Wimbledon.

Mercenary sharks with no soul, or just plain cheats. Thumbs down. Arsenal (who bribed their way into the top flight in 1919 to replace Spurs, as procedural rules of promotion and relegation were temporarily "suspended" with no acceptable reason), Chelsea, West Ham, and Crystal Palace. The combined motto of these clubs could well be "sod football, we're only in it for the money".

Jury out: Millwall won the Second Division league championship before they even turned pro, respect for that, but later their supporter track record of racism and mindless violence, whilst definitely boosting the club's hoolie cred to legendary status, brought into question their acceptability as a legitimate capital team to support among the wider London populace.

This assessment is based on an historical organic look at the development of London's footballing tradition.

-- Article by Rob Francis, who by the way likes The Palace despite what history teaches.

"Why Hotspur .....?"

The real name of Harry Hotspur (best known from Shakespeare's "Henry IV") was Sir Henry Percy. Sir Harry, as he was better known, gained the nickname Hotspur because he fearlessly led his troops as they rode into battle.

He was the teenage son of the Earl of Northumberland. The Northumberland (or Percy) family was the most powerful in England. They came to own land in north London, including what was to become Northumberland Park.

Originally a cricket club organized by a church minister to keep local schoolboys occupied, one of their earliest HQs was the YMCA at the park's Percy House, with the Northumberland Arms pub being utilized for changing rooms as football became the group's main pursuit.

Their first treasurer L R Casey had an older brother who, well versed in Tottenham area history, suggested "Hotspur" as the name of the club. It was subsequently discovered that there was a London Hotspur also in existence, so Tottenham was added as a prefix.

By the way, Harry Hotspur died leading rebel forces against Henry IV at the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403).

-- Thanks to Steve Marson for the original background for this historical segment.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry "God for Harry! England and Saint George!"

CAATS Past & Present

CAATS is no longer operative as an informal list of Spurs fans and unofficial groups in north America since official Spurs supporters clubs have at last emerged all over the continent. CAATS is proud to have provided a home base for early adopters of the concept and it's great that now there exist more structured versions of the same idea.

Here's a bit of background on CAATS.

CAATS started as CATS, the California Association of Tottenham Supporters. Then several of our members met Spurs fans from other parts of North America, so the name CATS became too restrictive, and we decided on a name that reflected the fact that Tottenham supporters live all over the continent.

The name may make us sound like a slick operation. Actually, we are a very informal group of fans who like to know that we are not alone in supporting Tottenham from these shores. There is no fee, membership card, or formal structure. We simply exchange information on, and enthusiasm for, Spurs. People in the same area occasionally get together to watch English football matches on US TV, especially Spurs games. Because of the Saturday morning satellite matches, you can actually see more live televised THFC matches here than in the UK -- a very big silver lining to console us for not being able to watch Spurs "non-virtually" in England.

Since we are so spread out, most of our "meetings" are virtual and take place in the form of e-mail exchanges. A web page was a natural extension of this desire of Canadian and American based Spurs fans to build up a sense of camaraderie.

Being a Tottenham Hotspur fan is still something of a rarity in North America, but our group is gradually showing that there are many more of us than people might suppose. In addition, interest in English football is growing and I know that CAATS has already influenced newcomers to the scene to become Spurs fans, rescuing them from the clutches of the Arsenal, Liverpool, ManUre, and now Chelsea hordes.

For our first two years, the CAATS page was hosted by "Spurs 2000" (now gone) but in October 2001 it moved to The Spur where it remains. It's a big step forward for CAATS to have control over our on-line destiny.

CAATS have never maintained a mailing list, or any other records for that matter, owing mainly to time constraints. But over the years hundreds of US based supporters have e-mailed and maybe one day CAATS will take on a more structured identity with a proper mailing list.

CAATS (and The Spur) will continue to reflect and comment on developments as the season unfolds.

Anyone made a trip recently that is in some way connected with Spurs? Keep this site posted of your experiences, whether visiting Europe or moving to the States. Indeed, if you're a Spurs supporter in North America, or from anywhere else for that matter, please feel free to get in touch. It's always great to hear from a fellow Spur, and let's face it, once you're addicted to this club it's great to know there are others in far flung regions of the New World who feel the same way.

More comments regarding the club, the site, and other feed-back will continue to be posted here.

Thanks for your interest. Come On You Spurs!

Update and Postscript from Rob, Top CAAT, September 2009
As mentioned at the top of this article, CAATS successfully served its purpose and is no longer being updated or maintained as a registry base for Canadian and American based supporters of the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

I have posted links to the Spurs Supporters' Clubs in the USA who were cool enough to cross-promote with CAATS when the transition was taking place from the unofficial CAATS to the new democratically elected official Spurs groups in North America.

My other site, The Spur, continues to be an actively updated look at the club we love from an American based fan's perspective, so please check it out regularly. Thanks, and stay in touch everyone. See many of you at a Spurs game soon either live or in an American pub, so to speak!

Latest Spurs news here.

Recommended US and Canadian soccer sites coming soon.