Tottenham Hotspur: 27 iconic photos that capture White Hart Lane's storied history

Joe Hall
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White Hart Lane
118 years of history: White Hart Lane (Source: Getty)

Tottenham's Premier League meeting with Manchester United on Sunday will likely have little bearing on Spurs' final position this season yet, regardless of the result, this game will linger long in the minds of those present.

Even after memories of the action on the pitch fade, the White Hart Lane crowd will take every opportunity to soak up the view of a stadium that, for some, will have been home to generations of family members.

White Hart Lane will shut its gates for the final time after 118 years this summer, as Spurs move to Wembley next season in order to complete the building works on a their new home.

Spurs' new 61,000 capacity stadium, situated next to their old ground, will be a beautiful state-of-the-art arena — but it will do well to create half the memorable moments White Hart Lane has witnessed.

Here's a selection of photos from the old stadium's storied history:

White Hart Lane at 14

Spurs play Sunderland in 1913. It may not look like it from this angle, with the chimneys of terraced houses still poking above the stands, but White Hart Lane held 50,000 at this point after the club enlarged the East Stand following promotion to the Football League.

20 years and a World War later...the East Stand is given another upgrade

In 1934 the club spent £60,000 (£3.9m in today's money after adjusting for inflation, and just a little bit less than the estimated £800m Spurs's new stadium will cost) to once again develop the East Stand.

The East Stand increased Spurs's capacity to 80,000

The redeveloped East Stand is packed out for an international match between Nazi Germany and England in 1935.

Nazi Germany play at White Hart Lane

And were summarily battered 3-0 by England. The Football Association's decision to play the game at White Hart Lane was bizarre, especially as an estimated one in three match-going Tottenham fans were Jewish. Jewish groups and trade union bodies staged protests against the game and held a demonstration on the day of the fixture.

Soldiers gather at Spurs

Soldiers on leave from fighting the Nazis in World War Two queue to get into a match between two clubs who have never been held in great esteem at the Lane, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Ready to rumble

In the Joshua vs Klitschko of its day, British heavyweights Jack London and Bruce Woodcock boxed for the British and Commonwealth titles in front of a sold-out crowd in 1945.


Spurs' left-back Les Medley in action at the Lane during Tottenham's 1950-51 First Division winning season, their first ever league title in the top tier.

Champions again

Spurs repeated the trick a decade later under legendary manager Bill Nicholson, winning the FA Cup at the same time to become the first English team in the 20th century to complete the double.

Jimmy Greaves scoring one of 220

Flushed with cash from their triumph, Spurs splashed out a record £99,999 fee to sign Jimmy Greaves from AC Milan. He went on to become Spurs's all-time record scorer with 220 goals in 321 games.

Glory, glory nights

Tottenham triumphed in Europe in 1972 by winning the inaugural Uefa Cup. Back then, the final was played over two legs and Spurs made home advantage count in their second leg against Wolverhampton Wanderers, winning 3-2 on aggregate. Captain and goalscorer on the night Alan Mulley, lifted upon his teammates shoulders, was able to celebrate with fans.

South American Spurs

In 1978 Spurs "scooped the world", according to British newspapers, by signing two members of Argentina's 1978 World Cup-winning squad: Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa. The pair would go on to become White Hart Lane legends and have been placed in the Tottenham hall of fame. Ardiles, dubbed Ossie in England, would manage Spurs in the 1990s while Villa is best remembered for a moment on the other side of London — his 1981 FA Cup final winner, named Wembley goal of the century in 2001.

Ardiles in action

Ardiles brought South American colour and flair to White Hart Lane, forming an iconic partnership with Glenn Hoddle in midfield and helping Spurs to back-to-back triumphs in the 1981 and 1982 FA Cup as well as the 1984 Uefa Cup.

Demolition day

Spurs fans have become used to a backdrop of cranes and scrap metal in the last year. There was a similar backdrop to the ground between 1980 and 1982, as White Hart Lane's West Stand was demolished and rebuilt.

European ecstasy

Spurs won their second Uefa Cup on home soil after holding their nerve in a penalty shoot-out against reigning champions Anderlecht in 1984.

Spurs sign Maradona

Maradona had Spurs fans dreaming of what might have been when he donned their colours and trotted out at White Hart Lane for Ardiles' testimonial. The legendary Argentinian was reportedly Spurs's initial target when they bought Ardiles and Villa, but even at 17 years old was deemed too expensive.

White Hart Lane in 1990

During the 1990s Spurs redeveloped the North and South stands behind each goal, converting terracing into seating, adding additional tiers and introducing two jumbo screens.

A sign of things to come?

Spurs's new stadium is being built to double up as a host for NFL games, with some whispering that it could be the home of a future London franchise. After all, that is exactly what White Hart Lane was in the 1990s for the capital's first American football team, NFL Europe's London Monarchs.

Boxing's back

Chris Eubank was crowned WBO super-middleweight champion of the world at White Hart Lane, where his all-British title fight with Michael Watson was staged in 1991. The bout gained notoriety as Watson's head injuries left him in a coma for 40 days and intensive care for a year.

Diving into the future

Manager Ardiles presented new signing German Jurgen Klinsmann to the press on the White Hart Lane pitch in 1994. The move came as a shock due to Klinsmann's villain status in England, picked up during the 1990 World Cup in which he earned a reputation as a diver and Germany knocked out the Three Lions out. Yet the striker soon won over the White Hart Lane faithful with his self-deprecating dive celebration.

The £11m man

In 2000 Spurs saw fit to smash their transfer record on Sergei Rebrov, who they signed from Dynamo Kiev for £11m. The Ukraine striker never quite lived up to the billing but did make an impact with a goal against Arsenal in White Hart Lane's first North London derby of the millennium.


Spurs fans were incensed by captain Sol Campbell's decision to walk out of White Hart Lane, where he had amassed 255 appearances after graduating from the academy, and join arch-rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2001. At least some fans were able to have fun with his return that November.

You don't see that every day...

A home fixture against Watford might not sound like the stuff of folklore, but those at White Hart Lane in March 2007 are unlikely to forget the moment they saw goalkeeper Paul Robinson get on the score-sheet with an over hit goal-kick.

Cause for celebration

Tottenham celebrated their 125th anniversary in the 2007-08 season and wore a one-off commemorative white and sky blue shirt against Aston Villa to mark the occasion.

Arsenal vanquished

Danny Rose, now arguably the best left-back in the Premier League and a key member of Mauricio Pochettino's first team, was introduced to Tottenham fans in 2010 as a 19-year-old winger. And what an introduction it was. Rose scored the Premier League goal of the season — a thunderous volley from outside of the area — to give Spurs their first North London derby victory in 20 games.

A superstar is born

Gareth Bale's man-of-the-match performance against Inter Milan in the group stages of the 2010-11 Champions League elevated him from an emerging Premier League star to one of Europe's most coveted players. Bale tore the reigning European champions to shreds as Spurs ran out 3-1 winners.

White Hart Lane's last great goalscorer... in goal

Harry Kane has been at the centre of all of Spurs fans' best memories of White Hart Lane's twilight years with goals in victories over Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. This, however, was one of the more bizarre moments — being forced to go in goal after scoring a hat-trick in Spurs's 5-1 Europa League victory over Asteras Tripoli in 2014.

Out with the with the new

Spurs celebrate during their 2-0 win in the final North London derby at White Hart Lane in April 2017 — with the setting of their future rising in the background.

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