Curious news from White Hart Lane, where Tottenham Hotspur have finally gotten around to confirming that the golden cockerel which overlooks their stadium actually is, as has long been rumoured, a time capsule that was put in place when the old West Stand was built a little over seventy years ago. Spurs are celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of their first promotion into the top division of English football this summer. They were elected into the Football League in 1908, and were promoted into the First Division at the first attempt.
The club have long been coy about revealing whether there was anything in the ball upon which the cockerel sits, but they have confirmed that, during renovation of the stadium in the early 1980s, builders dropped the cockerel, causing the ball to split and the contents to be revealed for the first time. It was hastily repaired and put back in place, but the club feels that, to celebrate the centenary of the completion of their rapid ascension from the Southern League into the First Division, it is only right that the club should now make public what is a fascinating snapshot of what life at White Hart Lane was like in 1909. The capsule includes the following:
- A document marked sensitive, which is said to be minutes of a meeting to discuss what would have been the first naming rights deal for a stadium in the history of English football. Amongst the sponsors up for consideration were “Bovril Hart Lane”, “Capstan Full Strength Lane” and “Vimto Park”.
- A second document marked “highly sensitive”, which contains details of an aborted plan to relocate the club to Plumstead because of concerns that they couldn’t attract enough support in North London.
- Details of a twelve course gala luncheon celebrating their promotion into the First Division, with a menu including “a poached quail’s egg”, “fillet of quail” and “a twelve bird roast (with a quail at the centre)”, and promising “a night of authentic cockney ‘knees up’ music, complimentary port and closing with a rousing rendition of ‘God Save The King’”.
Spurs spokesman Enrico Codorniz said, “We feel that making this information public will be a fascinating insight into the past for Spurs fans”, and confirmed rumours that the club is intending to update the capsule with a 2009 version, which may include a handful of crumpled up betting slips, a worn out Wii controller and contract with Lionel Messi’s name scribbled out and Robbie Keane’s written in biro above it. He also refused to comment on the rumour that Spurs had spent at least the first half of this season seeking to ensure that Spurs spent the 2009/10 millenium season attepting to emulate the promotion team of 1909.