TOURING TRAILBLAZERS
Tottenham Hotspur Publications|Spurs v Wolfsberger
Not much was known about our very first overseas tour back in May 1905, which saw us head to Austria for the first of seven friendly matches on the continent. So, JON RAYNER delved into the history books to discover a tale of a nation enraptured by the visit of an English team and details never before published by the club from our fixtures in Vienna.
JON RAYNER

It was the influence of Hugo Meisl, one of the key figures in the early days of Austrian football, that enabled us to embark on a ground-breaking tour in 1905, as we headed overseas for the first time in our history.

Meisl worked closely with FA secretary Frederick Wall to secure an Austro-Hungarian tour for ourselves and Everton, regarded as two of England’s finest sides at the time. The Toffees had just finished as Division One runners-up, just a point behind champions Newcastle United, while we were a strong Southern League team with our 1901 FA Cup success still fresh in the memory.

Apparently, both clubs received a sum of £600 for the trip, which consisted of us playing five matches each against Austro-Hungarian teams as well as two prestigious encounters against each other.

Following a brief playing career with Vienna Cricket and Football Club (known as Cricketer), Meisl took up a role within the Austrian FA and was instrumental in persuading the English FA to tour the region in 1908. Indeed, England played their first four matches overseas between 6-13 June in that year with Meisl – a qualified referee – taking charge of the Three Lions’ clash with Hungary on 10 June. He would also go on to officiate at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

In 1919, Meisl took charge of the Austrian national side having moved into a coaching role after his playing days, and he oversaw their rise to prominence in the late 1920s and early 30s. So impressive was his side that they were dubbed the ‘Wunderteam’ and were among the favourites for the 1934 World Cup, although lost to Italy in the semi-finals.

VIENNA BOUND

Our Southern League campaign of 1904/05 concluded with a 1-0 home win over Bristol Rovers on Saturday 29 April and we arrived in Vienna four days later on the Wednesday, with the travelling party staying at the prestigious Hotel Metropole in the heart of the city.

Football fever had certainly gripped Vienna and there was a real enthusiasm for the visit of the English teams. Everton had arrived before us and had already played First Vienna FC on 2 May, enjoying a 4-0 win.

Our first match was on 4 May against a Vienna Select XI and the city’s newspaper, Neues Wiener Tagblatt, previewed the game the day before. It appears they were either present at our league fixture against Bristol Rovers, or had been provided with some fairly detailed information.

About our arrival, it wrote: ‘The players are looking forward to the Vienna competitions, but especially to the match against Everton. The team is currently in the best shape, as they showed at their match on Saturday. Tottenham, who played with the same team with whom they came to Vienna, showed thoughtful and dashing interaction, as one is used to from London’s favourite team.

‘In tomorrow’s match Tottenham Hotspur will play against the Viennese team. The audience will see a different genre of ball technique and combination in this match than from Everton. The Tottenham are famous for the most beautiful interplay of the southern English teams and put them on a par with the most famous representative of classic combination, Aston Villa.’

OFF TO A FLYER

A day after our arrival, we made club history by playing our first-ever overseas fixture. The venue was the Hohe Warte stadium as we took on a team made up of players from clubs within Vienna.

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