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How two famous football clubs got their names

Many sports teams around the world have names that are familiar to millions but which have origins that are not generally known. Here are two examples of football clubs that are near neighbours and old rivals:

Arsenal is a famous North London football club that started life in 1886 in another part of London, namely Woolwich on the south side of the River Thames. The first players were workers at the Royal Arsenal that had been building cannons for the Army and Navy since 1717. It was not only the name but the nickname (The Gunners) that moved to North London in 1913.

Tottenham Hotspur began in 1882 when a group of cricketers started to play football during the winter. The cricketers had played on land that belonged to the Percy family, an ancient lineage who were ennobled as the Dukes of Northumberland. A prominent member of the family was Sir Henry Percy (1364-1403) who acquired the nickname Hotspur in recognition of his dashing horsemanship.

The name Hotspur therefore moved with the cricketers to their football club, as did the symbol of the cockerel that is still used on the crest of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.


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