Tottenham On This Day – First Player Sent Off, None For Next 37 Years


Cecil Poynton with Bill Nicholson [Photo:]On this day, 27th October, 1928 Tottenham lost 2 – 0 in a 2nd Division game at Stoke City and to make a bad day worse they had left-back Cecil Poynton sent off in the 65th minute. Spurs had been relegated the previous season and at the time were a mid-table team in the 2nd Division – with a record of 5 wins from 10 games and 4 defeats. They had some good wins but also some heavy defeats. Their opening two games in August were at White Hart Lane and rather set the tone for the rest of the season. They defeated Oldham Athletic 4 – 1 on the first day and lost to Middlesbrough 2 – 5 two days later. At the beginning of October they defeated Hull City  4 – 1 at home and lost by the same scoreline at Bradford the next weekend. Stoke were two points better off than Spurs and 4 places above them in the league table although they had played an additional match.

Cecil Poynton’s sending off was the first by a Tottenham player and it became even more remarkable with each passing season as Spurs didn’t have another player sent off in the Football League until Frank Saul was dismissed at Burnley in December, 1965. Thirty seven years of League football without a sending off – a remarkable record. There had, however, been one player sent off in that period in another competition. Unlikely as it may seem, Jimmy Greaves was sent off in the ECWC semi-final 1st leg match against OFK Belgrade in April, 1963.

Cecil Poynton’s other claim to fame is that he served the club faithfully for over 40 years as player, trainer and physio. He joined Tottenham in 1922 and made 179 League and Cup appearances, scoring 3 goals, before retiring as a player in 1933. He coached the young player for a year before going into management. He returned to Spurs after the War as assistant trainer, having helped out during the War years, and later became trainer until 1972 aged over 70. He then spent three years as physio until retiring in 1975.

At the time, the defeat at Stoke on 27th October, 1928 was just another game but subsequent events have made it a significant day in Spurs’ history.