rev. john ripsher - fact file

1883 -1894        club founder/president/treasurer

Born in 1840.

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The Reverend John Ripsher is a man without whom the whole phenomenon of Tottenham Hotspur would not exist.

For it was the local bible teacher from All Hallow's church who took on a group of cricketers from the local area who wanted to do something together during the winter months and joined together with some grammar school boys from St. John's Presbyterian to form a football club.  With Northumberland Park being close by and with that part of Tottenham being associated with the Percy family who were based at Bruce Castle, one of the family - Sir Henry Percy - was known as 'Harry Hotspur', so they took the name 'Hotspur' from those two sources and in 1882, the club was born.

Taking over the team in it's second season, John steered them to organised the side and was elected treasurer and president, as he established a home base for the club, provided kit and equipment and found some changing rooms.  After one season, the team had received such a good name that boys flooded to play for them and a reserve side was established.

He remained as president for 11 years and then stayed on as patron, with his influence over the club instilling a reputation as a team who were noted for their fair play and sportsmanship. 

When the club turned professional in 1895 and a limited company in 1895, Ripsher's work had already been done and the club had changed from the one he had originally set up.

Ripsher left London in 1894, moving to Dover where his sister and her husband ran the Diamond Hotel in the town.  John went blind after the move to Kent and finding life hard and it difficult to make money, the clergyman died in the Union Road Workhouse (which eventually became Buckland Hospital) on 24th September 1907, having suffered with heart problems and ill health, being buried in a pauper's grave at St. Mary's cemetery in Dover.  A headstone, paid for by the Tottenham Tribute Trust, was installed at the cemetery to mark his final resting place on the 100th anniversary of his death.





What they said about Rev. John Ripsher
Peter Lupson (author of  "Thank God For Football") at the unveiling of the headstone in Dover ...  24.09.2007 (Dover War Memorial Project website)

" (Ripsher) stood by those boys, who had continually let him down. If had not, there would be no club today."

Bob Markham (Mayor of Dover) at the unveiling of the headstone in Dover ...  24.09.2007 (Dover War Memorial Project website)

"John Ripsher faced problems familiar today; he was trying to get youngsters off the streets and give them a sense of purpose ....We in Dover are proud to adopt John Ripsher.  We will make sure he is never forgotten again."

Paul Barber (Executive Director of THFC) at the unveiling of the headstone in Dover ...  24.09.2007 (Dover War Memorial Project website)

"There is huge respect for what John did in those early years - not just founding the club but keeping it going ....We are delighted that the man who is known as our real father and founder has been found, and we can honour him."

Paul Barber (Executive Director of THFC) at the unveiling of the headstone in Dover ...  24.09.2007 (THFC website)

"It was probably John Ripsher’s enthusiasm and belief in the young lads that initially formed our club that were his most important qualities. He never let them down and was the foundation on which all their youthful dreams and ambitions found support. 
Ultimately he was to leave Tottenham for Dover but by then he would have seen what a wonderful club the hopes of those youngsters had created and although he was probably not one to claim credit, his influence was crucial and must never be forgotten. 
How fitting that, as we at Tottenham celebrate our 125th anniversary, we again celebrate the life of John Ripsher. He was our president and patron … but he was also so much more."

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