100 years on - the Spurs life of the family related to 1921 FA Cup hero Jimmy Banks
Fri 23 April 2021, 08:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Three generations of the Chappell family will get together to watch the Carabao Cup Final on Sunday, almost 100 years to the day that ‘one of their own’ helped Spurs land the FA Cup.
Jimmy Banks was part of the triumphant team that lifted the trophy for the second time in the Club’s history, following up a stunning promotion season from the old Second Division (now the Championship) into the top-flight in 1919/20 by beating Wolves 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on 23 April 1921 to take the famous silverware back to White Hart Lane.
It was an historic day - not just in terms of the trophy, but the fact that we wore the now synonymous cockerel on our shirts for the first time - and an achievement that the Chappell family have carried with them ever since.
Tony, 78, Jimmy’s grandson, first remembers walking through the turnstiles at the Lane in 1954. Tony’s children, Melissa and Neil, have followed in the family footsteps. Neil’s first game was in 1977, although Mel says she can’t remember hers, ‘I was too young!’ Neil’s son, Alec, has of course followed suit. For this family, there is no other footballing way.
Jimmy joined the Club in 1913, played regularly in the London Combination during the First World War and then enjoyed his best spell in the promotion season of 1919/20 (22 games) and 1920/21 (25 games). In total, he played 77 times in the league and FA Cup for us, scoring 10 goals. He took his chance when Fanny Walden was injured in 1920/21, scored the winner in the quarter-final against Villa and kept his place for the final. He moved on to Norwich City in September, 1923 and, after a spell at Luton and then becoming a bus driver, passed away at the age of 49 in August, 1942.
Tony explained: “Unfortunately, Jimmy died two years before I was born, so everything I know about him came through my grandmother, Mabel, who outlived him for many, many years, she actually died in her 80s.
“She kept a lot of the memorabilia relating to Jimmy’s Spurs career. We have the FA Cup winners’ medal for 1921, and a watch inscribed for the players by the directors, and another medal, in affect the 1921 Charity Shield, when Spurs played Fulham.
“What this does, and when you get to grips with it all, it’s not like other families where you think, ‘we love football, who shall we support?’, as there was never any question, there was no choice, it was always Tottenham Hotspur! The family is steeped in Spurs. It’s such a shame we couldn’t meet Jimmy. I’m sure we would have all been overwhelmed.”
Tony’s son Neil, Jimmy’s great-grandson, said: “I used to take great delight in telling friends that we have this history with the Club. It comes up in conversation, and it’s like a badge of honour, it makes you feel that your ties to the club are really deep.
“My mum, Linda, is a big Spurs fan as well, she used to queue outside the ground for tickets for games and travel away. Everyone in our family, without exception, is a Spurs fan. It makes you feel you have that link with the club. My son, Alec, is a Season Ticket Holder as well now, so there are three generations of Spurs in the family, and that’s something that makes you feel proud.”
Melissa, Jimmy’s great-granddaughter, added: “Growing up, as Neil said, it was a badge of honour, but I don’t think I quite understood the magnitude of it. As you get older, the more you mention it to people, it does seem to carry more and more weight.
“We mentioned it to someone when we were out in Madrid for the Champions League Final, and the response was, ‘we’ve got Tottenham royalty here’. I suppose growing up it was a little extra kudos, but the more I’ve been involved in the game (Melissa is an agent), the more I’ve realised how few players do get an FA Cup winners’ medal, and that’s added more weight to it, the fact we have this connection, and as time goes on it’s perceived as an even greater thing. The fact the anniversary is coming up during the week of the Carabao Cup Final is hopefully a good omen!
“I was at a game last year at Stamford Bridge, in a box, and as I walked out, there is a photograph on the wall of the 1921 final, because it was held at Stamford Bridge. I’m walking out as a Spurs fan at Chelsea saying, ‘look, there’s my great-grandad on the wall!’. Everyone said, ‘really?’. They all thought it was a wind up!
“It would have been great to go to Wembley this time around but once we got to Madrid, we made a point of making sure dad was there, as he’d been to the last European Cup semi-final (against Benfica, 1962) and we wanted Alec to be there, so we had to do all sorts to make sure we all got there together - and we would have all been there together for this final, if COVID was allowing. Instead, we’ll all get together in a garden somewhere!”
Back to Tony. He’s been watching Spurs since 1954 - 67 years - his grandfather was in the 1921 FA Cup Final winning team, he’s passed the Spurs way of life down to his children, Neil and Melissa and Neil in turn to his son, Alec. Three generations of Spurs fans with a family history dating back 100 years.
How does he sum it all up? Just what does Tottenham Hotspur mean to him?
“It means everything,” he said. “To able to go with your family is brilliant, especially when your family have all grown up as Spurs supporters. It’s fantastic. You wouldn’t really think it could happen. These 67 years cover such fantastic period in Spurs’ history. It creates incredible memories.”
Meet the Chappells...
100 Years Worn with Love: Celebrating 100 Years of our Cockerel
• Today (April 23) marks 100 years to the day the Club first wore its now world-famous cockerel crest on its shirts – in the 1921 FA Cup Final victory against Wolves
• Ahead of its latest major Cup Final on Sunday, the Club is launching a campaign celebrating the history of our iconic cockerel
• Campaign will culminate in the launch of the Club’s new home kit for the 2021/22 season, which pays homage to the original cockerel design
• Team to wear new kit for the first time in final home match of the season against Villa