12th May 1948

Guernsey plays Tottenham Hotspur

Guernsey’s highest profile football game took place in 1948. It was a friendly, at home, against London club Tottenham Hotspur.

Hosted at The Track, the game kicked off at 5pm, and wouldn’t have come about at all had it not been for promoter Teddy Zabiela. He had met the London team when he’d been working on a mail ship, which had been taking them to Buenos Aires.

He met the team again when it played a game in Cardiff between the wars. From that point on his connection with it was fixed. Through that connection, he managed to persuade the players to come to Guernsey for a game against the local team.

A local abroad

For one player on Spurs’ side, there must have been very mixed feelings about playing on the island. Len Duquemin had been born on Guernsey, but signed to play for Spurs, and quickly became one of the team’s most valued players.

Duquemin played in more than 300 matches in the ten years from 1947 and scored 134 goals for the side. When Spurs travelled to Guernsey, he played in the number 9 position opposite his former countrymen.

Liberation celebration

Although Liberation Day is celebrated on 9 May, this 12 May match was timetabled to fall on Liberation Day – a point made on the cover of the programme. Spurs had also played Jersey four days earlier, on 8 May, again to mark that island’s liberation.

The game was billed as “Guernsey Island XI versus Tottenham Hotspur FC”. Referee HW Bisson was assisted by H Trustum and one other unnamed linesmen. A draw of programme numbers was made after the game. The winner earned the right to buy the ball that had been used in the game for a penny.


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Other events that occured in May

Priaulx Library opens for the first time 1st
Horse racing returns to L’Ancresse race course 2nd
Guernsey deportee, nurse Gladys Skillett was born
“Twink” goes missing on its way to Guernsey 3rd
Role of Chief Minister of Guernsey abolished 4th
Guernsey Airport opened for business 5th
Alderney debated in the House of Commons 6th
Songs of Praise comes from Guernsey 7th
Final issue of Deutsche Guernsey-Zeitung was published 8th
Guernsey was liberated from German occupation 9th
A Guernsey retiree’s £1m offer attracts 57,000 requests 10th
A liberation celebration ended in disaster 11th
Guernsey plays Tottenham Hotspur 12th
Guernsey’s telephone wars broke out 13th
British papers reported Dame of Sark’s deportation 14th
The States of Guernsey bought Aurigny 15th
Alderney was liberated at the end of the second world war 16th
Herm goes back on the market 17th
A mainland murder with a Guernsey connection 18th
Guernsey declared a State of Emergency 19th
Wartime diplomat Wilfred Gallienne born in Guernsey 20th
Hauteville House is bequeathed to the City of Paris 21st
Guernsey poet and painter Denys Corbet was born 22nd
John Doyle was appointed Lieutenant-Governor 23rd
The Imperial Hotel opened for the first time 24th
Elizabeth College is founded in St Peter Port 25th
Game of Thrones actor Roy Dotrice was born 26th
Head of Guernsey CID is shot in St Peter Port 27th
Work started on the Victoria Tower
Guernsey’s first paid constables were hired 28th
Guernsey woman advised to leave for her safety 29th
Occupation stories occupy the mainland papers 30th
“Overdose” verdict in Guernsey farmer’s death inquiry 31st