My interview with former Spurs player Darren Gosnell:

Darren Gosnell was a talented defender who was at Spurs as a youth player during the 1990s. A local to Tottenham, having grown up not far away from the old stadium, Darren Gosnell would later play for other clubs after leaving Spurs, and the first one who he joined after leaving the club was Wycombe Wanderers. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing Darren in person, about his time at Spurs.

 What are your earliest footballing memories?

Darren: That would be kicking a ball out in the garden with my dad.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Darren: I was brought to the club by a scout called Dickie Moss, when I was playing at Enfield Playing Fields. I wanted to come off as well, but then I saw him after looking over my shoulder. And that was it. At first after joining the club I was shocked and I couldn’t sleep after the first week of training, and what shocked me was the amount of quality that was there at training, and that was quite difficult. To be honest I didn’t want to go back to Spurs, as I thought that I was out of my depth. 

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Darren: Growing up I used to watch a lot of the Spurs 1981/82 team on London Weekend TV. So I watched a lot of Glenn Hoddle and Steve Perryman, and also Graham Roberts. Graham Roberts was someone who I looked up to, and obviously everyone wanted to be Glenn Hoddle, and that was when I was a schoolboy. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Darren: I actually knew David Howells when I was a youth team player, because he stayed in digs at my aunt and uncles house. So David was the main one.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in during your time at Spurs?

Darren: I was a defender. I wasn’t very quick but I read the game well, although I actually started as a central midfielder, and I remember in my first game which was against Arsenal, we lost 4-0. They said to me that I wasn’t a central midfielder, and that I had to go back to be a defender. It was Len Cheesewright who said that to me.

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Darren: Gary Mabbutt. What a great pro he was, and his attitude was fantastic. I always used to look at him during training and also in matches. He’s an absolute legend!

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Darren: I think that it was an eye opening experience, and a very good learning experience as well. I know that I could have done better personally, but I never. Breaking my nose had a big effect on me, but it was a really good learning curve to play with these really top players. It also sets you up for life, because the jobs that you have to do like cleaning the changing rooms and the stands, and the kit all stands you in good stead.

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Darren: I was just invited into the office one day and they said to me that they weren’t going to renew my apprenticeship, and they never did, and so I was released. After leaving I went to Wycombe, where I played under Steve Walford, and then after leaving there I went to play for Enfield Town, Haringey Borough and various other non-League clubs. Then I stopped playing at roughly the age of 23.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Darren: I think that it would be the day that I was called into the office at Spurs to be offered my YTS/apprenticeship, that would be the greatest moment.

Who was the greatest player that you have had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with? 

Darren: Quinton Fortune, without a doubt, as he was just unbelievable. I remember that we were playing a game against Charlton, and we were losing 4-0 at half-time, but then he scored four goals to get us level, and that was at Mill Hill, and I’ll always remember that game. That game was also the only time that I was the captain at the club, because Peter Suddaby used to give it around to a different player each week, and I was fortunate enough to get it that day. 

 Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories or ones which stand out from your time in the various Tottenham youth teams?

Darren: I’ll always remember the banter in the boot room, especially when the lights went out, but it was quite scary as well as funny as well. It used to be between the first year apprentices and also the second year apprentices. I remember that we played Arsenal away, and we drew 1-1. That was one of my proudest and also best games as well.

Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?

Darren: John Hartson. I was keeping a clean sheet against him at Mill Hill, but within half an hour I had been taken off as he had scored a hat-trick.

 Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

Darren: That would be Dean Calcutt and Neale Fenn.

 What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Darren: My advice would be to enjoy every moment of your playing career, and also to enjoy the experience. You should enjoy being at a big club like Tottenham, as it doesn’t really last too long. 

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Darren: I have loads of great and fond memories, and I loved every minute of it from being a schoolboy, right up until YTS. I think that the most important thing for me is to see some of my heroes and then to see them around the club when you’re there yourself. That makes you feel that extra bit special, and to actually be involved in the 1991 FA Cup final, and to actually watch that team play as a schoolboy was absolutely fantastic, and one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. 

Are there any other memories from your time at Spurs which really come to mind?

Darren: I’ll always remember the day that Terry Venables got sacked and that was the day that our contracts came through, and I’ll always remember sitting in the Bill Nicholson suite when Ossie Ardiles and Steve Perryman walked in, and everyone there went “ oh no! ”As they didn’t want them. Everyone was very close to Terry Venables, and I was in particular quite close. But I remember seeing the great pros that we had at Spurs at the time such as Gordon Durie and Nayim, and so it was a really good time to be around at Spurs. When you make it as an apprentice then you possibly think that you’re going to make it, and that is the big difference. I also remember that Bill Nicholson used to watch all of of our youth games, which was a great privilege. 

Spurs Under 23’s 3-4 West Ham United: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side returned to Premier League 2 action on Monday evening, when Wayne Burnett’s side played West Ham United, at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium. Spurs lost what was a very lively match 4-3. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal, while a back four consisting of Marcel Lavinier, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Kallum Cesay started in front of him. Matthew Craig and Spurs’ captain Harvey White started in midfield, and Jack Clarke and Dilan Markanday started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Nile John. Alfie Devine led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway, but it was the visitors who started the game better. After Tobi Omole cleared Armstrong Okoflex’s cross early on in the game, West Ham managed their first goal attempt. Pierre Ekwah headed behind Harrison Ashby’s corner-kick, with it taking a deflection on the way. After initially saving well from Okoflex’s low effort, Oluwayemi could do nothing to stop Pierre Ekwah from finding the top left hand corner of the goal in emphatic fashion from distance, moments later, 0-1. Spurs tried to respond. Harvey White’s through-ball pass allowed Jack Clarke to run forward with the ball towards the edge of the West Ham box. Clarke was dispossessed by a West Ham defender, but the ball came to Nile John, who powerfully found the inside netting of the bottom left hand corner of the West Ham goal, 1-1.

In the 16th minute of the game Spurs managed to take the lead, as Alfie Devine latched onto Nile John’s well weighted through-ball pass, before continuing forward, striking the inside left post, with the ball then rebounding into the goal, 2-1. Harvey White then blocked a low effort on goal from inside the Spurs box, before Dilan Markanday hit over a Harvey White corner-kick from close range inside the West Ham box. The lively start to the game continued, and after Daniel Chesters received Keenan Forson’s pass, the winger continued forward before powerfully finding the back of the Spurs goal, with a low effort. Things got even better for West Ham not long afterwards, as Spurs defender Marqes Muir accidentally turned Harrison Ashby’s cross from the right flank, into his own goal, 2-3. After cutting inside from the left flank onto his right foot, Kallum Cesay tried his luck on goal, but West Ham goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi made a good save. Armstrong Okoflex’s side-footed effort from distance went narrowly wide, before at the other end of the pitch Markanday had an effort blocked. Jack Clarke hit a promising effort across the face of the West Ham goal, before the same Spurs player ended up being fouled inside the West Ham penalty area a couple of moments later, resulting in a penalty kick. Nile John stepped up to powerfully find the back of the net, 3-3.

Okoflex put a low cross just behind at Oluwayemi’s back post, and then a couple of minutes later Harvey White had an effort saved by Hegyi, in what was the final action from the first half. West Ham got the second half underway, and an early chance for Sonny Perkins ended in the centre-forward hitting an effort just wide of the Spurs goal. Lavinier managed to cut out a promising West Ham pass inside the Spurs box, and then Tobi Omole was adjudged by the referee to have fouled Keenan Forson inside the penalty area. Up stepped Armstrong Okoflex to powerfully side-foot the ball past Oluwayemi in the Spurs goal, 3-4. Oluwayemi gathered an effort on goal before Spurs made a double substitution, as Matthew Craig and Alfie Devine were replaced by Yago Santiago and Michael Craig. Keenan Forson struck the Spurs crossbar with an effort, and then Brooklyn Lyons-Foster came onto replace Marcel Lavinier at right-back. Nile John hit two efforts wide in quick succession, before Kallum Cesay became the first Spurs player to receive a yellow card during the game. Harvey White hit a free-kick into the West Ham wall, and then at the other end of the pitch substitute Thierry Nevers hit a bicycle-kick just over Oluwayemi’s goal. Dilan Markanday tried to get an equaliser for Spurs in second half additional time, but he couldn’t keep his effort on target. The final score was Spurs 3-4 West Ham. Spurs will travel up to Manchester to play Manchester City in their next Premier League 2 game, which is on Saturday.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent any of West Ham’s four goals from going in. Oluwayemi made a couple of good saves during the match. 
  • Marcel Lavinier: The right-back cut out two good and promising chances for West Ham, during his time on the pitch. 
  • Marqes Muir: The right-sided centre-half started alongside Tobi Omole in central defence, and Marqes Muir was good in the air throughout the match.
  • Tobi Omole: The central-defender started as a left-sided centre-half against West Ham. Omole went down injured during the second half, but was fine to continue afterwards.
  • Kallum Cesay: Going on some good runs down the left flank, full-back Kallum Cesay had a good effort saved during the first half.
  • Matthew Craig: The deepest of the two central midfielders patrolled the midfield alongside Harvey White.
  • Harvey White: Delivering some good corner-kicks into the West Ham box, midfielder Harvey White also made some good forward runs off the ball.
  • Jack Clarke: The winger started the match out on the right flank, but later switched flanks with Dilan Markanday during the second half. Clarke won the first half penalty which Nile John scored.
  • Nile John: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dilan Markanday: The winger may not have had a lot of the ball against West Ham, but on another day he could have had a goal or two. He grew into the game as it went on.
  • Alfie Devine: Playing as a centre-forward Alfie Devine had in my opinion another good game. Making some good runs off the ball, Devine took his first half goal really well – it was his sixth league goal of the season.
  • Michael Craig: The midfielder and second half substitute often got forward during his time on the pitch.
  • Yago Santiago: The second half substitute played as a centre-forward.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The late substitute replaced Marcel Lavinier at right-back.

My man of the match: Nile John. Always looking to receive the ball, CAM Nile John was without doubt Spurs’ most influential player against West Ham. John scored two well taken goals, and also registered an assist. The midfielder was always looking to play the ball forward and take players on.

Spurs Under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 23 side return to Premier League 2 action on Monday evening at The Lamex Stadium (the game starts at 19:00pm), when they face West Ham United. Wayne Burnett’s side narrowly lost 4-3 to Crystal Palace in their last league game, just before the international break. Last season Spurs did the double over West Ham in the league, winning 3-0 in the home game, and 2-1 in the away fixture. The East London club have picked up 13 points from seven league matches so far this season, and they currently occupy fifth place in the league, and are two places above Spurs. Always a difficult fixture, Spurs, however, have only lost one of their last five competitive meetings with West Ham at this level. A talented side, West Ham have won their last three competitive matches at this level, and with players such as Amadou Diallo, Harrison Ashby and Jamal Baptiste, this will be another tough game for Spurs, before they travel up to Manchester to face Manchester City next Saturday. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game. I will be reporting on the game today.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Matthew Craig, Fagan-Walcott, Omole, Cesay, Lyons-Foster (c), White, Clarke, John, Devine, Markanday.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Paskotši, Michael Craig, Pedder, Santiago.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Defender and Scotland Under 21 international Harrison Ashby. The 19 year old has already been involved in five goals from seven league appearance this season, two goals and three assists.

Spurs Under 18’s versus Stoke City: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side will play their second group game of this seasons Under 18 Premier League Cup, when they face Stoke City at Hotspur Way on Saturday afternoon (the game starts at 13:30pm). Not a side that Spurs would usually face at this level, Stoke City are currently bottom of the Under 18 Premier League North, having picked up four points from their opening six league games of this season. This is a game which Spurs will need to win to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition, after losing their opening group game to Leeds United. Spurs’ last competitive meeting with Stoke City actually came in this competition back in 2019. On that day Spurs won 3-2. This will be an interesting game, and I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for it. My match report will be published on Sunday.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Hayton, McKnight, Bryan-Waugh, Chaplin, Andiyapan, Cassanova (c), Haysman, Torraj, Bloxham, Owen, Williams.

Subs from: Krasniqi, Linton, Abbott, Heaps, Amo.

Injured/unavailable: Roshaun Mathurin.

Doubtful: Jordan Hackett.

Previous meeting: Spurs 3-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Emre Tezgel (16). The centre-forward has scored seven league goals from just five appearances so far this season.

Spurs Under 23’s 3-4 Crystal Palace: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side were involved in a thrilling match against Crystal Palace, at the South London club’s training ground on Friday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side lost the match 4-3, although they had fought back from being 3-0 down, to get back to 3-3 during the second half. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal for Spurs, while a back four consisting of Matthew Craig, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Kallum Cesay lined up in front of him. Captain Harvey White and Nile John started in central midfield, and Jack Clarke and Dilan Markanday started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Yago Santiago led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway, but it didn’t start well for Spurs. Crystal Palace took the lead after just five minutes, through defender Jay Rich-Baghuelou. After a corner kick came to Jesuran Rak-Sakyi just inside the Spurs box, he looped it back into the centre of the penalty area, where he found Rich-Baghuelou, who got up well to head the ball past Oluwayemi, who managed to get a hand on the ball and into the back of the net, 0-1. Kallum Cesay had an effort from the edge of the Crystal Palace box saved, before the home side doubled their advantage. After receiving the ball on the right flank Jesuran Rak-Sakyi went into the Spurs box before going to the byline and then cutting back inside and finding the inside left hand corner of the goal, 0-2.

A powerful effort from Markanday inside the Crystal Palace box was well saved by Crystal Palace goalkeeper Joe Whitworth, before the ball came to Clarke, whose effort was cleared onto the post by defender Jack Wells-Morrison. Oluwayemi did well to tip over Jesuran Rak-Sakyi’s effort over his goal, before Rob Street headed over a corner kick from Scott Banks, and then a couple of minutes later Devine tracked back to make an excellent challenge on Street inside the Spurs box. Crystal Palace made it 3-0 in the 24th minute of the game. After winning the ball off of Marqes Muir in defence Rob Street took the ball into the Spurs box before then curling the ball in off the post, and into the the right hand corner of the goal. David Omilabu whipped a promising ball across the face of the Spurs goal, but Spurs tried to respond. After Clarke had won a free-kick in a promising position, Harvey White had a curling effort saved by Joe Whitworth. Then Kallum Cesay had a headed effort blocked by Sean Robertson inside the Crystal Palace box. Harvey White had a free-kick from the the right flank gathered by Joe Whitworth, before at the other end of the pitch Joshua Oluwayemi saved really well with his feet from a low effort from Scott Banks inside the Spurs box. Markanday was beginning to really grow into the game, and he had an effort saved by Whitworth, before helping to start the move which led to Spurs getting a goal back.

Markanday passed the ball to Santiago on the left flank, he then entered the Crystal Palace box, and showed some great skill before seeing his cross dropped by Whitworth. Then Devine managed to just get a foot on the ball and direct it into the goal, although Crystal Palace defender Reece Hannam may well have got the final touch on the ball. The referee sounded his whistle for half-time soon afterwards. Crystal Palace got the second half underway and it was the home team who had the first chance of the goal. Jake O’Brien’s header from a corner kick was saved by Oluwayemi. Nile John then had an effort blocked, before Alfie Devine’s deflected effort from just outside the Crystal Palace box went just wide of the goal. Hannam blocked behind Markanday’s shot inside the Crystal Palace box, and then as Spurs continued to play well Devine headed Harvey White’s corner kick towards goal, but Whitworth was able to save. Nile John’s effort on goal was saved before Dilan Markanday got Spurs’ second goal of the game. The Spurs winger had a shot blocked before managing to latch onto the loose ball inside the Crystal Palace box. He then powerfully hit the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 2-3. Less than two minutes later Spurs got an equaliser. Santiago passed the ball to Markanday out on the right flank, he then skilfully worked his way into the Crystal Palace box, before cutting the ball back for Kallum Cesay on the edge of the box. Cesay’s side footed first time effort on his right foot found the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 3-3.

After receiving Santiago’s pass inside the Crystal Palace box Nile John had a low effort saved by Whitworth. A Crystal Palace free-kick in a really promising position on the edge of the Spurs box, resulted in Scott Banks stepping up to take it. The midfielder curled a really good effort up and over the Spurs wall and into the top right hand corner of Oluwayemi’s goal, 3-4. An excellent challenge by Jay Rich-Baghuelou on Markanday inside the Crystal Palace box stopped Spurs from drawing level again. At the other end of the pitch Markanday cleared well from a Crystal Palace cross. John was shown a yellow card for stopping a Crystal Palace counter attack, and then Michael Craig came on to replace Jack Clarke. After latching onto a through-ball from Scott Banks, Rob Street hit the ball over the Spurs goal, after having been through on goal. Markanday had a shot blocked inside the Crystal Palace box, before Crystal Palace had a chance to extend their lead. A headed effort was cleared off the line, after Oluwayemi was unable to gather a corner kick. Yago Santiago then won a free-kick on the edge of the Crystal Palace box, which Harvey White curled narrowly over. Maksim Paskotši came on to replace Yago Santiago for the latter stages of the game. Markanday had another shot blocked inside the Crystal Palace box, before Cesay headed wide from a cross from the 20 year old. The referee then sounded his whistle a couple of minutes later. Spurs’ next game at this level is on the 18th of October, against West Ham United in the Premier League 2.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper made a decent number of saves, including a very good and impressive one with his feet during the first half.
  • Matthew Craig: The right-back often stayed deep to help out the defence, and he didn’t often get forward too much during the game.
  • Marqes Muir: The 18 year old centre-half played as a right sided centre-half against Crystal Palace. Muir liked to bring the ball out of defence, alongside Tobi Omole.
  • Tobi Omole: The left sided centre-half made some good forward passes, and like Marqes Muir he liked to bring the ball out from the defence.
  • Kallum Cesay: The left-back for this game took his goal really well, and he also went on some fine runs both with and without the ball down the left flank.
  • Harvey White: The Spurs captain was playing as the deepest of the two midfielders against Crystal Palace, and I thought that his passing was good.
  • Nile John: Trying his luck on goal on occasions, the central midfielder got into some good positions both inside and around the Crystal Palace box.
  • Jack Clarke: Starting the game really well and having a strong first half, where he liked to try and take on players for pace and skill, Jack Clarke later switched flanks with Dilan Markanday in the second half.
  • Alfie Devine: Once again playing as a CAM, Alfie Devine’s tremendous work rate helped the team out a lot. Devine got another goal for Spurs, to get Spurs back into the game, and he also came quite close to getting a second in the second half.
  • Dilan Markanday: My man of the match, see below.
  • Yago Santiago: The Spurs centre-forward led the line well I thought. He showed good skill and also pressed the defence well. He played a big part in helping to create our opening goal of the game.
  • Michael Craig: The second half substitute played in midfield after being introduced to the game. 
  • Maksim Paskotši: The Estonia international slotted into the back four after he came on late on in the game.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday. Without doubt Spurs’ most influential player against Crystal Palace, winger Dilan Markanday got a goal and assist for the second game this week. He played well in the first half, but during the second half the 20 year old really helped to get Spurs back into the game. Creating and scoring our second goal of the game by himself after switching flanks with Jack Clarke, Dilan then created Kallum Cesay’s goal to make it 3-3, after taking the ball into the Crystal Palace box and then passing the ball to Cesay.

Spurs Under 23’s versus Crystal Palace: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 23 side beat Derby County 3-1 on Monday night, and they have another game on Friday against Crystal Palace, at their training ground (the game starts at 13:00pm). Wayne Burnett’s side face a Crystal Palace team who have picked up six points from their opening six league games of the season. A talented side, players such as former Spurs Academy player Jack Roles, Jesuran Rak-Sakyi and David Omilabu, means that this will be another tough test for Spurs. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Cesay, Omole, Lavinier, White (c), John, Santiago, Devine, Clarke, Markanday.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Matthew Craig, Paskotši, Michael Craig, Pedder.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Jack Roles. The 22 year old former Cyprus youth international was at Spurs as an Academy player for many years, and his movement off the ball and ability to score all different types of goals means that he could cause Spurs problems today.

My interview with former Spurs player Paul Shoemark:

Paul Shoemark was a very highly rated England Schoolboys international who joined Spurs in 1965, despite interest from a number of other top clubs. The forward  who would stay at Spurs until 1969 would progress up to reserve team level at the club. From Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, Shoemark was part of a very talented Spurs youth team during the 1960s. After leaving Spurs Paul later went onto play for Hatfield Town and Kings Lynn. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of meeting Paul to interview him about his memories of the Spurs days. You honestly couldn’t meet a nicer man!

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Paul: That would be playing locally in the parks and all of the time I was kicking a ball around, because that was what he did in the 1960s. We used to have groups of players, maybe ten-a-side down at the local park, and it was just fantastic. I think that’s where I sort of honed my football skills.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Paul: Well it all started off with my England Schoolboys international games, having played seven games for England and scoring seven goals in that period of time. I was picked up by the chief-scout Dickie Walker, who came to the house and wanted to take me to Spurs if I wanted to. It all sort of went from there, but there were also other clubs who were interested like Arsenal. Also, my father and I went down to Southampton for an interview, also there was Coventry and lots of other different clubs who were showing interest after the England matches. Obviously the last match was against West Germany in Berlin, and that was absolutely fabulous and I scored two goals that day and we won 3-0. But from there everything progressed. 

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Paul: I used to admire Real Madrid and Di Stéfano and Gento, and so I used to follow them all of the time because they were the greatest team in Europe. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Paul: I always looked up to Jimmy Greaves in a big way and also Dave Mackay, who was absolutely fantastic. But there was also Jimmy Robertson and Alan Gilzean, who were others, so mostly it was the forwards who influenced me, but I would say Jimmy Greaves more than anybody else. As before I went to Tottenham I was renowned for scoring goals and so with Jimmy you just couldn’t ask for anyone else to look up to. 

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in during your time at Spurs?

Paul: I went to Tottenham as a centre-forward, but I spent most of my time there as a winger which is a shame as I tended to get most of my goals up front. As I was so quick and if I got the right ball then I’d put it in the net, but instead I was sort of played as a winger, and so I was basically a winger.

How did you find not playing in your favoured position?

Paul: It was frustrating at times because when I was younger I was an opportunist and so if the ball came then that was it. So it did make a difference with regards to being put out on the wing as I was laying balls on for other people to score, and alright we used to score from the wing don’t get me wrong, but I found that most of it came into the middle. 

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Paul: The only one that I would say there was Jimmy Greaves. The thing that I would say for us was after we played in the morning and if the first team were at home then we used to sit on the benches right in front of the barriers, and so you were all at ground level. And so seeing how everything went in the match was just fantastic, and so if we won in the morning then we could go and watch and enjoy watching the first team in the afternoon.

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Paul: Very up and down. We had some fantastic times and one of the best times as far as I’m concerned was when we won the FA Cup in 1967. Although I didn’t play I was so proud to say that I was part of a club that had won the FA Cup, and we had a fantastic reception a The Savoy Hotel, and we also had a massive party laid on at the Hilton Park Lane. It was just brilliant having won the FA Cup, and that for me was the pinnacle of anyone’s playing career. 

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Paul: Well I left the club as they released me, and then I didn’t really know what to do. I was still only young and I hadn’t sort of managed to get any skills, plus my education wasn’t very good as all I wanted to do was play football. So when I left I obviously had to get a job, but I also wanted to carry on playing football. So somebody mentioned the fact that a few players that left Tottenham had tended to go to Hatfield Town. So I approached them and they obviously knew of me and so I then played for Hatfield for about three years, and then I went to Kings Lynn and had a short time there. But when I was at Hatfield I got a job down at Brimsdown, and then when I went up to Kings Lynn I had to do the same thing. I had a relation living up there and so I stayed with him and got a job in the print trade and carried on playing for Kings Lynn for a short time. Then when I left Kings Lynn I went to Downham Market, and that was where I finished my career as such. But then when I went back to Northamptonshire one of the ex-players contacted me to see if I wanted to play locally, and it happened to be my wife’s brother. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Paul: The greatest moment of my career was scoring two goals against Scotland at Wembley in front of 85,000 people. 

Who was the greatest player that you have had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with? 

Paul: Well I’ve got to say Jimmy Greaves. Because obviously we had practice games down at Cheshunt where they sometimes played different players against each other, and you got who you got. But it’s got to be Jimmy Greaves.

What was it like to be an England Schoolboys international?

Paul: Obviously I didn’t know what it was like initially but we were treated fantastically. You had the best hotels and it was just an incredible time, and we had Peter Shilton in goal and Stephen Death, Alan Evans and John Stenson. We had some fantastic players in that team and we never lost, and so that was one of the best times.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories or ones which stand out from your time in the various Tottenham youth teams and reserves?

Paul: For the reserves I remember that we played at home as it was my debut game and it was against Peterborough United. I scored in that game which was fantastic, but I wished that I could have had a few more games in the reserves as I think to gain confidence and experience I needed to be in that level, but unfortunately I didn’t get many games. From the youth team days I remember that we went to Feyenoord in Holland, and we had a big competition there which was fantastic. That was a pretty good time really and we had a good team with the likes of Steve Perryman there and also John Gilroy, who I got on quite well with. Also, another memory was the day that we hadn’t got a game in the youth team in the morning at Cheshunt, so I thought that I would like to go home. As it happens the Tottenham first team were playing Northampton and so I went into see Bill Nicholson, and asked him if I could come on the coach to Northampton so that I could come home to Wellingborough. So he said no you can’t go home, but you can stay on the coach with all of the players and be part of the club at Northampton Town. We went for a lovely meal before the game which was fantastic being amongst all of the players. Then I went to the game and sat on the touchline with Eddie Baily and Bill Nicholson, and so I sat with them on the line, along with the subs. I generally helped clear up afterwards after we beat Northampton, and it was just a great experience.

Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?

Paul: One of the toughest players that I ever played against was Pat Rice. There used to be a ditch around Highbury, and I can remember playing against Pat and he was a hard player, and I could never get past him. And one time he actually hit me so hard that he knocked me into this ditch, and me being short I had a job to get out. You look at it now and it’s quite funny but at the time it wasn’t. 

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

Paul: Yes. I thought that I was quite close to John Collins, and I got to know his wife as well. When I went professional I had a bit more time on my hands as you used to train in the mornings and then you used to have the afternoons free. We used to go out to different places together which was great, and we’d go into the pub and have a game of darts. As he was a little bit older than me he sort of took me under his wing which was so nice.

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Paul: Just stay level headed and keep your feet on the ground, because you can be there one minute and then you can be gone. All that you can say is to do your best.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Paul: I had some absolutely brilliant times at Tottenham, I cannot say that I didn’t, and they are then ones which I’ve explained. They put me on the transfer list and obviously I didn’t make it into the big time, which I think after being so successful in schoolboy football was difficult.

Spurs Under 23’s 3-1 Derby County: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side played their latest Premier League 2 match on Monday night, when they faced Derby County at the Lamex Stadium, in Stevenage. Wayne Burnett’s side won 3-1 against Derby County, and it was a deserved win for Spurs despite Derby improving in the second half. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal, while a back four consisting of Kallum Cesay, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Marcel Lavinier lined up in front of him. Captain Harvey White and Nile John started in central midfield. Dilan Markanday and Jack Clarke started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Dane Scarlett led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game started and it was from their first real attack of the game that they took the lead. After Nile John received the ball quite far out from the Derby penalty area he went on a surging forward run. He eventually took the ball to edge of the Derby box before hitting the ball well and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 1-0. Tobi Omole cleared a promising cross into the Spurs box shortly after the game got started again, before Max Bardell headed the ball onto the Spurs crossbar a couple of minutes later from a corner. Jack Clarke hit a free-kick over the Derby goal, just before Spurs doubled their lead in the 20th minute of the game. Jack Clarke’s good lofted pass managed to find Dilan Markanday out on the right flank. He travelled forward with the ball towards the edge of the Derby box, before finding the bottom right hand corner of the goal with a powerful low effort, 2-0.

A low cross/shot from Devine on the left was gathered by Derby goalkeeper Harrison Foulkes, before a Harvey White free-kick found Jack Clarke inside the Derby box. Clarke’s resulting effort was cleared off the line, before the ball came to Marqes Muir, but his powerful effort was then saved by Foulkes. Derby got a goal back in the 27th minute of the game. A ball over the top to Connor Dixon resulted in him entering the Spurs box before squaring the ball for Luke Plange, who finished past Oluwayemi and into the goal from a first time effort, 2-1. Nile John had an effort saved by Foulkes inside the Derby box, and then a couple of moments later he had an effort blocked. After receiving Marcel Lavinier’s low cross Devine had a low effort saved by Foulkes, in what was the final piece of action from the first half. Derby got the second half underway but Spurs had made a half-time change as Dane Scarlett had been replaced by Yago Santiago. A Derby player had an effort blocked before another Derby forward then hit an effort just wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Dilan Markanday’s cross from the right flank was met well by Yago Santiago inside the centre of the Derby box, but his first time effort was well saved by Harrison Foulkes. At the other end of the pitch and after latching onto the ball down the left side of the Spurs box Reece Hutchinson hit an effort just wide of the Spurs goal. 

Tobi Omole received a yellow card before Jordan Brown hit the resulting free-kick wide of the Spurs goal. Luke Plange had an effort well saved by Oluwayemi, and then at the other end of the pitch John hit Devine’s cross from the right flank wide. Harvey White had a volleyed effort cleared behind, while a couple of minutes later Connor Dixon hit a free-kick into the Spurs wall. Dilan Markanday had an effort well blocked inside the Derby box as the game continued to be open. Oluwayemi dealt very well with a good Derby cross into the Spurs box, and then Spurs went forward – with Lavinier finding Markanday in the Derby box, but his powerful low effort was well saved by Foulkes. However, Spurs secured all three points through Alfie Devine. Jack Clarke had a cross into the Derby box cleared, but only to Santiago, who passed the ball to Markanday. He went past a Derby defender really well before squaring the ball to Devine, who controlled the ball well before finishing into the back of the net, 3-1. Matthew Craig replaced Jack Clarke, before Spurs came close to getting a fourth goal. Santiago received Lavinier’s pass inside the Derby box, he then gave it to Harvey White, who had made a really good run, but his effort was saved by Foulkes. Harvey White then had a late effort blocked by Max Bardell, in what was the final piece of action from the game. Spurs’ next game at this level is on Friday, when they face Crystal Palace at their training ground in the Premier League 2.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: Commanding his penalty area well once again, Joshua Oluwayemi didn’t have too many saves to make, but he dealt well with crosses and set-pieces.
  • Kallum Cesay: Once again going on some good and skilful runs, Kallum Cesay played at right-back against Derby.
  • Marqes Muir: Strong in the air and working well alongside Tobi Omole again in central defence, Marqes Muir worked very hard again against Derby, and he was tested a lot more in the second half of the match.
  • Tobi Omole: The left sided centre-half showed good experience in situations against Derby. 
  • Marcel Lavinier: Playing at left-back for this match, Marcel Lavinier wasn’t afraid to go forward to support Jack Clarke in the final third.
  • Harvey White: The Spurs captain played as the most deep-lying midfielder, but he made some good and ambitious forward passes. The 20 year old also made one good late run into the box to receive the ball, but was unlucky not to score.
  • Nile John: Taking his early goal really well and showing good skill on the ball throughout. This was another good and direct performance from the first year professional.
  • Dilan Markanday: My man of the match, see below.
  • Alfie Devine: The CAM’s work-rate and desire to press the defence was very impressive. Devine was never stood still and he was always looking to receive the ball, but he once again drifted out wide and made some clever runs into the Derby box. Devine took his late goal well.
  • Jack Clarke: Setting up Dilan Markanday for his goal by making a good lofted pass, throughout the game whenever Clarke received the ball he was always very direct and enthusiastic.
  • Dane Scarlett: The centre-forward led the line well, held the ball up well and also worked hard inside the Derby half.
  • Yago Santiago: During the second half the substitute made some clever runs off the ball and he also came close to scoring early on in the half.
  • Matthew Craig: The late substitute played in central midfield and showed good enthusiasm on the pitch, and was always looking to pass the ball forward.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday. While the winger was once again very good going forward, I was very impressed again with his tireless tracking back and also the good challenges that he made. Markanday took his goal really well and also went past a Derby defender with great skill to set-up Alfie Devine for his goal. Unlucky not to extend his goal tally during the game, this was yet another very good performance from the player from Barnet. I really do hope that he starts for Spurs’ first team on Thursday night against NŠ Mura.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Phoenix Patterson:

An exciting, hardworking and very creative forward during his days as a Spurs Academy player – Phoenix Patterson was part of a very talented Academy age group at the club. The now 21 year old who is playing his football at League of Ireland Premier Division side Waterford FC, is doing very well for his new club. However, going back to the 2016/17 season at Spurs, when he was a schoolboy footballer the High Wycombe born player who joined Spurs at a young age would go onto make 13 competitive Under 18 appearances for Spurs. Patterson along with Oliver Skipp stepped up to make a really good number of appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 that season, and both didn’t look out of place at all. Phoenix signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the start of the following 2017/18 season, and it was another season of really good progress for the player who can play on either flank, as a CAM or in central midfield. That season the former Scotland Under 19 international finished the season with the most assists within the Spurs Under 18 side, and he also made his debut for Spurs’ Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League. During his second year of scholarship Patterson started the season really well and was a regular in a superb Spurs Under 18 side. However, shortly after making just his third competitive appearance for Spurs’ Development side in an EFL Trophy game against Portsmouth (he was Spurs’ best player that day), he picked up quite a bad injury. This ruled him out until the April of 2019.

Once Patterson returned to action he played six further matches for Spurs’ various Academy sides. For the following 2019/20 season he was promoted to the Spurs Under 23 side, and during that season which was finished early he made 16 competitive appearances for the Development side. However, at the end of that season Phoenix was unfortunately released by the club. His subsequent footballing journey took him firstly to Watford, who he joined during the 2020/21 season. Playing with former Spurs teammates Maxwell Statham and Maurizio Pochettino, Patterson played for Watford’s Under 23 side, and he was a regular for them during that season, scoring four league goals for them. The former Spurs player ended up leaving Watford at the end of the 2020/21 season, and he spent sometime without a club. However, during the summer just gone Phoenix joined Irish side Waterford FC. He made his debut against Drogheda United in the July of 2021. He has since made eight further competitive appearances in all competitions for Waterford. Patterson has adapted to Irish football really well, and he has scored four goals in all competitions and also registered two assists. Helping along with other players to really improve Waterford after they had a difficult start to the season, I watched Phoenix play for Waterford in their most recent match – against Drogheda United.

In the match against Drogheda – the young footballer was in my opinion the best player on the pitch, as Waterford played at their own ground in front of their fans. Playing out on the left flank Phoenix created one big chance, went on some excellent forward runs at pace with the ball and scored the winning goal from inside the Drogheda box, after a free-kick was played quickly to him. The lively winger who showed some really good skill on the ball and was always very direct and enthusiastic with it, also had two efforts well saved by the goalkeeper during the match. It is great to see Phoenix doing so well for Waterford as they continue to try and finish above the relegation play-off place in the league. While at Spurs I always enjoyed watching him play, as he is such a creative player who is so unselfish with the ball, but who also works really hard off it and scores goals as well. I would like to wish Phoenix all the very best of luck for the rest of the season – he has an FAI Cup semi-final to look forward to and a lot more to offer Waterford this season. I’m. sure that he has a very good future in the game to look forward to as well.

Spurs Under 23’s versus Derby County: (match preview)

Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Development side narrowly lost 1-0 to Cambridge United on Tuesday night in the Papa John’s Trophy, but they’ll be hoping to return to winning ways when they host Derby County in the Premier League 2 on Monday, at the Lamex Stadium (the game starts at 19:00pm). Derby County have picked up three points from their opening four league matches of the new Premier League 2 season, and they are currently bottom of Division One. However, Derby did the double over Spurs’ Under 23 side in the league last season, beating us 2-1 and 1-0. Derby are a good side, and they actually won their first league game of the new season in their last fixture, beating West Ham United 3-1 at home. With players like Republic of Ireland youth international Louie Watson and Kornell McDonald potentially playing tonight, this will be another tough test for Spurs. However, Wayne Burnett’s side have started the season well and a win tonight wouldn’t leave them too far away at all from the top of the league. I will be at the Lamex Stadium today, and my match report will be out tomorrow. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Matthew Craig, Fagan-Walcott, Omole, Cesay, Lyons-Foster (c), White, Clarke, John, Devine, Markanday.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Muir, Michael Craig, Pedder, Santiago.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Louie Watson (20). The attacking-midfielder is a player who is always looking to make a forward pass, is skilful on the ball and also works hard off it. Watson has already made two appearances for Derby in the Championship this season.