My interview with ex Spurs player John Margerrison:

My interview with ex Spurs player John Margerrison:

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John Margerrison was a highly thought of youth prospect at Spurs during the early 1970’s. A talented central midfielder, Margerrison would go onto play a big part in Spurs winning the 1974 FA youth cup. Following on from his time at Spurs, Margerrison made a name for himself at London clubs Fulham, Leyton Orient and Barnet via stints in both Holland and America. I caught up with John to discuss his memories from his time at the club.

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

John: I joined Spurs from school at around 15, as an apprentice. Their scouts saw me play for the county football side, Hertsmere, and invited me down for training. From the training they then offered me an apprenticeship. Other clubs such as Arsenal, Leeds, Aston Villa also offered me apprenticeships too. I went with Spurs as always I followed them growing up. At first it was cleaning the first teams boots and the gyms, alongside the football.

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

John: Very enjoyable. Met some great players and made some good friends. Was very sad when I left.

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

John: To be honest I didn’t really have any specific inspirations, I just enjoyed playing football. It was a dream to be able to do it as a profession from a young age.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

John: At the club Pat Welton the youth team coach and Eddie Bailey the reserve team coach were very influential in my progress as a player. I had a good relationship with them both. I think they saw I had potential and always tried to push me further in my development.

Being a midfielder, were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?

John: Again, not really. I always played midfield and enjoyed that this position meant I was quite involved in every match. I literally played from an enjoyment point of view and my game came from there with the help of coaches and teammates.

 

What was the toughest thing about being an apprentice at Spurs and what were your biggest challenges?

John: I think who had the biggest challenge was the coaching staff. I was always told I had great skill but lacked in pushing myself to my full potential. Getting me to do that was a challenge. Trying to get in the first team was the toughest thing. I was with great up and coming players so it was never going to be easy.

How did your time as both an apprentice and professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

John: It definitely helped make me a better player. Playing against/with great players and pushing myself to get into the first team improved my game both physically and mentally.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout in your memory?

John: Just to be there, around professionals, taking in the clubs achievements was a dream come true. As I said I’d followed the club since being introduced to football so to be in the youth team was an amazing achievement.

After leaving Spurs in 1975 you went onto join fellow London club Fulham, from there you played for a variety of clubs including Leyton Orient, Barnet, Kansas City comets and Wealdstone. Could you talk me through your career post Spurs?

John: Playing at Fulham, I was close to getting in the first team and the manager came to watch me. In that game I had a stinker and later went off injured. I was close to getting transferred but worked my way back to get into the first team. The first few years at Fulham I have fond memories of. At Leyton Orient I had some good and bad games, looking back I’m disappointed in my performance at the club. At Kansas I only had a few games and didn’t really have time to adjust to the game there, as it was a 5 a side team and they played at a million miles an hour. After there I went to Holland and the team there wanted to sign me, but family commitments stopped me. Looking back I think I may have enjoyed it there. I really enjoyed my time at Barnet. I played some great football and made some life long friends. At the same time however it was here I suffered an injury that I feel I never really fully recovered from, snapping my medial ligament in my knee. This then effected my time at Wealdstone. However, I enjoyed my time there and got voted players player, and fans player of the season, so didn’t do too bad.

Whilst at Fulham you played alongside the legendary George Best, What was George like to play with?

John: He was such a fantastic player, far better than the rest of us. Not only that he was a really lovely bloke with it. I have some great memories with him.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

John: What always comes to mind is scoring against Man United in the FA cup at Fulham. Such a great feeling.

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

John: I played with some great players, Glen Hoddle, Graham Souness. However it goes without saying that George Best was just that, the absolute best.

Are you still in contact with any of your former Tottenham team mates?

John: No, sadly not.

I couldn’t end our interview without talking about the triumphant FA youth cup winning side of 1974, a side which you played a major part in. What are your memories of that campaign and did winning the cup help your development as a player?

John: I tried to think about this but I just can’t remember much. I know I scored in the draw at White Hart Lane against Huddersfield. In the first leg we should have won the match in the first half. Second leg it was anyone’s game. A great experience and achievement in the start of my career, and I’m sure it would have gave me more confidence as a player.

 

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My interview with former Spurs player Andy Bish:

My interview with former Spurs player Andy Bish:

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A fullback for Spurs during the 1960’s, east Londoner Andy Bish joined Spurs as a schoolboy before progressing right up to professional level for Spurs where he is pictured above, back in 1967 (third to the right of a certain Pat Jennings!). Bish never got a chance to play for the Tottenham senior side and eventually moved out to Gloucestershire, where he would combine teaching with playing for local sides Cheltenham Town and Forest Green. Bish has achieved some remarkable things throughout his career both as a footballer and as a teacher. He played over 1000 games of football and played a key role in helping Forest Green climb their way up the footballing ladder. But besides his achievements in the game, Andy has also made an outstanding contribution to teaching. Andy has taught in schools for over 40 years, a role in which he continues to do to this very day, aged 69. Mr Bish has taught both in mainstream schools and in special needs schools and PRU’s. Andy’s tales from his time at Spurs are both fascinating and intriguing, and it was both a pleasure and a privilege to have interviewed the former Spurs man about his time at the club. What he has achieved throughout his career is nothing short of extraordinary, and as a massive Spurs fan I am immensely proud to call him one of our own. Wouldn’t it be nice if Andy could be Paul Coyte’s halftime guest of honour at some point next season, in our brand new stadium!

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

Andy: Thank you for the opportunity to share my memories and experiences from my time at Spurs. I am 70 next birthday so the 60’s when I played are in the distant past but the questions have re-ignited memories of a wonderful time with memorable personalities. My earliest memory must be Sunday 26 April 1964 when I reported to White Hart Lane then to be taken by Henry’s Coaches to the Cheshunt Training Ground for a schoolboy trial game. My invite came after a school district Cup Final for West Ham Boys played at Upton Park where my claim to fame was to make a clearance out of the ground over the “ Chicken Run “ where the steward expected me to go and retrieve the ball. Thankfully the referee would not let me leave the field of play. Anyway after the game a Spurs scout Norman Corbett came to my house and invited me to the trial. I must have done well because I was invited to sign on as an Associate Schoolboy.

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

Andy: I had a 5 year connection with the club as a schoolboy, youth player and a Full Professional. I joined as a very impressionable 15 year old and being part of such a great club was very difficult at the time to comprehend and appreciate. One co-incidence is that in Gloucestershire where I now reside the  football club I last played for is also nicknamed the Lilywhites !

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

Andy: As a kid I ‘ supported ‘ Manchester United as so many people did and vividly remember when my favourite footballer Duncan Edwards died in the Munich Air Disaster but it was not long before I began a more local football allegiance. I was born and bred in East London. In the West Ham maternity hospital on the day I was born a Mrs Brooking was giving birth to her son Trevor followed a few days later by Mrs Lampard producing son Frank. So we grew up as schoolboy contemporaries amongst so many other famous names in the area. West Ham was the local team to support where at the end of games you could go on the pitch and meet the likes of Malcolm Allison and Bobby Moore who to a young boy were towering influences. In the Spurs Double Year of 60-61 I was behind the goal when Dave Mackay smashed the winner against West Ham and we all ducked in case he broke the net!

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Andy: After my schoolboy trial at Cheshunt and signing as a schoolboy the doors into White Hart Lane opened and I became part of the club. Dick Walker was our youth contact who was the most charming and charamistic person to liaise with Mums and Dads and care for our welfare. On evening games he would bring Mrs Bick the ‘ Blonde Bombshell ‘ from the office to a night out only for her to find she was having to write up a report about the game at Ipswich or Cambridge. The coach and manager I first came into contact with was an ex player Sid Tickridge who I came to admire and really appreciated. He had been a fullback himself at the club and I am sure his reports of my games influenced my progress. As I progressed through the ranks I then came more into contact with Johnny Wallis and Eddie Baily and of course Bill Nicholson who always had a lot of time for me after I came into contact and I recounted to him that he was a one capped England player versus Portugal who scored on his debut and held the record for the fastest goal scored in 19 seconds! He shared with me how on a Tuesday he was not to be disturbed in his office as he read scouting reports on players of every position in case he had an injury and had to buy a replacement. He really laughed one time when his reports included Keith Weller and Derek Possee who he had sold to Millwall but had matured into 1st Division material. On another occasion I was in his office on a ‪Friday morning‬ when he and Eddie Baily selected the Saturday teams. Every player had a named disc that could be put on hooks on a stand for each of the 3 Professional teams. That way he accounted for all players. I recall he had asked my advice about some injuries that might affect selection. Another big influence for me was when Pat Welton became a youth coach as in the evenings I would attend the club to assist him with youth training. He became a role model and mentor for me as I took my coaching badges. Eventually he became the full time youth manager and transformed the set up to win the F.A. Youth Cup.

Being a fullback, were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?

Andy: In the 60’s schoolboy and youth players could sit on benches alongside the pitch for home matches. This was really up close and personal ! When Cyril Knowles was signed from Middlesbrough I related to his style of play being so close and really admired him. At pre season training at Cheshunt he organised the lunchtime cricket matches and I never knew him without a smile on his face. Later in life I met him when he was manager of Torquay and his hair had turned white. He had tragedy in his life when a stone shattered his car windscreen and killed his son sitting on the back seat. He died of a brain tumour which was very sad. Dave Mackay was an absolute mountain of a person who influenced everyone around him. On his recoveries from broken leg he played practice games and in the ‘A’ team as a left half in front of me at left back. He would talk and commentate for the whole 90 minutes helping, encouraging and offering advice. He was a great loss when he left the club. At pre season in ‘68 I was asked to show a visitor to Cheshunt to meet Dave Mackay. I found myself in a car with a soft spoken Brian Clough who was going to persuade him to go to Derby and not Hearts!

What was the toughest thing about being an apprentice at Spurs during the mid 1960’s?

Andy: I did not follow the normal route into football. On leaving school ‪at 15 a‬ young player would become an apprentice professional for 2 years before if good enough be offered a 2 year full professional contract. I was at Grammar School so took exams at 16 then Advanced Level exams at 18 because I always wanted to be a PE teacher. Way back in 1967 the Head teacher of my school came striding through the school hall after my last exam telling me he had just had a phone call from a Mr Nicholson asking permission to sign me as a Professional Footballer and could I go to the ground to sign. Off I went and signed for the grand sum of £14 a week. I would also receive travel expenses and a win bonus of £2 if I was in a winning team. I remember Bill Nicholson warning that very few players made the grade from the youth set up as every year he made a big signing to strengthen the team. I was allocated a kit number of 31 so any footwear or training kit with that number was mine. I was so proud at signing as a professional that I did not take much in but remember on the bus home wanting to tell everyone but kept quiet.

How did your time as both an apprentice and professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Andy: What stands out for me is how well I was treated and cared for. Perhaps it was down to my personality and respect from others. However I saw how difficult some players found others around them. Graeme Souness was a apprentice who was very quickly disliked through his arrogance and attitude of superiority and antagonised those around him. Very often he had a bar of soap rammed in his mouth to shut him up. On another occasion the apprentices became so fed up with him that a few got the boot polish and “ blackened his balls “ This led to him quite often going AWOL back to Scotland.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout in your memory?

Andy: It would be when I became a Full Professional and the transition from youth player. Attending pre season training for 4 weeks at Cheshunt was a real experience. All players were welcomed back before setting off on Bill Nicholson’s favourite activity, Power Walking through the lanes of Cheshunt. Then it would be communal lunch in the pavilion where Greaves and Gilzean would pick one of the young newcomers to take their order for wine to Eddie Baily who would go apoplectic and shake his fist! In the break Cyril Knowles organised teams for cricket before more power walking or jogging. Because Eddie Baily had bad knees he would ride a bike at the back of the group. He had to keep it locked up or the bike would be sabotaged with tyres let down and he even had a wheel go missing. Greaves and Gilzean were the jokers again because if a car wanted to pass they would jump on the back for a lift leaving Eddie Baily shaking his fist again. One afternoon was always a press photo shoot where we had to sit on benches whilst photographers moved along taking individual portraits before the big team photo. Once league fixtures started we trained at the ground with always one day often Wednesday at Cheshunt to play 1st team versus Reserves with track suited Bill Nicholson directing play and organising free kicks and moving players around into correct positions. Training at the ground would involve running laps around the perimeter of the pitch, exercises and weights with Bill Watson in the gym before small sided games in the indoor training area. Friday was very light with running spikes on to do sprints before team sheets were put up for the Saturday fixtures. Every home game we could buy 4 tickets which we took over to The White Hart pub to sell to Stan Flashman the ticket tout. At the start of the season we would be given 2 season tickets which most young players sold. Mine went to Frank Saul for his Canvey Island Spurs supporters. Other players had side lines. Terry Reardon would bring in clothing whilst Steve Perryman could get the Vinyl records which was how we listened to music at the time! Once the season was under way we had a day off a week plus every afternoon. So lots of spare time which I used to go back to the ground and help with the youth training. This I found an invaluable experience and made me realise how much I enjoyed working with young people.

Could you talk me through what happened after you left Spurs?

Andy: In 1969 towards the end of my contract I applied for Teacher Training at St Paul’s College, Cheltenham. Bill Nicholson was very supportive as during the War years he was a Physical Training Instructor so he did not stand in my way. My last month at Spurs was hectic playing for the Reserves against Arsenal where I marked Charlie George, Walsall and Birmingham before my farewell game at Hatfield on Saturday 17 May 1969 for the ‘A’ team which we won 3-2. It was nostalgic and brought to a conclusion 5 happy and wonderful years as a Spurs player. But as one door shuts another opens.

What prompted your move to play football in Gloucestershire and how did you manage to combine training as a teacher with playing football?

Andy: Leaving London to live in Cheltenham was a real culture shock and I had to get used to a different pace of life in the rural Cotswolds. I would never have dreamed at the time that I would go on to spend the rest of my life in Gloucestershire. Teacher training was 3 years full time where I played for the college football team. However in the final year I played Southern League football for Cheltenham Town earning £5 a game plus expenses and a win bonus. On leaving college I entered teaching as a PE teacher and having been a professional footballer this fact was always picked up on my CV. It opened so many doors to me. As well as teaching I became team manager to District and County Football teams and became well respected in The English Schools Football Association. I also started a 10 year career with Forest Green Rovers who I helped progress through County, Hellenic and Southern Leagues. They are now in the Football League.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Andy: Looking back there are so many highlights. From my time at Spurs I have always kept a record of games played. My last games as a spritely 50 something were in the Umbro Veterans Competition and in the Gloucestershire Senior League for a Stroud team called Brimscombe nicknamed ‘The Lilywhites’. The pinnacle came when I realised an ambition when my record of games showed I had reached 1000 games. I had a good write up in the local press and felt that I should now move aside for a younger generation. I carried on coaching for a while with the Gloucester Ladies Team which was a new experience. During one session someone had a quiet word about not coaching chest control!

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

Andy: Two players stand out. Dave Mackay who was a great role model and inspiration and whilst at Cheltenham we had Johnny Haynes ex Fulham and England as a guest player. He was always looking for the ball and seemed like a magnet in receiving the ball.

Are you still in contact with any of your former Spurs team mates?

Andy: The players at Spurs were team mates who you trained and played with did not really socialise with so I am not in contact. However I have come across ex players in later life. I played against David Jenkins in Bristol, Steve Pitt and Brian Parkinson who were playing for Stevenage and Cheltenham played Swindon who were managed by Dave Mackay and had Ray Bunkell as a player. In 1986 after the ‘hand of God’ World Cup Glenn Hoddle and myself had neighbouring holiday homes in Spain. Topics of conversation were about Spurs but he was about to leave for Monaco. Little did I know that by 1991 he was back in England as player manager of Swindon and I would be coaching at their Centre of Excellence and Manager of their Under 15 Youth Team which I combined with teaching. Dare I mention Arsenal! One of my managers at Forest Green was Peter Goring ex Arsenal from the 50’s. I had taken training for him one evening and in the clubhouse after he gave me a handful of loose change to buy myself a drink. Amongst the coins was a medal. When I returned it he said thank goodness, I wondered where that was. It was his F.A. Cup Final Winners Medal from 1950 when Arsenal beat Liverpool. Luckily I had not spent it! Whilst playing one ‪Saturday afternoon‬ an opponent told me he knew me from Spurs. It turned out to be Peter Storey who used to be an Arsenal player before being given a prison sentence for counterfeiting coins and running a brothel. He was in HMP Leyhill where on a Saturday he was allowed out to play local football. After the game I stood him his drinks while his escorting prison officer waited outside. Later in the evening he reluctantly left to go back to prison. Some months later I received a package with sovereigns inside. After some deliberation I posted them back ‘Return to Sender ‘ as I guessed they must be from him and maybe dodgy.

I couldn’t end the interview without talking about your subsequent career as a teacher something which I know that you are very proud about. Would you mind talking about that?

Andy: I have been a teacher for over 40 years and although past retirement age I still teach and mentor pupils excluded from school. I started as a PE teacher and found it one of the best jobs you could wish for because most children enjoy sport. As I got into my 40’s I started to teach in a Special Needs School for children with Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties. I have always related to young people and although very difficult and challenging it is very worthwhile to make a difference in someone’s life.

My interview with former Spurs goalkeeper Ian Cranstone:

My interview with former Spurs goalkeeper Ian Cranstone:

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A key component of the 1973/74 FA youth cup winning side, goalkeeper Ian Cranstone played a significant part of Tottenham successes. A talented young goalkeeper who signed for the club in 1972, Cranstone was a part of one of the most talented Tottenham youth teams in the clubs history. I caught up with Ian to chat about his time at the club and subsequent career at both Colchester United and Wealdstone.

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

Ian: Playing for Essex County schools. Scouted by Dicky Walker who was the chief scout at the time and a legend. Aged 15 ½ years of age it was a big deal to leave home and stay in a strange place. Being cared for by another couple (adopted parents). Playing for the club was an honour. Wherever you went in the Tottenham area people would know who you were and would stop and talk to you. Even away games, supporters would ask for your autograph. I would always oblige. It was great!

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

Ian: A great experience, a dream come true. The experience still remains with me. Being around famous people and socialising with the first team players and players from other clubs, it was fantastic.

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

Ian: Apart from Pat Jennings of course, my goalkeeping hero was Peter Shilton. I met him by chance in a hotel in Nottingham prior to me playing for Notts County for a trial match when I was playing for Wealdstone. Peter was playing for Nottingham Forest at the time and lived in the hotel.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ian: Pat Welton the youth team coach and ex Leyton Orient goalkeeper. The coach that had all the character was Eddie Bailey, first team coach and assistant to Bill Nicholson. Johnny Wallis was the clubs first team trainer and he had to make sure that all the kit was ready for training sessions and boots were cleaned etc. Johnny was in charge of the apprentices when not in training and it was our jobs to clean up and do jobs around the ground (White Hart Lane) etc.

Who were you favourite players at the club?

Ian: Cyril Knowles was my favourite as he always had a smile on his face and joked about a lot.

You shared a house with the likes of Graeme Souness and Noel Brotherston  in Tottenham during your time as a youth player, a far cry from the luxury that our current youth players enjoy today. What was that experience like for you?

Ian: Quite daunting! I was not a very confident person, so to share a house with established players like Graeme Souness and Chris Jones was a big deal. In total there were six of us at one point in the house, (Clive Avenue). I had the opportunity of going home once a month subject to football fixtures… My parents were living in South Wales at the time. I would travel by train ‪Saturday afternoon‬ and return ‪Sunday night‬. At 15 ½ years of age and an only child it was quite a life change. One I wouldn’t want to swap.

How did your time at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Ian: My expectations were quite high and the training regime was tough. It taught me to work hard and never expect anything. Moving from Spurs to other clubs was a shock as other clubs could not come up to the standards Spurs had given me.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

There are so many. During my Spurs career we were the most successful London youth football team around. We won every youth competition in London, plus the South East Counties League. My best moment was in the second half of extra time in the second leg of the FA youth cup final. The score was 0-0. Huddersfield had an attack. A high ball came into the penalty box and one of their players got on the end and headed it towards goal. It was in all intense purposes a goal. I was on my six yard line and the ball went over my head. I ran backwards and leapt up into the air and managed to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. Minutes later Roger Gibbins scores at the other end.
The rest is history!

Sadder story was the occasion I broke my 5th matatarsus bone in my right foot whilst playing in a tournament in Rotterdam prior to the UEFA cup final between Spurs and Ajax. Having smothered a through ball, the opposition forward decided to carry on and kick my foot. I stood up to kick the ball out and I heard the bone break. I had to travel all the way back to Tottenham in a plaster cast and then a taxi took me all the way to South Wales.

After departing the lilywhites you went onto play for teams such as Colchester United and Wealdstone. could you talk me through what prompted you to leave the club, and your career post Spurs?

Ian: I was given a free transfer from the club by Keith Burkinshaw. Spurs signed a young up and coming goalkeeper, ‪Mark Kendall‬. At the time the club had Barry Daines, Nicky Markwick and myself. One of us had to leave and it was me. After lots of rejections from lower clubs I finally ended up at Colchester United. Again like Spurs I had joined a club that had a well established goalkeeper, Micky Walker (father of Ian Walker). I signed a one year contract with a one year option. This was a standard contract format at the time. Unfortunately the one time I had to make my league debut was against Newport County away. The game got called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
After that I sustained a broken scaphoid bone in my left wrist and it needed surgery and a one inch screw inserted. I was in plaster for 15 weeks. To this day I still have the screw inside me. A cover goalkeeper from Ipswich Town came to the club on loan. He was fortunate enough to play three league games and that was the end of my career at Colchester United.

After Colchester United I held down a civvy job and played semi pro for Wealdstone in the Alliance Premier league. Notable claim to fame was Stuart Pearce being my left back and substitute goalkeeper when I was concussed during a match at Scarborough. Although not mentioned directly in Stuarts autobiography the incident is mentioned.

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

I have played against some well known forwards during my youth years and reserve games. Notable forwards: Charlie George, Frank Stapleton, Kerry Dixon, Jimmy Greaves (Barnet), Martin Chivers, Alan Gilzean during training sessions.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Without a doubt the FA Youth cup victory. If it wasn’t for a penalty save against Leyton Orient (Dean Moody) we wouldn’t have progressed. Signing professional forms as well.

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

Ian: One year I played in the London Evening Standard football five a side tournament which was televised. We got beat 5-0 by Millwall. That was my 15 minutes of fame! Our team was Glenn Hoddle, Martin Chivers, John Pratt, Jimmy Robertson and myself. We were abysmal. So the greatest has to be Glenn. He was groomed to be great.

You’re still a Spurs fan and member at the club, what does the club still mean to you now after all these years?

Ian: I have enjoyed seeing the club evolve. Money has been a big influence how clubs are run and the facilities they can provide. I wish I was born in the 90’s. The opportunities for players is much greater and the off pitch support the club can offer players. It is a shame however that having played for the club there is no contact. At the end of the day players are only a commodity.

1974 will be a year which will always be synonymous with our triumphant FA youth cup campaign. A campaign in which you played a major part in, could you talk me through your memories of that campaign?

Ian: The team had the confidence to walk onto the pitch and had the belief we would win. I can recall playing at Birmingham City (St Andrews) midweek with empty stands and the thumping of an industrial hammer pounding away constantly. As mentioned before the penalty save against Leyton Orient
the semi final, two legged against Arsenal. They had a talented team and many went on to first team glory and beyond. It was 0-0 at W.H.L. Under floodlights at Highbury was magical. We won the final 1-0 at W.H.L. It was disappointing. There wasn’t much atmosphere. Huddersfield were content to frustrate us and so it proved, 0-0. At Huddersfield in front of 14,000 home supporters the atmosphere was electric. The goals were tight up against the stands and I had coins and coke cans thrown at me, along with verbal taunts. All tactics to unsettle me and break my concentration. It didn’t work! I did come into some money! LOL. After the game in the dressing room and having photos taken with Bill Nicholson (he signed me as an apprentice professional) it was special and who would have thought I would be writing about such an occasion 46 years on?

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

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Eddie Gormley came across the water as a teenager to sign for Spurs in 1988, the young Dubliner had been scouted by a certain David Pleat but following Pleat’s dismissal during the 87-88 season, Gormley was officially signed by new boss Terry Venables. Unable to make the breakthrough to the first team, the Ireland under 21 international spent his three years at the lilywhites playing for the reserve team. A tricky winger, Gormley subsequently went onto play for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield and a plethora of Irish clubs. Gormley went onto forge a hugely successful playing career back in his native country. Since retiring from the game in 2005 Gormley has since turned his hand to coaching. First taking charge of Irish premier division side Bray Wanderers, Gormley then went onto coach Cabinteely in the second tier of Irish football, where he remains in charge today. Eddie kindly spoke to me about his time at Spurs and subsequent career in the game.

Questions:

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

Eddie: I was playing league of Ireland here, obviously Spurs came to watch me in a game against Dundalk and a week later they signed me. My earliest memories was I think my first game, I was only at the club maybe three days and we were playing Gillingham away in a reserve game. And I was taken off at halftime and it was an absolute disaster. You know I found it difficult to get with the pace of the game you know, obviously playing with players in the reserve team that would have played in the first team. So coming from the league of Ireland it took me a while to adjust to it. I got a bad ankle injury when I chipped my bone, so I was out for about eight weeks with that. So that was sort of the first year I was there.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Eddie: I really enjoyed it, obviously it was difficult to get into the first team at that time. You had Lineker playing and the likes of Paul Gascoigne but I really enjoyed it. Going training I really knuckled down and took on board the coaching I was getting, and just really tried to improve myself as a player and see where that took me, you know. I had three good years there, the final year was probably my best year where I played most of the reserve games. I scored a good few goals playing wide left, as a whole I really enjoyed the experience and when your with a club like Spurs If you don’t enjoy it then there’s something wrong with you!

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Eddie: I was a wide player so my first thoughts would be the 70’s, the likes of Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill, those sorts of players. They were wide players, they were quick and they were great crossers of the ball. And obviously I was a Man United supporter, but I also remember the 1981 cup final I think it was between Spurs and Man City. And Ricky Villa scored that incredible goal, obviously he’d gone when I got there, and Ardilles. But I can remember Ardilles playing in the 78 World Cup final, and obviously when I arrived I was a little bit in awe of him you know.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Eddie: Obviously Doug Livermore the coach when I got there and obviously Ray Clemence came on board then. So they were obviously a big influence on me. But I have to say now, who impressed me the most was probably Terry Venables, just the way he spoke to everybody the same, he treated everybody the same you know. He was the type of manager that you’d run through walls for, you know. Unfortunately I never played for the first team but given the opportunity I certainty would of, he was a gentleman. So they were my biggest influences.

Being a winger were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?

Eddie: Not really, I just really focused on myself and just trying to do the best I could. So not really, I wouldn’t say I moulded myself on anybody I would have just really got on and tried to be my own type of player.

Coming across the water to England as a teenager in the late 80’s would have been a big step for you to make. What was the toughest thing about being a professional at Spurs and what were your biggest challenges that you faced?

Eddie: It was very difficult, coming from Dublin and being dropped at London. I mean it’s like chalk and cheese, obviously the home sickness was a difficult thing. But you’d just tell yourself no listen you’ve just got to get through it, but it did take me a little while to settle down but luckily enough I was put in with an Irish family, the Moores. So that helped me really adjust, but it is difficult and being away from your own family and going out to a top club trying to produce. It gets less difficult but you just take your time. A lot of players go home with home sickness but I looked at it very simply. That I’d been given this three years and to see where it takes me, If I end up getting a career over in England or in worst case scenario I come back to Bray after three years.

How did your time as a professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Eddie: It was a huge help, I mean when you go into an environment like Spurs you have to be very professional adjusting. I was lucky enough that there were some very good players there that looked after me you know. Like Gary Stevens, Garry Mabbutt and Tony Parkes. These types of players you know they were top, top pros and they always had a word with you and had time for you. So it just makes you more professional, It makes you realise how difficult it is to get to the top and what it takes. The dedication it takes to succeed you know.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Eddie: I suppose the last season, we won the reserve league and I think I scored something like seven or eight goals in the last ten games, I just remember scoring a lot of goals towards the end. And obviously one of my last games was playing in Danny Blanchflower’s testimonial against Northern Ireland. I played some of that game, I have to say now I really enjoyed playing in front of a nearly full stadium you know. It was enjoyable to get a run in the first team against an international side.

After departing the lilywhites you went on to play for the likes of Doncaster, St Patrick’s and Bray Could you talk me through your career post Spurs?

Eddie: I was offered another year by Terry Venables at Spurs but I just felt I wasn’t going to get an opportunity in the first team, so I decided to move on. So I had a good few calls from other clubs, so when I went home for the summer I just decided I’ll go and meet them. I literally got the boat back to Holyhead and drove from the north to the south, meeting all the clubs and the one that impressed me most was Billy Bremner with Doncaster. So I signed with them and had three very good years. I won the players player of the year and player of the year in the last two years that I was there. Then unfortunately I had a little fallout over the contract. My wife had just had her first child so she wanted to move back to Ireland so it was just coincidence with me falling out with them with my contract. I eventually went on loan first because Doncaster wouldn’t release me. They let me go out on loan with Drogheda, I played there on loan for about two months and then St Patricks Athletic with Brian Kerr who was later the Ireland manager, got me to sign for St Pats. So I never looked back after that, I had seven or eight good seasons at St Pats where I won three leagues and the Irish player of the year, I had a good innings let’s say with Pats. And then when I hit 30-31 I always said I’d finish with Bray because it was the club I started out with. So I even bumped into the Bray manager who was actually my adviser when I went to Spurs in the first place, he was the Bray manager when I left.

Pat asked me if I would be interested, they’d just been promoted back to the premier division and he asked me if I’d go back. So I’d go back and play for the last couple of years and I ended up playing till I was 36. Actually the first year I went back we should have won the league, we were unlucky we had a very strong squad. We actually lost to the weaker team which really cost us dearly we should have won the league that year, which would have been nice as they’d never won it before you know. I finished up playing really with them, when I was 36 I retired. Obviously they asked me to go on the coaching staff because I had my badges, so I done that and Pat Devlin moved onto work with Steve Staunton at the Ireland team. And they basically asked me to take over as their manager (at Bray). So I managed them for four years and then I resigned after four years, things weren’t going well and the budget here was pushing the boat a bit down south you know. I finished that up and ended staying out of football for a year, and my local team Cabinteely which my eldest son was football for at the time asked me the usual. Would I do a coaching session for the team and would I look after the age group, and would I be director of coaching for when they got national league football. They asked me would I manage the team. I done it on a short term basis for two years which was meant to be for two months. That’s it really, that’s it in a nut shell.

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

Eddie: Toughest fullback… probably a lad who played here called Willie Burke. He played for Shamrock rovers and ended up signing for St Pats actually after that. He wasn’t a big lad but he was aggressive, he was quick and he read the game really well. He really knew how to give you a tough game, he was probably the toughest fullback I played against.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Eddie: Probably a couple, obviously getting my under 21 caps for Ireland, but obviously winning the league of Ireland three times, there’s so many but that would probably be the pinnacle of my career. Winning that and winning the LOI players player of the year, it was nice to get recognised by players that you played against you know.

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

Eddie: I’d have to say Gascoigne, when I played in that friendly game he was just unbelievable, unbelievable! He was a good lad as well, a gentleman you know but he was absolutely top drawer.

How quickly did you adapt to playing reserve team football for Spurs and how did it aid your development as a footballer?

Eddie: It took me a while to adapt if I was to be honest with you, probably it took me the best of six months really to adapt to it. So obviously there was an injury thrown in there as well, it’s difficult when you’re dealing with so many things and your a young Irish player going over. It’s just a totally different way of life to the life I was used to. Being laid back you know and you’re dropped into London England, and everything’s 100 miles an hour. You’re dealing with your family not being around, your’e dealing with the players, the tempo of the game. But you know it took me a good six months to adapt, it really did but I think it made me a better player obviously. The second year and then the third year I have to say now I thoroughly enjoyed it towards the third year you know.

Whilst at Doncaster Rovers you played under the legendary Billy Bremner, could you describe what it was like to be coached by such a legendary figure in the game?

Eddie: Just his knowledge of the game was just phenomenal you know. And I was lucky enough I was a central midfield player at that stage. The first season I arrived I played wide left so I think the first couple of months he just said you’re a central midfield player. There’s a good story I always tell, he used to train with us on a Friday. I remember a particular day he played for the second team, he told us the starting lineup for Saturday. He played a ball out to the right winger and he took off down the line, and I just took off to break into the box. And as the winger went to cross the ball I just remember waking up not being able to breath, he’d literally just dropped his shoulder and he’d ran right into me, and it just winded me. He said to me I’ll give you a bit of advice, always watch where you’re running! And fair enough he must have been 50 odd at that stage, being a fit lad he absolutely floored me you know. His knowledge of the game was just phenomenal.

Since retiring from the game you have since entered the world of management, first taking charge of Irish premier division club Bray and then Cabinteely who you are currently in charge of at the moment. How has that experience been for you so far and do you have any ambitions of coaching in England in the future or even back at Spurs in some capacity?

Eddie: I think my days as a coach in England now are gone, it’s just not a logical thing for me at the moment. My coaching ambitions, to be honest with you I enjoy coaching the underage sides an awful lot more and prefer to give back that way. The reason I ended up at Cabinteely for three years managing the first team was because they needed me in order to get their license. They needed someone that had a pro license, I agreed to step in on a temporary basis till they got somebody else in and that took two years. And then I resigned at the end of the two years as I just prefer being a coach then a manager. I enjoy the underage stuff an awful lot more then senior football, I’ll be totally honest with you.

Troy Parrott is a young Irishman who is touted for great things both at Spurs and on the international stage for Ireland. As somebody who was once in Parrott’s shoes what would your advice be to young Troy as he looks to work his way up the ranks at Spurs?

Eddie: To stay mentally strong and bounce back from your disappointments as you will have disappointments sometimes. You think you should get picked and you don’t, but just to basically stay mentally strong. If you can do that you’ll always have a good chance you know. I mean he has the ability but sometimes you need to have your head straight. Everybody gets disappointments in games but it’s how you bounce back from them you know. If you’re mentally strong you’ve got a great chance.

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

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Eddie Gormley came across the water as a teenager to sign for Spurs in 1988, the young Dubliner had been scouted by a certain David Pleat but following Pleat’s dismissal during the 87-88 season, Gormley was officially signed by new boss Terry Venables. Unable to make the breakthrough to the first team, the Ireland under 21 international spent his three years at the lilywhites playing for the reserve team. A tricky winger, Gormley subsequently went onto play for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield and a plethora of Irish clubs. Gormley went onto forge a hugely successful playing career back in his native country. Since retiring from the game in 2005 Gormley has since turned his hand to coaching. First taking charge of Irish premier division side Bray Wanderers, Gormley then went onto coach Cabinteely in the second tier of Irish football, where he remains in charge today. Eddie kindly spoke to me about his time at Spurs and subsequent career in the game.

Questions:

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

Eddie: I was playing league of Ireland here, obviously Spurs came to watch me in a game against Dundalk and a week later they signed me. My earliest memories was I think my first game, I was only at the club maybe three days and we were playing Gillingham away in a reserve game. And I was taken off at halftime and it was an absolute disaster. You know I found it difficult to get with the pace of the game you know, obviously playing with players in the reserve team that would have played in the first team. So coming from the league of Ireland it took me a while to adjust to it. I got a bad ankle injury when I chipped my bone, so I was out for about eight weeks with that. So that was sort of the first year I was there.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Eddie: I really enjoyed it, obviously it was difficult to get into the first team at that time. You had Lineker playing and the likes of Paul Gascoigne but I really enjoyed it. Going training I really knuckled down and took on board the coaching I was getting, and just really tried to improve myself as a player and see where that took me, you know. I had three good years there, the final year was probably my best year where I played most of the reserve games. I scored a good few goals playing wide left, as a whole I really enjoyed the experience and when your with a club like Spurs If you don’t enjoy it then there’s something wrong with you!

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Eddie: I was a wide player so my first thoughts would be the 70’s, the likes of Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill, those sorts of players. They were wide players, they were quick and they were great crossers of the ball. And obviously I was a Man United supporter, but I also remember the 1981 cup final I think it was between Spurs and Man City. And Ricky Villa scored that incredible goal, obviously he’d gone when I got there, and Ardilles. But I can remember Ardilles playing in the 78 World Cup final, and obviously when I arrived I was a little bit in awe of him you know.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Eddie: Obviously Doug Livermore the coach when I got there and obviously Ray Clemence came on board then. So they were obviously a big influence on me. But I have to say now, who impressed me the most was probably Terry Venables, just the way he spoke to everybody the same, he treated everybody the same you know. He was the type of manager that you’d run through walls for, you know. Unfortunately I never played for the first team but given the opportunity I certainty would of, he was a gentleman. So they were my biggest influences.

Being a winger were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?

Eddie: Not really, I just really focused on myself and just trying to do the best I could. So not really, I wouldn’t say I moulded myself on anybody I would have just really got on and tried to be my own type of player.

Coming across the water to England as a teenager in the late 80’s would have been a big step for you to make. What was the toughest thing about being a professional at Spurs and what were your biggest challenges that you faced?

Eddie: It was very difficult, coming from Dublin and being dropped at London. I mean it’s like chalk and cheese, obviously the home sickness was a difficult thing. But you’d just tell yourself no listen you’ve just got to get through it, but it did take me a little while to settle down but luckily enough I was put in with an Irish family, the Moores. So that helped me really adjust, but it is difficult and being away from your own family and going out to a top club trying to produce. It gets less difficult but you just take your time. A lot of players go home with home sickness but I looked at it very simply. That I’d been given this three years and to see where it takes me, If I end up getting a career over in England or in worst case scenario I come back to Bray after three years.

How did your time as a professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Eddie: It was a huge help, I mean when you go into an environment like Spurs you have to be very professional adjusting. I was lucky enough that there were some very good players there that looked after me you know. Like Gary Stevens, Garry Mabbutt and Tony Parkes. These types of players you know they were top, top pros and they always had a word with you and had time for you. So it just makes you more professional, It makes you realise how difficult it is to get to the top and what it takes. The dedication it takes to succeed you know.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Eddie: I suppose the last season, we won the reserve league and I think I scored something like seven or eight goals in the last ten games, I just remember scoring a lot of goals towards the end. And obviously one of my last games was playing in Danny Blanchflower’s testimonial against Northern Ireland. I played some of that game, I have to say now I really enjoyed playing in front of a nearly full stadium you know. It was enjoyable to get a run in the first team against an international side.

After departing the lilywhites you went on to play for the likes of Doncaster, St Patrick’s and Bray Could you talk me through your career post Spurs?

Eddie: I was offered another year by Terry Venables at Spurs but I just felt I wasn’t going to get an opportunity in the first team, so I decided to move on. So I had a good few calls from other clubs, so when I went home for the summer I just decided I’ll go and meet them. I literally got the boat back to Holyhead and drove from the north to the south, meeting all the clubs and the one that impressed me most was Billy Bremner with Doncaster. So I signed with them and had three very good years. I won the players player of the year and player of the year in the last two years that I was there. Then unfortunately I had a little fallout over the contract. My wife had just had her first child so she wanted to move back to Ireland so it was just coincidence with me falling out with them with my contract. I eventually went on loan first because Doncaster wouldn’t release me. They let me go out on loan with Drogheda, I played there on loan for about two months and then St Patricks Athletic with Brian Kerr who was later the Ireland manager, got me to sign for St Pats. So I never looked back after that, I had seven or eight good seasons at St Pats where I won three leagues and the Irish player of the year, I had a good innings let’s say with Pats. And then when I hit 30-31 I always said I’d finish with Bray because it was the club I started out with. So I even bumped into the Bray manager who was actually my adviser when I went to Spurs in the first place, he was the Bray manager when I left.

Pat asked me if I would be interested, they’d just been promoted back to the premier division and he asked me if I’d go back. So I’d go back and play for the last couple of years and I ended up playing till I was 36. Actually the first year I went back we should have won the league, we were unlucky we had a very strong squad. We actually lost to the weaker team which really cost us dearly we should have won the league that year, which would have been nice as they’d never won it before you know. I finished up playing really with them, when I was 36 I retired. Obviously they asked me to go on the coaching staff because I had my badges, so I done that and Pat Devlin moved onto work with Steve Staunton at the Ireland team. And they basically asked me to take over as their manager (at Bray). So I managed them for four years and then I resigned after four years, things weren’t going well and the budget here was pushing the boat a bit down south you know. I finished that up and ended staying out of football for a year, and my local team Cabinteely which my eldest son was football for at the time asked me the usual. Would I do a coaching session for the team and would I look after the age group, and would I be director of coaching for when they got national league football. They asked me would I manage the team. I done it on a short term basis for two years which was meant to be for two months. That’s it really, that’s it in a nut shell.

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

Eddie: Toughest fullback… probably a lad who played here called Willie Burke. He played for Shamrock rovers and ended up signing for St Pats actually after that. He wasn’t a big lad but he was aggressive, he was quick and he read the game really well. He really knew how to give you a tough game, he was probably the toughest fullback I played against.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Eddie: Probably a coupl, obviously getting my under 21 caps for Ireland, but obviously winning the league of Ireland three times, there’s so many but that would probably be the pinnacle of my career. Winning that and winning the LOI players player of the year, it was nice to get recognised by players that you played against you know.

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

Eddie: I’d have to say Gascoigne, when I played in that friendly game he was just unbelievable, unbelievable! He was a good lad as well, a gentleman you know but he was absolutely top drawer.

How quickly did you adapt to playing reserve team football for Spurs and how did it aid your development as a footballer?

Eddie: It took me a while to adapt if I was to be honest with you, probably it took me the best of six months really to adapt to it. So obviously there was an injury thrown in there as well, it’s difficult when you’re dealing with so many things and your a young Irish player going over. It’s just a totally different way of life to the life I was used to. Being laid back you know and you’re dropped into London England, and everything’s 100 miles an hour. You’re dealing with your family not being around, your’e dealing with the players, the tempo of the game. But you know it took me a good six months to adapt, it really did but I think it made me a better player obviously. The second year and then the third year I have to say now I thoroughly enjoyed it towards the third year you know.

Whilst at Doncaster Rovers you played under the legendary Billy Bremner, could you describe what it was like to be coached by such a legendary figure in the game?

Eddie: Just his knowledge of the game was just phenomenal you know. And I was lucky enough I was a central midfield player at that stage. The first season I arrived I played wide left so I think the first couple of months he just said you’re a central midfield player. There’s a good story I always tell, he used to train with us on a Friday. I remember a particular day he played for the second team, he told us the starting lineup for Saturday. He played a ball out to the right winger and he took off down the line, and I just took off to break into the box. And as the winger went to cross the ball I just remember waking up not being able to breath, he’d literally just dropped his shoulder and he’d ran right into me, and it just winded me. He said to me I’ll give you a bit of advice, always watch where you’re running! And fair enough he must have been 50 odd at that stage, being a fit lad he absolutely floored me you know. His knowledge of the game was just phenomenal.

Since retiring from the game you have since entered the world of management, first taking charge of Irish premier division club Bray and then Cabinteely who you are currently in charge of at the moment. How has that experience been for you so far and do you have any ambitions of coaching in England in the future or even back at Spurs in some capacity?

Eddie: I think my days as a coach in England now are gone, it’s just not a logical thing for me at the moment. My coaching ambitions, to be honest with you I enjoy coaching the underage sides an awful lot more and prefer to give back that way. The reason I ended up at Cabinteely for three years managing the first team was because they needed me in order to get their license. They needed someone that had a pro license, I agreed to step in on a temporary basis till they got somebody else in and that took two years. And then I resigned at the end of the two years as I just prefer being a coach then a manager. I enjoy the underage stuff an awful lot more then senior football, I’ll be totally honest with you.

Troy Parrott is a young Irishman who is touted for great things both at Spurs and on the international stage for Ireland. As somebody who was once in Parrott’s shoes what would your advice be to young Troy as he looks to work his way up the ranks at Spurs?

Eddie: To stay mentally strong and bounce back from your disappointments as you will have disappointments sometimes. You think you should get picked and you don’t, but just to basically stay mentally strong. If you can do that you’ll always have a good chance you know. I mean he has the ability but sometimes you need to have your head straight. Everybody gets disappointments in games but it’s how you bounce back from them you know. If you’re mentally strong you’ve got a great chance.

My interview with former Spurs star Ian Walker:

My interview with former Spurs star Ian Walker:

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I needn’t introduce one of our most successful academy graduates of the 20th century. Goalkeeper Ian Walker rose up the ranks at youth level before making the grade at first team level. Making 312 appearances for the lilywhites over an 11 year period. Walker was one of the finest English goalkeepers of his generation and was capped four times by the three lions. Spells at Leicester and Bolton followed for the Watford born goalkeeper before he retired from te game in 2008. Ian kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at the club, and I must say it was an absolute privilege to do so.

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

Ian: Earliest memory was going to watch an evening game with my dad when I was at Lilleshall. I remember walking through the gates and feeling the atmosphere, I knew straight away I wanted to join the club, there was something magical about it. Luckily being at Lilleshall I had quite a few clubs interested in me and as soon as I knew Spurs wanted me that was it.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Ian: I loved my time at Spurs, of course there were some ups and downs. From the beginning things went very well, we had a very successful youth team and I managed to move through pretty quickly into first team contention. Once I got into the first team I felt like I had some very good times and some which were up and down, my level dropped at some points and I felt I could and should have done better, overall I didn’t reach my expectations for my career but then I was always hyper critical of myself which probably didn’t help.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Ian: I grew up watching Ray Clemence a lot and I’d say he was my main inspiration, he was top class and I was fortunate to have him as my goalkeeping coach and coach during my time at Spurs and with England. I’m very grateful to him for his guidance and patience even if sometimes I’m sure I drove him crazy.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ian: So many good people, Clem, Terry Venables, Keith Blunt, Keith Waldron, Pat Holland, Pat Jennings, Hans Segers, Tony Parks, Erik Thordsvedt, I can’t name everyone as there were so many who helped/influenced me or tried to help me, apologies to those not mentioned above!

Being a goalkeeper were there any other players at the club or outside, who you’d model your game around?

Ian: I didn’t model myself on anyone totally but I would say that I may have been influenced by Clem more than anyone else, big Pat also, they were the ones I watched or was around a lot.

What was the toughest thing about being a professional footballer?

Ian: Missing New Years celebrations with friends and family, not having a proper Xmas other than that it’s a dream “job”. The toughest thing really was living with myself when I cost the team a goal or a game, I had a hard time letting those moments go and I’m sure it had a damaging effect on my career. Self hatred and self sabotage are not conductive to growth and fulfilling your potential!

Could you talk me through that triumphant FA youth cup campaign of 1990?

Ian: It was a special moment for all of us, we won everything that season, the FA youth cup was the best. We were confident we were one of the best teams but we had to prove it. To be the first Spurs side since 1974 to win it was amazing and something I still look back on and smile, they were great times.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Ian: Apart from making my first team debut it has to be the league cup win in 1999. Having been at the club for a long time it meant so much to everyone at the club, the players, staff and especially the fans to win a trophy. It was such a great day and an amazing feeling as a player to celebrate with the fans at the end.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Ian: Before the beginning of the 2001 season I sat down with Glenn Hoddle and we both agreed I needed to play 1st team football, the conversation was very calm. I always thought I’d stay at Spurs all my career, I’d just signed a 5 year deal the season before but the club brought in Neil Sullivan who had a fantastic season so I knew I wouldn’t start the new one. I had to make a decision to go elsewhere, it was tough to leave after so long. I ended up at Leicester City which I enjoyed, it was a good move to a solid club, unfortunately things didn’t go well for the team and we went down, then up and down again, I still managed to stay in England contention before a knee injury ruled me out for 20 games. I then moved to Bolton Wanderers as back up to Jussi Jaaskalainen, I wanted to stay in the premier league. I enjoyed it there playing in the Uefa cup and cup matches. At the end of 2008 I had a move lined up to Sporting Kansas City in the MLS starting at the end of January 2009 but unfortunately I hurt my disc putting my son in his crib and that was that.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Ian: Playing for England and playing for Spurs. I had several really good consistent spells where I was up there with the best of them (and some bad spells where I was with the worst)! I’d say the 98/99 cup runs were very special, winning the league cup and getting to the semi final of the FA cup, maybe it would have been the final had the ref spotted Dabizas hand ball but that was a great spell with a lot of clean sheets.

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

Ian: To name one is tough, I was fortunate enough to share the pitch with Lineker, Klinsmann, Sheringham, Le Tissier, Okocha and more, they all had that something special but Gazza was the number 1.

You managed to work your way up the ranks at Spurs before securing the number one goalkeeping berth at the club. What do you accredit that incredibly tough achievement to?

Ian: Early belief in myself and my ability and good coaches. From a young age I visualised playing at the top level, for Spurs and for England, I had no doubt whatsoever that it would happen. I had tunnel vision and just kept going at the target, even when it came to Erik and me I still believed I would get there. Of course hard work and some luck with injuries also helped and some great coaches, Mike Kelly, Ray Clemence, Pat Jennings, Hans Segers to name a few. The only problem was once I reached the goals I didn’t upgrade them and at times during my career I struggled with self esteem and confidence/belief in myself.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy goalkeepers, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Ian: Work hard, harder than anyone else, be the best you can be. Set goals and go after it. Believe in yourself no matter what, surround yourself with positive people who want the best for you. Don’t read social media or newspapers. Never stop learning, never give up and enjoy the ride as it goes fast.

My interview with former Spurs player Ollie Morah:

My interview with former Spurs player Ollie Morah:

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Ollie Morah was a powerful centre forward and one time starlet at Spurs during the early 1990’s. The Islington born Morah was also highly thought of within the England youth set up, and attended the old FA school of excellence at Lilleshall, and subsequently went onto win numerous caps for England at youth level. Still fondly remembered by youth watchers from that period, Ollie also played a starring role in the Spurs side which won the 1989/90 FA youth cup. Ollie was the Troy Parrott of his day, but unfortunately he was unable to break into the Tottenham senior side during his spell at the club, for one reason or another. Morah spent time out on loan with Hereford and Swindon before being released by Spurs. Ollie would go onto forge a career in the lower leagues, first at Swindon then at Sutton United. Morah also spent time at Cambridge United, Torquay and Welling. Ollie kindly spoke to me about his time at Spurs and subsequent career in the game.

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

Ollie: I was invited for a weeks trial at Tottenham’s training ground in Chestnut. Unbeknown to me I was training with the under 15’s and I was 10. Which was a bit of a surprise. But I really enjoyed the week. From that week on I was invited to train on Monday’s at White Hart Lane with my own age group and it went on from there.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Ollie: I really enjoyed my time there. It was a good experience.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d try to model your game around?

Ollie: I didn’t particularly model my game around any specific player. I watched a lot of football and just tried to pick up some good tips from any games that I watched.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Ollie: My favourite player at the time was John Barnes.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ollie: John Moncur he was the youth development officer. He was always very positive and helpful throughout my time at Spurs. Pat Holland and Keith Waldron were also very helpful too. All three were also very supportive when I left Spurs.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer and how hard was it to breakthrough into the first team during the 1990’s?

Ollie: I found the most difficult thing was making the progression from being a youth team player to a professional. As a youth team player I’d been used to playing week in, week out. As soon as I became professional, it became a lot different. I had 7-8 much more experienced players ahead of me and it was very difficult to get any game time.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Ollie: One of my favourite memories at Spurs was winning the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup. We played Arsenal over 2 legs, we lost the first leg at White Hart Lane 1-0 (it could’ve been a lot worse). We didn’t play well as a team and I didn’t have a good game myself. In training the following week, John Lyall the ex West Ham United manager was working at the club at the time and we worked all week on a new system which we hadn’t played before. We went from playing 4-4-2 to playing 4-3-3. John was very forward thinking and an excellent coach. We played the 2nd leg at Highbury. What John and the rest of the coaches had been working on all week was hitting diagonal passes. In the first 20 seconds of the match Warren Hackett hit one of these passes out to me which I managed to control and run through and score. With about a minute to go of normal time. I managed to intercept a pass from their centre back to their full back and ran through and scored. We ended up winning the match 2-1 on aggregate.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs? You played for a variety of clubs which included spells with the likes of Hereford, Swindon and Cambridge United.

Ollie: I played for a number of clubs once I left Spurs in the search for regular matches. My happiest memories were playing for Sutton United where I played in the FA Cup 3rd round.

You played a major part in Spurs’ triumphant FA youth cup winning side of 1990. Could you talk me through your memories of that campaign?

Ollie: We had a very strong youth team. Which included Ian Walker and Dave Tuttle who both went on to play for the Spurs first team and in Ian Walkers case he represented England at full level. We had a hard run and played some very good teams. The games that stick out most for me was playing away at Manchester City and winning 2-0. It was a really good team performance against the favourites to win the whole competition. We then played Manchester United in the semi final. A team which included Mark Bosnich in goal, Darren Ferguson (Alex Ferguson’s son) and a young Ryan Giggs who was a school boy at the time playing in the youth team. We managed to beat them 2-0 at White Hart Lane. However the 2nd leg at Old Trafford was very different. We were under pressure for the whole of the game. They went 1-0 up. But thankfully Anthony Potts, late in the game put in a good low cross and Lee Fulling tapped it in at the far post and we won 3-1 on aggregate. In the Final against Middlesbrough I can remember the kick off having to be delayed as fans were still entering the ground. Once the game kicked off, we played very well. Anthony Potts and Scott Houghton scored 2 really good goals and we should’ve won the game by more. However they did score a late goal. In the 2nd leg at White Hart Lane it was a much tighter game with both teams not wanting to give much away. Fortunately I managed to score from Anthony Potts cross which put us 3-1 up. They did manage to score a goal late on and the game finished 1-1. We managed to win the FA Youth Cup 3-2 on aggregate.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Ollie: Winning the FA Youth Cup and Playing at Wembley for England at school boy and youth level.

Who was the greatest player that who you shared a pitch with?

Ollie: Paul Parker ex QPR, Manchester United and England.

You coached the Spurs under 13’s side for a spell, what was that like and is coaching something that you’d like to pursue in the future?

Ollie: I coached at Spurs for 5 years. I got that opportunity through John Moncur who was head of youth development at the time. I enjoyed the coaching and you see football from a totally different perspective. I went onto work at Crystal Palace, Wycombe Wanderers and Dagenham and Redbridge.

As somebody who was a young striker at the club what would your advice be to our young centre forwards as they look to make that transition to the first team?

Ollie: My advice would be. Enjoy your time, work hard and look to work on all your weaknesses to develop your all round game.

What was the toughest moment of your career?

Ollie: The toughest moments are when you’re being released, but it’s part and parcel of the profession.

 

My end of season player review of the Spurs under 18 side:

My end of season player review of the Spurs under 18 side:

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All in all it has been an excellent season for Scott Parker’s under 18 side, over the course of the campaign they competed in three major competitions. The under 18 premier league south, in which they finished fourth in, the FA youth cup where they were knocked out to our old nemesis Chelsea in the fifth round. And the inaugural edition of the premier league under 18 cup, which was without a doubt their highlight of the season. After scraping through the group stages, Scott Parker’s side swept away Liverpool and Arsenal with excellent performances en route to the final, where they faced Chelsea at their Cobham training centre. Unfortunately Parker’s talented pool of players met their match, and they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by the blues, in what was a dominant performance from the home side. The philosophy at Spurs is not always to set our team up to try and win matches, it is instead about experimentation. It is essentially about testing our young players mettle, putting players in uncomfortable positions, etc. Given that Parker’s side consisted mainly of first year scholars (one of the most talented year groups in recent seasons!) I think his side have done incredibly well this season, they’ve played some sparkling attacking football (far better then then the U23’s) but most importantly of all, they have embedded Pochettino’s philosophy into their playing style. Parker and McDermott had an array of talent at their disposal for the 2017/18 campaign, the free scoring Reo Griffiths led the line excellently and only went onto score 34 goals. You had the creative talent of players such as Phoenix Patterson, Jamie Bowden and Rodel Richards. Parker also managed to blood in a fair few of next seasons first year scholars such as the excellent J’neil Bennett and more recently young Irish prodigy Troy Parrott.

We managed to score an impressive 58 league goals throughout the season and as far as the cup competitions were concerned, I thought we did really well to achieve what we did in both of those competitions. It’s been a fine first season for Scott Parker and his lads, and I feel that it has really aided the development of so many of the young Spurs boys, who I consider to have made great strides over the course of the campaign.

Goalkeepers: Jonathan De Bie: Tottenham’s skipper for the entirety of the domestic season, the young Belgian enjoyed an excellent campaign. Playing in all but one of our league games, De Bie also played every game in the run up to the league cup final and the youth cup fifth round. After suffering a severe injury during the previous season, De Bie has done a remarkably good job as both a leader and keeper for Parker’s side. Our most consistent player of the season, De Bie was solid throughout. The 18 year old is incredibly well rounded for a goalkeeper, excellent at shot stopping and dealing with corners/crosses. The former Mechelen schoolboy is also an effective leader who certainly knows how to marshal his defence. De Bie who can often be heard bellowing the phrase ”early, early, early” to his teammates, is cool and composed under pressure. His distribution is good and so is his reading of the game. I couldn’t pick a main criticism out of the Belgians game. De Bie’s excellent season was recognised by Spurs and the PL youth, and he was invited to the annual award ceremony for scholars in Wolverhampton, where he was awarded with Spurs’ scholar of the season award. The 18 year old will compete with Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman for a starting berth in the U23 squad next season. De Bie could also make the odd appearance for the under 18 side as an overage goalkeeper. He is such a bright prospect.

Joshua Oluwayemi: The first year scholar (17) made only three appearances for Parker’s side during the season just gone. Strikingly small for a goalkeeper Oluwayemi impressed when called upon. Known for his excellent shot stopping ability, Oluwayemi impressed during his second half debut against Leicester back in August. Another impressive performance came in our sides 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa at the villains Bodymoor Heath training ground. The former England U15 international who has a younger brother at Spurs called Tobi, put in a fine display against Villa. His composure and distribution under pressure were both particularly impressive features during the game. The 17 year old goalkeeper who hails from Waltham Forest also featured prominently for the Spurs under 17 side, which competed in the ALKAAS tournament out in Qatar in February. As I’m writing this Oluwayemi is out in the Netherlands with the Tottenham U19 side that is competing in the annual Terborg tournament.

Charlie Freeman: The Goodmayes born goalkeeper has endured an extremely difficult two years as a scholar for Spurs. Freeman only featured once for the under 18’s during the 2016-17 season owing to the excellent form of both Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman. After featuring briefly for the development side during pre season, young Charlie picked up an unfortunate injury to his arm, right at the beginning of the league campaign. This significantly hampered his progress and Freeman had to wait until March before he could return to competitive action. His return to U18 league football came during our under 18’s unfortunate 5-3 away defeat to Norwich. Due to his rustiness, Freeman would have hoped that he could of done better to prevent some of Norwich’s goals. Yet people will often forget the fact that he made some excellent saves during the same game. Bearing a striking resemblance to a young Pat Jennings, the highly rated Freeman was called up to an England U16 training camp a couple of years ago. An excellent shot stopper and all round goalkeeper who had an excellent season for the under 16’s back in the 2015/16 campaign. Freeman is in my eyes one of our best goalkeeping prospects, and you’ll get to hear about him a lot more next season when he will play for the under 18’s as an overage goalkeeper. The teenager also appeared for our under 19’s during their recent involvement in the Volksbank cup, in Germany.

Defenders: Tariq Hinds: A mainstay within the under 18 side during the 17/18 campaign, industrious right back Tariq Hinds was a consistent performer for Parker’s side. A terrific defender whose versatility proved useful throughout the season, Hinds also put in some impressive performances as a left back, centre half and central defensive midfielder. Hinds defensive stance is at odds with the many attacking fullbacks that we have at the club, whilst he has shown on occasions that he poses a danger surging forwards. Hinds tends to stay deep, and rarely did he get beaten by his man during the season. The tenacious 18 year old made 29 appearances for the under 18 side during the season, proving to be a crucial member of the side which reached the league cup final. Hinds also featured prominently for the under 19’s in Europe, and also made his first under 23 start of the season during our 5-0 defeat against Manchester City. Hinds is more than ready to make the permanent step up to the development side.

Matt Lock: It’s been a strange old season for young Matt Lock, after seeming to make good progress towards the end of the previous campaign. The budding right back started the beginning of this season well and featured quite prominently in our first few games. However, he seemed to disappear for the rest of the season. Only reappearing for the odd under 18 game and under 23 game where he would occasionally come on as late substitute. The skilful right back who is very slight in build, is a player who has an excellent low centre of gravity and is particularly potent going forward. I have seen a couple of things on social media that have suggested that ’Locky’ will be released by the club, upon the expiration of his contract next month. If that is to be the case then I wish him the very best of luck for the future.

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: One of the most exciting academy players to emerge from Hotspur Way in recent seasons, young Brooklyn plays like he’s been schooled at Ajax’s youth academy. The Stones-esque ball playing centre half ranks as one of the finest young English defenders in the country. Throughout the season I couldn’t sing Lyons-Foster’s praises highly enough, he was exceptional for Parker’s side. He plays like a 27 year old not a 17 year old, his awareness and reading of the game is second to none. He snuffs out danger like a seasoned pro, he defends like a young Alderweireld. An exceptional passer of the ball, the Archway born defender can often be found darting forwards from deep, with the ball glued to his boot. Brooklyn who featured 21 times for Parker’s side during the season was without a shadow of a doubt our player of the season. Yes it may seem unthinkable that I haven’t chosen Griffiths however, Lyons-Foster’s remarkable first year as scholar is even more impressive. After impressing in both the run ups to the UEFA youth league quarterfinal and the league cup final where he unfortunately picked up a bad ligament injury. Brooklyn didn’t feature again for the under 18’s after hobbling off the pitch against Chelsea in the cup final. Without exaggerating Brooklyn is the most promising young defender at the club, he has all the attributes needed to make it at Spurs. He has it all pace, aerial quality, a good passing range and decision making, you name it he’s got the lot. Alongside his 21 appearances for the under 18’s this season Lyons-Foster made two appearances for the development side and also played a prominent role in the under 19 side that reached the quarter finals of the UEFA youth league. His injury came just after he had been called up to the England under 18 side which was a great shame. As he develops physically I’d expect him to feature a lot more for the under 23’s. In every other department he is light years ahead of his teammates!

Further reading: https://superhotspur.com/2018/02/28/brooklyn-lyons-foster-coolness-personified-the-latest-starlet-to-emerge-from-hotspur-way/amp/#click=https://t.co/WKo9bmVMsG

Jubril Okedina: Unfortunately it was a frustrating season for the centre back, who was ruled out for a large chunk of the campaign through injury. The talented and highly rated centre half only featured on two occasions for Parker’s side. A dominant defender, who impressed greatly for the under 16’s during the previous campaign, the teenager will feature a lot more for Parker’s side during the 2018/19 season.

Maxwell Statham: The son of former Spurs fullback Brian Statham, the centre back had a decent season as a first year scholar. Featuring 13 times for the under 18’s this season, Statham is a specialist at making blocks and sliding challenges. Good in the air but at times not best suited to our play it from the back philosophy, Statham put in a series of mixed performances for Parker’s side throughout the campaign. After impressing on his debut against Southampton, Statham struggled for game time owing to the form of Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi and Eyoma. When he did play it was usually in games against teams near the bottom end of the table. Prone to making a fair few mistakes whilst playing it out from the back (our 5-3 defeat to Norwich comes to mind) Statham could at times show a lack of concentration. However, as previously mentioned he is a big strong centre half who is excellent in the air and strong in the challenge, he is particularly good at getting in the way of forwards and making last ditch blocks/challenges. Next season should see the teenager get a lot more game time.

Maximus Tainio: Teemu’s son signed for Spurs on scholarship terms at the beginning of the season from HJK Helsinki. A steady right back, the Finn made seven appearances for Parker’s side during the 17/18 season. The Finland under 18 international also made his debut for the under 23 side during our 2-2 draw with West Ham in February. Tainio started the season playing for the under 16’s and had to wait until November before he could make the step up in level. He has looked decent whenever he has played. He doesn’t strike me as much of an attacking fullback and he also lacks pace. However, he is a solid defender who is a good crosser of the ball. The Auxerre born defender put in some strong defensive performances against the likes of Aston Villa and Arsenal, I look forward to seeing more of him next season.

Jamie Reynolds: After struggling to get game time during the previous season, the Tottenham coaches quickly converted the central midfielder as a left back for the beginning of this season. Reynolds excelled in his new position, an energetic and hard working full back, the 18 year old was one of Spurs’ most consistent performers throughout the season. A very attacking and pretty speedy left back, Reynolds was a constant threat down the left wing. With his pace and dribbling ability, Reynolds was able to show off his excellent crossing ability. This resulted in him getting seven assists throughout the campaign, Reynolds who is also eligible to represent Ireland, is very much a modern day full back. After adapting incredibly well to his newfound position, Reynolds tricky runs and solid defending combined nicely. Featuring on 27 occasions for Parkers side throughout the season, Reynolds fine form was rewarded with a place in the sides that faced both Monaco and Porto in the UEFA youth league. I really like the look of Reynolds since he converted to left back, he has all the tools to make it. He is a tough tackling defender who loves to go on surging runs down the wing, with Tsaroulla and Brown likely to be released I would expect Reynolds to be the number one left back for the U23’s next season. It’s worth noting that Reynolds picked up a bad injury in our 5-3 defeat to Norwich, he subsequently underwent an operation but should return in time for pre season.

Midfielders: Jamie Bowden: Despite being the youngest off all our first year scholars, midfielder Jamie Bowden played a key role in Scott Parker’s U18 side. Featuring 20 times for the under 18’s during the 17/18 season, the former England U16 international was the creative jewel of the team. A tigerish central midfielder who filled in well at centre back on occasions, like Oliver Skipp Bowden mops up well in the centre of the park. But it’s his excellent passing range which has really impressed me, Bowden makes defence splitting passes for fun. Oozing in class and composure, the talented Bowden is not too dissimilar to Michael Carrick in his style of play. However, the Londoner has a touch of Pirlo about him. That composure on the ball, his impeccable passing range and his reading of the game is all very similar to that of the footballing legend. Bowden put in many dominant performances in the centre of the park, like Skipp he has the ability to dictate games from deep. He loves to spray the ball around the park, he creates openings out of nothing, and links up well with the forwards. Bowden picked up four assists this season and netted on one occasion. People will have heard a lot about the likes of Skipp and Oakley-Boothe, but this kid is just as promising. It was a complete mystery to me as to why he was left out of the England under 17 squad that played in the Euros this summer. However, the silky midfielder is also eligible to represent Ireland and I’m sure they’ll have been watching him closely over the course of the season. I would love to see him feeding balls over the top of the defence for Parrott to chase onto! Next season Bowden will play an even greater role in the under 18 side, it is also likely that he’ll make his debut for the under 23’s at some point. He is yet another player who is beyond his years.

Rayan Clarke: A direct and pacy left winger, Rayan Clarke picked up a knee injury during pre season which ruled him out until October of last year. It took Clarke less than five minutes to find the net on his first under 18 appearance of the season (a league cup tie against Fulham). The talented winger who has also filled in at fullback on the odd occasion, has had a good season. Playing 14 times for Parker’s side over the course of the campaign, Clarke netted on two occasions and laid off the same amount of goals for his teammates. Known for his lung bursting runs, Clarke is a strong and powerful winger who has a lot more to offer. He made his debut for the under 23’s during their 2-2 draw with West Ham back in February. Clarke will likely play a starring role in Parker’s side next season, I like him a lot and am curious to see how he gets on.

Paris Maghoma: An exciting attack minded midfielder, Paris Maghoma was one of the under 18’s most important players this season. Dividing his time as both a cam and cm, Maghoma put in a series of really impressive performances for both the under 18’s and 19’s. With his driving forward runs through the middle, exciting skill and fine shooting ability. Maghoma is part of a dying breed of central midfielders who aren’t afraid to run at the defence. During his 26 games for the under 18’s, Maghoma chipped in with three goals and five assists. Whilst Maghoma provides a great attacking threat, he also adds steel to the midfield. He has the ability to glide past players, he is agile and crafty. He is a crisp passer of the ball and an expert from dead ball situations. He has great technique and I’m convinced that Troy Parrott learnt to take his trademark free kicks from Maghoma! One of the younger members of the squad, Paris has made the transition from U16 football to the under 18’s with ease, he is physically very strong and agile. He played an important role in the side that reached the league cup final, he played a particularly big part in us beating Arsenal in the semis. His impressive performances also earned him a place in the under 19 side which impressed in Europe. Paris put in some eye catching Onomah-esque performances against the likes of Dortmund and Monaco. I’d expect Maghoma to make quite a few appearances for the under 23 side next season.

Dilan Markanday: Markanday’s mesmeric dribbling ability and high intensity performances out on the right wing, were a common theme throughout the season. The Barnet born wide man who is also comfortable at playing in the number 10 role, was one of our most influential players throughout the season. Chipping in with nine goals and four assists Markanday was one of Parker’s main creative outlets. A skilful player with an excellent low centre of gravity, Markanday terrorised fullbacks with his menacing weaving runs. Strong on the ball and forward thinking, Markanday loved to play perfectly weighted Lamela-esque through balls to the centre forwards. Putting in a series of strong performances throughout the campaign, Markanday really reminds me of both Samuel Shashoua and Marcus Edwards when they were the same age. He has got that bit of a magic about him, time and time again he was able to produce the spark which Spurs needed. A clinical finisher in and around the six yard box, Markanday is a lively player with a tremendously high work rate. He has excelled for the under 18’s this season, he was also given his under 23 debut during our 5-0 defeat to Man City. In doing so he became only the second first year scholar to feature for Wayne Burnetts side that season. Markanday is a frighteningly good player who I’m expecting to push on even further next season. I could easily see him having a season just like Samuel Shashoua had when he was a second year scholar, watch this space!

Moroyin Omolabi: After a fairly uninspiring first year as a scholar, Omolabi was converted into a centre half for the beginning of this season having previously played as a cdm. Omolabi put in some decent for Parker’s side during the eight matches that he did play this season however, Omolabi had his contract cancelled by mutual consent by the club back in January. He has since joined fellow category one academy side Reading, who he appears to be doing well at. I wish Moroyin all the best for the future. And I think that Reading will prove to be a great fit for him in the long run.

Elliot Thorpe: Thorpe was another player who suffered with injuries throughout the season. Initially playing for the under 16 side, Thorpe picked up an injury to his wrist which ruled him out for much of the early parts of the season. The highly thought of Wales U19 international had to wait until January before he could make his debut for Parker’s side, that came in our 6-3 win against Brighton. All of Elliot’s three appearances this season have come from the subs bench, when he was involved he looked neat and tidy in the centre of the park. Thorpe is by trade a cam but since his considerable growth spurt in the last year he is now just as suited to playing in the centre of the park. A player with great technique, it’s been a great shame that the 17 year old missed so much of the campaign. You guys will be hearing a lot more about Thorpe next season.

J’neil Bennett: A schoolboy who we picked up from QPR last season, rapid winger J’neil Bennett has excelled for Parkers side since making the step up from the under 16’s in November. With his blistering pace and good balance, Bennett first came to my attention during the annual academy showcase game against Cambridge United in October. That day he ran the Cambridge defence ragged, I couldn’t get over how fast he was with the ball at his feet. Bennett’s excellent start to the U16 season saw him quickly fast tracked in to the under 18 side. He made his debut away to Swansea in October and never looked back, featuring on 14 occasions for Parker’s side. Bennett became a useful creative outlet and managed to lay off six goals for his teammates. A Zaha-esque winger with skill and pace in abundance, Bennett put in some wonderful performances for Spurs. I can recall him totally embarrassing defenders down the left wing, a consistent performer Bennett looked at ease in the u18 side. Putting in some masterful performances against the likes of Aston Villa, Preston and Arsenal, Bennett was a real joy to watch. However his lack of strength and experience did show on a fair few occasions throughout the season. Bennett played predominantly for the under 16’s during the last two months of the season and he stole the limelight once again with his performance against Ipswich during a showcase game at Portman road, earlier in the month. The Camden born winger is an incredibly exciting talent who I’m sure will play a key role in the under 18 side next season.

Maurizio Pochettino: The gaffers son struggled for game time during his first year as a scholar at Spurs. Featuring only ten times for Parker’s side during the 2017/18 season, he looked decent whenever he played. Though his lack of pace and flair limited his impact on games. Scoring once for the club during our 5-2 away win at Swansea, Poch junior would have liked to have had more pitch time, but he is nowhere near the likes of Dilan Markanday and Rodel Richards at the moment. Pochettino who was highly thought of by the coaches at Southampton will hope for more starts next season.

Phoenix Patterson: An intelligent wide man who showed that he is more than capable of playing in the centre of the park. Having featured heavily for the under 18 side during the previous season, Patterson upped his game during the most recent campaign. After starting the season brightly out on the left wing, Patterson whose younger brother Kane was released by the club back in February, is a skilful and resourceful forward who uses the ball intelligently. Featuring on an impressive 29 occasions throughout the season, I think it’s fair to summarise Phoenix’s season as a good one. As previously mentioned, he was excellent during the first few league games but he then seemed to drift away a bit from the action. Parker and his coaching staff subsequently tried him out as a number 10 which he impressed at, and then as a central midfielder where he also gave a good account of himself. Patterson is a really silky craftsman who is on his day a younger version of Mesut Özil. Patterson has great vision and a proper footballing brain, his weight of pass is second to none, as too is his movement in and around the box. A free kick specialist, Patterson scored eight goals for Parkers side and assisted a further nine. Impressive statistics from a player who remains one of our hottest young talents. The 17 year old has impressed me throughout the season and has had some really good games, none more so than our 6-3 victory over Brighton, inwhich Phoenix scored a hat trick in. However, I get the impression that he still hasn’t found his perfect position, I personally could see him ending up as an advanced central midfielder, a bit like Jack Grealish. I would expect Patterson to feature for the development side a fair bit over the course of next season.

Armando Shashoua: When I tell you that the attacking midfielder was only directly involved in two of Spurs’ goals last season, you may be unimpressed, however, listen carefully. The younger brother of Samuel Shashoua, Armando has been one of our star performers throughout the season. The 17 year old featured on 23 occasions for Parker’s side, Armando is like a more advanced version of Harry Winks. He is a vital cog in Spurs’ attacking machine, he keeps things ticking, with crisp and accurate passes. He is great at creating space for himself in and around the six yard box, showing great awareness of his surroundings. He links up perfectly with the centre forward and the wide men, he was an integral part to much of Spurs’ attacking exploits over the season. Armando who can also play as a central midfielder, is like a terrier to play against, he is constantly hounding the opposition. Pressing them constantly he forces so many errors out of the defenders. Earlier on in the season I compared him to Renato Sanches which at this moment in time doesn’t sound like much of a compliment. But Harry Winks is the player who he most reminds me of most, he keeps things simple, he is good on the ball but never wasteful. He keeps his passes short and crisp, if anything he plays like a young Spanish player. Reluctant to shoot Armando prefers to create openings for his teammates, he is the ultimate grafter. He combines intricacy with hard work, I’m not joking when I compare him to someone like Kante, you literally have to drag him off the pitch at the end of matches, such is his stamina. It’s only when you take him out of the team that you realise how effective he is to Parker’s side. Like his older brother I couldn’t sing his praises highly enough.

As he is usually the smallest player on the pitch, opposition players will often try to bully him and outmuscle him. But to Armando’s credit he never reacts, he just gets straight back up and back into the thick of the action. The lad is a serious talent who is able to initiate attacking moves but at the same time graft like nobody else on the pitch, and get back to cover for the central midfielders who are higher up the pitch. It’s been a fantastic season for the Kensington born midfielder, and if I was one of the England youth team coaches I’d act fast to integrate him into the national side. Apart from England he is eligible to represent Venezuela, the USA and Spain and I’m sure scouts from all three footballing federations are tracking him closely. In my opinion he would thrive for the Spanish youth team and I for one hope that he would snub England if Spain did come calling. Next season Armando will play an even greater role in Parker’s side. He is such a joy to watch!

Jeremie Mukendi: After featuring prominently for the under 18’s during the first few games of the season. Mukendi seemed to disappear off the radar for much of the remainder of the season, with the exception of the odd appearance here and there. An incredible athlete who picked up many awards at his school, Mukendi is very much a direct winger. Of his 13 appearances for the under 18’s Mukendi put in a series of very mixed performances, he looked bright during his first few games and managed to pick up two assists. But for the rest of the campaign he was unable to really influence play, despite managing to create a lot of space for himself out on the right wing. His decision making isn’t the best nor is his end product, but what I like about Mukendi is his directness and willingness to run at his man. I hope he is able to show more of his quality next season.

Forwards: Reo Griffiths: What 17 year old centre forward Reo Griffiths achieved during the 2017/18 campaign was nothing short of sensational. A couple of years ago Griffiths was a marauding centre half, in the season just gone Reo has scored a remarkable 34 goals in all competitions. The former Leyton Orient schoolboy was our talisman throughout the campaign, he was a powerful and charismatic figure within the squad. He could often be found celebrating extravagantly by the corner flag, but what he did best was putting the ball into the back of the net. Reo really stepped up this season, on his day he was unplayable, his sheer strength proving too much for even the most physical of defenders. He led the line to perfection, he worked extremely hard and was constantly pressing the defenders, his hold up play was also of the highest standard. Reo is constantly on the move, peeling off his marker and looking to make runs into the box. His prowess in and around the danger zone took the U18 league by storm, the amount of times he would come off the pitch with the match ball in his arms was an absolute joke. He scored 26 league goals for Parker’s side, far more than anybody else in the league managed. Reo scored all types of goals, from tap ins to 30 yard screamers and unstoppable looping headers, Griffiths made a name for himself amongst the Spurs fan base. Whilst he was phenomenal throughout the season, it’s worth noting that Reo is by no means the finished article. He is similar to players such as Salah and Son, in the sense that for every one on one with the keeper he gets, he’ll only end up converting one in three of those chances. He has missed some absolute sitters this season but my word has he made up for them. He is by no means our most technically gifted young striker but he is without doubt our most effective.

However, success doesn’t come without speculation and since February time Reo has been the subject of numerous stories linking him with a move away from Spurs. He has been strongly linked with a move to German side RB Leipzig but he has also attracted the attention of other top clubs such as Juventus, Celtic, Roma and Barcelona. The young Griffiths has revelled in such attention and has retweeted many of these stories on his twitter account. He has also teased fans with numerous cryptic posts including a video which said ”I’ll be signing something soon”. You’d have thought that he’d have been promoted to the under 23 squad pretty early on in the season, but he only made three appearances for Burnetts side throughout the campaign. Griffiths is an excellent young player and I’d love to see how he would get on in the development side. He may well be leaving the club upon the end of his scholarship next month and whilst I wish him all the very best, I feel that it would be a real blow to lose him. Let’s wait and see what happens.

Rodel Richards: Due to Reo Griffiths’ excellent form throughout the season, centre forward and first year scholar Rodel Richards was forced into playing out on the left wing. The former Arsenal schoolboy made a great impact on the side during the course of the season. A pacy and tricky winger who was clinical in front of goal, Richards alleviated some of the pressure off of top scorer Reo Griffiths, he even hit the headlines after he scored two hat tricks in six days. A mesmeric dribbler with blistering pace and good balance, Richards excelled for the under 16 side the previous season. A hardworking player who loves a crunching challenge, the south Londoner is a natural goalscorer and is without a doubt a more clinical finisher than Griffiths. Scoring 15 goals for the under 18’s from out wide, a more than impressive feat for a first year scholar, Richards also impressed in Europe for the U19’s. Hopefully he’ll be able to play in his natural position of centre forward more next season. I like him a lot!

Troy Parrott: The Irish wonder kid had to wait until his 16th birthday before he could represent the under 18’s. Parrott who hails from Summerville in Dublin, has been described by many as the next Robbie Keane. Parrott is a remarkable young striker who has been rightfully touted to achieve great things. A star of the Ireland U17 side which competed in the Euros this summer, Parrott also impressed for Parker’s side during the four games which he featured in for the U18’s. Scoring on one occasion, Parrott put in a series of really mature performances. His strength, movement and ball control were all highly impressive. Parrott is a natural goalscorer who starred during an U17 tournament in Borgaro Nobis in Italy, back in March. Parrott is an extremely exciting prospect who I’m predicting to go onto play for the U23’s come the middle of next season!

Further reading: https://superhotspur.com/2018/05/19/some-notes-on-troy-parrotts-performance-against-the-netherlands-under-17s/

The Superhotspur goal of the season: After much thought, the award for the best goal of the season has to go to Phoenix Patterson for his sensational free kick against Brighton during our 6-3 win over them. It was the goal which sealed Patterson’s hat trick down on the south coast. Having already scored a free kick earlier in the game, Patterson would have fancied his chances when Spurs were awarded one from about 25 yards out from goal. Patterson curled the ball beautifully around the wall and into the top right corner of Brighton goalkeeper Tom McGill’s goal, it was a superb goal.

The Superhotspur game of the season: Whilst our 9-0 thrashing of Arsenal was an incredible game of football, I’ve decided to pick our 4-0 win over Liverpool as my game of the season. It was Liverpool head coach Steven Gerrard’s first taste of defeat, after the reds dominated much of the first half. Spurs showed great resilience to nick the lead through Griffiths on the stroke of half time. From then on they were superb, they sparkled all across the park and ended up totally outplaying the Merseyside club to progress to the semifinals of the competition.

The Superhotspur player of the season: For his outstanding goalscoring exploits I feel obliged to award it to Reo Griffiths for his exceptional season. However, I’m going to give it to Brooklyn Lyons-Foster for his terrific season as a first year scholar. The immensely talented ball playing centre half was for me Parker’s most consistent performer. His many masterful performances in the heart of the Tottenham defence and his reading of the game was just brilliant to watch. A player who is years ahead of his age, Lyons-Foster is the perfect modern cb. He can play it out from the back, he can pass well but most importantly of all he is an exceptional young defender. Congratulations and good luck for the new season Brooklyn!

Under 18 Goals scored during the 2017/18 season: Reo Griffiths-33
Phoenix Patterson-8
Dilan Markanday-9
Jamie Bowden- 1
Moroyin Omolabi-1
Rayan Clarke-2
Maurizio Pochettino-1
Paris Maghoma-3
Rodel Richards-15
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-2
TJ Eyoma-1
Armando Shashoua-1
Troy Parrott-1

Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Jamie Bowden-4
Matt Lock- 2
Jeremie Mukendi-2
Jamie Reynolds-6
Reo Griffiths-12
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-6
Rayan Clarke-2
Rodel Richards-2
Dilan Markanday-4
Oliver Skipp-2
Tariq Hinds-4
Paris Maghoma-5
Armando Shashoua-1
Maurizio Pochettino -1
Jonathan Dinzeyi-1

My end of season player review of the Spurs under 23 side:

My end of season player review of the Spurs under 23 side:

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It’s fair to say that it’s been a thrilling and at times difficult season for Wayne Burnetts development squad over the course of the 2017/18 campaign. There have been many highs and lows, and disappointments on the domestic stage. But his young side have shown the character and the bottle when it mattered. Seemingly destined to be heading for relegation at the midpoint of the league season, Burnett and the now departed Justin Cochrane galvanised the side into going on a great run of results. A 3-1 win at Old Trafford in January was the start of the fight back, impressive victories against the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal followed. And Burnett’s side secured their division one status with a game to spare, after they defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with just ten men! Burnett’s first season as manager of the development squad has seen Spurs compete in three domestic competitions. The PL2, the checkatrade trophy (which we need to enter again next season) and the premier league international cup. We were knocked out of the checkatrade trophy in the group stages after picking up one point from our three games. We were also knocked out of the premier league international cup in the group stages however, we were desperately unlucky. We finished second in a group containing Villarreal B and Benfica B. We picked up four points from our three matches, and only missed out on one of the two best runners up places by one point. Whilst us surviving relegation in the league, was by far our best achievement, I think the season gone has provided some invaluable experience for members of the development squad, particularly for those who have yet to play a minute of senior football.

It’s been an absolute pleasure traveling the country reporting on this team, I have seen some great games of football. But most importantly of all I have been left proud of every single one of our lads performances throughout the season. They embody the very spirit of this club, they are all one of our own. The following is an in-depth review of each players season, I have not included those who have made the odd appearance from the under 18 side, as I will be doing a separate review of the under 18’s season at a later date. All views are my own. COYS

Goalkeepers:

Alfie Whiteman: It’s been an interesting season for the 19 year old goalkeeper, Whiteman made more appearances for the development side then any other keeper. But due to the arrival of Paulo Gazzaniga back in the summer of 2017, Whiteman’s involvement with the first team has decreased. Now regarded as the fourth choice goalkeeper at the club, Whiteman has still been training with the seniors on occasions. He even featured on the bench for Pochettino’s side during our premier league game against Crystal Palace, owing only to an injury crisis. As for Whiteman’s performances for the under 23’s, well they’ve been varied. Don’t get me wrong he is a solid and talented young goalkeeper however, I feel that his lack of consistent game time for the youth team over the last year and a half has hampered his development just that little bit. His performances for the development side have varied greatly. Most of the time he has been decent for Burnetts side. However, I have noticed quite a few costly errors which have stemmed from his distribution. Games against Barnet and Manchester United particularly spring to mind. Whiteman, who hasn’t been called up to England’s youth team in a over a year will most likely be on the plane to the states with the seniors this summer. Still only 19 years of age, I’m predicting a first team loan to a league one or two club next season, to aid his development. Kenny Jacketts Portsmouth side springs to mind.

Brandon Austin: The former Chelsea schoolboy has made great strides this season. A key member of both the development side and the under 19’s. Austin’s exceptional performances inbetween the sticks, have been an all too common theme in my reports over the course of the season, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. The USA under 19 international has recently been called up to England’s under 19 squad ahead of next months European championships in Finland. Austin was also given a new contract by the club earlier in the season. A consistent and important member of Burnetts side, Austin’s excellent shot stopping ability combined with his fine all round goalkeeping has impressed me massively throughout the campaign. Austin played every game in the run up to the quarterfinals of the UEFA youth league, his goalkeeping heroics in the last 16 against Monaco helped us to win the penalty shootout. I’m a big fan of Austin, not only do I think he’s a brilliant keeper. But I also like his assertiveness and dominance inside the box, he is a vocal member of the side and he manages to marshal his defence well. I would expect Brandon to be the first choice goalkeeper for the under 23’s next season, assuming of course that Whiteman will go out on loan. His only direct competition would come from Jonathan De Bie.

Luke O’Reilly: O’Reilly was a surprise inclusion in the development squad at the start of the season. He appeared out of nowhere on the bench for our first U23 game of the season against Sunderland, back in August. It turned out that he had joined Spurs on a one year deal after being released by Cardiff City. O’Reilly who is also eligible for the Republic of Ireland, only went on to make one appearance for Burnetts side. That came in our 1-0 victory over Liverpool in February, he actually looked really good in the one game that he did play for us. A good all round keeper who looked good with his feet. However, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him end up being released come the end of June.

Tom Glover: Glover (20) spent the entirety of the season out on loan with Australian A league side Central Coast mariners in his native Australia. Glover only played two games for the A league club all of which came in the first month of the season, for the rest of the season he sat on the bench and had his loan terminated earlier this month. There is talk that Glover will be released upon the expiration of his contract in June.

Defenders:

Jaden Brown: Brown made the step up full time to the development side for the 17/18 campaign. A versatile defender who is primarily used a left back, Jaden went on to make 17 league appearances for Burnetts side during the season. Brown has looked decent and competent at this level, but he is a very defensive Ogilvie-esque fullback who rarely takes on players. The Lewisham born defender who has also filled in at cb on occasions, is a decent prospect who defensively speaking has had a good season. Although injuries have halted the 19 year olds progress to an extent, he has put in some strong performances notably against the likes of Sunderland and Liverpool towards the beginning of the campaign. Brown has also been involved in a number of UEFA youth league matches and scored an excellent goal in our win against Borussia Dortmund. It is unclear what the future holds for the 19 year old.

Jonathan Dinzeyi: Dinzeyi is a player who I am a massive fan of, he is an exciting ball playing centre half who loves to take risks. The 18 year old has made great strides during the 17/18 season. Combining his time playing for both the under 18’s and 23’s Dinzeyi endured a difficult first few months to the season. After being included in Pochettino’s pre season squad which traveled to the USA in the summer, Dinzeyi also appeared on the bench for our senior side during their friendly with Juventus at Wembley, in August. However, he had to wait until the end of that month before he played his first youth game of the season. Then came the injuries, and the youngster had to wait until October time before he could start getting regular game time at both u18 and u23
level. Dinzeyi featured on eight occasions for Burnetts side throughout the season, the second year scholar put in a string of strong performances. Most of which came with the commanding Maghoma by his side. Dinzeyi also featured prominently for Scott Parker’s under 18 side where he also put in a string of fine defensive performances. Dinzeyi is an interesting player to watch as he is still a relatively recent convert to his role, it wasn’t too long ago that he was playing for the under 16’s out on the wing. Dinzeyi is a courageous defender who is never afraid to slide in on his man, something which has tended to cost him on occasions. However, I greatly admire his style of play. He certainly isn’t afraid to go on long surging runs through the middle, nor is he afraid to play about the with the ball whilst under pressure. He is very raw and is by no means the finished article, but the former England youth international shows great promise and the recent campaign will have given him a lot to build on ahead of next season. A loan to a lower league 2 or national league club certainly isn’t beyond his capabilities!

TJ Eyoma: Eyoma has enjoyed an excellent season in the Tottenham youth set up, the England under 18 international has played in a variety of roles but has remained consistent throughout. Playing mainly at right back, Eyoma has been eased back into his natural position as a centre half as the season progressed. Featuring 14 times for Burnetts side during the PL2 campaign, Eyoma’s ice cool defending and maturity proved crucial to Spurs avoiding the drop. Eyoma was solid at right back for the majority of the campaign though his lack of pace could be an issue at times. But it was when he was in his natural position of centre half, which he really shone. Unlike Dinzeyi he rarely dives into challenges, for Eyoma it’s all about timing. His anticipation to danger is second to none, Eyoma was also an important member of Scott Parker’s under 18 and 19 sides. Hopefully next season will see Eyoma play in his favoured position throughout the U23 season.

Christian Maghoma: Without the Democratic Republic of Congo international, Wayne Burnetts side would not have avoided the drop, it’s simple as that! The towering and dominant centre half was a leader throughout the campaign, his steel and grit at the heart of the Tottenham defence combined with his excellent aerial ability, really strengthened our young defence. I thought that him and Dinzeyi formed a particularly strong defensive pairing. Unfortunately Maghoma will be leaving Spurs next month with a whole host of top European clubs looking to secure him on a free transfer despite Spurs wanting to keep him.

Further reading: https://superhotspur.com/2018/05/20/farewell-and-good-luck-to-our-young-defender-christian-maghoma/

Japhet Tanganga: Tanganga is another defender who suffered with injury problems throughout the campaign. However, the England under 19 international still managed to rack up 15 league appearances for the under 23 side. Tanganga had a good season, particularly in the UEFA youth league. The Hackney born defender put in a series of strong defensive performances, excellent in the air and as good as anyone at making a challenge, it was a fine albeit slightly frustrating season for Tanganga. I sincerely hope that he’ll get exposure to men’s football over the next course of the next season. Physically and technically speaking he is more than ready to play for a league one club.

Anton Walkes: After spending a successful loan spell out in the states, Walkes returned to Spurs in January of this year. And would go onto play two games for the development side (scoring one goal) before being shipped out on loan once more, this time to league one side Portsmouth. Walkes enjoyed a successful loan spell at Pompey, he played 12 times for the south coast club before having to return to Spurs following an injury. Hugh Bunce of Pompey news now, kindly gave me some insight as to how Walkes got on at the league one club. “Anton arrived on loan in January after previously impressing on loan for Atlanta United. Anton slotted straight in at right back and scored on his debut with a volley at the back post. The first attribute that stands out is his excellent athleticism. Combining this with an excellent work-rate, Walkes gets back into defensive position very quickly after pushing forward. After losing Danny Rose to injury before Christmas, Pompey desperately needed a defensive midfielder. Walkes strength, tenacity, athleticism and ability to make a good pass out of midfield made him a prime candidate. It took Kenny Jackett a little longer to realise this, however, once Walkes was moved to defensive midfield he thrived. Pompey looked like a different side with Walkes in the middle. He closes teams creative midfielders down well. Against Champions Wigan, Walkes helped keep their flurry of creative midfielders at bay, while making the pass to Ben Close who won a penalty. There is a lot of creditable chat that Walkes will be back with Pompey on a permanent deal next season. Specifically, to play his new role in the heart of the Pompey side.“

Nick Tsaroulla: Nick Tsaroulla’s season has been absolute nightmare and I really feel for the talented 19 year old fullback. Barring a five minute cameo against West Ham under 23’s back in August, Tsaroulla hasn’t kicked a ball for Spurs this season. It is to my understanding that Nick was involved in a car crash right at the beginning of the campaign, this resulted in a neck injury being sustained, an injury has continued to bother him throughout the season. Nick is an exciting left back who was pivotal to Spurs under 18’s reaching the semifinals of the FA youth cup the previous season. Pacy and nimble footed, Tsaroulla is an excellent dribbler who contributes massively to the game at both ends of the pitch, he loves a crunching challenge! Tsaroulla has often been seen watching the development side warm up ahead of games. More positively I have noticed that Nick appears to be back in training at Hotspur Way however, I have seen various postings on social media suggesting that he will be released by the club next month. I would be shocked if that were to be the case.

Connor Ogilvie: Connor spent the entirety of the season out on loan with league one side Gillingham, after joining the Gills back in June of 2017. His third consecutive loan spell in three seasons, the left back who is now 22 went on to appear 41 times for the Kent club. Ogilvie turns 23 next February and I cannot see him spending another season on loan from the lilywhites, unfortunately I would expect him to be sold during the summer, which is a shame as I’ve always been a big fan of the former England under 17 international. A Gillingham supporter kindly gave me his take on Ogilvie’s season for the Gills. ”Connor Ogilvie has played forty two Matches For Gillingham football club, with his only goal for the Gills coming in our 2-1 Away Defeat Against Bury. LINK IS HERE”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO7D9vx0i_Y

”Connor Ogilvie has played at left centre back In a back Three / back five, left wing Back, and for the most part, Connor Ogilvie has started for Gillingham at left back, but has struggled to get in the starting line up recently, With Bradley Garmston recovering from injury. I think it has been a difficult step up for Ogilvie, having had loan spells with Stevenage in League Two, and Gillingham have had a tough season this season before finally being able to retain our league one status with a 1-1 draw against Bristol Rovers a couple of weeks back. I am unsure on what happens for Connor Ogilvie in the summer, does he go back to Tottenham and push for a first team role, could he return to Gillingham on loan again, or sign for a league One / league two club on a five month loan deal, or a season long loan.“

Midfielders:

Luke Amos: The 21 year old did a fine job for the development side during the first half of the season, operating mainly as the hod carrier within the side. Amos even made the bench for the senior side during our champions league game against APOEL back in December. A tireless and tenacious midfielder, Amos was loaned out to league two club Stevenage for the second half of the season. Twitter user Stevenage central picks up from here: ”Some players struggle to adapt to EFL football but Amos has settled right in perfectly. He gives everything in games. He is very mobile and has high levels of composure, he is so calm on the ball. He is very adaptable and played on the right side of a diamond for a fair while before he revelled in his chance to shine in attacking midfield. He has this way of finding space and making things happen. He has put a shift attacking and defending as well. He’s dealt with physicality well. He transformed our midfield and we all think he is capable of higher league football. He in february had arguably had one of the best midfielders in the division Luke Berry in his back pocket. Popped up with two important goals. Took the club in to his heart and always has time with fans. We are desperate for him to stay but if not he’s got our best wishes because he’s got a massive future ahead of him. I couldnt even pick a main criticism out of his game really.” I would be shocked if Luke wasn’t included in the squad that will travel to the US in July!

Marcus Edwards: Widely regarded as Tottenham’s most exciting youth prospect in a generation, by many. Marcus Edwards rocketed to fame amongst the Spurs fans the previous season after his lively 15 minute cameo against Gillingham in the league cup. Forward a year and a half in time and Edwards situation couldn’t look more different. Tottenham’s ”mini Messi” put in a series of mixed performances for the development side, though he was excellent for the under 19’s during the group stages of the UEFA youth league. Still this was not enough for Pochettino to call him up to the senior side. Edwards was subsequently loaned out to Norwich in January in what turned out to be a disastrous loan move for the teenager. It took weeks before canaries boss Daniel Farke even named him on the bench for the Championship club. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that Farke hinted that there were a couple of issues with Edwards attitude, as previously alluded to by a fair few journalists. Edwards made just the one appearance for Norwich when he came on in the 84th minute of their 2-0 home defeat to Fulham. Edwards never played for Norwich again and his loan spell was terminated back in April, this prompted a very interesting article in the Telegraph which I’m sure you lot are all aware about. Edwards has talent in abundance, but I don’t subscribe to the massive hype that surrounds him. And I personally much prefer Samuel Shashoua who is a very similar type of player to Edwards. I just hope that Edwards gets given the chance to showcase his quality out on loan again, next season.

Dylan Duncan: Looking to build on a great season with the under 18’s the previous term. The powerful midfielder shone in pre season for the development side and he was able to continue that fine form into the beginning of the domestic campaign. Putting in some eye catching performances in the centre of the park, Duncan was showing an attacking flair to his game, which even saw him score two goals in the month of August. However, from that moment on Duncan was plagued with injuries and was ruled out until January. After returning to action in our 3-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Duncan went on to make a series of appearances from the subs bench, but was unable able to regain his place in the side.

Anthony Georgiou: For many of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of Anthony Georgiou. I don the Spurs wingers shirt with pride at every game, and have long been a fan of the pacy and direct left winger. Anthony has had the season of his life for both club and country, he shone during the pre season tour of the states. He seized his chance with both hands and put in a really promising performance against Roma in Minneapolis. Georgiou featured on a couple of more occasions for the seniors that summer but the best part was yet to come. After training exclusively with the senior side during the first few months of the season, Pochettino handed Anthony his senior debut for the club in our UEFA champions league group game against APOEL. Georgiou came on as a late substitute in a country that he has such strong links with, it was a wonderful moment for the youngster. Anthony appeared on the bench for the seniors on two more occasions, against both Real Madrid and Newport respectively. He also made 12 appearances for Burnetts development side, scoring on one occasion in a 4-2 win against Derby. Anthony divided his time playing at left wing back and also as an out and out winger, he put in a series of excellent performances for the U23’s across the campaign. His searing pace, strength and excellent crossing ability combined with his tight defending, gave the team an important attacking outlet. In an age where the modern winger has become more and more reluctant to take on defenders, it is so refreshing to see Anthony run at defenders without any fear.

By the end of the season Anthony had won two full international caps for Cyprus, a remarkable feat! What Anthony has achieved in the season just gone is absolutely incredible, when you think back to the 16/17 season. A season which Anthony missed the vast majority of due to a serious knee injury. After a long rehabilitation process which resulted in a trip to the Aspetar clinic in Qatar, Anthony has come back even stronger. He is without doubt the hardest worker on the pitch of anyone in the development side, and he is a great role model to any young player in the academy. I hope to see Pochettino involve Georgiou even more in the first team next season, he is capable of offering so much to the side.

George Marsh: The tough tackling midfielder made 15 league appearances for Burnetts side during the 17/18 season. Marsh who also featured prominently for the under 19’s, had on the whole a decent season which was at times spoilt by his lack of discipline. Marsh put in a string of a very competent performances at both right back and CDM, he was particularly good at chasing down opponents and fitted in well with Tottenham’s high pressing philosophy. As mentioned in almost every single one of my reports over the course of the season, Marsh has an issue with his temper. He was sent off twice last season but in men’s football that figure would have been far, far higher. Don’t get me wrong I am an admirer of Marsh, I like his style but I think that a loan to a league two club would do him the world of good.

Samuel Shashoua: After an exceptional season for the under 18’s in the 16/17 season, Shashoua made the permanent step up to the development side during the recent campaign. A player who I have called ”our own David Silva” for his likeness to the Man City star, Shashoua is without doubt one of our brightest academy prospects. However, owing to a series of injuries Shashoua has been unable to make as much of an impact as he would have liked this season. He was unable to get many opportunities to start for the 23’s during the first few months of the season. Owing to Marcus Edwards and Shilow Tracey being given a large bulk of playing time. Yet when he did play he impressed, and it was during October time when he went on a fine run of form for both the under 19’s and 23’s, putting in some sparkling attacking performances. Frustratingly injuries continued to disrupt his progress for the remainder of the season, but when he did play he was excellent. His clever little weaving runs, deceptive through balls and movement in the final third caused opposition teams many problems. Earlier this month Shashoua picked up the player of the tournament award in the U19 Volksbank cup in Germany, finding the net on five occasions. I’ve been very impressed with Samuel once again this season, and I’m sensing an even brighter campaign for him next season. Of Samuels many impressive performances this season, ones which stand out are his game changing performance against Monaco in the Youth league. His mesmeric display against West Ham in August, aswell as his quietly influential performance against Arsenal in March.

Oliver Skipp: Name me a better 17 year old (English) midfielder then Oliver Skipp and I’ll be mightily impressed. The immensely talented central midfielder made incredible strides during the course of the season. After an impressive pre season, Skipp took to under 23 football like a duck to water. Playing over 20 times for Burnetts side, Skipp became a key player in the side. His remarkable maturity and awareness made the first year scholar a force to be reckoned with. He singlehandedly embarrassed Jack Rodwell during our first PL2 game of the season, up in County Durham. From there he never looked back, his consistent and dominant performances in the middle of the park blocked the progress of players such as Jack Roles (19) who couldn’t get a game. Skipp is hard to compare to one particular player as he has such a wide ranging skill set, comfortable at centre half which he has filled in at on many occasions for the under 18 side this season. Skipp has the ability to totally dictate games from the middle of the park, the way in which he bosses the midfield, recycles possession and creates from deep is superb. He is light years ahead of his age group, it’s his anticipation of the game which makes him such a good player. He is constantly looking over his shoulder, he doesn’t play about with the ball nor does he take unnecessary risks, for me he is the complete midfielder. I would be astonished if he doesn’t make his senior debut for the lilywhites next season.

Keanan Bennetts: Sadly Bennetts has since departed Spurs for Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach. However, were it not for the flying winger/wing back, Spurs wouldn’t have stood a chance in beating the drop. Chipping in with seven goals and eight assists for the development side, Bennetts was unquestionably our player of the season. After enjoying a fine second half of the season for the U18’s back in 2017, Bennetts really stepped up this season. Dividing his time playing at both LWB and LW, Bennetts produced the magic which time and time again saved us. His exceptional dribbling ability, searing pace and perfectly timed crosses wreaked havoc for opposing teams defenders. The 19 year old starlets departure is such a massive loss.

Further reading: https://superhotspur.com/2018/05/18/farewell-keanan-and-good-luck/amp/#click=https://t.co/LUOFjaMCpL

 

Tashan Oakley-Boothe: To put it quite bluntly the 18 year old has endured a season of nothingness at Spurs. That may sound odd when you consider the fact that he impressed with the seniors out in the US in the summer, as well as the fact that he made his senior debut for the club in the Carabao cup against Barnsley in September. However, his exclusive training with the main team meant that he only played a handful of games for both the 18’s and 23’s. Not ideal for an 18 year old midfielder, Oakley-Boothe is an exceptionally talented player. An under 17 World Cup winner with England, TOB is highly regarded in the England youth setup. Oakley-Boothe is an exciting and very much attacking central midfielder I just hope that he gets plenty of games under his belt for the under 23’s next season.

Joe Pritchard: A crucial figure within the development squad, the now departed Joe Pritchard (21) had an excellent season for the under 23’s. A tireless grafter in the centre of the park, Pritchard was tidy and efficient. Defensively sound, he would fill in for other players who joined in during attacks. Creatively speaking he was also very good, he laid off seven assists for his teammates whilst also finding the net on four occasions. Pritchard skippered the side on multiple occasions, since leaving Spurs he has trialled with the likes of Cheltenham and Bolton U23’s. I wish Joe all the very best for the future and have no doubts in my mind that he’ll go onto achieve great things in the game.

Jack Roles: Roles had to wait a long time before he got given his first start of the season for Burnetts side. The Cypriot under 21 international only featured on 9 occasions in the PL2, but still managed to find the back of the net on three occasions. After scoring 18 goals for the under 18’s the previous season I was hopeful that Roles would play a starring role in the under 23 side this season but the aforementioned Skipp blocked Roles’ progress and limited his chances of starting. Roles did impress when he played for Burnetts side and still showed that excellent knack of ghosting into excellent positions. He was in a rich vein of form in the month of January, and went on a run of scoring in three consecutive games. I expect Roles to play a more prominent role in the side next season.

Shilow Tracey: After a difficult first half of the season, the 20 year old who we signed from Ebbsfleet for 200k back in January of 2016, went on to enjoy his best form in a Spurs shirt, during the second part of the campaign. Tracey scored three goals for Burnetts side and created a further seven goals for his teammates. He gets a lot of unfair criticism but the youngster has showed during the second part of the season that despite his limited skill set, he can still go onto become a useful player. Post January Tracey started to really take on fullbacks, his pace and strength started to cause a lot of problems. His directness worked a treat for Spurs and his best game came during our thrilling 3-3 draw with Benfica B back in January. I hope that Tracey gets his contract extended by the club for another season as he thoroughly deserves it.

Forwards: Kazaiah Sterling: Sterling played his part in Spurs’ push for survival under the tutelage of Wayne Burnett. He was by no means outstanding but his extremely high work rate really impressed me throughout the season. He does lack a bit of physicality at this level as well as a bit of craftiness inside the danger zone, but he is still a very clinical finisher. Sterling scored eight league goals from 20 games the development side and ended up finishing the season as our top scorer. A loan move beckons next season. Sterling made his senior debut for Spurs during their 3-0 win against APOEL at Wembley in December, he also appeared on the bench for our premier league game with Man City.

Ryan Loft: After an uninspiring season last term, Ryan Loft would have hoped to made more of an impact in Burnetts side during the first half of this season. The physical Loft struggled for game time and only featured 11 times for Spurs scoring once in our defeat to Luton back in January (it was a cracking finish by the way!). Loft was subsequently loaned out to Exeter during the winter transfer window however, it has been another disappointing loan for the Kent native. Loft has only featured once for the league two club and unless they have an injury crisis ahead of this Monday’s league 2 play off final against Coventry, then it will stay that way. Loft’s prowess at under 18 level (due to physical advantage over opponents) should serve as a reminder to Griffiths that form doesn’t always stay on your side after you step up a level. I would expect Loft to be released by the club next month.

Shayon Harrison: The 20 year old centre forward was in sparkling form for the development side during pre season. However, an unfortunate injury ruled him out for the opening couple of months of the league campaign, after returning from injury in October. Harrison looked decent for the under 23’s and went on to score four goals from 10 games. Harrison was loaned out to league one club Southend United in January. Twitter user Southend United fans explained to me how Shayon faired in league one: ”In fairness we didn’t get to see an awful lot of him but when he did play he looked a nippy, skilful player who can bring something else to the attack and cause opposition defenders problems. He had a good first touch and control on him and you could certainly tell that he has some elements of class about him. I would probably say his best game for us was at home to Portsmouth in a 3-1 win where in the first half of that match he was unplayable and I thought the best player on the pitch. The defenders defended him better in the second half of that game but he still managed to cause a few issues;he was very impressive that day.“

The Superhotspur goal of the season: After much thought, it has to go to Keanan Bennetts for his terrific free kick against Arsenal during our 3-1 win against the gunners back in March. At least 28 yards out from goal Bennetts tried an audacious effort at goal, it was a Bale-esque free kick. It flew over the Arsenal wall and dipped wonderfully inside the top right hand corner of the goal leaving the gunners goalkeeper Matt Macey rooted to his spot. The significance of the goal was instrumental in Spurs avoiding the drop and picking up a famous win against their old foes.

The Superhotspur game of the season: Our 3-1 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford in January proved to be a turning point in our season. 1-0 down with just over half an hour to go Burnetts side showed immense character to stun the Red Devil’s on their own patch, goals from Bennetts, Roles and Sterling secured all three points. It was brilliant to watch!

The Superhotspur player of the season: Keanan Bennetts had a sensational season for the under 23’s. His bursting pace, mercurial skill and decision making in the final third resulted in him being involved in 15 of our goals. Time and time again the teenager came up with magic at the decisive time. Young Keanan will be a great success for Mönchengladbach next season.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-11
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-4
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts-7
Tracey-3
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2
Roles-4
Walkes-1
Eyoma-1
Skipp-1
Georgiou-1

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-2
Pritchard-7
Edwards-3
Tracey-7
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-4
Bennetts-8
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1
Tanganga-1

Farewell and good luck to our young defender Christian Maghoma:

Farewell and good luck to our young defender Christian Maghoma:

B64C0CA4-F390-469E-8420-7305A910E25F.jpeg

With our young defender Christian Maghoma set to depart the club upon the expiration of his contract on June 30, I thought I’d write a farewell piece, on a young player who has such a bright future in the game. A player who I will be sad to see leave the lilywhites after so many years spent in the academy set up. 20 year old Christian Maghoma becomes the third member of the under 23 side who is set to leave the club, after Joe Pritchard announced on social media last week that he had left the club. Whilst it was announced on Friday that promising young winger Keanan Bennetts had joined German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in a deal worth £2 million. A towering centre half who is dominant in the air and strong in the challenge, Maghoma has followed in the footsteps of his older Jacques in coming up the various youth levels at the club. Christian is a proper defender, similar to someone like Brightons Shane Duffy in many ways. Less of a ball playing centre half, and more of a classic Dawson-esque defender. A defender who puts his body on the line for his teammates, who gets stuck in and leads by example. Christian is a natural born leader, and those qualities have really shone this season for the under 23 side. He is charismatic and composed, vocal and encouraging to fellow defenders, particularly to those who are new to the development side. I remember vividly back at the beginning of the PL2 season, when Christian was constantly giving words of advice and reassurance to the then 16 year old Brooklyn Lyons-Foster on his debut at that level. That is just one many examples which I can recall from seeing over the the past couple of seasons.

Capped at under 16 level by England, Christian enjoyed a fantastic season for the under 18’s back in the 2014/15 season, whilst still a first year scholar. Physically far too good for that level, Maghoma would go onto make six starts for the development side that season. Including an incredibly assured performance against Norwich’s Gary Hooper at Carrow road, in front of a bumper crowd. Christian was still only 16 years of age at this time, yet he had been able to totally nullify the threat of an experienced striker, who had experience playing in the champions league. Christian capped off the season with a fine goal against Fulham at White Hart lane, a powerful bullet header from a Will Miller corner, I remember it well! Maghoma spent the majority of the following season in the under 21 side under the tutelage of the great Ugo Ehiogu, barring a brief loan spell at Yeovil town where he failed to make a senior appearance for the glovers. The 2016-17 season saw Christian play more games then anyone else at under 23 level, he became a mainstay in the side and was rewarded at the end of the campaign with a first international call up to his country, the Democratic republic of Congo. He made his debut for the DRC in an international friendly against Botswana at the age of just 19. However, it was in the 2017/18 campaign that Christian really stepped up a level. A pivotal figure in Wayne Burnett’s side over the course of the season, the defenders courageous defending coupled in with his effectiveness to lead the backline, proved to be crucial in Spurs’ push for survival. Maghoma skippered the side on a number of occasions and put in a series of high quality performances. At times not best suited to Spurs’ play it out from the back philosophy, Christian made up for this with the many heroic blocks and clearances which he made during the season.

Christian has always played as a defender and I remember him citing the legendary Ledley King as his footballing hero, in an interview which I conducted with him back in 2016. The dominant centre half chipped in with two goals for Burnett’s side during the season just gone. One was an unstoppable bullet header against West Ham, the other a memorable goal against Liverpool in front of the Kop. It was a lovely finessed effort from the edge of the penalty area. Maghoma provided Burnett’s inexperienced side with a solidity at the back, he formed tenacious defensive partnerships with the likes of Japhet Tanganga and Jonathan Dinzeyi. Drawing back to my earlier comparisons with Shane Duffy, Maghoma gave the development side a physical presence which could be unrivalled by any centre forward. Excellent in the air, strong on the ball and above all else he put his body on the line for his team to make important blocks, challenges and goal line clearances. He doesn’t show off nor does he take unnecessary risks, he just gets on and does his defensive duties. He has put in many magnificent performances over the course of the season. Maghoma put in a terrific performance up against Cambridge United’s senior side back in pre season. He marshalled his defence incredibly well back in January during our 3-1 win at Old Trafford. He also singlehandedly kept out Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke in a league meeting in February. However, Maghoma’s most impressive performance came during our under 23’s 6-1 thumping to Leicester City. Yes, it may seem odd to single out a game in which we lost by such a scoreline however, Christian was magnificent that day he held it together after Spurs were reduced to nine men. Whilst his teammates fell apart around him, Christian put in the performance of a lifetime to stop Leicester running riot and getting into double figures.

A tenacious and hardworking defender, it was a great shame that Christian never got the opportunity to play for the first team. However, I have no doubts whatsoever that Christian will go onto enjoy a great career in the game, he has the talent and determination to do so. He is also a thoroughly nice young man who I have had the pleasure of meeting on numerous occasions, he has always has time for us Spurs fans! I wish Christian all the very best of luck for the future and I thank him for his great service to the club.

Myself and Christian after our development squads pre season friendly with Ebbsfleet back in July of 2017: 121F96CC-645F-4483-83BE-DBB7DEDB3235.jpeg