The day that a Spurs A team player got the opportunity to play alongside a footballing legend (Bobby Charlton), in a game between The Western Command and The Irish League, in 1957:

Derek Tharme was a stalwart of the Spurs A team from when he signed in 1956, to when he left the club at the end of the 1961/62 season. From Brighton, Tharme was playing for local side Whitehawk when he was scouted and recommended to Spurs by their chief-scout Ned Liddle. Derek was a full-back, who was capable of playing on either side, was a highly intelligent defender. He was also a strong full-back with good pace and reading of the game. Derek lived in digs with Mel Hopkins in Ponders End, when he’d first joined Spurs in 1956. He played with some great players in the Spurs A team and also the reserve side, who he played for on occasions also. And in those early days with the club, Derek played alongside Spurs legend Sonny Walters in the Spurs A team. Like many players from the same era, who were at Spurs, Derek Tharme had to do national service in the army. However, while he was in the army, he played matches for the Western Command, and Derek got the opportunity to play with some really fine players for the Western Command side.

In one particular game for the Western Command in the November of 1957, against The Irish League, Derek was a member of the Western Command side that travelled to Belfast, to play this game at Windsor Park. They got the ferry over from Liverpool, to Belfast to play the match against a fine Irish League side. This would have been a really good experience for Derek, and he still remembers the game at Windsor Park well. Playing for the Western Command on the day in the game against the Irish League, was former Blackburn Rovers player Dave Whelan, and also Bobby Charlton, a player who would not only become a legend of Manchester United, but also a real legend of English football as well. However, the game itself, wasn’t much of a contest on the day. The Irish League side won 6-0! With goals from Ballymena United player McCrea, Johnny Neilson (he played for Bangor) and Coleraine player Trainor. Most of the goals were scored by players who actually didn’t start the game. Bobby Charlton did go close to scoring a goal for the Western Command during the game, and although it would have been a difficult game for young Derek Tharme, the experience would have been a memorable one.

Such was the fine play from the Irish League side, they were actually quite unlucky not to win the game by more goals. Derek won several Eastern Counties League titles with the Spurs A team, and an East Anglian Cup, as well as playing in the Football Combination League with the reserve side. However, the games spent playing with the Western Command, still bring back very happy memories for the now retired Derek Tharme, who celebrates his 85th birthday in August. After leaving Spurs he would play for the likes of Southend United, Crawley Town and Hastings United (with Spurs legend Bobby Smith). Derek got the opportunity to return to Spurs for the first time since leaving in 1962, last year to watch a Premier League game between Spurs and Leeds United. He is a really top man, and Spurs still means a lot to him. 

Five Spurs Academy players/graduates that I’m hoping to see play for the Spurs first team during pre-season of 2023:

The 2022/23 season may just have finished, but with the Spurs first team’s first friendly of next pre-season taking place on the 18th of July against West Ham United in Perth, Australia, I thought that I’d write this article earlier than I usually would. The two other pre-season friendly matches that have been scheduled so far, are against Leicester City in Bangkok, Thailand, on the 23rd of July, and on the 26th of July they face Italian side AS Roma in Singapore. Pre-season often means that Spurs’ Academy players/graduates get the opportunity to play for the first team and make an impression, and hopefully that will be the case this summer, as well. In the following piece, the players that I have written about/selected that I personally would like to see feature for the Spurs first team in pre-season, are just my personal opinions. However, there are so many other players that I could also have written about/included in this piece, and as always it is very difficult just to write about just five players. I wish all of the Spurs Academy players the very best of luck for 2023/24. 

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Having featured in this annual series of articles for the last couple of years, as many of you will know, I’ve always thought very highly of Brooklyn Lyons-Foster as a player. The Islington born defender is a very versatile player, who is capable of playing in central defence, full-back (on either flank) and in midfield. He is a superb reader of the game, who despite being very unlucky with injuries over the last couple of seasons, he has returned even stronger and in my opinion better than before, from these injuries. Since returning to play for the Spurs Under 21 side at central-defence during the following season, from a defensive-midfield position, Brooklyn was in my opinion the Spurs Under 21’s best player last season. The quality and leadership that the 22 year old showed for that side was very good, and Spurs really missed him at such an important stage of the season, after he was ruled out for several weeks through injury. Very comfortable on the ball and able to bring it out well from defence and also distribute it well, Lyons-Foster’s excellent positioning and all-round defending has impressed me greatly for a long time.

Formerly of Watford’s Academy set-up, Brooklyn has already featured for the Spurs first team in pre-season of 2021, but in my opinion he really deserves an opportunity to show his quality for the Spurs first team in the pre-season of 2023.

Maxwell McKnight: Although Maxwell McKnight hasn’t made many appearances for the Spurs Under 21 side so far, the first year professional (from 2023/24) is a player who can play in a number of positions. The 18 year old from Colchester was formerly with West Ham United prior to joining Spurs, and in his two seasons as a scholar with the club I thought that he was one of the Spurs Under 18’s best and most impressive players. He is capable of playing at right-back, as a winger and at left-back, and he has often demonstrated his ability to get forward with the ball, and to create chances from wide positions. In 2021/22 Maxwell McKnight provided an impressive number of assists, as well as defending well when he needed to. He has a great ability to cross the ball, and the accuracy of his crosses is impressive. However, Maxwell’s work off the ball is in my opinion equally as impressive. He works really well off the ball, and his movement and pace are very good. A regular for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2022/23, he was a member of the Spurs Under 18 side that won the Under 18 Premier League Cup, during the same season.

Maxwell McKnight is a player with a really good balance to his game, and his ability to cover a number of positions could possibly mean that he features for the Spurs first team during pre-season of this year. On his only competitive appearance for the Spurs Under 21 side, at right-back in a Papa Johns Trophy game (against Peterborough United’s first team, last year) Maxwell was in my opinion Spurs’ best player in that game.

George Abbott: In the 2023/24 season Spurs Under 18’s regular and defensive-midfielder George Abbott will be a first year professional with Spurs. The Londoner, who is 17 (he turns 18 in August), will be known to most Spurs fans, after he made his competitive first team debut for Spurs as a late substitute against Leeds United, on Sunday in the Premier League. George made a really fine late challenge in the Spurs penalty area shortly after being introduced to the game. He is a tenacious midfield player with excellent off the ball work, but he is also good on the ball, and he has good pace and skill, which allows him to bring it forward well from midfield. George can also play at right-back and left-back, and he did well there during the season just gone, often playing in those positions for the Spurs Under 21 side, who he made a good number of appearances for, at that level. The Islington born Spurs player has made really good strides over the last year, and his first team debut last Sunday, was really well deserved. He is strong in the challenge, and his ability to play in a good number of positions will stand him in really good stead for the future.

Harvey White: The talented and creative central midfielder often plays in a deep lying central midfield position. However, the former CAM still has a real creative side to his game. From Maidstone in Kent, Harvey White has already featured for the Spurs team, in friendly matches and in competitive games. He trained regularly with the Spurs first team during the first half of last season, making his Premier League debut in a game with Crystal Palace, before joining League One side Derby County on a loan move for the second half of the season. Harvey is very capable of setting the tempo of games, and he is often the focal point of creativity in the middle of the pitch, for Spurs at Academy level. He has a great left foot and he is also a real set-piece specialist, with great vision. However, he is also a real leader, who doesn’t shy away from showing his leadership qualities on the pitch. Next pre-season will hopefully allow the 21 year old to get a good amount of game time, to demonstrate his quality for the first team.

Troy Parrott: The Republic of Ireland international and Spurs Academy graduate will be hoping to get a good opportunity to impress the Spurs coaching staff in pre-season of 2023. The Dubliner and centre-forward was on loan at Preston North End, in the Championship last season. He may not have scored as many goals as he would have hoped, but pre-season will hopefully provide the very talented 21 year old an opportunity to get a good run of games for the Spurs first team. Always looking to make clever runs off the ball, the centre-forward showed so often for Spurs at Academy level that he is such a clinical finisher. His ability to score a real variety of goal and get past players for pace and skill, made Troy one of the best Academy forwards in England. Playing with better players around him, with a different style of play would in my opinion really benefit the centre-forward, and also allow him to flourish.

A short piece on Spurs Academy goalkeeper Aaron Maguire – A player to look out for in the future:

Goalkeeper Aaron Maguire has been in the Spurs Academy set-up for a number of years. Born in Whipps Cross and brought up in Chingford, Maguire has represented England up until Under 17 level, and the Republic of Ireland up until Under 19 level, at international level. A good communicator from his penalty area, Aaron would make five league appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2020/21, as a first year scholar, before missing quite a bit of the start of the following season through injury. However, the goalkeeper still made some good progress during that season at Under 18 level for Spurs, and he would also start for a Spurs Under 17 side in the final of that season’s Under 17 Premier League Cup final, against Manchester City. Manchester City convincingly beat Spurs in that final, but Maguire was one of Spurs’ best players. In the same season Aaron had fine games against the likes of Fulham, Birmingham City and Arsenal, in the Under 18 Premier League South.

Aaron Maguire started the season just gone (2022/23) by competing with summer signing Josh Keeley and Adam Hayton (now of Barnsley) for a starting place in the Spurs Under 21 side. He would make four Premier League 2 appearances for the Spurs Under 21 side, and it was on his competitive debut at that level, in a league game against Manchester City, that he had his very best game at that level, so far. Making a series of very good saves in that game at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium, Maguire had an excellent game, making some really good decisions against a top Manchester City side. The game finished 0-0, with Aaron keeping a clean-sheet, and he would start the next three league games for Spurs’ Under 21 side after that. He wouldn’t play again in a competitive match for the Spurs Under 21 side after September, but he would make one appearance for the Spurs Under 19 side in a UEFA Youth League with Sporting Lisbon at Hotspur Way, before then keeping a clean-sheet in an Under 18 Premier League South game with Norwich City, in April.

A very alert goalkeeper who is good at rushing out of his goal, Aaron Maguire is good at closing down the angles, and as a goalkeeper he has great reflexes. He has demonstrated that he has good distribution, and the tall goalkeeper is a reliable goalkeeper, whose handling of the ball is also good. Next season in 2023/24, Aaron Maguire will be competing with Josh Keeley and Luca Gunter for a starting place in the Spurs Under 21 side, and he will be hoping to make even more appearances for that side, than he did in the previous 2022/23 season.

Remembering former Spurs Academy player Noni Madueke’s only competitive appearance for the Spurs Under 18 side:  

Former Spurs Academy player Noni Madueke is now playing his football for Chelsea’s first team, following a big move to the West London club from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, in January. Madueke was with Spurs as a schoolboy Academy footballer up until the end of the 2017/18 season, when he chose not to sign scholarship forms with the club, instead opting to join PSV Eindhoven. The extremely skilful winger started his career with the Crystal Palace Academy, prior to joining Spurs’ Academy set-up. Noni progressed up through the Academy ranks at the club (I saw him play on maybe three occasions), and his creativity and excellent skill always stood out whenever I saw him play. Part of the same Academy age group as Harvey White, Madueke made his one and only appearance for the Spurs Under 18 side in a Premier League South fixture away to Aston Villa, in the February of 2017. In this fixture against Aston Villa, Spurs basically fielded an Under 16 side, because of the fact that the Spurs Under 18 side had an important FA Youth Cup quarter-final tie with Newcastle United the following mid-week.

In the game against Aston Villa, players such as Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Jamie Bowden and Phoenix Patterson all started for Spurs, while Aston Villa had Jacob Ramsey featuring from the bench for the home side. The game finished 2-1 to Aston Villa, but quite late on in the second half Noni Madueke, a player who at the time was a member of the Spurs Under 15 side, came on to make his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side. A little bit earlier on in the game, another player from the same Academy age group, Luis Binks (Now of Bologna, in Serie A) also made his debut for the Spurs Under 18 side. Binks came close to scoring during the Aston Villa game, while shortly after Madueke was substituted on, he found the back of the net, but his effort was ruled out for offside. Even in the limited time that he played in that game, Noni stood out and showed real glimpses of his quality. As did Luis Binks, who had a good game for Spurs in defence. Noni Madueke, despite spending some time out with injury, would do really well with PSV.

Returning to Hotspur Way with a PSV Under 19 side for a UEFA Youth League game in 2018, Noni Madueke did really well with PSV’s first team, prior to his return to England. And the England Under 21 international has so far made 11 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, scoring one goal.

Memory Lane – Remembering Jimmy Pearce’s superb goal against Crystal Palace, in a First Division fixture in 1969:

This particular fixture between Spurs and Crystal Palace, was the first meeting between the two sides since 1945, when they met in the old Football League South. This fixture took place at Selhurst Park, in the early stages of the 1969/70 season, in front of over 39,000 supporters, and it would end in Spurs winning 2-0, with goals from Jimmy Pearce and Martin Chivers winning the game for Spurs. However, it was one particular goal from forward Jimmy Pearce, which will have stood out for the fans who were in attendance at the game. It wasn’t a goal from long distance, nor was it a goal with great build-up play. Instead it was a goal scored with a really fine piece of skill from the boyhood Spurs supporter, Jimmy Pearce. After Alan Gilzean had latched onto a loose ball in midfield, the former Scotland international went forward with the ball before passing it to Pearce, who was just inside the Crystal Palace penalty area, on the right side of the box.

Jimmy Pearce’s first time effort on goal was quite sublime. He hit the ball with power, with the outside of his boot, and although it initially looked as if it might go wide of the goal, it had such swerve on it, that it nestled into the bottom left corner of the Crystal Palace goal. It left the goalkeeper with no chance of saving it, as the ball was struck so well and with such swerve on it. It was one of a number of fine goals that Jimmy Pearce scored during his Spurs career.

Looking back at former Spurs Youth Team player Terry Lloyd’s time at Spurs:

Versatile forward Terry Lloyd was a real prospect at Spurs during the late 1950’s/early 1960’s era of the club. From east London, Terry played schoolboy football for East Ham, and he would excel at that time in schools football, and in the process he was scouted by a number of major London clubs, ranging from Spurs to QPR. Lloyd was recommended to Spurs and then manager Bill Nicholson, by Spurs’ Chief-scout at the time – Dickie Walker (former West Ham United player). Bill Nicholson personally visited Terry’s parents’ house in east London to ask them if Spurs could sign him onto the ground-staff. A centre-forward by trade, who was also more than adept at playing out wide as a winger. Terry Lloyd had excellent off the ball movement, was very alert and also incredibly fast, liking to make runs in behind the other team’s defence. He was a fine goal-scorer who could finish well with both feet, but he was also strong in the air and capable of scoring a good amount of headed goals. In one game for the Spurs youth side against QPR in the FA Youth Cup, Terry scored five goals!

Terry Lloyd was a player with an impressive work-rate, and his ability to play on the flanks as a winger, made him an important player for Spurs’ Youth team, and he would go on several tours with the youth team, to compete in tournaments in Europe. He would also play in the same Spurs youth side as Phil Beal and Frank Saul. As a youngster Terry looked up to Spurs greats Cliff Jones and Bobby Smith, to try and further improve his game. Terry would progress to play some games for the Spurs A team on occasions, but it was in the youth team where he had his best time at the club, making some good friends with the other players along the way. Terry was also in attendance at the celebrations of the double winning season dinner at the Savoy Hotel. Unfortunately he wasn’t retained by Spurs at the end of the double winning season of 1960/61, although assistant manager at the time Harry Evans, said to Terry that he wanted him to stay at the club. He would later join his boyhood club West Ham United, where he would play for their A team, after returning from an injury that had ruled him out for six months.

Terry would later play amateur football for Brentwood Town, before later working in the city, and then working for the port of London. However, after doing the knowledge, Terry would become a London cabbie, a job that he did for many, many years. Now retired, Terry enjoyed his time at Spurs immensely, and like so many others at the club he was just so unlucky that the Spurs A team, reserves and first team were just so incredibly competitive at that special time in the club’s history. However, there is so much to be proud of in his footballing career alone.

Memory Lane – Spurs 4-3 Everton (April 5th, 1958):

This old First Division fixture with Everton occurred well over 60 years ago, at a time before Bill Nicholson had even taken over as manager of Spurs. The year was 1958, and Spurs, whose manager at the time was Jimmy Anderson, were in Liverpool to face Everton, at a time of the year when the Grand National was taking place. The Spurs team were staying at the Adelphi Hotel the night before the game, with the Spurs players meeting all of the famous jockeys of the time, as well as stars and actors such as Laurence Olivier. However, the game which took place at Goodison Park the following day, couldn’t have started any better for Spurs, who took the lead early on through a young part-time/amateur player – Eddie Clayton, on his first team debut (he had only found out that he was playing for Spurs earlier that day). The Spurs team had great players such as the goalkeeper Ted Ditchburn starting, plus other top players of the time, such as Bobby Smith and Danny Blanchflower. In front of over 30,000 spectators, Spurs doubled their lead thanks to a goal from Bobby Smith, before Clayton got his second goal of the game, to make it 3-0.

Early on in the second half, Spurs made it 4-0, with Bobby Smith getting his second goal of the game. Everton responded really well to conceding their fourth goal of the game, and they ended up getting three second half goals, to make it a nervous end to the game for Jimmy Anderson’s side, although Spurs did manage to hold on. During the game, Eddie Clayton thought that he’d got his hat-trick, to make it a dream debut, after scoring with a headed goal from a corner-kick, but he’d given one of the Everton players a little push, and so the referee ended up disallowing the goal. Clayton also had an effort which hit the woodwork during that game. It was an incredibly memorable debut for the east Londoner, and the former Eton Manor player still remembers that game really well to this day. Spurs finished in third place in the First Division during the 1957/58 season. It was to be Jimmy Anderson’s last full season in charge of the side, with Bill Nicholson taking charge of the team during the following season. Those years post Arthur Rowe and pre Bill Nicholson, were very interesting ones in the history of Spurs.

Looking ahead to a big pre-season for Spurs Academy graduates Troy Parrott and Harvey White:

Both Troy Parrott and Harvey White have progressed through the Spurs Academy set-up, with both players part of the extremely talented 2018/19 Academy age group at the club. Parrott spent this season on loan with Championship side Preston North End, where he made 34 competitive appearances, scoring four goals for them following his loan move to Lancashire last summer. Harvey White spent the first half of the season with Spurs, mainly playing for their Under 21 side, as well as making one competitive appearance for the Spurs first team, from the bench in a Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace in January. In addition to that first team appearance, Harvey also started two first team mid-season friendly matches, against Motherwell and Nice respectively, in the false nine centre-forward position. He would join League One side Derby County on loan, during early 2023, and he would make 15 competitive appearances for them (Harvey started five of those matches).

Troy Parrott is the most promising centre-forward that I have ever seen play in the Spurs Academy set-up. The former Belvedere player and current Republic of Ireland international, is still very much a player who in my opinion has so much potential. The 21 year old has spent the last three seasons away from Spurs on loan, enjoying a particularly successful loan with then League One side MK Dons in 2021/22, when he often wasn’t playing as the main centre-forward. Parrott is in my opinion faster than most players, has good skill on the ball and most importantly of all he gets into excellent positions from which he can score goals from, such is his excellent off the ball movement and anticipation of situations on the pitch. Of course as a centre-forward, despite the fact that he wasn’t always playing as a centre-forward, he’ll not be satisfied with his stats for goals scored for Preston last season. However, the Republic of Ireland international who has already won 18 international caps for his country, would in my opinion in a better team with top players, excel, and get a lot of goals.

At Academy level Troy quickly became too good for the Spurs Under 18 side and in time the Spurs Under 21 side. He also quickly became physically ready to play senior football, but it was his determination to get into goalscoring positions, link-up play and desire to drop deep as well as his clinical ability in front of goal, which made him one of the top academy prospects in the country. He started and scored for a Spurs Under 21 side, in their friendly match with Syracuse University on Friday. I really hope that he gets some really good minutes for the Spurs first team in pre-season, to show much that he can contribute in a top side, which I fully believe he can do. Central midfielder Harvey White also got minutes in the friendly match with Syracuse University, following his return from his loan move at Derby County. Harvey is as many Spurs fans now know, a great set-piece taker, who has a wonderful left foot. However, the 21 year old is a midfielder who has a real tenacity to his game, and at Academy level I have seen him run games with real ease from midfield.

Harvey White has played for Spurs quite a bit in pre-season before, but I personally think that he has improved quite a lot from watching him in recent seasons. I’m sure that he would have liked to have started more games for Derby, but in the Spurs Under 21 side last season it became quite evident as one of the more senior players in the side, that he was developing into a fine leader, and someone who could encourage and motivate his teammates in difficult situations on the pitch. He likes to get forward and score goals, as well as working hard for the team and doing a lot of defensive work. However, he is as I wrote earlier, someone who really can make the difference in matches. He is a very intelligent midfield player with a great understanding of the game, at still an early stage of his footballing career. I really hope that both Troy and Harvey get some really good minutes for the Spurs first team in pre-season, and from there can really flourish during 2023/24. 

Where are they now? Former Spurs youth player Aron Sharpe:

Aron Sharpe was with Spurs as a youth player on associate schoolboy forms with the club for a time during the early 1980s (Aron spent six months with the club as a youth player during that time). A boyhood Spurs fan from Finchley, Aron was a central midfielder, who had a lot of ability with the ball, and who was also creative with it. Although he was a midfielder, as a youngster Aron’s footballing hero was Spurs legend and former goalkeeper Pat Jennings. Despite being invited up for trials in Derby by a man called Jimmy Burton (Dave Mackay’s old business partner), Aron Sharpe eventually ended up being invited to Spurs because of Dave Mackay’s connections with the club. When I interviewed Aron about his memories of his time at Spurs in 2019, I remember him telling me just how different it was, stepping-up from one level to another, and also how different the pace and physicality of the games were. Aron wasn’t released by Spurs, instead the former schoolboy youth player left the club after he was not getting picked to start matches. After spending some time with Luton Town after leaving Spurs, Aron since went into the fashion industry. An industry which he is still very much involved with to this day.

A highly intelligent football man, with a lot of experience in coaching and football since his association with Spurs all those years ago. During the 2000’s Aron became the chairman of non-League side and current Isthmian Premier Division side Wingate & Finchley, and he is still the chairman of the club to this day. Wingate, before they merged with Finchley during the early 1990’s, had quite a lot of ex-Spurs players involved with the club, involved in playing and coaching capacities, as well as at Finchley also. Associated with Wingate was the late, former Spurs player Micky Dulin, who had a long association with the club, and it would be great if at some point in the future, a Spurs Under 21 side were to visit Wingate for a pre-season friendly. Wingate & Finchley do a lot of good work off the pitch in the community, and their stadium in Finchley (The Maurice Rebak Stadium) is a really nice stadium. I finally got to go to a Wingate & Finchley game at The Maurice Rebak Stadium last season, in an Isthmian Premier Division fixture with Enfield Town. It was a really enjoyable Saturday afternoon spent at Wingate & Finchley.

There is also a really good youth policy for young players at Wingate & Finchley, as I have noticed over the last couple of seasons. Last season the club’s men’s team finished in 16th place in the Isthmian Premier Division, finishing the season strongly to avoid the relegation zone. Aron is a nice man and a top football man, and I wish his club all the very best for the 2023/24 season.

What they achieved post football – Former Spurs Youth Team player and apprentice Martin O’Donnell:

Martin O’Donnell was incredibly unlucky in the sense that he never got to reach his full potential at Spurs. However, he bounced back really well from a terrible injury, to forge a very successful career post Spurs, as well as also doing well in non-League football. O’Donnell is from Chiswick in West London, although a versatile player, he did play mainly at left-half for Spurs at youth level. Martin was formerly of Eton Manor, prior to being scouted by Spurs scout Ronnie Clayton and assistant manager at the time, Eddie Baily (Eddie’s son Graham Baily was playing against Eton Manor, when Martin was spotted). Martin would join Spurs as a schoolboy footballer in around 1963, and he would progress well and would later be offfered apprenticeship forms in 1965, which he signed. Training with the likes of Jimmy Pearce, Ray Evans and Paul Shoemark during those days at Spurs’ old Cheshunt training ground, Martin was progressing well and he was playing regularly for the Spurs Under 17 side in the 1965/66 season. A season in which Martin helped the Spurs Under 17 side win the South-East Counties League II and Cup double.

A fast, skilful, creative and composed player, who had a real eye for goal, O’Donnell once scored a memorable hat-trick for the Spurs Under 17 side in the South-East Counties League II in a league game with Chelsea in 1965/66. He was compared to former Rangers player Jim Baxter by Spurs’ former Chief-scout Dickie Walker during his time as an apprentice. However, just days after being told that he was going to be offered a professional contract by Spurs, Martin fractured his femur (thigh bone) at Cheshunt. He would spend nine months in plaster in hospital, and he could not play football properly again for another 18 months. However, Spurs looked after Martin well during this time, and he even returned for them at youth level for a while on a short basis later on in the 1960’s. After leaving Spurs O’Donnell would play non-League football for the likes of Hayes (alongside his now very good friend Dave Bassett), Northwood, Southall and a Walthamstow Avenue side which contained a number of former Spurs youth team players. At one time in his non-League football career, Martin was meant to go to Nottingham Forest for a trial, and going back to his time at Spurs, he had ambitions of playing for the Republic of Ireland, as his parents were from there. Although he still played at a good standard of football, he was understandably not quite the same player after his thigh injury. 

After football Martin O’Donnell embarked on a highly successful career in business. He started in sales and would later go into the fragrance and cosmetics business, where he worked for Revlon and later Estée Lauder, where he became sales director for Europe. Martin was also very successful when he set-up his own fragrance and cosmetics business, later on in his career post Spurs. Although he didn’t get the chance to progress as he would have hoped to at Spurs, because of his injury, Martin O’Donnell did ever so well for himself in his professional career. Since I interviewed Martin in 2018, he has become a good friend. Now retired, he has so much to be proud of, and Spurs is still a club close to his heart. He is a really top man, and he was at my Spurs mid 1960’s youth team reunion last summer in Essex.