My interview with former Spurs player Gerry Reardon:

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC. Gerry is pictured last on the right of the front row.)


Born in Dagenham to Irish parents, former Republic of Ireland Under 18 international Gerry Reardon signed for Spurs in 1977 on schoolboy forms, and he would spend two seasons with the club at youth level, before leaving in 1979. Part of a very talented Spurs Youth team, Reardon was primarily a midfield player for Spurs at youth level, during his two seasons with the club. Gerry would later move to the U.S. on a scholarship, at Adelphi University, achieving ‘All American honours and he would later have a successful career with Tulsa Roughnecks in the North American Soccer League, but he would also play for New York Cosmos, later on in his footballing career in America, before returning to England because of work. The former Spurs player who used to for many years work for the FAI (the Irish football association) in Ireland, also coached current Spurs player Matt Doherty, when he was coaching at Dublin based side Home Farm. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of speaking with Gerry about his memories of his time at Spurs.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Gerry: I grew up in a very Irish neighbourhood, and so my first really clear footballing memory would have been the 1967 European Cup final between Celtic and Inter Milan. My dad would have had mates at the house to watch it, as it was sort of a late afternoon game, and I sort of just remember the happiness after the final whistle, and I would have been six when that match took place. The whole neighbourhood where I was living at that time would have been Celtic, with also some West Ham fans as well, as they were a local club.

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

Gerry: I would have gone to some clubs on trial, but I never really thought that I was anywhere near the standard. I played representative football for Barking and Essex, but when I was 16 Robbie Stepney, who had a fabulous career at Spurs, he had a local connection with the team that I played for growing up. However, he was running a business football team for a shoe company called Bata, and they had a bit of money as well. So they had an interesting Tottenham connection with double winner Terry Dyson, who played for them, and also Eddie Presland as well as a couple of other ex-pros and non-League players, but Robbie asked me to come and play for this team. And they had this fabulous ground which I believed England used to train at for the 1966 World Cup, and it was down at East Tilbury. So I went and played senior football down there at 15/16, and playing football with all those ex-pros meant that you had a totally different dimension to your game. What I became very good at was having an educated football mind, such as talking on the pitch, adding to my football education, and letting colleagues know they had time, and could turn etc. Robbie then went to Spurs that summer, and after saying to me that he had looked at the standard, he thought that I could play down there.

I went down to Cheshunt and played a trial game for Spurs, and then Peter Shreeves and Keith Burkinshaw basically asked me to come and join the youth team. I had done quite well in my O-levels, and so I was about to join the Sixth form, but I said yes to staying at Spurs on a part-time basis, and so I stayed at school and ended up doing quite well. I remember us (Spurs) playing Norwich in the FA Youth Cup at The Lane, and then the next morning Robbie Stepney said that there was an offer there at Spurs, if I was interested. But to be honest I was never, ever confident enough. I always wanted the security of an education, as I never thought that I was good enough to be a professional. So I relied on remaining at school and then by the time it came to leaving school I was always going to go to America, as I had a scholarship lined-up over there. And so for me it never became a conversation of becoming pro at Spurs, and so I just really drifted off into this scholarship. 

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

Gerry: It would have been George Best, who was a fantastic player. But then as time went on it would have been Liam Brady. But also, John Giles was a hero of mine and in my household as well, and he was actually my manager when I played for Ireland at Under 18 level, and he is a fabulous person, and I have met him whilst at the FAI, and worked on some projects involving Ireland Supporters’ Clubs with him.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Gerry: Robbie Stepney would have obviously been one, and I would get a lift off him to matches and training, as he was from my area. Then there was also Bill Nicholson, who was always behind the scenes. He would always have a friendly word to say and also a lot of time for me, which I thought was quite an honour. I think that he liked the idea of players continuing their education, and so he would always ask how I was getting on at school. I think that I was a bit different to the apprentices who were around at the time, as well. Also, Peter Shreeves was a great coach as well, but they were all positive influences.

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

Gerry: I would have gone there as a sweeper, but I didn’t have the size for a defender. I was predominantly left footed, and there wasn’t many left footed players around at the club then, and so eventually I moved to left sided midfield. During my first year at Spurs I played at the back, and that suited me really, really well. Then when I went into midfield in my second year in the youth team, almost everyone was full-time, and I was still at school then. So I used to also work behind a bar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, to earn a few quid. So the pace of the game made me really struggle, as I didn’t have those energy or stamina levels, so on reflection I’m not surprised that I wasn’t setting off alarm bells anywhere at that stage.

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

Gerry: We used to obviously get complimentary tickets, but we used to get into the stadium early just to watch Glenn Hoddle warm up, and he was incredible. During the holidays and during bad weather, I had the pleasure of just watching him with a football, when everybody was in the gym. He was world class and to see him at those close quarters was just brilliant. After I had moved to America, whenever I used to come back to England I used to get invited back to Spurs through Robbie Stepney and Peter Shreeves. I remember when Spurs were playing Nottingham Forest in a rearranged cup tie as the previous game the week before had been postponed, and Spurs needed a runner to play for the reserves against the first team at Cheshunt, in about 1982/83. I was sort of off the pace and Glenn Hoddle was playing in that game, and it was just wonderful to be on the same park as him. I also seem to recall in the ball-court at White Hart Lane, that the ball seemed to rebound back to him, and he seemed to catch the ball between his calf and his hamstring, as it was travelling at pace. Maybe I’m just imagining it, but I seem to remember everyone just applauding him. Witnessing his ability with a football was just incredible.

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

Gerry: It was good, although I never ever felt although I was going to go on and become a professional there, as there was so many good professionals there. But I enjoyed it and I met some really, really nice people, such as Mark Kendall, who was a really, really lovely fellow who was always interested in everyone. Also, there was Tony Galvin, who I think was in digs near Cheshunt at the start, and we always used to sit together on the way back to training, after he was picked up. I’ve subsequently met Tony through the Republic of Ireland Supporters Club, and he was very interesting. There was also Micky Hazard and Mark Falco, and with Mark I used to think to myself that I’m never going to be of his level, just like with Garry Brooke, who I’d have regularly played against at representative level. But they were genuinely really nice people, although you didn’t really have much to do with them outside of matches. Spurs didn’t used to take on that many apprentices, and so it was a really limited number of apprenticeships at that time.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Gerry: Because of my background it would probably have to be playing for Ireland, as that was huge for me. A member of that Irish Under 18 squad was Ronnie Whelan, who was a big success. There was also Gary O’Reilly, who was a member of that Irish side, and who also played for Spurs, and he had a good career. Also, part of that squad was Alan Campbell, who had a good career, and there was also the late Dermot Drummy, who coached at Chelsea. 

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

Gerry: Franz Beckenbauer. I played against him when I was playing for the Tulsa Roughnecks, while he was playing for New York Cosmos. So that was a surreal moment to be playing against Franz Beckenbauer, but that was the beauty of playing football in America. And so I played against some magnificent footballers. 

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

Gerry: I remember the game when we beat Norwich 3-0 in the FA Youth Cup, and although they were a good side we did play really, really well, and Micky Hazard was fantastic during that great game. We also beat West Ham 2-1 in the FA Youth Cup at Upton Park, in my second year at Spurs. And as it was obviously just up the road from where I was l brought up, I had a lot of family and friends at the ground, to see a really, really good performance against a good side. And then the only ever time that I played for the Spurs Under 17 side, was against Oxford United in the second leg of a cup final (we had lost the first leg 4-1). The team was obviously strengthened up a little bit for the second leg, and we ended up winning 4-0 in front of a decent crowd at White Hart Lane. So all of the games at White Hart Lane and other senior grounds do stand out, and I can also remember us losing away against Aston Villa in the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup, and while we had a very good team, they were excellent. They would have had Gary Shaw up front, and what a player he was. But any games that we played at stadiums standout in my mind.

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

Gerry: At youth level I would probably have to say Gary Shaw and Clive Allen. Clive is from Havering/Barking, which was the neighbouring borough to me. When he got to QPR he was really electric and clever, and he would take me on runs all over the place on the pitch. Similar to Gary Shaw, both players stick in my head as being fabulous players at youth level. Then when I went to America every club that I played against had a sort of expensive signing, like Franz Beckenbauer. I remember when we played away against Vancouver once, and they had the former Ipswich player Frans Thijssen, who was fabulous. So there were plenty of brilliant players in America who I played against, and the Peruvian international Cubillias was another, at Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

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

Gerry: I would of been fairly close to Kerry Dixon, and we used to have a chat. I would also have been quite close to Gary O’Reilly, as we used to play in the same Essex teams. So I’d like to think that I’d got on well with everyone, although I wasn’t a really loud person off the pitch, but I would have gone out of my way to be polite to anyone. I also must mention Garry Brooke, who was a great player who I got on well with, and also Peter Southey, who was such a lovely lad.

You played with some great players at youth level for Spurs, such as Micky Hazard. What was he like at youth level?

Gerry: Micky was fantastic and just a really, really nice guy. He was very down to earth, maybe because he was from Sunderland and was a big Sunderland fan. I think that he wore a Sunderland shirt to a Spurs versus Sunderland game, which was unusual as people didn’t wear football shirts to matches then. I used to see him grow into matches, and we played one game away to Arsenal at London Colney, and we were 3-1 down. He then took over the match and scored twice, which I hadn’t seen him being so influential before. 

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

Gerry: As I said to you I was keen to stay in education, and I’d actually been to America on a football tour when I was 16, and so I had a number of colleges get in touch with me. So I eventually chose to go to a place in America called Adelphi University, in Long Island in New York, and as at that time I didn’t feel that I had an automatic future at Spurs, it just felt like a natural decision to make. I left on really, really good terms with everyone at Spurs, and I had a really nice letter from Peter Shreeves recommending me, in case I wanted to go anywhere else in football. He said in the letter that I could have been a professional for Spurs, but I’d done well at school and I wanted to attend university. So it was a really nice letter that he took the time out to write, but I ended up going to America and doing a degree in politics and economics at this college in Long Island, which was a really good experience for me, both academically and socially, and also living abroad etc. So it was all really, really fascinating, and I ended up doing really well in football in America. They still had a draft system for the old North American Soccer League.

I got picked by a team called Tulsa Roughnecks, who were managed by an old Welsh international called Terry Hennessy, who was a fantastic man and although we weren’t a very fashionable team we won the Soccer Bowl in 1983, with a team made up mainly of older English and Northern Irish players. So that was like Leicester City winning the Premier League, as we had the lowest budget and we played in the smallest city, but we had great team spirit. So in 1984 the Olympics was on, and so the New York Cosmos needed players, and so I ended up signing for them on a one year contract. That was also a great experience as well. I was into financial markets over there, and via a chance meeting I was offered a job as a money broker for an international company called Tullett & Tokyo, and so I worked on Wall Street. But at that time I was still playing part-time football over there, up until I was offered the chance to go back to London to work there. I only thought that I would be in London for a year or two, but things went well there and I remained there for going on 20 years. Although the job was quite demanding I did play for a team down in Motspur Park with some great friends until this day with the Old Tenisonians in the ‘London Old-Boys league until I was in my early 40s.

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

Gerry: It’s probably a question beyond my scope, but without stating the obvious I’d recommend looking to develop yourself beyond football, and also try and keep your feet on the ground. 

What was it like to represent your country, the Republic of Ireland at youth international level?

Gerry: It was fantastic, and I probably knew that even as an 18 year old it might be the pinnacle of my career, and so I took it all in. It was just fantastic. 

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

Gerry: Yes they are, even though it’s obviously changed since I was there. I’ve been to the new stadium for a game against Crystal Palace, over two years ago now. But I don’t know anyone around the club now, although I still have great memories of my time at Spurs. 

My interview with former Spurs player David Culverhouse:

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC.)


David Culverhouse was a tough tackling and talented centre-half, but one who unfortunately had injury problems during his career. The younger brother of former Spurs player Ian Culverhouse, David signed trainee forms with Spurs in 1990, and would later sign professional forms in 1992. From Harlow in Essex, Culverhouse was a regular in the senior Spurs South-East Counties League Division 1 side, and would later play for the Spurs reserve side. David would even make two appearances for the Spurs first team, during his time at the club. Those two appearances came in a pre-season tour of Norway, before the start of the 1993/94 season. After leaving Spurs in 1994, David Culverhouse played for the likes of Dagenham and Redbridge, Aveley, Billericay Town and Heybridge Swifts. He would later go into coaching in non-League football, for a while. I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing David about his time at Spurs.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

David: Obviously I’ve got a brother called Ian, who was firstly a pro at Tottenham before being transferred to Norwich City. So it was really a Tottenham household, as my dad is originally from Tottenham. So I would follow my brother’s career, and go to places like Cheshunt, and then also I remember the two cup finals in 81 and 82, and so they are real memories for me. My brother was my idol and Tottenham was in my heart and it was all family orientated, and so to have my brother at Spurs at that time was lucky and fantastic for me. So as a youngster I followed my brother all around the country in a successful Norwich team. So I was slightly more fortunate than others as having someone older in the family who was involved in football was a real bonus.

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

David: I got scouted playing for the county, and John Moncur Senior was there (Spurs’ chief-scout) and me and another lad called Lee Hodges were asked to come down to train as schoolboy footballers at the old White Hart Lane ball court. And I remember first seeing Sol Campbell there that day, as it was also his first training session. So it was then just a Tuesday and Thursday effort from there with games at the weekend, but it’s so difficult to remember how it all transpired. You knew that you were always being assessed and judged, and just hoping that you’d be playing a match on a Saturday. So I think that I had the maturity and physical capabilities to be able to handle it, and I never really looked back. You’re just hoping that you’ll make it into the next rounds, and so those years including the YTS years just went so quickly. So I was fortunate to be offered a two year YTS scheme, where I was amongst some great players, and the club were looking at youth players from the north of England, Scotland and Ireland. So to be selected was a real honour. We were very kindly given first team tickets to attend some of the first team games, and so it just becomes this is what I want and this is what I’m going for. 

My time at the club was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me, but I was just very, very fortunate at the time to be involved in the best youth set-up in the country, and we won so many competitions. So when the YTS comes in and you are going to the club full-time and you are around these superstars, then it just becomes reality, even though you can’t believe that you are there. Sometimes I think that that worked against me, and I questioned myself as to was I good enough, and not just at our level, because you also had the next youth team up as well, as well as the reserves and the first team. However, I’ve got nothing but good memories. In my first year as a YTS I probably wasn’t in for the shout to be offered professional forms, as I was in the South-East Counties Division 2 side. God rest his soul, the big centre-half Del Deanus, who I used to play alongside so much, he was being selected to play for the Division 1 side. However, my progression in the second year of the YTS was immense, and so I managed to get in front of Del and unfortunately they released him and so they offered me that place instead. So I was incredibly grateful. 

By this stage in my career I had injury problems, and I’d had two operations on my knees and it had started to become a lingering doubt in me. And before I had left the football club I had probably had about three or four cartilage operations, after having meniscus tears in my knees. I actually had my first bad injury when I was playing in the South-East Counties League, when I was 15, and so that was always going to be a bit of a problem for me. I had the same surgeon who famously went on to repair Paul Gascoigne’s knee, when I was 15. So the injuries did mean that I finished early, as I retired at 30, and probably should have done a couple of years before that. I did have a good second year at Spurs though, and I started to become more comfortable and confident, but when they called you into that office to say if they were going to offer you a professional contract or release you, it was just like all of your Christmases and lottery wins coming at once. I am still to this day very proud of the fact that I made it as a professional footballer, and although it didn’t go the way that I would have loved it to, to actually have achieved it is a wonderful feeling that no one can take away from you. 

In Anthony Potts’ book Losing My Spurs, a lot of his memories of his time at Spurs resonates with me. I can always remember that day when Ossie Ardiles told me that my contract wasn’t going to be renewed and that I was going to be released, and so you walk away from that football club and the training ground and never look back. But I’ve got nothing but good memories, although I have a few regrets such as the injuries, and also a bit of self doubt. But I was also very fortunate that Ossie Ardiles called me into a Spurs squad that went on a pre-season tour of Norway, which was just a wonderful experience for me. I thought that I was there with the big players now, but then I came back again after that and got injured. So when I came back again I never got a look in again with the first team. But I did make those two appearances for the Spurs first team, and being in a first team squad of players for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, is something that no one can ever take away from me, even though it wasn’t on home soil.

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

David: Glenn Hoddle was definitely one, and he was from Harlow like me, so I would watch him. As a centre-half at Spurs you were encouraged to play football, and I was a massive Franco Baresi fan, and I also liked Ronald Koeman as well. So I liked those defenders. But then when Paul Gascoigne came to Spurs I was in awe of him, and I was lucky to play with him and also against him as well. And I’ve never seen an English footballer as gifted as him. I did like anyone who was in the 1981/82 Spurs teams, but for me it was mainly Glenn Hoddle.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

David: Patsy Holland was definitely one. He saw this centre-half who wasn’t particularly technically gifted, but who had a massive heart and who was determined to succeed. Patsy worked with me to help me to get better as a player, and even though he rightly criticised me on occasions, when I was progressing he would let me know. Patsy knew that I might fall short, but he was always willing me to achieve what I wanted to, and I listened to him a lot, and then in my second year I learnt off of Keith Waldon. Then later on after I progressed up to the reserve side, I learnt from Ray Clemence. But the man who I learnt the most off was Patsy, and I owed him a lot for my progression. I’ve also got to mention my brother Ian, who would always watch me when he could, and also he was a really good player. I tried to take as many of his good attributes as I could, and I would have conversations with him on a weekly basis. We also did lots of pre-season work together.

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

David: I was a centre-half, even though Ossie Ardiles played me at right-back in my first team debut for Spurs, as I was quite quick then. But it was at right sided centre-half that I played at throughout my time in the youth team, at Spurs. 

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

David: Gary Mabbutt was great and courageous, and he could also play football as well, but he was a leader on and off the field. But in my position I never felt that anyone was outstandingly strong at Tottenham, in my opinion. I was just mesmerised by Paul Gascoigne, and you would watch him whenever you could. He was a genius to watch, and it didn’t matter what position you played, everyone was just in awe of what he could do with a football. He was just incredible. So I would say that other than watching the group collectively, I would have to say that Gary Mabbutt and Paul Gascoigne were the two Spurs players that I would watch the most.

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

David: It was brilliant. It goes in a flash, because you are in a bubble that you are very lucky to be in, but you don’t know that until it’s over. I’ve got nothing but good memories of my time at Spurs, and they were a great club to be at. I was lucky enough to be a pro at Spurs for two years, and you kind of have to pinch yourself that it’s happened. So it’s something that I cherish very, very much, and I feel absolutely honoured to have been at Spurs. Even for there to be a picture of me in The Spurs Alphabet, it’s something that will be there for ever. And nobody can take it away from you.  

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

David: Like I say I broke my leg in my first year, in a game against Barnet for the  reserves. So I was out for most of my first year, but the then Spurs manager Terry Venables gave me another year. That was when I really rolled my sleeves up and thought let’s really have a go. I remember playing in a game at St Albans, which was where the reserve team used to play at. I played well in that game, and Ossie Ardiles was there watching the match, and then the next day the first team were off to Norway, and I got a phone call saying that they wanted me to join the team for the trip. I’d got in in front of the likes of David Tuttle and Stuart Nethercott. Then when I got back I got another knee injury, and then after that I got that vibe that it was just about seeing out the remainder of my time at the club. Queens Park Rangers were interested in me, and I went on trial with them for a month, but nothing ever came of it. I then went on trial with Cambridge United, when Gary Johnson was the manager. However, they were in the old fourth division, and as a Tottenham lad I was trying to play football the Tottenham way, whereas they are putting balls into the box, and want me to jump to contest a ball with a six foot five centre-forward.

I was feeling very sorry for myself, but I did have a twist of luck. John Still, who was the manager of Peterborough, had just left his role with Dagenham & Redbridge. He said to me that he wanted me to go to Dagenham & Redbridge, and he said that while he didn’t think that I was quite ready to play for Peterborough, he would watch out for me at Dagenham & Redbridge. So that’s where I went, and they were in the old Vauxhall Conference then, and so even though I was out of league football, I was at the highest level that I could be at. So I stayed with Dagenham for seven years/seasons, and in my second year I had a trial at both Oldham and Macclesfield, but I wasn’t sure that it was for me, and so nothing came of it and so I decided that it was going to only be a semi-professional career in football for me. But I had a wonderful time at Dagenham & Redbridge, and I managed to achieve a lifetime ambition of playing at Wembley Stadium, when we got through to the 1997 FA Trophy final. After leaving Dagenham I went to Billericay Town, and then Braintree Town and then Heybridge Swifts. But I did go back to Braintree where I would be player-manager for half a season. 

So because of injuries I decided to stop playing football, although I was tempted to continue coaching, but by then I’d ended up falling out of love with football. Even non-League was a big commitment for me, and so before I reached my 30th birthday I stopped playing football semi-professionally, and I never looked back. Now I’m just a supporter of Spurs and England.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

David: I think that it would be being offered professional terms at Tottenham, and also making those two appearances for the Spurs first team. It means nothing to anybody else, but I got into a team of 11 players that at the time were representing the first team of Tottenham Hotspur. That was an amazing feeling, and having a brief encounter with the first team was just fantastic. 

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

David: Paul Gascoigne. After he had his bad injury and when he was returning to fitness, the youth team players were involved in football games with him, as some representatives from Lazio had come over to England to look at him. Him at his best, you just couldn’t get the ball off of him, he was just incredible. He had a lot of courage to demand the ball from anyone and everyone, and he had that positive arrogance to demand it. If it didn’t work out the first time then unlike others he would just try it again. So it was just a pleasure to share a pitch with him. 

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

David: One of the early memories was going over to Northern Ireland with the Spurs youth team to compete in the Milk Cup, in 1991. Nicky Barmby, Darren Caskey, Jeff Minton, Lee Hodges and Neil Young were all part of the team. That was a great week, but we played well and worked hard, and we went on to win the competition. Then a year later we competed in an international tournament in Switzerland, and I know that we got through to the final. I think that we won it as I know that there was a penalty shootout in the semi-final, and I scored the winner. Also, Arsenal in the South-East Counties League had a really good team, and it was always between us and them, but we always seemed to get the advantage over them. As a team we had so much ability, and winning matches just became an expectation for us. I was also lucky enough to have got the opportunity to play at most of the Premier League grounds. In my first year in the reserves I had a bad injury, but then after Terry Venables gave me that extra year I came back really fit and ready for that season. I don’t know how some of the players from the Spurs youth team that I was a part of, didn’t go on to have better careers in football. For example Jeff Minton was an unbelievable player, who I thought was destined for the top. 

Could you talk me through your debut for Spurs’ first team in a friendly against Norwegian side Team Nord-Trøndelag? And how did that day come about?

David: Like I say I had been playing in a reserve game at St Albans, and the next thing I know I’ve got a phone call saying that I was going to be going to Norway with the first team, after Ossie Ardiles had watched that game. If I’m going to be honest with you I don’t really remember the game, but I just remembered being elated to be a part of it. It’s in the history books, and that for me is priceless.

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

David: One of them would probably be Nicky Barmby, when we played a team from Lilleshall at Mill Hill, and he was tough and back then he used to play at centre-forward. He ended up becoming a really good friend of mine, but at the time he was very highly rated.

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

David: Neil Young and Lee Hodges. I used to pick both of them up, and also Paul Mahorn who was a real character, in my car on the way to White Hart Lane everyday, as they were all quite local to me. They were all great lads at Spurs.

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

David: Grab it with both hands and never let it go. You need to believe that you deserve to be there, and so you shouldn’t waste that opportunity. Just do what you do best.

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

David: Absolutely. I’m actually very fortunate that a very good friend of mine has four tickets in the tunnel club, so I go to the stadium quite a lot. Nowadays I’m just a big Spurs supporter. I’ve got one last story to tell you though. My first car was an old w reg Ford Fiesta, which was metallic bronze, and it had one electric window. In those days when Tottenham signed new players they put them up in accommodation in hotels. I remember picking up Lee Hodges in Waltham Abbey, and as we came up to these traffic lights and turned around, there was Paul Gascoigne in this big new Mercedes with Paul Stewart in the front, and so Paul Gascoigne winds the window down and says let’s swap cars. So at 17 out I get and go into this brand new Mercedes, while him and Paul Stewart got into my car, and I thought oh no! As he’d done things like this before, and I could remember that he’d driven David Tuttle’s car to Heathrow Airport and left it there. But anyway there I go to pick up a few more of the lads in this Mercedes, and we’re cruising around in this top of the range Mercedes. I got to Mill Hill, and so I was waiting and waiting for Paul Gascoigne, when I heard this car being absolutely thrashed up the high road. We swapped keys and everything, but that car was never the same again! 

My interview with former Spurs player Terry Naylor: 

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC.)


Spurs legend Terence Michael Patrick Naylor made well over 300 appearances for Spurs, during his time at the the club during the 1960s and 1970s. From Islington in north London, Naylor was a very tenacious, hardworking, but also talented full-back during his playing days at Spurs, and he was a defender who the Spurs fans really appreciated, for the work that he did on the pitch, for their team. Not a full-back that opposing players liked to come up against on the pitch by any means, Terry Naylor was a part of the Spurs team that won the 1972 UEFA Cup. He joined Spurs as an amateur player in 1966, and during the early stages of his career with the club he would play for the Youth team in the Senior South-East Counties League, The Metropolitan League with the A team and also the Football Combination League, which he played in for the Spurs reserve side. He worked as a porter at Smithfield Meat Market, not far from where he lived in London, up until he signed professional forms with Spurs in 1969. Naylor made his first team debut in a league game against West Bromwich Albion, in the March of 1970. The versatile defender would go on to become an important player for Spurs over the years, but he would leave Spurs in late 1980, to sign for Charlton Athletic. After spending three years with Charlton, Terry would later play non-League football for the likes of Haringey Borough and Gravesend and Northfleet, before managing Tonbridge Angels for a short time.

This interview looks back on a Spurs fan favourite’s time with the club. It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to interview Terry about his time at Spurs. 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Terry: If you go right the way back, I suppose seriously I can remember when I was playing at the flats on my estate. From when I was seven onwards I always had a football with me, as for whatever reason I loved it so much. Every time that we could we’d have a game of football, after we’d all had our tea. And youngsters back then had more things to do then, like run outs, when you’d run all over the estate. So all of these things makes you become adult a lot quicker, and so you’re clued in to what is happening around you, unlike today.

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

Terry: I joined the club through a man called Fred Rye (he was an ex-boxer), who used to drink with my father down in Clerkenwell. He said to my dad that he knew a fellow and that he could have a chat with him, to see if he could maybe get me a trial with Spurs. So I went down to see him, and there were about eight of them and they were all mates together, and he said “ look son if I get you a trial, don’t let me down. ” So I said “ look Mr.Rye if you get me a trial then I’ll definitely get in. ” What had happened with me was that I had a trial with Millwall, and I got in. And my first game which was at Chadwell Heath, was only my second time outside of London. So I ended up turning up 20 minutes after kick off, as I had no one to drive me there in a car. And so after getting a little bit lost and turning up late I was told that I couldn’t play for the next three games after that, and so I understood that and I apologised. While I was a substitute watching the game, we played Tottenham. I looked at the Tottenham team and I honestly thought to myself that I could get in the team, as although it was a good team, if I had trial with them I think that I’d do well. That stayed in my head and then of course that opportunity arose, and that’s how I took it with both hands. 

The man who had got me the trial at Spurs – Fred Rye, was a great stalwart of Spurs supporters. He used to go on tour with them and everything, and so for him as well I’m glad that everything ended well and that he knew that he’d done the right thing, like I had as well.

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

Terry: I think that I appreciated all football really. Obviously there were your Dave Mackay’s, your Danny Blanchflower’s and Dennis Law’s, who were absolutely brilliant. And at that time you had Stanley Matthews coming to the end of his career, at 48! Which sounds incredible today. So you had your heroes, and really you tried to be like them. You used to take them as role models, and so you’d do your best. Wherever you are in life, if you get a trial then you must standout. So make sure that you do the business, and if you have a bad game then don’t leave it down to other people not feeding you the ball, as if you have a bad game then you have a bad game. So make sure that that’s very rare, as you don’t want too many bad games. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Terry: Well from top to bottom I’ve got say Bill Nicholson. When I first went training at Spurs on Tuesday and Thursday’s, I never used to see Bill. Obviously then I used to captain the Spurs Youth team, and I wasn’t even an apprentice, even though the rest of them were. So I also learnt a lot there, growing up and playing good football against slightly older people, but it was just a privilege to go over there then and play football for Spurs. I’d never really met Bill properly until he signed me. As I say I was the captain of the youth team, who did really well with people like Jimmy Pearce, Terry Reardon, Jimmy Walker and John Collins, who were all terrific players. So after I was too old to play for the Spurs Youth team, I went in the Spurs A team. I remember the day that I played with Dave Mackay for the A team against Chelmsford City, and he said that we’d beat them 10-0! And we beat them 10-0, but that was Dave’s comeback after he’d broken his leg, but Dave was a wonderful role model and a marvellous player. He was a winner, whereas Danny Blanchflower had the same sort of ability as Dave and could read a game superbly well, but he was not as forward as Dave. Dave was robust and also very skilful, which is hard to get.

Going back to your question, Bill Nicholson was my main influence at Spurs. And when I worked at Smithfield Meat Market and played for Spurs during those early years as an amateur, I never saw Bill Nicholson until he sent me a telegram. He sent me this telegram when we were playing Crystal Palace reserves on a Friday night, telling me that he was coming to watch. I was playing and so he wanted to watch me in that match, and we won it 3-1 and so afterwards Bill phoned me up and signed me for Spurs on the Monday. 

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

Terry: Well these things can go for you or against you, but I was a utility player who could play anywhere across the back line, like right-back and left-back, and also centre-back, right and left midfield, and also inside-forward, but never centre-forward! I don’t know why I didn’t ever play at centre-forward as I scored a lot of goals as a youngster. But my sort of thing was fitness and toughness, and I had the will to win which you’ve really got to have. Also, when you’re down you’ve got to lift the people around you and not look at yourself and feel sorry for yourself, so at least have a go during the last 20 minutes of play or whatever, as then you’ve got no recall on yourself later on. 

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from, especially as a young player with the club?

Terry: I think to be the honest with you I’d have to say all of them, as it was such a good side at Spurs. I mean you had Cyril Knowles who was a top left-back and a marvellous player, and also you had Joe Kinnear who was so unlucky as he broke his leg when he was about 19, and he would have been every bit up there with Cyril. You also had Pat Jennings, and if there are two goalkeepers as good as him, then you’ll be lucky to find them, as he was the greatest. So I did play with quality players and what you have to remember is that the better players you play with, the better you will look. So by playing with good players you learn off them, and copy off them good things that they do on the pitch. 

What was it like during your early days at Spurs when you played for the Senior Spurs Youth team in the Senior South East-Counties League? And do you have many memories of playing for that team?

Terry: Funnily enough you can’t think off three games really, and I had 21 games for that team. But it was just a pleasure to play with the youth team players at Spurs, and don’t forget that at that time they were all apprentices, who were getting coached football everyday, whereas I was only getting it twice a week. But my get out with that was that I used to play with the meat market team and so I played with good semi-pros, and at 16/17 I learnt so much off of playing in that team. I could read a game naturally, and so there’s always something that you get that you do really well, and I could read a game, and you can’t give that to people. Bobby Moore had it in bucket loads, Danny Blanchflower had it in bucket loads, and it’s also a terrific skill but you’ve just got it automatically. Going slightly off topic, myself, Tony Want, John Pratt and Jimmy Pearce would have walked into any other First Division side at that time, when we weren’t always regulars for the Spurs first team. 

You would also play for Spurs quite a bit in the A team in the Metropolitan League during the late 1960s. And you were also a part of the Spurs A team that won The Metropolitan League during the 1966/67 season. What are your memories of the Spurs A team days?

Terry: We had three players in the Spurs A team, and they were myself, Bobby Strickland and Roy Woolcott. And they were in the Spurs A team, and I knew them as they trained with me on a Tuesday and Thursday. But then you also had stars like Ron Henry dropping down to the A team a little bit, and also Dave Mackay playing a little bit after coming back from injury. So that was what it was like, but you learnt from it because you had class players and you were learning from them, even if some of them didn’t have the pace anymore, they still had that football brain. Even though I can’t actually remember the A team winning The Metropolitan League, it was lovely to be a part of. Going slightly off topic again about the Spurs days, Steve Perryman was too good really for the A team as a youngster, and Bill Nicholson knew that he was too good not to be in the first team. And another class player was Phil Holder, who was very unlucky not to get more games in the first team for Spurs. One of the treasures that I’ll always hold dear, was that Daily Express five-a-side competition, when we had all home grown players, and we won it. And the other teams all fielded their top players, and yet we won it. And Bill Nicholson turned around afterwards and said that that was the first time that he’d picked the side for that particular competition, and we’d won it!

Are there any memories of your time in the Spurs reserves which really standout to you?

Terry: Many times. I had a bit of arrogance about me in the reserves, as at times I looked down on some of the forwards that were playing against me, but when the game was finished I’d still buy them a drink. But out on that pitch you’ve got no friends, apart from in your own team as you’ve got to be ruthless to succeed in anything. 

From your time playing in the talented Senior Spurs youth team and also the Spurs A team, were there any players who really stood out to you on the pitch, for Spurs?

Terry: Paul Shoemark was one, as he was a very talented player. He had terrific pace and he played for and scored goals for England at youth level, but I don’t think that he got the chances he deserved for Spurs.

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

Terry: It was fantastic, and just the greatest wish that you could have. It was always a privilege to be turning out for Spurs with the greatest supporters in the world, no question. I know that as a youngster I was an Arsenal supporter, as I came from Islington, but after spending 13 years at Tottenham I’m now a real Spurs man. That move to the club worked out so well for me in my life. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Terry: There’s been so many, and there’s been some disappointments as well. But one of the greatest ones was playing AC Milan at home in the UEFA Cup, and they were so arrogant in that match, it was unbelievable. They went 1-0 up and scored first, and I started as Phil Beal was injured. However, we won the match 2-1, and as the final whistle went they were all hugging each other and I couldn’t believe it as they’d just lost. But they thought that no one was going to score in Milan against them in the second leg, as they were going to win. Don’t forget that this was a top team, but we were also a really good team. Anyway we went out there and Alan Mullery scored first and we recorded a 1-1 draw comfortably, but we could have won the game comfortably. But that was a great occasion, although a not so good memory was the 1974 UEFA Cup final (second leg) against Feyenoord, and if Chris McGrath’s early goal had counted then we would have won that match, no question. They got a late goal after Pat Jennings surprisingly dropped the ball, and then as we went in search of an equalising goal, they scored another goal. Of course the scenes in the crowd at that game was what people say was what made Bill Nicholson retire, but I think that Bill, who had been so brilliant with Spurs, could only go so far. But in my opinion he is arguably the greatest manager ever, at least in my time.

Keith Burkinshaw, was another great Spurs manager who I played for. But also his assistant Peter Shreeves helped him a lot. Peter was brilliant technically, and showed Keith all about Tottenham Hotspur. But Keith was so important and influential in getting Spurs out of the Second Division and into the First Division, which was so important to the club. I had many ups and downs with Keith, but I respected him as a man and as a manager. 

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

Terry: George Best, by a mile! You didn’t want to upset George Best, as he could produce that match winning moment just like that. But I must also mention Glenn Hoddle, who had absolutely marvellous skill. His first touch of a football was incredible, and while Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were incredible players, Glenn was in a bit of a league of his own to be honest. He had reading of the game that you just can’t give to people.

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

Terry: I would have to say Tommy Smith. I’ll tell you a little story about him. Well Tony Want was on holiday, and he heard someone talking, so he turned around and saw Tommy Smith walking up this hill to get to his hotel. All of a sudden he slipped and hit this post and a lump of concrete came out of this post and hit him, but Tommy kept on walking as if nothing had happened, but Tony couldn’t believe it. But Tommy Smith was the hardest man that I ever came up against in football, and he was also a great reader of the game. 

From your time in the Spurs first team what are your favourite/standout memories?

Terry: You’ll always remember the games that didn’t go so well, more than the games that did. But luckily there were a lot more of the games that did, and so you took them a little bit for granted. For me there was never any real satisfaction there, with myself. I remember listening to Frank McLintock after Arsenal did the double, and he said that they had worked so hard to do the double, and when they finally did it he had nothing left, as it was like he’d won it and now that’s it. So I can understand what he meant by that. The elation is there in every game until you finish, but when you win a trophy, you just think well next season here we go again, but that’s what you had to do. But some of my favourite memories at Spurs were playing with some great players. I’ve also got to give Eddie Baily a big mention, as like Bill Nicholson he was one part of the club. He was a fantastic coach, and he used to go out to training and draw a line out, and he would hit that line with the ball eight out of ten times, it was fantastic. But he was also a big assistant coach for Bill Nicholson, and he should get more mentions.

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

Terry: I’d definitely say Phil Holder, Steve Perryman, John Pratt and also Tony Want as well. We were all mates, but Phil Holder was probably the best mate that I had at Spurs, but John Pratt, Tony Want and Steve Perryman were also good friends as well. 

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

Terry: I think that the first thing that you’ve got to do is look at the history of that club and realise that you are out there performing to the greatest supporters in the world, bar none. The team is fantastic, but it’s the reception and the crowd that follow the team everywhere who are just marvellous, and I can’t say enough about them really. 

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

Terry: Until I pass away I’ll always be a stalwart of Tottenham. As I say the supporters and the people that I bump in to have always been fantastic. We had great players, but we all had fun together as well. However, when that whistle went we were on it for those supporters.

My piece on Spurs’ Academy graduate Oliver Skipp – the continued rise of one of the most talented footballers that I have ever seen in Academy football:

Oliver Skipp’s rise to the Spurs first team has been excellent to see, having seen the midfielder and Spurs Academy graduate rise through the Academy ranks at the club that he has always supported. The player from Welwyn Garden City, who was brought up in Hertford, has so far made 51 competitive first team appearances for Spurs, and it surely would have been quite a lot more, but for the fact that he missed much of the second half of last season because of injury. The 21 year old is a central midfielder who can play as a defensive midfielder or in a more forward midfield role. He made 23 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in the 2016/17 season, before signing for the club full-time as a first year scholar in the summer of 2017. Yet even though he was one of the most inexperienced players of the Spurs Under 18 side during the 2016/17 season, he looked like he had been playing football at that level for years. An excellent reader of the game and someone whose confidence on the ball was wonderful to see, Skipp was already able to run games from midfield at that stage of his career, at that high Academy level.

Starting a decent number of matches for the Spurs Under 18 side during 2016/17 and 2017/18 in central defence, I never saw Skipp have a bad game in that position. In fact I thought that he was excellent and very assertive in defence, with his fantastic reading of the game very apparent. He has also shown good leadership qualities ever since I first saw him play for Spurs, and he would always point things out and give instructions to players, regardless if they were second year scholars, when he was still not a scholar himself. He even made his debut for the Spurs Under 23 side as a schoolboy footballer during the 2016/17 season, as a late substitute. No schoolboy footballer has since gone on to feature for the Spurs Under 23 side since Oliver Skipp made his competitive debut for the side. A good passer of a football who is always looking to pass the ball forward, Skipp made great strides during his first season of scholarship with Spurs, when he was mainly with the Spurs Under 23 side, who he made a really good number of appearances for.

In 2017/18 I saw Oliver boss matches in midfield against sides who had older first team players playing for their Under 23 side. Skipp was a regular for the Spurs Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League that season, and he would also feature for the Under 18 side on occasions, where his class and experience of already playing for the Under 23 side really showed. A brave player whose positioning has always been very good, he would always give more than 100% in every Academy game that I saw him play in for Spurs, and I was lucky enough to watch almost every game that he played for the Under 18’s, 19’s and 23’s, live. Providing that link between the defence and the forwards, Oliver’s surging forward runs at pace and with skill, that he would often go on at Academy level for Spurs were brilliant. He reminds me quite a bit of a player that he came up against at Under 18 level, in West Ham United’s Declan Rice. Both such assertive players in that midfield role, both are so good at carrying the ball forward from deep with skill and are also able to glide past players, while also being such tenacious defensive midfield players at the same time. I have often thought that there are a lot of similarities between both players, even though Declan Rice is older than Oliver Skipp.

The 2018/19 pre-season was a good one for Oliver, who impressed with the first team in pre-season friendlies. Skipp would make some appearances early on in the season for the Spurs Under 23 side, but it was a season that he would often train with the first team, and he did make a good number of competitive appearances for the Spurs first team, as a then second year scholar with the club. Then the following 2019/20 season saw the England youth international who has represented his country right up to Under 21 level, spend the whole of that season with the Spurs first team (he made 11 competitive appearances for them). On loan with Norwich City for the 2020/21 season, where he helped them to win the Championship, Oliver made 47 competitive appearances for Norwich, becoming such an important team player for them. And then we get to the 2021/22 season, the season just gone. Given a regular first team midfield role by the then Spurs head coach Nuno Espírito Santo, Skipp was impressive and he would keep his place in the side after Antonio Conte took over as the new head coach at the club.

Unfortunately Oliver missed much of the second half of the 2021/22 season because of injury, which was a real shame. However, I do hope that he is able to return to the first team for the upcoming pre-season, as I believe he has so much more to give, and so much potential for further improvement. This technical, energetic, tenacious and highly skilful midfielder, in my eyes has all the attributes to become a Spurs great, and a future England international too. And I’m hoping that Oliver can continue to progress really well, and I also do believe that he will be very important for Spurs over what will be a 2022/23 season which has so many games to play.

Jamie Bowden – A piece on the Spurs Academy midfielder, the season just gone and my hopes for him during the 2022/23 season:

Jamie Bowden made 25 competitive appearances on loan at Oldham Athletic in League Two during the first half of the 2021/22 season. A local lad to Tottenham, the skilful Spurs midfielder scored one goal and provided five assists for Oldham, during his time in Lancashire. A Republic of Ireland youth international, who has represented them at Under 19 level, the 20 year old central midfielder who turns 21 next month, is a player who has always impressed me at Academy level for Spurs. Signing scholarship forms with the club that he supports, in the summer of 2017, Bowden had already made his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side during the 2016/17 season. He made a really good number of appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in his first year of scholarship with Spurs in 2017/18, and he had some excellent games. Bowden continued to improve during the following 2018/19 season, when he provided a really good number of assists over the course of the season, as well as stepping up to play for the Spurs Under 23 side on occasions, although he did miss quite a bit of that season because of injury.

During the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons Jamie was with the Spurs Under 23 side full-time, and he would become an important player for Wayne Burnett’s side, who he would often captain. Bowden also played for and captained the Spurs Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League, during 2019/20. Going out on his first loan move during the season just gone, the midfielder who can play in a defensive-midfield role, or further forward in midfield, in my opinion did well at Oldham in the games that I saw him start. He was a regular starter for them, and he showed the creative side of his game, as well as the hardworking side to his game and also what a team player he is. Bowden’s passing range is excellent, and this stood out to me ever since I first saw him play for Spurs at Academy level. The player who has been at Spurs for many years, is a very intelligent midfield player, with really fine reading of the game and also that ability, similar to Harvey White, to be able to control the tempo of matches with his ability on the ball. Jamie has shown at Academy level that he is a really classy midfield player, who is more than capable of making that decisive forward pass, to unlock the defence of the opposing team.

Although he can play both the defensive midfield role as well as a more forward role in midfield, Bowden has the pace and also the footballing maturity to his game to play both roles really well. Tactically speaking I’ve always really appreciated his fine decision making on the field, and also the way that he conducts himself during matches. He carries the ball forward well from midfield, and his weight of pass and ability to find a teammate in space, is very good in my opinion. From the matches that I was able to watch him start for Oldham Athletic, he was always looking to receive the ball and get on it, in order to try and create chances or to get the ball forward to support the forwards, which I thought that he did well at in certain matches. He also showed good tenacity, as he played the game at at good intensity. The style of play in League Two for many teams is quite different to the way that Spurs play at Academy level, so appreciating that I thought that the midfielder adapted well in that sense. He did return to Spurs in the January of 2022, and Jamie would make seven appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side during the second half of the Premier League 2 season, scoring one goal and providing two assists.

The player who went on to make the bench once for Spurs’ first team in the Premier League during the second half of the 2021/22 season, showed in one Premier League 2 fixture away to Liverpool Under 23’s, how talented and how influential a player he is. In this particular game Spurs lost 7-1 to a good Liverpool side, but following Jamie Bowden’s introduction for the start of the second half, he demonstrated his quality on the ball, excellent vision for a forward pass and also the defensive side of his game. It was a very good all-round performance in the second half from the Londoner, who was undoubtedly Spurs’ best player from a disappointing game overall. Having traveled with Spurs’ first team on tour before, and having also featured for them in some pre-season friendlies, Bowden has first team experience. This pre-season, Spurs’ first team are scheduled to play four pre-season friendlies. As a Spurs fan who has seen Jamie progress up through the Academy ranks at the club, I really hope that he gets a chance to impress Antonio Conte and the first team coaching staff in pre-season, and hopefully in some of the matches. As impressing in pre-season in matches against good sides, can lead to great things for players who are still at an early stage in their footballing career.

I would like to wish Jamie all the very best of luck for pre-season and the upcoming 2022/23 season. He is a player who I really think has a very good future in the game, and one who I also feel is capable of achieving great things in football.

Farewell and good luck Joshua Oluwayemi:

Spurs’ Academy goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi left the club on the 2nd of June, following the end of his professional contract with the club. Oluwayemi had been at the Spurs Academy for around 12 years. During that time the talented goalkeeper would feature regularly for Spurs’ Academy sides, and since 2017 Joshua has featured for both the Spurs Under 18 side and Under 23 side regularly. Born in London, the 21 year old made the most competitive appearances as a goalkeeper for the Spurs Under 23 side during 2021/22, when he made 18 appearances. Oluwayemi is a goalkeeper with great reflexes, and someone who commands his penalty area really well, in addition to constantly providing encouragement to his defence. Also, Joshua’s distribution and composure on the ball has always been good, and he is also good at rushing out of his box to clear the ball. The former England youth international made his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side in the August of the 2017/18 season, as a substitute in a Premier League South game with Leicester City. He would make one more appearance for the Spurs Under 18 side during the remainder of that season, as Joshua kept a clean-sheet in a 5-0 league win over Aston Villa.

It was during the following 2018/19 season when Joshua became the first choice goalkeeper for the Spurs Under 18 side. He was such an important player for Matt Wells’ very talented side, who came so close to winning the 2018/19 Premier League South. Oluwayemi made some incredible and very important saves during that season, and he also saved a really good number of penalties. I’ll always remember a brilliant save that Joshua made in the away league fixture with Arsenal, during that season, when he was able to tip an effort which seemed destined to be going into the top left hand corner of the goal, onto one of his posts. It was an outstanding save. In the seasons that followed and after he signed professional forms with Spurs, Joshua Oluwayemi would after time become the first choice goalkeeper for the Spurs Under 23 side, for almost two seasons. He also went out on a loan to non-League side Maidenhead United, for a short time, before returning to Spurs during the 2020/21 season. 

I also remember well when Joshua really impressed at the prestigious pre-season Tournoi Europeen, in France, when he had three very good matches. Very good at saving efforts from close range, Oluwayemi has in my opinion been very consistent for Spurs at Under 18 and Under 23 level over the years, and it has been great to watch him get better and better since he signed scholarship forms with the club. The goalkeeper who was called-up to the senior Nigeria national team, for an international friendly with Mexico in the July of 2021, is in my opinion someone who will have a very good career in football. Academy goalkeepers at Spurs have always been very good, ever since I first starting watching Spurs’ Academy games. And Joshua Oluwayemi is someone who I’ve always thought very highly of, and I’d like to wish him all the very best of luck for the future. Farewell and good luck, Joshua.

My end of season player reviews of the Spurs Under 18 side (2021/22): 

The Spurs Under 18 side of 2021/22 competed in the Under 18 Premier League South, the Under 18 Premier League Cup and the FA Youth Cup, as well as in the Under 17 Premier League Cup, which they reached the final of. Stuart Lewis’ side finished in ninth place in the Under 18 Premier League South, while they reached the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup, but were knocked out of the Under 18 Premier League Cup at the group stages. Spurs had quite an inexperienced side for much of the season, many of whom were playing their first full season at Under 18 level, hence the Spurs Under 18 side was mainly made up of first year scholars and schoolboy footballers. However, when you consider this, and also the fact that Spurs still managed to record some impressive results over the course of the season, I think that the whole experience of this season will be invaluable for the first year scholars, going in to next season. Stuart Lewis’ side started the season away at Fulham in the Premier League South, a game that they lost 4-2. However, they recorded some good results during the season, with arguably their best performance coming in the FA Youth Cup, when they won 6-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion, at Hotspur Way.

Other good performances/results include the Spurs Under 18 side impressively winning 5-3 away to West Ham United in the league, a game in which Spurs showed great character in as they were losing 2-0 early on in that match. There was also a 5-1 win for the Spurs Under 18 side in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, against an impressive Ipswich Town side. There were some difficult matches last season, but this is a very talented group of players and the schoolboy footballers who stepped-up, like midfielder Han Willhoft-King, Archie Chaplin, Sam Amo-Ameyaw and Tyrese Hall showed real quality and promise. Then there were the first and second year scholars. Forward/CAM Jamie Donley was in excellent form for the Spurs Under 18 side over the course of the season, scoring and assisting a really good number of goals, despite missing two months of the season because of injury. And the whole squad has real quality, and I’m sure that they’ll improve even more during 2022/23. A number of Spurs’ first and second year scholars (it was a Spurs Under 19 side) traveled to the Netherlands, to compete in the end of season Terborg Tournament, in the May of 2022, officially bringing the 2021/22 season to a close. It was a real pleasure to watch the matches that the Spurs Under 18 side were involved in during the season just gone, and I’m already looking forward to the start of the 2022/23 Spurs Academy season.

The squad:

Goalkeepers:

Luca Gunter: England youth international Luca Gunter made 11 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side over the course of 2021/22. A tall and commanding goalkeeper with really good reflexes, the England youth international who previously played for Queens Park Rangers, started a good number of matches for Stuart Lewis’ side in succession. He also made the bench for Spurs’ Under 23 side on occasions throughout the season. Luca Gunter was an ever present for the Spurs Under 18 side in the FA Youth Cup last season, and he was very good for Spurs in that competition, especially in the matches against Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Gunter also had a really good game for the Spurs Under 18 side in an Under 18 Premier League Cup game against Stoke City, at Hotspur Way last year, when he kept a clean-sheet. Next season the Enfield born goalkeeper will be in his second year of scholarship with the club (he signed a professional contract with Spurs during the season just gone), and I would imagine that he will start a lot of games for the Spurs Under 18 side, the Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League and maybe even make some appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, as well.

Adam Hayton: Luton born goalkeeper and second year scholar Adam Hayton made some tremendous saves over the course of the 2021/22 season. He made 12 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, he also made the bench for the Under 23 side on occasions, and he was also part of the Spurs Under 19 side that competed at the Terborg Tournament. The 18 year old who had made some competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side during 2020/21, was a regular starter for Stuart Lewis’ side during the first part of the season, before Luca Gunter and Aaron Maguire returned to the squad. The vocal goalkeeper had two brilliant matches against Reading in the Premier League South, and he also had two very good games against Chelsea. While part of the Spurs Under 19 side that competed at the Terborg Tournament, Adam did well again, and he would have one very good game against Belgian side KRC Genk. Adam will officially be part of the Spurs Under 23 side next season, but he will also still be eligible to represent the Under 18 side, and also the Spurs Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League.

Aaron Maguire: From Leytonstone in London, goalkeeper and second year scholar Aaron Maguire (17) is a Republic of Ireland Under 19 international, who has also represented England at youth international level in the past. Maguire is always alert inside his penalty area and he is very capable of making spectacular saves. Aaron made seven competitive appearances (all in the Premier League South) for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, keeping one clean-sheet from those matches. Aaron also started for a Spurs Under 17 side in the final of the 2021/22 Under 17 Premier League Cup against Manchester City, a match that he made a number of impressive saves in. At the end of season Terborg Tournament Maguire started two of the matches for a Spurs Under 19 side, and he had one excellent match for them against Brazilian side Fluminense. Maguire was then called-up for the Republic of Ireland Under 19 side, for two friendly matches with Iceland, in early June. Maguire will officially be part of the Spurs Under 23 squad next season, in 2021/22, but will still be eligible to play for the Under 18 side, and also the Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League.

Defenders:

Will Andiyapan: Wales Under 17 international Will Andiyapan made 17 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22. The versatile defender who can play in central defence or at full-back, was a first year scholar for Spurs during the season just gone. Born in Watford, and previously with Arsenal, Will Andiyapan made the vast majority of his appearances for Stuart Lewis’ side in the Premier League South, where I was impressed with how he defended. Andiyapan reads the game well, has good pace and is a good tackler. He had a very good game in a heavy defeat to Chelsea in the Premier League South early on in the season, and the player who would provide two assists last season, started a lot of matches during the start of the season. Will also made seven appearances for the Wales Under 17 side in 2021/22. He also started the final two Premier League South matches of the season for the Spurs Under 18 side. The 17 year old defender will be a second year scholar with Spurs next season, in 2022/23.

Alfie Dorrington: Enfield born England Under 17 international Alfie Dorrington is a skilful centre-half with real ability on the ball, and he likes to go on surging forward forward runs out of defence. A first year scholar during 2021/22, Alfie Dorrington made an impressive total of 29 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season. Dorrington is very good at making blocks, keeps good positioning during matches and is also good in the air. He scored one goal and provided one assist last season as a first year scholar, and he also played for the Spurs Under 19 side at the end of season Terborg Tournament. Alfie is a footballing centre-half and he showed this over the course of the 2021/22 season. Dorrington made the bench for the Spurs Under 18 side on one occasion in 2021/22, in a Premier League South game against Crystal Palace. Some of the impressive performances that Alfie had last season, includes the two league appearances and wins over West Ham United, the FA Youth Cup third round tie win against Ipswich Town and also an away Premier League South win against Reading. I’m a big fan of Alfie Dorrington, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him make his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 23 side next season.

Jordan Hackett: England Under 18 international Jordan Hackett made 14 competitive appearances (he also featured for the Spurs Under 23 side in pre-season) for the Spurs Under 18 side in the 2021/22 season, as well as making the bench for the Spurs Under 23 side on one occasion last season. The Hammersmith born left-back is a very good passer/crosser of a ball, and he started the season well by starting the first three Premier League South matches of the season for the Spurs Under 18 side. However, Jordan picked up an injury playing for the England Under 18 side in a match against Wales, and he wouldn’t return to playing for Spurs until the November of 2021. The versatile defender who can also play at centre-half, started both of Spurs’ wins in the FA Youth Cup last season. Jordan was a second year scholar in 2021/22. It was announced by Spurs on the 2nd of June that Jordan had left the club after his scholarship had come to an end.

Charlie Sayers: Left footed centre-half Charlie Sayers has good distribution, is assertive in his defending and is also a fine reader of the game. After joining Spurs on trial in the November of 2021 from National League side Southend United, Charlie signed for Spurs on a permanent basis during the following month from the Essex club. The Southend born defender who is also capable of playing at left-back, actually made all his competitive appearances for Spurs at Academy level at centre-half last season. The 18 year old second year scholar signed his first professional contract with Spurs last season, and in my opinion he had some really impressive games for Spurs at Academy level. Sayers made 14 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in all competitions, scoring two goals. He also made two Premier League 2 appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22, impressing greatly in a home 1-1 draw with Leeds United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Charlie Sayers also traveled with a Spurs Under 19 side to the Terborg Tournament, and he did really well for them in the opening game against Belgian side KRC Genk. However, he appeared to have picked up an injury in that game, and unfortunately he didn’t make any further appearances for Spurs at that tournament.

In 2022/23 Charlie Sayers will officially be part of the Spurs Under 23 squad, and he will also likely be eligible to play for the Spurs Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League.

Brandon Bryan-Waugh: Right-back Brandon Bryan-Waugh (17) was a player who I was really impressed with last season. Also capable of playing in central defence and at left-back, the Goodmayes born defender who has represented England at youth international level in the past, is a really good tackler who defends his side of the pitch really well, but he can also bring the ball forward well. Bryan-Waugh made 20 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, and he also made the bench for the Spurs Under 23 side on one occasion. One game that really stands out for me was Spurs’ 5-3 Premier League South win against West Ham United, when Brandon defended so well at right-back during that match, as well as bringing the ball up the pitch really well also. He started all of Spurs’ FA Youth Cup matches last season, and hopefully next season the player who is the second cousin of former Spurs player Aaron Lennon, will make even more appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side as he enters his second season of scholarship.

Jahziah Linton: Left-back Jahziah Linton (17) was in his first year of scholarship with the club in 2021/22, and the London born footballer made 19 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. Linton also made some appearances for a Spurs Under 19 side at the end of season Terborg Tournament. A left-back who really likes to get forward down the left flank and who also links up well with the winger who is playing on the left flank, is a hardworking and solid defender. Jahziah got regular minutes for the Spurs Under 18 side in the Under 18 Premier League South last season, and he will be hoping to get even more minutes for them in 2022/23. I could also see Jahziah making his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 23 side next season, as there aren’t a lot of players who play at left-back at that level for the Spurs Under 23 side.

Maxwell McKnight: Right-back Maxwell McKnight often played as a winger on the right flank for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22, but he did also start matches at right-back as well. The first year scholar is a player who I really thought did very well for Stuart Lewis’ side last season, and at both right-back and as a winger Maxwell really likes to get forward, both with and without the ball. He is very fast and technical, and in some ways he reminds me of former Spurs Academy winger Anthony Georgiou, as he is also a very good crosser of a football, and also a very hardworking player. The Colchester born former West Ham United Academy player provided the joint most assists (nine) in the Spurs Under 18 side last season, and he also scored two goals from 31 competitive appearances at Under 18 level. Maxwell is a player who I personally think could become a very important player for the Spurs Under 18 side in the UEFA Youth League next season, as he enters his second season of scholarship with the club. He is very direct with the ball, and I am sure that the Spurs fans will really enjoy watching him play in matches next season, at Academy level. 

Midfielders:

Dante Cassanova: Captaining the Spurs Under 18 side on a good number of occasions early on in the season, versatile second year scholar and defensive-midfielder Dante Cassanova made 14 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22. The London born footballer who can also play at full-back, is a very good set-piece taker and he would provide two assists last season for the Spurs Under 18 side. Cassanova also made two competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, providing an assist in a match against West Ham United. Dante also played some Under 18 Premier League North matches for Derby County in 2021/22.

Jez Davies: Formerly of Leyton Orient, midfielder Jez Davies is a midfield player who likes to go on skilful surging forward runs with the ball, from midfield. As a second year scholar in 2021/22, Jez Davies made eight competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season (he also featured for the Spurs Under 23 side in pre-season), scoring two goals and providing two assists. The 17 year old also made one appearance for the Spurs Under 23 side, scoring an equalising goal for them in a 1-1 draw with Leeds United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the February of this year. Davies came off the bench in the second half of the Spurs Under 18 side’s 5-1 FA Youth Cup third round tie with Ipswich Town last year, to impressively score two goals. I thought that the footballer from Hackney, who is also capable of playing in central defence, impressed when he played during the second half of the season. It was announced by Spurs on the 2nd of June that Jez had left the club after his scholarship had come to an end.

Rio Kyerematen: Contributing with seven goals and six assists for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22, midfielder Rio Kyerematen (16) had a very good first season of scholarship with Spurs. Highly skilful and with a real eye for goal, the London born footballer is versatile and he can also play matches as a CAM. Rio made his debut for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2020/21, but during the season just gone he made a total of 27 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. Always looking to go forward with the ball, the England Under 17 international (he provided two assists for England last season) also made his debut for the Spurs Under 23 side last season, as a second half substitute against Crystal Palace in the Premier League 2. Kyerematen had some very good games for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, and the player who also traveled with a Spurs Under 19 side to compete in the end of season Terborg Tournament, also captained the Under 18 side on occasions. Rio likes to take players on for skill with the ball, and he is a very good striker of a football, who is clinical in and around the penalty area. It was a definitely a season for the first year scholar to be proud of, and I look forward to seeing him play for Spurs again next season.

Oliver Turner: The Welwyn Garden City born midfielder and second year scholar didn’t actually make any competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22. Turner did however, start for the Spurs Under 18 side in a pre-season friendly with Ipswich Town before the start of the 2021/22 season. It was announced by Spurs on the 2nd of June that Oliver had left the club after his scholarship had come to an end.

Khalon Haysman: Former England youth international Khalon Haysman (18) is a versatile and technical midfield player who also started matches on the left flank as a winger, last season. Khalon impressed with the Spurs Under 23 side in pre-season, and he had a really fine game against non-League side Ramsgate last July, a game that he scored a well taken goal in. The Enfield born second year scholar made 12 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22, scoring two goals and providing one assist. Khalon is a skilful player who likes to get forward with the ball, and he also has an eye for goal. He last featured for the Spurs Under 18 side in an FA Youth Cup third round tie with Ipswich Town, in the December of 2021. It was announced by Spurs on the 2nd of June that Khalon had left the club after his scholarship had come to an end.

Axel Piesold: The first year scholar who missed most of the 2020/21 season because of injury, didn’t make any match-day squads for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22. The Finsbury Park born midfielder was playing some matches for non-League side Dunstable Town, towards the end of last season.

George Abbott: A tenacious, hardworking and skilful midfield player, first year scholar George Abbott (16) is a player who can strike a football really well. Born in Islington and brought up in Muswell Hill, George primarily plays as a defensive-midfielder, but he can also play at right-back, a role which I thought that he did well at last season, when he played there on occasions. He made 15 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, scoring two goals and providing one assist. George also featured for a Spurs Under 19 side at the end of season Terborg Tournament. I personally thought that the first year scholar had a fine debut full-time season with the Spurs Under 18 side, and some games that really standout to me, was the home league game against West Bromwich Albion, when George Abbott had an excellent game, also the away league game against Chelsea, when he played at right-back, also stands out. As does his performance against De Graafschap at the Terborg Tournament. George will be a second year scholar with Spurs next season, in 2021/22. 

Billy Heaps: An excellent striker of a football, versatile midfielder Billy Heaps has good pace, and he carries the ball forward well with good skill, whether he is playing in midfield or out wide. Called-up for England at youth international level in the past, the Stevenage born first year scholar made 19 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22, scoring two goals and providing three assists. Heaps didn’t make his Premier League South debut for the Spurs Under 18 side until the November of 2021, but during the second half of last season the former Stevenage Academy player made a lot of appearances for Stuart Lewis’ side, and he had some really good games, both in central midfield and out wide on the flanks. Billy also traveled with a Spurs Under 19 side to the end of season Terborg Tournament in late May, and he even started one of the matches at right-back. In addition to his skill and eye for goal, Billy Heaps has also shown in games in 2021/22, that he is a really good passer of a football, with fine vision for a forward pass. 

Forwards:

Renaldo Torraj: With great balance and low centre of gravity, Albania Under 19 international Renaldo Torraj scored two goals from 15 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22. The London born winger, who can play on either flank, or as a right-back, is a very direct player who likes to go forward with the ball at pace. Renaldo also likes to try to beat the goalkeeper from distance, and he scored an excellent goal from distance last season. The second year scholar didn’t make any additional appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side after March of this year, but the talented winger has since been called-up to represent the Albania Under 19 side in June of 2022. It was announced by Spurs on the 2nd of June that Renaldo had left the club after his scholarship had come to an end.

Riley Owen: Winger Riley Owen made 20 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22, scoring three goals and providing two assists. Born in London, and brought up in Bromley, Riley was one of the youngest first year scholars in 2021/22, having his birthday in August. However, he still made a really good number of appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side during the season just gone. Owen has a good turn of pace and has great skill and creativity on the ball, and he also has an eye for goal. He scored a brace in a 3-2 Premier League South loss to Birmingham City (away) early on in 2021/22, and he also scored a good headed goal against West Bromwich Albion later on in the season. Often starting matches on the left flank during last season, Riley also started matches as a CAM on occasions. The former Arsenal Academy player will be hoping to make even more appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2022/23.

Roshaun Mathurin: Second year scholar Roshaun Mathurin featured as a substitute in the first two Premier League South matches of the season for the Spurs Under 18 side, after featuring in some matches for the Spurs Under 23 side in pre-season. A very skilful winger who is more than capable of beating players with great skill, Roshaun scored a goal in a 7-2 home Premier League South loss to Chelsea in the August of 2021, but very unfortunately he picked up a season ending injury, not long after that match. Hopefully Roshaun will be able to get some minutes for the Spurs Under 23 side, next pre-season (2022/23).

Thomas Bloxham: With his clever twists and turns and excellent balance, it was a season of good strides for first year scholar Thomas Bloxham, in 2021/22. The Republic of Ireland Under 17 international who was called-up to represent Ireland last season for the first time, would make 27 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, scoring five goals and providing one assist. A winger who is capable of playing on either flank, as a CAM and as a centre-forward, Bloxham enjoyed a really good bit of form in early 2022, and he had an excellent game against West Bromwich Albion in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. A very technical player, Thomas is always looking to go forward with the ball, and he does like to try and work the goalkeeper, as well. Unfortunately Thomas picked up an injury towards the end of the 2021/22 season, in Spurs’ Under 18 side’s last Premier 

League South match of the season. However, hopefully he will be back soon, for the start of pre-season.

Jaden Williams: This was a first season of scholarship that forward Jaden Williams should be proud of. The Harrow born centre-forward impressed greatly with his off the ball movement, as well as his goals and assists. Jaden scored 13 goals and provided eight assists from 28 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. Jaden also made five appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, in the Premier League 2. The first year scholar scored five goals and provided two assists in a  brilliant 7-0 home Premier League South win over Birmingham City last season. Williams likes to make runs in behind in the defence, is very good inside the penalty area and is also a clinical finisher. This was a very good debut full-time season for Jaden, who also showed his versatility by starting matches out wide on the flanks. The player who captained the Spurs Under 18 side on two occasions in the Premier League South last season, had some very good games, including in the FA Youth Cup. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jaden starts a good number of games for the Spurs Under 23 side next season, alongside Jamie Donley.

Jamie Donley: The top scorer for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22 with 17 competitive goals (he missed two months of the season because of injury), forward and first year scholar Jamie Donley also provided nine assists for the team, from 24 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. Born in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Jamie has grown up in England, and has been at Spurs for almost ten years. A tall and physical forward, who is also a good athlete. Donley often started matches as a CAM for Stuart Lewis’ side during the season just gone, and this was where he was able to showcase his excellent vision for a pass and passing ability, in a very Harry Kane-esque way. In good form for England Under 17’s in 2021/22, Jamie Donley was also very good in front of goal, of course. He did also start a good number of games at centre-forward, and he is a very clinical finisher who scores a real variety of goals, including some really spectacular goals. Donley’s work rate is outstanding, and in some ways he does remind me of Troy Parrott when he was a first year scholar. Jamie also made three competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, providing one assist. He would also feature for a Spurs Under 19 side at the end of season Terborg Tournament.

My goal of the season: Jamie Donley’s excellent bicycle kick goal against West Bromwich Albion in the October of 2021. A corner-kick which was delivered from Dante Cassanova into the West Brom penalty area was met by Donley, whose excellent overhead kick went into the top right hand corner of goalkeeper Ronnie Hollingshead’s goal. It was a truly special goal. 

My save of the season: Adam Hayton’s excellent save to stop Reading Under 18’s player Harry Murphy’s effort in a 3-2 Premier League South home win for Spurs, in the September of 2021. After receiving a pass on the right side of the Spurs penalty area, the Reading player hit a really good effort across the goal, which was excellently saved by Adam Hayton at full stretch, as he made the save.

My game of the season: Spurs Under 18’s 5-3 West Ham United. It was a performance of great character from the Spurs Under 18 side that saw them respond to West Ham going 2-0 up early on in the first half of this Premier League South match at Little Heath, in the April of 2022. The Spurs side would respond excellently, and a brace from Jamie Donley, and goals from Jaden Williams, Billy Heaps and Maxwell McKnight would make sure of the win for Spurs. In my opinion it was Spurs’ best of the season at this level.

The Superhotspur Spurs Under 18’s player of the season (2021/22): Jamie Donley. Often starting matches as a CAM, the England Under 17 international was in my opinion excellent throughout the 2021/22 season. Donley’s excellent Harry Kane-esque passing ability and goalscoring, as well as his link-up play and superb off the ball work made him one of the best players in the Premier League South in 2021/22, and this was made even more impressive by the fact that he missed two months of the season with an injury. This was a season that the first year scholar should be very proud of. Scoring 17 goals and assisting nine goals in your first season full-time with a club for an Under 18 side, is very impressive.

My end of season player reviews of the Spurs Under 23 side (2021/22):

After being unable to write an end of season review for the Spurs Under 23 side for last season (2020/21) because of being unable to go to matches, this season my end of season review of the Spurs Under 23 side returns. During the 2021/22 season Spurs’ Under 23 side finished in seventh place in the Premier League 2 Division One, with 37 points from 26 matches. Wayne Burnett’s side started the season well, but it was an eight game unbeaten run which started in October, which in my opinion was when they were at their very best. Dilan Markanday was scoring regularly, and Harvey White was so creative in midfield, but then there was also Nile John and Alfie Devine, who were both scoring and assisting goals. While the Spurs defence put in some really good performances, against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United. A number of players left the side during the January transfer window however, (including Jack Clarke, who joined Sunderland on loan) with Dilan Markanday leaving the club to join Blackburn Rovers on a permanent transfer. In addition to Dilan Markanday leaving the club, Nile John left to join Charlton Athletic on loan, while Harvey White was promoted to the first team on an almost permanent basis, and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster missed much of the second half of the season because of injury.

When you consider that the side which started the first half of the season was quite significantly different to the side that complete the second half of the season, I thought once again that this was another good season for Wayne Burnett’s side, who did well throughout the season. Spurs recorded some memorable wins over the  course of the season, such as winning twice against Manchester City in the Premier League 2. They also competed in the Papa Johns Trophy during the season just gone, and they finished in third place in group 16, and they won 4-3 in a brilliant game against Stevenage’s first team, at the Lamex Stadium, earlier on in the season. The team made good strides during the season and although they had some difficult matches during the second half of the season, such as the one when they lost 7-1 away to Liverpool, I really think that this was a good season overall. During the following long piece I will be writing on all of the players who were a part of the Spurs Under 23 side/development side during the 2021/22 season. I will also be including some highlights of the season, at the bottom of the article. It’s been a real pleasure to follow the team again, home and away during the season just gone.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: 

Joshua Oluwayemi: The 21 year old goalkeeper made 18 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 23 side during the 2021/22 season. The third year professional who made the bench for the Spurs first team in a pre-season friendly against Colchester United last summer, made the most appearances as a goalkeeper for Wayne Burnett’s side this season. Oluwayemi, who was only last year called-up to represent the senior Nigeria national team, was consistent for Spurs throughout the 2021/22 season, in my opinion. The London born goalkeeper who is very composed on the ball as well as being a very good goalkeeper, impressed a lot in Premier League 2 games against the likes of Arsenal (away) and Blackburn Rovers (at home), this season. Joshua is a very good goalkeeper, who I have always been impressed with, and he is capable of making spectacular saves, but the penalty saving specialist is also good with his distribution as well. He spent some of the previous 2020/21 season out on loan with non-League side Maidenhead United, and it will be interesting to see whether or not he goes out on loan again next season, in 2022/23. 

Thimothée Lo-Tutala: The France Under 19 international wasn’t always the first choice goalkeeper for the Spurs Under 23 side, in 2021/22. However, when he was selected to start matches, he did really well in my opinion. Lo-Tutala made 11 appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side during 2021/22, keeping four clean-sheets and saving one penalty kick this season. The Paris born goalkeeper also made two Premier League South appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side, keeping one clean-sheet from those two appearances. The 19 year old goalkeeper also became a regular for France’s Under 19 side during the season just gone, and he will be hoping to be selected for France at the UEFA European Under 19 Championship, this summer. I didn’t see Thimothée not do well whenever he started matches this season, and I was really impressed with how well he did in his first full season with the Spurs Under 23 side. The former Brentford Academy player had probably his best two games against Leicester City Under 23’s (away) when he saved a penalty in a 4-1 win, and then in a 3-0 home win over a very good Manchester City side, at Hotspur Way.

Thimothée commands his penalty area so well, and he is a very confident goalkeeper who is reliable in goal, and capable of making really good saves. His positioning is also consistently very good. Lo-Tutala certainly did well during 2021/22, for club and country. 

Isak Solberg: Norway Under 19 international Isak Solberg made the bench on four occasions for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, but he didn’t actually make any appearances for the side. He did make one competitive appearance for the Spurs Under 18 side last season, while in his second year of scholarship with the club. Isak was formerly with Byrne FK, in Norway, prior to joining Spurs on a two year scholarship for the start of the 2019/20 season.

Kacper Kurylowicz: The 20 year old goalkeeper didn’t actually feature for the Spurs Under 23 side during the 2021/22 season. Kurylowicz did however, join Isthmian Premier Division side Potters Bar Town on loan for the second half of the season, where he made seven starts for Potters Bar Town (I watched their league game against Bishop’s Stortford, which he impressed in). A goalkeeper who I’ve always thought very highly of, Kacper is a former Poland youth international, and as a goalkeeper I’ve always had, and continue to have high hopes for him in the game. Very good at closing down the angles inside his penalty area, and at rushing out of his goal, the Luton born footballer was selected as the third choice goalkeeper for the Spurs senior team, in their 2-2 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League, in December of 2021. A very confident goalkeeper who is really good at organising his defenders, he is also very encouraging to his outfield teammates during matches. It was announced by Kacper on Twitter that he had left the club, on the 23rd of May.

Defenders:

Marcel Lavinier: The former Chelsea Academy player made 21 competitive appearances for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22. The London born full-back who often started matches as a right-back this season (he also started matches at left-back, and also one in midfield), has previously represented England and Portugal at youth international level. Lavinier (21) is a skilful player who has good pace, and who likes to go forward with the ball down the flanks. He provided five assists for his teammates in 2021/22, as he showed how good he is at getting forward, both with and without the ball. After initially trialling with Spurs at the beginning of last season (2020/21), Marcel signed for Spurs on a permanent basis shortly after. He has once again been a mainstay of the Spurs Under 23 side during this season, and it will be interesting to see if the player who made the bench for the Spurs first team on one occasion this season, will go out on loan for the first time in his career, next season. Lavinier arguably had his best game of the season while starting at right-back in a 4-0 home Premier League 2 win over Everton, in November of 2021. He captained the Spurs Under 23 side on two occasions in 2021/22.

Kallum Cesay: This was a season of good strides for full-back Kallum Cesay, who in addition to making 25 competitive appearances (he scored one goal) for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, also made two first team appearances in pre-season friendlies last summer. The East London born former West Ham United Academy player also made the bench for the Spurs first team in competitive competitions in 2021/22. A versatile player who likes going on long and skilful runs with the ball down the flanks, in addition to playing at full-back, Cesay can also play out wide as a winger, and in central midfield. He is strong in the challenge and good at breaking up play when starting matches in midfield, and Kallum had a good and solid debut season with the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22. However, probably the highlight of Kallum Cesay’s season was making his international debut for Sierra Leone, in a 2-1 international friendly win over Congo, in the March of 2022. The full-back scored both of Sierra Leone’s goals in that game. 

Dermi Lusala: The highly skilful full-back who was excellent during his first season of scholarship in 2019/20, missed most of the first half of the 2021/22 season because of injury, as he didn’t make any squads for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side until the January of 2022. The Edmonton born right-back made his first competitive appearance of the season for the Spurs Under 23 side in a 1-0 away Premier League 2 loss to Everton in late January. Lusala appeared in the remaining nine Premier League 2 fixtures of that season, getting some good minutes of football. A full-back who is capable of playing on either flank and in central defence, Dermi is so skilful on the ball, and very capable of going past players with the ball. He is also very good at making challenges, and he has a good balance to his game. Dermi also featured for a Spurs Under 19 side at the end of season Terborg Tournament, but he picked up an injury in one of the matches towards the end of the tournament. The former England youth international will be hoping to become a regular starter for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2022/23. 

Jeremy Kyezu: The left-back didn’t actually feature for the Spurs Under 23 side during the 2021/22 season, in competitive competition. Jeremy (he was a third year scholar during 2021/22) did make the bench for the Spurs Development side in their Papa Johns Trophy group game with Stevenage, early on in the season. Kyezu later left the club to join Millwall on a permanent transfer. He would go on to play for their Under 23 side during the remainder of the 2021/22 season.

Maksim Paskotši: The Estonia international wasn’t always a regular for the Spurs Under 23 side during the season just gone. However, in his second season with the club, Maksim impressed with the Spurs first team during pre-season (he has also impressed for his country, Estonia), and he even made his competitive first team debut for the club as a late substitute in the UEFA Conference League play-off round first leg tie against Paços Ferreira. The 19 year old central defender made ten competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side during the season just gone, with two of his best performances (in my opinion) coming in Premier League 2 wins over Manchester City (away) and against Leicester City respectively (at home). Maksim is good on the ball and also fast, with good reading of the game. He is also capable of playing at full-back, as well. He captained the Spurs Under 23 side on one occasion in 2021/22. 

Malachi Fagan-Walcott: Central defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott was a regular for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, after missing much of the previous season because of injury. The Edmonton born defender made 20 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side this season, as well as featuring for the Spurs first team in pre-season, and also making the bench for them on two occasions. The 20 year old formed a very good central defensive partnership with former Spurs Academy player Luis Binks during much of his time as a scholar with Spurs. Fagan-Walcott’s positioning, passing ability, tackling and braveness in defence makes him in my opinion a really good prospect. He did well again this season after having some injuries last season, and the former district 200m sprint champion got better and better as the 2021/22 season went on. He finished the season well for Wayne Burnett’s side, by putting in some really good defensive performances against Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea respectively. And the defender who scored two goals during the season, would form a good central defensive partnership alongside the more experienced defender Tobi Omole.

Malachi captained the Spurs Under 23 side on one occasion during the season just gone, and it will be very interesting to see whether he goes out on loan again (he joined Dundee on loan for some of the 2020/21 season) during the 2022/23 season.

Tobi Omole: Central defender Tobi Omole (22) joined Spurs after his contract with Arsenal came to an end in 2020, after initially trialing with the Spurs Under 23 side. The Brockley born defender is a versatile player who is also a footballing central defender, with good distribution. Good in the air and commanding in defence, Tobi made 18 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side last season, and he scored two goals and provided one assist from those games. He also featured for the Spurs first team in pre-season, and made the bench for the Spurs first team on three occasions during the early stages of the season. I like how composed Omole is in his defending, and as one of the most experienced members of the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, I thought that he did well once again this season. Tobi was outstanding for the Spurs Under 23 side in a very impressive 3-0 Premier League 2 win over the champions Manchester City towards the end of last year, in what was a really good defensive performance from him, and one of his best of the season. However, it will be interesting to see whether he stays next season with Spurs, and if he does, whether or not he goes out on the first loan move of his career so far.

Marqes Muir: The skilful central defender who likes to go on skilful forward runs with the ball out from defence, is a defender who from watching him regularly at Under 18 and 23 level for Spurs, is quite clear to me that he is a central defender who just loves defending. The Lambeth born first year professional wasn’t always a regular starter for the Spurs Under 23 side throughout the season, but I thought that as one of the younger full-time members of the side, that he got better and better as the season went on. Marqes is a very skilful player with really fine reading of the game, but he is also very brave and is consistently well positioned to make blocks, challenges and clearances. Strong in the air and quick on the ground, Muir made 15 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, and during the second half of the season he had some really good games against the likes of Everton, Derby County and Chelsea respectively. He also did well in pre-season for the Spurs Under 23 side. I personally reckon that Marqes Muir will become a very important member of the Spurs Under 23 side next season, as he continues to get even better.

Midfielders: 

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: After establishing himself as one of the most important players and leaders in the Spurs Under 23 side during the first half of the 2021/22 season, the player who featured for the first team in pre-season, would very unfortunately suffer a season ending injury in a Premier League 2 fixture against Blackburn Rovers in the January of this year. Lyons-Foster continued to play as a defensive-midfielder during the first half of the 2021/22 season, having previously played regularly in central defence and at full-back. The Islington born third year professional who signed a new contract with the club towards the end of the season, would make 17 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, scoring one goal. Brooklyn captained the side quite a bit during the early stage of the season, and as you’ll all know from reading my many reports over the years, I’ve long been a big fan of the versatile midfielder. He was quietly very efficient in midfield during games that he played in, and when he was starting matches alongside Harvey White in midfield, I personally thought that that was one of the very best midfield partnerships in the Premier League 2 last season.

The player who made the bench on two occasions for the Spurs first team during the 2021/22 season, is an excellent reader of the game. He was impressive in fixtures against Arsenal (at home), Manchester United (at home) and Stevenage (away) respectively, and his defensive responsibilities in midfield, which I thought that he did very well at, allowed Harvey White to get forward to create and to score goals. Lyons-Foster is a player with tremendous ability on the ball, and his versatility and talent makes me really hope that he will get a chance for the Spurs first team again this pre-season. And it will be interesting to see if the 21 year old does go out on loan for the first time in his career, next season.

Harvey White: Creative central midfielder Harvey White didn’t go out on on loan again during the 2021/22 season, after spending the second half of the previous 2020/21 season on loan in League One with Portsmouth. The Maidstone born second year professional was a real standout player during the first half of the 2021/22 season, for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side. He scored a good number of goals (seven) and also provided seven assists from 21 competitive appearances for the Spurs Development side. The left footed midfielder and set-piece specialist is always good creating space to receive the ball, and his vision for a forward pass is very, very good. Harvey White captained the Spurs Under 23 side on many occasions during the 2021/22 season, before being promoted to Antonio Conte’s first team (he did play for the first team during pre-season) for the majority of the second half of the season, when he was almost always making match day squads for the Spurs first team. I thought that the 20 year old really impressed for the Spurs Under 23 side during the first half of the season, and he made great runs into the penalty area, was creating plenty of chances each match for the forwards, as well as demonstrating good leadership qualities on a regular basis.

It must have been really good for Harvey to get to train on a very regular basis with the Spurs first team during the second half of the season, and it will surely have made him a better player. He is more than capable of running games from midfield, and he did show this once again during the season just gone, with games against Leeds United (away) and Everton (at home) really standing out. It will be really interesting to see whether or not Harvey does go out on loan again next season, as I personally think that he is now too good to be regularly playing Under 23’s football.

Matthew Craig: Barnet born defensive-midfielder Matthew Craig made 20 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22. He provided one assist for the Spurs Under 23 side last season. A Scotland Under 19 international, Matthew was a regular starter for Wayne Burnett’s side, and he would also fill in at full-back and at centre-half over the course of the season. Craig is a hardworking, solid and reliable midfield player, who is a good passer of the ball. He would make the bench for the Spurs first team on seven occasions in 2021/22. He impressed while playing at right-back in a Papa Johns Trophy match against Cambridge United last year, and other notable performances over the course of the season included a 4-2 win over Leeds United, early on in the season, and also a 3-1 home win over Leicester City in 2022. Matthew Craig was also part of the Spurs Under 19 side that went to the Netherlands, to compete at the end of season Terborg Tournament. It will be interesting to see if the 19 year old does go out on the first loan move of his career, in 2022/23. Also, it will be interesting to see whether he makes his first team debut for Spurs during pre-season.

Michael Craig: Midfielder Michael Craig (19), twin brother of Matthew Craig, started the season with the Spurs Under 23 side during pre-season. He also made the bench for the Spurs first team alongside his twin brother on two occasions in European competition, making club history in the process. However, Michael would make 11 competitive appearances (he provided one assist) for the Spurs Under 23 side during his time at the club during the 2021/22 season, before leaving them in early 2022. Michael, who is a midfield player with good passing ability and who is also assertive in midfield, would join Southampton’s Under 23 side on trial, before then joining Reading’s Under 23 side on trial towards the end of the season just gone. It will be very interesting to see where the Scotland Under 19 international goes next season.

Jamie Bowden: Republic of Ireland youth international Jamie Bowden (20) spent pre-season of 2021/22 with both the Spurs first team and also the Under 23 side, before going out on loan to then League Two side Oldham Athletic. The central midfielder would make 25 competitive appearances for Oldham on his first ever loan move, during the first half of the season. Jamie scored one goal and provided five assists during his time with Oldham, and from the matches that I saw him in, I thought that he did well, especially as you consider that this was his first ever loan move. Bowden would return to Spurs in the January of 2022, and he would go on to make seven appearances for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side in the Premier League 2. He would captain the side on all but three occasions when he played this season, and the boyhood Spurs supporter made a good impression on the side. With his excellent passing range, composure on the ball and fine reading of the game, he did well as one of the more experienced members of the side, during the second half of the season. Bowden scored one goal and provided two assists for the Spurs Under 23 side during the second half of the season. He also made the bench for the Spurs first team on one occasion.

Hopefully Jamie will get a chance to impress for the Spurs first team during pre-season, and it will then be interesting to see whether he goes out on loan again next season.

Rafferty Pedder: Rafferty Pedder started the season with the Spurs Under 23 side and he featured for them during pre-season. Rafferty then made four competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side during the first half of the season, before leaving the club in January to move to Queens Park Rangers. He would make eight appearances for QPR’s Under 23 side (he captained the team on one occasion) during the second half of the season, scoring three goals and providing two assists. The Maidstone born midfielder was always a player who I thought highly of at Spurs. Very skilful on the ball and really clever in his movement off it, Rafferty is a very good athlete, and he is a player who likes to go on long surging runs with the ball. In my opinion it is a shame that he left the club midway through the season, but I reckon that just like with Chay Cooper at Colchester United, that Rafferty will do really well at QPR, the club that he recently signed a new contract with.

Nile John: The midfielder would score an impressive number of goals in 2021/22 for the Spurs Under 23 side (seven) as well as providing four assists, from 19 competitive appearances. The player who captained Spurs at the end of season Terborg Tournament, and who also started a UEFA Europa Conference League play-off match for the Spurs first team, is an England Under 19 international. John excelled at Under 23 level for Spurs during the season just gone, and he scored some really good goals. The West London born footballer is a very skilful midfielder (he often started matches as a CAM for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22) and his impressive goalscoring form resulted in him joining League One side Charlton Athletic on loan until the end of the 2021/22 season, but he didn’t play any matches for them. He returned to Spurs to play the final Under 23’s matches of that season, and Nile John showed how good he is at bringing the ball forward with great skill, on occasions during those matches. Like with many players who are with the Spurs Under 23 side, it will be interesting to see whether he does go out on another League One loan next season, and also whether he makes any appearances for the Spurs first team in pre-season, again.

Max Robson: Midfielder Max Robson (19) missed much of the first half of the season, because of injury. However, the skilful first year professional featured on nine occasions for the Spurs Under 23 side during the second half of the season, scoring one goal from those appearances. The attacking midfielder was very, very good at Under 18 level for Spurs, and he is a midfield player (he often starts matches as a CAM) who likes to go past players with the ball with skill. He often led the line for Spurs’ Under 23 side when he featured during the second half of the season, and he had fine matches in games against West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Derby County respectively. Max is a very talented player, and one who I believe can become a very important player for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2022/23. He is a real goalscorer and a player who is very capable of getting a good number of assists as well. 

Alfie Devine: The skilful and creative midfielder who often started matches for the Spurs Under 23 side as a CAM in 2021/22, would be one of the standout players for Spurs over the course of the season at that level (he featured for both the Under 23 side and first team during pre-season). The former Wigan Athletic player spent the vast majority of the 2021/22 season with the Spurs Under 23 side, although he did make four competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side (three of those appearances came in the FA Youth Cup), scoring two goals. The England Under 19 international made 18 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, scoring nine goals and providing four assists. For a second year scholar he was consistently superb for the Spurs Under 23 side in the Premier League 2, and when he was in the side he was so creative, and he also always looked as if he was going to score whenever he received the ball in and around the penalty area. Devine is a very good finisher who has good skill on the ball, but he is also very quick, and I have been able to appreciate that even more over the course of this season. He likes to go on surging forward runs with the ball, and his movement off the ball and ability to create space for himself shows just how good he is for a player who is still in his second year of scholarship.

The Warrington born midfielder (17) also represented his country, England (at Under 19 level), during 2021/22. He will be hoping to be selected to represent the England Under 19 side at the UEFA European Under 19 Championship, this summer. Devine showed his versatility over the course of the season, and he was excellent in big games against the likes of Liverpool (at home), Arsenal (away) and also against West Bromwich Albion at Under 18 level in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. It will certainly be interesting to see if the player who made the bench for the Spurs first team as recently as the final day of the season against Norwich City, will stay with Spurs next season, or go out on the first loan move of his career as a first year professional. However, in 2021/22 he did very well.

Forwards/wingers:

J’Neil Bennett: Highly skilful two footed winger J’Neil Bennett made ten competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22. After starting pre-season really well with the Spurs Under 23 side, the London born second year professional (20) made his first team debut for Spurs as a late substitute in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League play-off tie against Paços Ferreira. After starting and scoring for the Spurs Under 23 side in their opening Premier League 2 fixture of the season against Chelsea, he soon joined then League One side Crewe Alexandra on loan. Bennett started well after signing for Crewe, and in his second league game for them he scored a goal and provided an assist in a 2-0 win over Burton Albion. In total he made 11 competitive appearances for Crewe, before an injury meant that he had to return to Spurs. He spent the second half of the season with the Spurs Under 23 side, and over the course of the season Bennett made ten competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, scoring two goals. 

Yago Santiago: Former Celta Vigo Academy player Yago Santiago made the most competitive appearances (27) of anyone in the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22. Santiago showed his versatility throughout the season, as he played as a centre-forward on occasions, as a CAM and also as a winger. Yago scored two goals and provided two assists for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side last season, and he impressed a lot in games against Stevenage and also against Liverpool Under 23’s, during the early stages of the season. However, he was consistent throughout the season, hardworking on the pitch and skilful and creative with the ball. Santiago could well get even more minutes for Spurs’ Academy sides next season, as along with the Spurs Under 23 matches, Yago is also eligible to be selected to represent the Spurs Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League. Yago was another member of the Spurs Under 23 side who traveled to the end of season Under 19 Terborg Tournament, and he had one impressive game as a winger in Spurs’ final game, which was against Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Romaine Mundle: Skilful winger Romaine Mundle made his first team debut for Spurs in a friendly with Leyton Orient in July 2021. He would subsequently spend much of the remainder of the season with the Spurs Under 23 side. The first year professional also made the bench for the Spurs first team on one occasion in competitive competition, last season. A direct, skilful and unpredictable winger with the ball, Romaine also has a good amount of pace. He got better and better as the season went on with the Spurs Under 23 side, and he was consistently very good towards the end of the season. The creative winger provided one assist from 18 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side, and he played matches with great confidence. Romaine was also a member of the Spurs Under 19 side that competed in the end of season Terborg Tournament, in the May of 2022.

Jeremie Mukendi: Only making one competitive appearance for the Spurs Under 23 side during 2021/22, as a late substitute in a Premier League 2 fixture with Everton at the Lamex Stadium in the November of 2021, forward Jeremie Mukendi has missed a lot of football because of injury, since the 2018/19 season. The Hackney born player who can play as a winger, as a full-back and as a centre-forward, has just been so unlucky because of injuries over the past three or so seasons, which is why he has hardly featured for Spurs at Academy level in recent seasons.

Dane Scarlett: This would have been a season of good development for centre-forward Dane Scarlett, who despite not playing a lot of games at Academy level, he was part of the first team set-up for much of the season. Scarlett (18) spent pre-season of 2021/22 with the first team (he scored a goal in a friendly against Leyton Orient), and during the season he would make seven competitive first team appearances for Spurs. The England Under 19 international who was in really good form for his country over the course of the season, would make nine appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side last season, as a second year scholar. Scarlett scored one goal and provided one assist from those matches. The Hillingdon born footballer has very good movement off the ball and is a clinical finisher, and as with many of the players who played for the Spurs Under 23 side this season, it will be interesting to see if Dane does go out on loan next season, as a first year professional. He will surely be part of the England Under 19 side that competes in the UEFA European Under 19 Championship this summer.

Troy Parrott: Forward and Republic of Ireland international Troy Parrott spent the early parts of pre-season with the Spurs first team, before joining League One side MK Dons on a season long loan in the summer of 2021. The Dublin born second year professional had some really good moments during the season with MK Dons, and overall it would have been a great learning curve for Troy. He played in a number of positions, and scored ten goals and provided seven assists from 47 competitive appearances for MK Dons. He helped them to reach the semi-finals of the League One play-offs, and towards the end of the season when MK Dons were in great form, Parrott was one of their most influential players. He did really well during the final stages of the season, which coincided with MK Dons doing really well in League One. Parrottt’s hard work off the ball was so important to the side, and he scored a good number of goals during the last stage of the season, and he was also one of MK Dons’ best players in the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final with Wycombe Wanderers. I’m a big fan of Troy and I do believe that the ever improving forward could become an important player for the Spurs first team in the future.

Kion Etete: Tall and skilful centre-forward Kion Etete made some appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side in pre-season (he also scored for them in the final Premier League 2 match of the season), before then going out on loan to League Two side Northampton Town, last summer. Etete would do well for the League Two side, and he joined League One side Cheltenham Town for the second half of the season. Overall from 36 competitive appearances for Northampton and Cheltenham combined, the impressive centre-forward scored nine goals and provided five goals, which is good for a 20 year old centre-forward. The former Notts County player didn’t just impress with his goals and assists as he made the step-up from League Two football to League One football well, and Kion did well with his link-up play and movement off the ball. It will be interesting to see whether he makes another step-up next season, this time to Championship football, on loan.

Dilan Markanday: The incredibly skilful winger/forward was in outstanding form during pre-season with the Spurs Under 23 side, when he scored a really good number of goals. He would continue his excellent goalscoring form into the regular season, when he scored 12 competitive goals and provided eight assists from 16 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side. The Barnet born footballer has got even better and even stronger on the ball, during the last 18 months. He would start some matches at centre-forward during the first half of the 2021/22 season, as well as starting matches out on either flank, and as a CAM. Markanday made his competitive first team debut for the Spurs first team last season in a UEFA Europa Conference League group game against Vitesse Arnhem, but for the Spurs Under 23 side he was superb during the first half of the season. Dilan was really creative and his goals and assists aside, he was just so good and skilful on the ball. He was deservedly nominated for the 2021/22 Premier League 2 player of the season award. Dilan joined Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the January of this year, on a permanent transfer. However, he very unfortunately picked up a bad hamstring injury in his Championship debut for Blackburn, which ruled him out for much of the remainder of the season. 

Dilan Markanday returned as a substitute for the final Championship game of the season, which was against Birmingham City. And I really hope that he has a great 2021/22 season for Blackburn Rovers next season. 

My goal of the season: Dilan Markanday’s clinical finish against Leeds United (away), in Spurs’ 4-2 Premier League 2 away win in the August of 2021. Markanday latched onto a header from Harvey White, with his back to goal. He then worked his way around Charlie Cresswell and Jack Jenkins with some spectacular skill, before then entering the left side of the Leeds penalty area and hitting an unstoppable effort into the roof of the Leeds goal. It was a brilliant goal, and Dilan scored a hat-trick during that game.

My save of the season: I can’t recall there being a really outstanding save made by a goalkeeper for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2021/22, that really stands out. However, there were plenty of very good saves that were made by Joshua Oluwayemi and one of those saves was against Leeds United, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in the February of 2022. A long ball forward reached Leeds United player Max Dean, who was through on goal inside the Spurs box. However, Oluwayemi was alert and showed good reactions to save his fine effort on goal with his legs.

My game of the season: Spurs Under 23’s 3-0 Manchester City. It was one of the most impressive performances of the season, as Spurs’ Under 23 side won 3-0 against the reigning Premier League 2 Division One champions Manchester City, at Hotspur Way in the December of 2021, in the Premier League 2. The team played really well, and they were very intelligent in how they approached the game, using the ball well and making some good runs in behind the Manchester City defence. Spurs defended really well throughout the match, but it was a clinical goal from Jack Clarke and two really good finishes from Nile John which won Spurs the match. It was a really good team performance from Spurs.

The Superhotspur Spurs Under 23’s player of the season (2021/22): Dilan Markanday. He may have left Spurs halfway through the 2021/22 season, but Dilan Markanday finished the season as Spurs’ top scorer at Under 23 level, with 12 goals, as well as providing the most assists (eight). He was absolutely brilliant during the first half of the season, and with his excellent surging forward runs, balance and skill on the ball, he wowed the crowds who were in attendance at many of the games that he was involved in. Markanday deservedly made his first team debut for the Spurs first team during the same season, before joining Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the January of this year. Confident and composed on the ball, Dilan’s pace, outstanding skill and agility, as well as his excellent work off the ball, will take him very far in the game. It was wonderful to see the very talented 20 year old winger do so well for Spurs during the first half of the 2021/22 season.

Spurs Under 19’s 0-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 19 side contested the seventh/eighth place play-off match at the 2022 Terborg Tournament on Sunday morning, when they faced German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in their final match of the tournament. Wayne Burnett’s side lost the game 1-0, meaning that they finish the tournament in eighth place. However, they did deserve more from the game with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Aaron Maguire started in goal for Spurs, while a back four of Billy Heaps, Alfie Dorrington, Matthew Craig and Jahziah Linton started in defence. Charlie Davis and Jack Grieves started in midfield, with Jaden Williams and Yago Santiago starting out wide on the flanks, either side of CAM Nile John. Toby Adeyemo would lead the line for Spurs. Borussia Mönchengladbach got the game underway. Toby Adeyemo volleyed an effort from Nile John’s cross into the Borussia Mönchengladbach box, wide of the goal, from close range. Then Billy Heaps hit an effort wide from distance, before Toby Adeyemo volleyed wide a cross from Jaden Williams. After receiving a pass from Adeyemo on the left side of the Borussia Mönchengladbach box, Jack Grieves had an effort saved by the Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper. 

Some good work from Yago Santiago on the left flank resulted in him entering the Borussia Mönchengladbach penalty area. He had an effort saved by their goalkeeper, with the ball then going to Toby Adeyemo, who also had an effort saved. The Borussia Mönchengladbach number eight saw his effort deflect off of Alfie Dorrington, before going wide of the Spurs goal. Santiago had an effort saved from the left side of the Borussia Mönchengladbach box, and then a couple of minutes later Borussia Mönchengladbach took the lead. A good move resulted in number eight passing the ball to number 15 on the left side of the Spurs box, and his low effort went into the goal, although Aaron Maguire did manage to get a hand on the ball, 0-1. Alfie Dorrington headed over Nile John’s cross into the Borussia Mönchengladbach box, before Jack Grieves’ low effort from distance deflected wide of the goal. Jaden Williams headed behind Yago Santiago’s resulting corner-kick, before the referee sounded his whistle for half-time.

Spurs got the second half underway. After Yago Santiago passed the ball to Nile John inside the Borussia Mönchengladbach box, John hit an effort wide of the goal. The Borussia Mönchengladbach number eight curled an effort over from distance, before Spurs made a double substitution as George Abbott and Romaine Mundle replaced Jaden Williams and Charlie Davis respectively. A cross from Jahziah Linton ended up going just wide of the Borussia Mönchengladbach goal, and then after going past number 16, Nile John passed the ball to Romaine Mundle on the right side of the Borussia Mönchengladbach box, but his resulting low effort was saved well by the goalkeeper. Nile John showed good skill to go past two players shortly after, before having an effort saved by the Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper. Santiago hit an effort towards goal which was deflected wide off of a defender, and a couple of minutes after that chance George Abbott hit an effort wide from a Romaine Mundle corner-kick, which came to him on the edge of the penalty area. The Borussia Mönchengladbach number 11 then hit an effort across Aaron Maguire’s goal at the other end of the pitch.

Maguire did well to save number five’s effort from distance, and with the game almost over Spurs made one last change, as Rio Kyerematen replaced Jack Grieves in central midfield. After winning a late free-kick on the edge of the Borussia Mönchengladbach penalty area, Romaine Mundle hit a powerful effort against the crossbar, before the referee sounded his whistle for full-time. 

My man of the match: Yago Santiago. The 19 year old started the match out on the left flank as a winger, and he was by far Spurs’ most inventive player on the day. Santiago was direct, and he showed some really good skill and pace with the ball, and he was unlucky not to score a goal against Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Spurs Under 19’s 0-2 De Graafschap: (match report)

In their final group game of the Terborg Tournament, Spurs’ Under 19 side faced Dutch side De Graafschap. Wayne Burnett’s side lost the game 2-0. Adam Hayton started in goal for Spurs, while a back four of George Abbott, Alfie Dorrington, Matthew Craig and Jahziah Linton started in front of him. Rio Kyerematen and Nile John started in midfield, as Romaine Mundle and Jaden Williams started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Jamie Donley. Toby Adeyemo would lead the line for Spurs. De Graafschap got the match underway. However, the game didn’t get off to a good start for Spurs, who conceded an early goal. Goalkeeper Adam Hayton’s pass out from his penalty area was met by De Graafschap’s number 12, who quickly passed the ball to the number nine in the centre of the Spurs box, and he was able to finish low past Hayton, 0-1. Hayton saved an effort from De Graafschap’s number ten shortly after the game resumed, before De Graafschap doubled their lead. The De Graafschap number seven’s cross from the left was met by the De Graafschap number ten, who calmly finished past Adam Hayton and into the goal, 0-2.

George Abbott blocked a volley from the De Graafschap number seven, before he then did really well to block an effort from the same player inside the Spurs box, before the De Graafschap number ten hit a deflected effort wide of the goal. Alfie Dorrington blocked an effort from the number seven late on in the half, and just before the referee sounded his whistle for half-time. Spurs got the second half underway. Charlie Davis and Yago Santiago came on to replace Toby Adeyemo and Jamie Donley respectively. De Graafschap’s number 12 hit an effort just over from the edge of the Spurs box, before Yago Santiago headed over Romaine Mundle’s cross, at the other end of the pitch. Billy Heaps came on to replace Rio Kyerematen, and then Jack Grieves came on to replace Nile John. After meeting number 22’s cross, De Graafschap’s number ten had an effort saved by Adam Hayton, who a couple of minutes later saved an effort from the same player inside the Spurs box. De Graafschap’s number seven hit an effort into the side-netting of Adam Hayton’s goal, from the left side of the Spurs box, before George Abbott blocked De Graafschap’s number 22’s effort inside the Spurs box, with the referee then sounding his whistle for full-time.

Unfortunately this result means that Spurs finish the Van Egmond group in fourth place. They face Borussia Monchengladbach tomorrow morning, in a seventh/eighth place play-off match.

My Spurs player of the match: George Abbott. Starting the match at right-back first year scholar George Abbott defended solidly during the 2-0 loss to De Graafschap, and he often stayed deep. Abbott made some good blocks, including one very good one to stop what seemed a certain goal during the first half.