Catching up with former Spurs man Martin Robinson:
With special thanks to Andrew Scott for arranging this interview.
For those Spurs fans with long memories the name Martin Robinson will ring a bell. The striker who enjoyed a successful career at the likes of Charlton Athletic, Gillingham and Cambridge United, was a rising star for Spurs back in the mid 1970’s. A member of the triumphant FA Youth Cup winning side of 73/74 the youngster went on to make 6 appearances for the senior team between 1975 and 78, scoring two goals. Martin went on to have a successful footballing career notably at fellow London club Charlton Athletic who he played a key role at during a six year spell. Mr.Robinson kindly agreed to doing an interview with me, sharing some of his memories from his time at the lilywhites.
Question 1: What was it like coming through the Academy ranks at Spurs?
M.R: Back in the 70s there was no academy set up things were very different to today. I started when I was 14 years old going to Tuesday and Thursday training sessions after school. I used to leave school early on those days at 3.00 pm with permission from the headmaster, get a bus, 2 trains and then a bus from South Tottenham to White Hart Lane to start at 5.30 -6.00.
Most of the boys were regulars on schoolboy forms, but others came for a week or just a few sessions on trial and were never seen again.
As juniors we trained at Cheshunt training ground in the summer and played games on Saturday for the first year I was there. Playing for the youth team the following year was similar set up. At 16 I was asked to become an apprentice; one of only 6 that year.
Question2: What was your greatest memory of being a Spurs player?
M.R: Making my debut at home against Leicester City when I was 18 in the 75/76 season, then scoring the following week against Aston Villa at home, coming on as a sub in a 5-2 win.
Question3: Who were your greatest influences at the club?
M.R: The great Bill Nicholson was the Manager when I joined the club. Ron Henry was the coach when I was on schoolboy terms.
Pat Welton & Peter Shreeves when I was an apprentice and young professional. All of them were a great influence on my early career.
Question 4: What was it like to play with Glenn Hoddle at youth level?
M.R: He was great to play with. He had tremendous skill and vision and made quite a few goals for me at youth level.
Question 5: You scored three goals in six senior appearances for the lilywhites, what was it like to play in that famous Spurs side, and how did it feel to play at the Lane?
M.R: I only scored 2 goals for Spurs. One I mentioned against Aston Villa and the other 1 against Oldham at home in a 5-1 win in the old second division.
It was a very special feeling playing with all those great players, plus playing at White Hart Lane in front of your home fans will always be special for any player.
Question 6: Having gone on to have a successful senior career with the likes of Charlton, Cambridge United and Gillingham. What was your greatest achievement during your playing career?
M.R: Getting promoted at the first attempt after getting relegated from the second division to the third with Charlton. Also getting promoted with Cambridge in my final year in the league, before I retired from league football at the age of 33.
Question 7: I recently interviewed former Spurs man Roger Gibbins about the triumphant FA Youth Cup campaign of 1973/74. What were your memories of being involved in that competition?
M.R: I was a first year apprentice and only appeared in a few earlier games in the competition and as we progressed the second year apprentices like Roger and Chris Jones, John Margerrison were added to the squad to secure the cup. I was sub for the final at Huddersfield. I think we played Arsenal in the semi-final.
Question 8: Who coached you at Spurs?
M.R: Ron Henry Juniors.
Pat Welton as an apprentice and young Professional.
Peter Shreeves young professional.
Question 9: Who was the greatest player that you played with in your career?
M.R: Too numerous to mention but making my debut alongside Martin Chivers was a great honour. I remember playing with some great young kids at various clubs that went on to become household names in their careers – Glenn Hoddle, Paul Walsh, Paul Elliot , Dion Dublin.
Question10: After all these years and after a long affiliation with Charlton Athletic, do you still follow/support Spurs’ progress?
M.R: I have always followed Spurs ever since I left in 1978 to join Charlton Athletic. Also I have 2 brother In laws who are Spurs fanatics, so it is difficult not to know what is happening at the club. I usually go back to White Hart Lane for a game each season but haven’t seen them play at Wembley.