My interview with former Spurs man Guy Butters:

My interview with former Spurs man Guy Butters:

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Guy Butters played over 35 times for Spurs during the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, a centre half by trade Butters was a product of Tottenham’s famous youth academy. And went on to enjoy a hugely successful career with the likes of Portsmouth and Brighton following his departure from the club in 1990. Guy kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at the lilywhites, and his memories of his career are both fascinating and insightful.

What are your memories from your time at Spurs?

Guy: I’ve got great memories of my time there. Earliest memory was playing against Arsenal in a behind doors friendly as a 15 year old schoolboy. First game as a centre half (I signed Schoolboy forms as a centre mid) and I was up against Paul Mariner who was throwing a few elbows around. I managed to do ok against him and I think that cemented the position that I was to play for the rest of my career. I loved every minute of my time there and I’d be here all day if I were to write them all down.

What do you remember of your senior breakthrough in the late 80’s

Guy: I remember being drafted into the squad for the cup game v Blackburn on the Tuesday night before as there were a few injuries to the centre halves in the first team. Chris Fairclough had to come off late on so I got thrown on. A free kick ricocheted off my head into my own net but we managed to win the game. I made the bench for the next game as well.

Which players or staff members did you look up to at the club, as a young defender?

Guy: I used to love watching Mabbsy and Richard gough when I was an apprentice and was told by Keith Blunt (my youth team manager) to study those two when I watched the first team. Watch what they do when they are in and out of possession. The communication and positioning that goes on in the first team. When I was offered a pro contract, I also learnt a lot training alongside Terry Fenwick and Chris Fairclough.

Who did you make your Spurs debut against and could you describe your memories of that day?

Guy: It was against Wimbledon and I remember a couple of newspapers building me up as they thought I’d be starting the game, especially as it would have put me up against John Fashanu. I got to the ground that day and bumped into Bobby Gould (the Wimbledon manager) and he told me to “watch my teeth”!! I started the game on the bench, and came on just before halftime for Gary Stevens, following the infamous Vinny Jones tackle. I remember having a couple of tussles with Fash and held my own, seeing him subbed off in the second half. Midway through the game, I scored with a header from a corner and we went on to win 3-2. I got home after the game and my dad gave me £20 to go and have a celebratory pint with my mates. I woke up next day with the worst hangover ever, and £30 in my pocket!! Apparently I got carried home!

What was it like to be an integral part of a Spurs defence which included the legendary Gary Mabbutt?

Guy: I loved my time playing in the first team, learning my trade alongside players that had played in world cups. We picked up some good results and finished high up in the table that year. Unfortunately, the next season, I found myself in and out of the team for one reason or another and eventually went out on loan.

How did your time spent as a young up and coming Spurs player, benefit you later on in your career, when you played with the likes of Brighton and Portsmouth?

Guy: I took all the things I learnt as a youngster and tried to implement them at my other clubs throughout my career. I felt the benefit more when I neared the end of my career and relished the opportunity to nurture and assist a lot of young centre halves that I played with. One or two of them have gone on to excel in the premier league and I hope I have helped them along the way.

What for you was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Guy: think appearing for England U21’s remains an achievement that I’m very proud of. I’ve helped a few clubs get promotion as well. I’m immensely proud of being named as ‘defender of the tournament’ for two years on the trot, whilst representing Spurs youth team at the prestigious Düsseldorf youth tournament in Germany ( we beat the Russian National Youth team in the final one year) and I’m also proud of winning the south east counties youth league 3 times and the reserves combination league twice. Good times

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Guy: I was so lucky to have been a part of that spurs team of the late 80’s. You had the likes of Eric Thorstvedt in goal, Fen, Mabbsy and Chris Hughton alongside. Chris waddle, Paul Allen, Gazza, Vinny Samways in front, with the likes of Gary Lineker, Walshy, Paul Stewart etc up top! What a squad!! Out of all of them though, I’ve never seen a player like Gazza before or since. Absolute genius, absolute lunatic! Lol

Could you describe what it was like to represent your country at youth level?

Guy: Playing for the U21’s was a good experience. We had some very good players in the team I played in. Neil Ruddock, David Batty, Russell Beardsmore, David Hurst, Paul Ince, Marco Gabbiadini etc and they were all a year or two older than me. Unfortunately, there was a massive drinking culture with some of the group, which I got involved in, and it didn’t bode well with the management at the time. Hence only the 3 caps!

As a central defender, who was the toughest centre forward that you came up against?

Guy: I remember being thrown on as a sub in a testimonial game and played against Billy Whitehurst ( I don’t think anyone else fancied it!!) and the first thing he said was “we can have it two ways lad, either nice and easy or we’ll have it rough. Up to you”
“Er, nice and easy please!!”
Did ok against him as well. I don’t recall ever being scared of anyone though. Mark Hughes was strong but the ones that gave me most problems were the little nippy ones like Paul Dickov or Terry Gibson.

After a playing career which stretched over two decades at the likes of Brighton, Southend, Gillingham and Portsmouth. What does your first club Spurs still mean to you and do you still follow their progress?

Guy: I still look for Tottenham results and hope they do well. I’ve been back as a player (for Brighton when we lost 2-1 in the fa cup) and a couple of times to watch. I’ll always hold it dear to my heart as it’s my first club and the place where I learnt my trade. I hope to get to the new stadium for a game or two as well.

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My interview with former Spurs defender Don McAllister:

 

My interview with former Spurs defender Don McAllister:

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I had the privilege of being able to interview legendary former Spurs player Don McAllister. The former defender who kindly agreed to doing an interview with me, was an important figure at the lilywhites following his transfer from Bolton Wanderers in 1975. During a six year spell at the club Don made over 200 appearances for Spurs and enjoyed some memorable times (including an FA Cup win) in a Spurs side that was under going transition. Don is still remembered fondly by the Spurs faithful, especially by those that supported Spurs during the 1970’s.

Questions:

What was your time at Spurs like?

Don: I had a great time at Spurs, looking back it’s like another world moving to London playing with many of your hero’s at the top end of the game, as a kid from the back streets of Manchester dreaming of winning the FA Cup was only a dream and playing for a team like Spurs more than 200 games.

An integral part of Bolton Wanderers team during the early 1970’s, what was it like adjusting to life at Spurs and leaving the trotters? A team who you had represented so well.

Don: My time at Bolton was the foundation of my future, Bolton were financially struggling and decided to stick with there youth policy. I was introduced into the 1st team when I was 16 at LB playing behind Gordon Taylor the current head of the PFA. Bolton also had some ageing top players Rodger Hunt, Peter Thompson ex Liverpool, Tony Dunne Man Utd and Charlie Hurley. Plus some top players from Bolton who we would have some difficult games against, Paul Jones and I were the 2 central defenders who got Bolton out of the 3rd division and later Paul and Sam Allardyce did the same in the first division with us. Sam was my replacement when I moved to Spurs. Paul and I were highly regarded as a central defensive pair, winning youth trophy’s with local teams like Man Utd/City, Everton, Liverpool we had a great reputation. When I arrived at Spurs I was to partner with Mike England, with Cyril Knowles and Joe Kinnear as full backs. Unfortunately for me they all left at the end of the season and I had to work out a way of staying in the first team with more new players coming into the club I never found a playing partner like Paul jones and therefore I did not get to play in my best role.

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

Don: Greatest time was the fight back to division one and of course the
FA cup win.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Don: Martin Chivers Stevie P, Glen, Jonny Pratt, Ralph Coates and Pat J.

During your six year spell with Spurs, you must have endured many highs and lows, suffering relegation to the second tier and winning the FA Cup happening all in that time. You played with some of the finest talents in world football during that time, what was it like to be a part of that Spurs team during those eventful 6 years?

Don: Yes my time was eventful I joined when the team was due for big changes, the successful team full of star players was reaching the end so with a new manager and many new players the new Spurs was being formed and yes it was a difficult time leading the first season I was signed at the last part of the year and in the last game against Leeds we avoided relegation but not for long.
The relegation year I did not play much as I had knee surgery and as part of my recovery I was sent to play in USA. But I came back to the club in division 2.
It took me a bit of time to get back into the team but I played a role in the rise back to division 1 and scored some vital goals. On promotion we then had some money to spend and on came Ossie and Ricky, the rest is history. It was a difficult time as you did not know what was coming next, during all of the drama I managed to play more than 200 games of which I am proud off.

Growing up as a kid in Lancashire, who was your footballing hero during your childhood?

Don: My heroes were many as it was the days of the World Cup winning team, I was 13, throughout my time I played with many of the players who were my heroes. I also played against Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio, George Best and I played with Jimmy Greaves in a testimonial game and sat next to him in the dressing room.

What do you remember about your Spurs debut?

Don: My debut was away against Coventry I remember it was 1-1 and I got booked on a wet muddy day.

You were a member of the famous FA cup run of 1980-81, what were your memories of that road to Wembley?

Don: The road to Wembley was long and hard but it was always my dream to win the FA Cup. It was also my first visit to Wembley so it was special times.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played with during your career?

Don: I have mentioned some of the special players I came across during my career for one off games but to play with week after week there are two players that stand out for me, Steve P and Glen H. To play 850 games at Spurs is just unbelievable the stress and strain on the body to play so many games at the top level and avoid injury, yet keep up a high level of performance deserves the highest awards for me. Glen Hoddle had the most talent I have ever seen in a player, he made all other players look average. Why the English team was not built around him many of us cannot understand.

Do you still follow/support Spurs’ progress?

Don: Yes I still follow Spurs and am in contact with the boys I spent time with, when they come to Australia and when they play golf for the legends team. When I am in the UK and make appearances for the club like requested last year, I went to NZ for the supporters club. I also still get mail/email and just last week had a pair of football boots sent to me for autographs.

Apart from your time at Spurs and Bolton, you had a fascinating career. Including spells in the US and in Portugal where you played for Vitoria Setubal. If you had to name your greatest achievement from your playing career, what would it be?

Don: I did not play in Portugal Or sign for them. Regarding Vitoria Setubal (which states on Wikipedia that Don played for them). I don’t see my career as any one thing. When I was young I wanted to be a football player I did that for more than 15 years. At Bolton the club went to division 3 so in came the young boys like me we got promoted I played 45 out of 46 games, I played a major role I was bought by a struggling Spurs team, relegation 1st year back to division 1. I played a major role, Secured our place in division 1 and went on to win the cup, again I played my role in the team. So as the years rolled on different challenges appeared and I played a significant role in the success at the clubs where I played, and played a lot of games during my career. I believe I passed the test of a young 13 year old dreamer.

 

 

Spurs versus Burnley: (match preview)

Spurs versus Burnley: (match preview)

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The festive period is upon us and so too are a string of very important games for us Spurs fans to enjoy. Starting with an away trip to Burnley this Saturday, Pochettino’s side are fresh from that painful 4-1 defeat to Man City last Saturday. Pochettino will be looking to instil confidence into his side ahead of some must win fixtures. The trip to turf moor will surely be considered as one of those ‘must win’ games, even though the clarets sit ahead of us in the table. Sean Dyche’s side have been one of the surprises of this season, operating on a small wage and transfer budget, Dyche has managed to build one of the leagues most well structured teams. Who have been able to grind out results against some of the finest sides in the league. Whilst their superb run of form isn’t likely to last the whole season, the clarets are an incredibly frustrating team to play against as we found out during our 1-1 draw in September at Wembley. Even without the important defensive duo of James Tarkowski and Stephen Ward for Saturday evenings game. Burnley still have the tenacity at the back to thwart the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Whilst also possessing the aerial qualities of Vokes and Wood up top. Pochettino’s side often react well after a big defeat, and I’m confident that that will be the case against Burnley. I’m expecting us to attack from the minute go and overwhelm the clarets with a sparkling attacking display which would certainly be a much welcome gift to Spurs supporters. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lloris(c), Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Dier, Son, Dele, Eriksen, Kane.

Subs from: Vorm, Trippier, Foyth, Sissoko, Lamela, Dembele, Llorente.

Absent: Wanyama and Alderweireld.

My score prediction: 3-0 Spurs.

One to watch: the clarets striker and main goal threat Chris Wood.

Spurs under 23’s 0-0 Sunderland: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-0 Sunderland: (match report)

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Our under 23’s league meeting with Sunderland on Tuesday evening at the Lamex stadium, was by youth football standards a dull affair. As Wayne Burnett’s development side drew 0-0 with the black cats, to record their first league point in over five matches. Burnett would have been slightly disappointed that his side hadn’t picked up all three points, considering we were the better team, especially during the second half. When we bombarded the Sunderland defence, it seemed inevitable that Spurs would break the deadlock. However, that was not to be the case as a sturdy (albeit it quite negative) Sunderland side managed to hold on to the point, despite missing their best youth players who were all left at home. The Spurs team included promising young winger Anthony Georgiou who I assume was returning to action from injury following a spell of no game time. And the young winger turned wingback for this occasion certainly made an impact on the game. The first chance of what was an incredibly dour first half fell to Ethan Robson inside the opening minutes when he tried his luck on the turn. The visitors effort being comfortably gathered by Austin in the Spurs goal. Some good early play from Sunderland culminated in Andrew Nelson volleying over Denver Hume’s pin point cross as Spurs struggled to get a hold of the ball. A good move from Spurs at the other end followed, when Pritchard set Harrison racing through on goal down the right channel, the Spurs striker showing good feet before failing to really test Stryjek with his low effort, which was easily met by the former Polish youth international.

Sunderland were pressing high as Spurs struggled to keep possession during the early stages of the game. An of balance Kazaiah Sterling couldn’t trouble Stryjek from range, a player who he forced a howler out of during this fixture last season. A lucky break for the visitors saw the ball fall kindly to Kimpioka on the edge of the Spurs box, the forwards powerful low effort being spectacularly palmed away from goal by Austin. Both sides were cancelling each other out as few clear cut chances ensued, Burnett had his team really well structured at the back with the tenacious pairing of Eyoma and Maghoma at centre half. Spurs then created their best chance so far through the surging Sterling down the right, his low cross was received by Harrison inside the penalty area as the strikers low deflected effort squirmed inches wide of Stryjek’s left post. Though the game lacked creativity and continued to be a scrappy affair, Spurs were giving more of a go at getting forward. The lively Sterling flashed an effort wide of goal before the centre forward headed Georgiou’s cross well wide a couple of minutes later, as Sunderland continued to sit deep. Burnett’s team started the second half with a more attacking approach, Georgiou in particular seemed to be getting up more. Shortly after the restart the young winger burst past Josh Robson down the left hand side before whipping in a dangerous cross, which frustratingly for the youngster wasn’t met by any Spurs player inside the box. Spurs had now started to stamp their authority on the game a shift in the flow of the game swiftly followed. Whilst Ethan Robson fired over a rare Sunderland attempt shortly afterwards, Spurs were soon back in the driving seat.

Shayon Harrison’s decent effort from range stung the palms of Stryjek before another opportunity followed for Spurs. It was a nice quick attacking move which saw Harrison pass to the unmarked Georgiou down the left channel, he surged forward with the ball before hitting an effort straight at Stryjek who could only parry, Georgiou’s follow up was again stopped by the alert keeper who made a fine reaction save. Spurs were really pushing for that winner, and their sudden creativity had a lot to do with the recent introduction of young magician Samuel Shashoua, who was starting to initiate some nice passages of play. Pritchard saw his long range effort fly over before another golden opportunity fell for Burnett’s team. It was another incisive attacking move as Harrison passed the ball out to Shashoua down the left side, his well measured cross was narrowly missed by the in sliding Tracey inside the box, as a Sunderland defender managed to scramble the ball away for a Spurs corner. Another goal scoring opportunity arose from the corner kick as Harrison volleyed the ball over the cross bar from close range, after receiving a nice cushion header from Maghoma. Harrison then saw his effort blocked after receiving a cross from out left, unfortunately he hadn’t left it for substitute Jack Roles who was ghosting into a nice pocket of space.

Our lads were desperately looking for that illusive goal, Luke Amos blasted an effort over the crossbar from range, whilst Georgiou delivered yet another promising cross into the danger area. Pace was injected into the game through the newly introduced Keanan Bennetts, and it didn’t take him long to make an impact. The wide man trying his luck at goal with a nice curling effort which was met low down by Stryjek. Despite the additional five minutes of added time which was shown by the fourth official, I just got this feeling that for all Spurs’ huff and puff and creativity, that we just weren’t going to see the net bulge. Well, at least not officially there was still time for some late drama after Stryjek went down inside the area defending a cross. Stryjek who was lying on the floor injured didn’t take to kindly to Harrison kicking the ball into the back of the net, the towering goalkeeper quickly sprung to his feet before squaring up to the Spurs man. Harrison saying to Stryjek “are you stupid?” before the matter was quickly resolved. It may be a slightly disappointing result for Burnett’s side but they enjoyed a really good second half and showed great character throughout. Next up for Burnett’s side is an away trip to Leicester’s Holmes park stadium in the new year, as always I will be attending that one. COYS

Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Had very few saves to make apart from one good one in the first half. Was very comfortable in dealing with crosses.
– George Marsh: Solid and efficient done a fine job, but wasn’t really tested much.
– Christian Maghoma: A really good commanding performance from Christian Maghoma last night. The centre half had a flawless game in central defence, solid and tidy throughout. Maghoma was also a very vocal figure in the team.
– TJ Eyoma: Not to dissimilar to Maghoma, u17 World Cup winner Eyoma had a terrific game against a Sunderland team which lacked potency up top. Strong in the challenge and dominant in the air.
– Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below.
– Oliver Skipp: Yet another top display from Oliver Skipp or ‘Skippy’ as he is known to his teammates. Dominant in the central areas, Skipp dictated play showing good movement and tactical awareness both on and off the ball. Also made some nice crunching challenges and ambitious forward passes.
– Joe Pritchard: An engine in the midfield, Pritchard was slick and tidy in his play. Initiated numerous good moves for Spurs.
– Luke Amos: Sheer dominance from the skipper overwhelmed the Sunderland players who he gave no time on the ball to!
– Kazaiah Sterling: Great movement throughout, tracked back and made good runs. But didn’t really get the service to convert.
– Shayon Harrison: Operated as a 10 for the majority of the game and looked good throughout. Showed nice ball control and skill under pressure and had a fair few attempts on goal, was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
– Shilow Tracey: Had very few touches of the ball down the wing, made more of an impact in the second half but was never really in the game.
– Samuel Shashoua: Was the creative spark we so desperately lacked, following his introduction in the second half. Shashoua changed the pattern of the game and became Spurs’ main creative outlet, with his good movement, awareness and fine decision making in the final third. He has adapted really well to u23 football this season.
– Keanan Bennetts: Bright cameo.
– Jack Roles: Brief but impressive cameo, got into good positions.

My man of the match: After a lay off with injury Anthony Georgiou showed exactly why he’s been in the first team fold this season, as he put in an motm display at Stevenage on Tuesday evening. The young winger who operated at left back for the visit of Sunderland put in a really good shift. Whilst he was defensively sound, Georgiou showcased his attacking qualities as a winger. With his searing pace and determination to beat his man, Georgiou really troubled Robson during the game, the defender unable to prevent his lung bursting runs. Georgiou was really positive throughout and was one of the few players on the pitch who actually wanted to run at players and take them on. Georgiou’s high pressing and attacking intent resulted in him getting into some really promising positions, and he whipped in some delightful crosses into the danger zone. In my opinion he is exactly the type of player that Pochettino’s squad is currently lacking. An old fashioned out and out winger who constantly wants to take people on and whip crosses into the box, all that combined with a work rate that few could match, I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing Anthony playing for the senior team again this season!

Side notes: Development squad striker Ryan Loft was not involved in the squad for the Sunderland game, he was sat a couple of rows in front of me in the stands, I’m unsure if he was injured. In addition midfielder Dylan Duncan was involved in the pre match warm ups as he continues to recover from injury. And finally long term absentee, Nick Tsaroulla was once again observing the teams in the warm up from the touchline, I would doubt he’ll be back anytime soon which is a big shame.

Spurs: Austin, Marsh, Georgiou, Skipp, C Maghoma, Eyoma, Pritchard (Roles 82), Amos (c), Sterling (S Shashoua 63), Harrison, Tracey (Bennetts 80). Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Brown.

Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson, Hume, Beadling (c), Taylor, Storey, Kimpioka (Diamond 61), E Robson, Nelson (Hacket 76), Embleton (Gamble 82), Allan. Substitutes (not used): Woud, Wright.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Georgiou 90, Harrison 90+5; Sunderland – Nelson 19, Taylor 77.

Referee: Gary Parsons.

Attendance: 482.

Spurs under 23’s versus Sunderland: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Sunderland: (match preview)

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It feels like a very long time ago when I watched our under 23’s kick off their PL2 campaign up in rural County Durham against Sunderland. Tomorrow evening Wayne Burnett’s side face the reverse fixture against the black cats, at the Lamex stadium. After a long break from league action, Burnett’s side will be looking to sign off the year with a much welcome three points. Spurs who sit bottom of the table, are without a win in five games, whilst the visitors who are also in the relegation zone, are a point ahead of us having played a game more. It was a quite thrilling game when these two teams met up in Durham, Sunderland somehow managing to nick the game 2-1 courtesy of two late goals. Concerning whether or not the game will go ahead, I phoned Stevenage earlier today and they said that they are quite confident the game will do! Sunderland have a good crop of talented youngsters that could all make the trip down to Stevenage which includes brothers Ethan and Thomas Robson as well as arguably their most talented youngster, forward Joel Asoro. Hopefully it’ll be a great game for Burnett’s youngsters, my in-depth match report will be published sometime on Wednesday. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Eyoma, C.Maghoma, Tanganga, Bennetts, Skipp, Amos(c), Edwards, Harrison, S.Shashoua, Sterling.

Subs from: O’Reilly, Marsh, Pritchard, Roles, Loft.

Doubtful: Duncan, Oakley-Boothe, Tsaroulla.

My score prediction: 2-1 Spurs.

One to watch: Sunderland’s pacy forward Joel Asoro is a very highly rated player indeed. The young Sweden under 21 international was a real handful in this fixture last season.

Spurs 1-4 Manchester City: (my post match thoughts)

Spurs 1-4 Manchester City: (my post match thoughts)

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I think it’s fair to say that there weren’t too many Spurs fans who thought we’d come back from our game with Manchester City at the weekend, with anything other than a defeat. The brilliance of Pep Guardiola’s jaw dropping team which includes some of the most inform players on the planet, has captivated the imaginations of football fans with their fast attacking brand of football, breathtaking passages of play and their ability to tear apart the most sturdy of defences on the counter attack, the sky blues have become the most feared team in Europe. Was fear a factor in our 4-1 walloping at the hands of Guardiola’s side in Manchester yesterday evening? Probably not, but of course many fans will draw theories as to why Pochettino’s team were ripped apart so brutally, over the course of 90 minutes by the league leaders. Some may argue that Pochettino got his tactics wrong, that certain players weren’t up to scratch including Moussa Dembele whose name I have seen plastered across social media. However, in my eyes the factor behind Manchester City’s triumphant win over our lads, wasn’t down to tactical blunders by Pochettino or poor performances from his players. It was down to the individual brilliance of Guardiola and his incredible side that he has assembled, some of the football that his team are playing rival that off any produced in the premier league era. The fast incisive, counter attacking play that we saw yesterday would have beaten any side in Europe, the master creator Kevin De Bruyne the architect behind City’s superb forward play.

The game was an incredibly one sided one in which the home side controlled from the minute go, though the possession stats may not suggest that. Spurs were out run and outplayed over the 90 minutes unable to get many meaningful shots away, City attacked our four man defence with such ferocity and intent. That when they took the lead on 14 minutes following Ilkay Gundogan’s bullet header from the resulting corner, though the German was unmarked, it had come as no surprise. City had already peppered our defence in the opening minutes, their first of the game had come as no surprise. By some miracle we found ourselves just the one goal down at the break, Guardiola’s team had battered us, they were too sharp and extravagant for Pochettino’s team who had struggled to create at the other end. Whilst we started off the second period with much more intensity and creativity about our game, we still couldn’t stop the monumental attacking force of the citizens. We played with pride for a good 20 minutes but City’s second was always going to come. Kevin De Bruyne angered by a quite terrible challenge by Dele, took his frustrations out on the ball when he doubled City’s lead on 70 minutes. Two more followed as Spurs began to be carved open with devastating results. Substitute Gabriel Jesus missed a penalty before Raheem Sterling made it 3-0. And then 4-0 a couple of minutes later, what the fans were witnessing inside the Etihad was nothing short of a masterpiece. Whilst Christian Eriksen’s late consolation goal (which happened to be a fine strike) happened to bring a bit of late joy to the travelling fans.

It done little to shift the attention away from a Manchester City side who continue to defy expectation, their 16th league win on the bounce quite possibly their best yet. As for our lads, I can’t imagine there would have been many words said in the dressing room afterwards. There would have been nothing much to say other than that we had been the victims of a side who may just go on to achieve the quadruple this season! We certainly didn’t raise our game for the occasion but did he really play that bad? No is my answer to that, against any other team we probably would have got something out of that game. Yes, we were dominated in the central areas, Dembele and Winks struggling to cope. But that wasn’t there faults, nor was it the fault of our attacking players that they couldn’t carry the ball forward, and neither was it our defences fault that we took such an almighty battering. We are no longer used to as fans, to being outplayed like Man City done to us yesterday, we have come so far under Pochettino as a club then we have come under any manager in a generation, that the Tottenham of old has become a distant memory. Seldom though yesterday’s result was for us, as a fan all I can do is to take my hat off to Guardiola’s Man City. Their champagne football some of the best I’ve seen in many a year, their performance and in particular that of midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne was quite simply out of this world! Some positives I did take away from yesterday’s game, was the superb shot stopping of Hugo Lloris. As well as the performance of the powerful Danny Rose at left back, who I thought had a fine game. Ultimately we lacked pace during yesterday’s encounter, and that is something I am sure Pochettino and Levy will be discussing ahead of the January transfer window.

We still find ourselves in a good position in the league and have some favourable fixtures coming up. Our next game away to Burnley on the 23rd, is definitely one that we can get back to winning ways. Champions league qualification is still with in our realms! COYS

 

Spurs versus Manchester City: (match preview)

Spurs versus Manchester City: (match preview)

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Rarely has there been a team in the premier league era who are seen as unstoppable or unbeatable. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side may just be that team, the sky blues are unbeaten in the league this season, they sit 11 points clear at the top of the table with a staggering 49 points after 17 games. Probably the best team on the planet right now, City are on course to smash the premier league record book, with there being a general consensus among football fans that the league is already in the bag for the league leaders. Well that may be the case but it won’t stop teams such as ourselves bringing their A game to them. Man City are the club who we have the most away wins over in the premier league era, they are also a team who we haven’t lost to since 2015. The press are running out of superlatives to describe the attacking brilliance of Guardiola’s side, from the wizardry defence splitting passes of Kevin De Bruyne to the clinical finishing of Sergio Aguero, and the inform pairing of Raheem Sterling and David Silva, Guardiola’s team are devastating on the counter. As a Spurs fan all I’m hoping to see from Pochettino’s team is that they express themselves on the pitch, and play that trademark attacking football which has seen them overcome City in recent seasons. We’re expected to lose and anything else is a bonus, though one weakness of this great side is defending set pieces, something that I’m sure Pochettino will try and exploit this evening. COYS!

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lloris(c), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane.

Subs from: Vorm, Aurier, Rose, Winks, Sissoko, Lamela, Llorente.

My score prediction: 2-1 to Spurs! Son to score a brace.

One to watch: One of the best players in the world right now, Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has the ability to win a game on his own. His footballing brain one of the best in the league, the Belgian is the creative force behind Man City’s attacking play. De Bruyne has recorded 5 goals and 8 assists in the league so far this season.

Spurs 2-0 Brighton: (my post match thoughts)

Spurs 2-0 Brighton: (my post match thoughts)

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It was vital that Pochettino’s Spurs side continued their winning run when they welcomed Chris Hughton’s Brighton side to Wembley, on Wednesday night. And after a tough workmanlike like performance against the seagulls, Spurs found themselves up in fourth spot owing to points dropped from Liverpool and Arsenal. It may not have entertained the supporters on the terraces due to Brighton’s stifling defensive stance throughout the game, but it was one of those ‘job well done’ performances from Pochettino’s men. Brighton as predicted were incredibly resilient, the imposing Duffy and Dunk stopping any crosses that we tried to deliver in to their box. There was not a lot of fluid football during the game, Brighton hounded our forwards throughout and though they created little up top, Hughton’s side certainly tested Spurs’ resolve. Though Spurs dominated the possession in the first half, Pochettino’s side found it hard to break down the visitors especially inside the danger area, Son and Lamela both going close. Before a huge slice of luck gave Spurs the lead five minutes before the interval, Winks pass was picked up by Serge Aurier down the right flank he advanced past Bong who slid in just as he was about to deliver the ball into the box. This unbalanced the Ivorian though he managed to get the cross away, which much to his and Matthew Ryan’s surprise flew into the far top corner of his goal, 1-0.

Spurs continued to dominate play during the second half as they looked to extend their lead, with Brighton’s only threat coming from the mesmeric dribbling of Anthony Knockaert who Spurs players couldn’t seem to get off the ball when ever he advanced forward. Lamela hit the outside of Ryan’s post early on in the half as a dull spell for both sides followed. Then on 70 minutes Brighton ought to have equalised when Tomer Hemed received the ball inside the six yard box, the Israeli international squandered his chance which was comfortably gathered by Lloris. An excellent late Harry Kane free kick on the edge of the penalty area was only denied by the upright, before Spurs were awarded a late free kick down the right channel. Christian Eriksen’s pinpoint free kick being deftly flicked home by the head of Son to secure the points in a game in which Spurs thoroughly deserved to win. In all truth there weren’t too many standout performances during what for the most part was a dreadfully dull match for the neutral. Son’s energy once again reaped its rewards whilst Lamela’s first league start in well over a year was of fine quality, he was creative and looked sharp in the final third. Eriksen was forced out of the game by the rigid Brighton defence whilst the commanding presence of Eric Dier at centre back caught my eye. Ultimately it’s a brilliant result and one that will leave us in good stead for our visit to the Etihad on Saturday for what will prove to be our biggest test of the season so far. COYS

Anthony Knockaert: I don’t know about anyone else but I’d love to see Spurs go in for Brighton’s French winger over the winter transfer period. A player who I watched play extensively for the seagulls in the championship, whilst the tricky winger has yet to match that form in the premier league the former Leicester man is a player who likes to run at the defenders and with his mercurial skill he has the ability to leave them with ease.

 

 

 

 

 

This seasons statistics: Senior: goal scorers: Alli-6
Davies-2
Kane-18
Eriksen-5
Son-8
Sissoko-2
Llorente-1
Nkoudou-1
Aurier-1

Assists Eriksen-5
Trippier-7
Davies-3
Kane-4
Alli-6
Alderweireld-1
Sissoko-1
Son-4
Dier-1
Lamela-1
Llorente-1
Winks-1

My interview with former Spurs man Andy Keeley:

My interview with former Spurs man Andy Keeley:

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Once again, a big thank you to Andrew Scott for arranging this interview.

I was privileged enough to interview former Spurs player Andy Keeley, a member of the famous FA youth cup side of 1973-74. Keeley was an extremely talented young defender who went on to play six times for the senior side, before moving to Sheffield United in 1977, Keeley then went on to play for Scunthorpe United before retiring in 1983. I have had privileges of being able to interview three of our former players over the last month, all of whom played for us during the 1970’s. This is a long term project of mine and one for which I’ll be continuing with over the future, to collect the memories of our former players and youth players, those who may have only played for the senior team on a handful of occasions as well as those who never made the step up. Giving them the recognition they so deserve. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Questions:

What was your time at Spurs like?

Andy: In the main, amazingly good. I joined after playing in weekly trials at the old Cheshunt training ground. Out of hundreds of boys at the trials, the club signed just Martin Robinson and me. We then started to train with our team mates. I hated pre season almost as much as Steve Perryman. We trained with so many great players; Alan Gilzean, Martin Chivers, Jimmy Pearce and Pat Jennings to name just a few. At that time I was thinking how can I be anywhere near as good as them. As well as the great lifestyle and only having to work a few hours a day, I also made some fantastic friends in Noel Brotherston, Wayne Cegielski, Ian Smith, Neil McNab, Ralph Coates and many more. We had loads of fun and learnt how to enjoy the good times and deal with things when it didn’t go as planned.

What was your greatest memory from your time at Spurs?

Andy: Watching Jimmy Greaves train for his testimonial game (what a player) and being in the same club as Pat Jennings, who was not only the best goalkeeper of the era but also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

As a young defender at the time which player in the game did you look up to?

Andy: I didn’t really look up to any other defenders in the game. You’d think that I would, but I preferred the more skillful players. Two of the players that I admired at Spurs for their ability were Jimmy Pearce and Neil McNab. Jimmy was so skillful even though he struggled with his knee injuries which cut short his career, and Neil joined from Morton at 15-16 Years old. I’ll never forget how he played in a friendly match; First team v Reserves. He controlled the game from start to finish. He was outstanding. He had a very good career but I never understood how he didn’t become a superstar.

How did it feel to make your debut for Spurs against Birmingham back in 1976

Andy: It was both scary and exciting. This is what you dream of doing and you want to do yourself justice. I remember, as most players do, how much of a jump up it was from  reserve team football to league football. The game is so much faster than you would expect.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Andy: Playing for England under 18’s will always be in my best memories. Testing yourself against some of the best players from other countries, and adapting to their styles of play. We had a team that included Bryan Robson and Glenn Hoodle. In one match we played Spain, at Atletico Madrid with a 70,000 full capacity crowd. The noise from the crowd was so loud that it was difficult to hear each other. We had coins, seat cushions and a number of other things thrown at us from the crowd during the game. No stopping the game like today for bad crowd behaviour!! With this incredible atmosphere and the crowd intimidation we were even happier than normal to come off with a 1-0 victory.

What was it like to be an up and coming player at Spurs during that time?

Andy: I should write a book. A lot of memorable highs, and some not to nice lows. It was easier than now to break into the team as there was less pressure on the managers to win because of the financial down side of not being in the premiership. Without the money that is in the game today, managers relied more on youth players coming through, rather than being able to go into the transfer market and get an immediate player for the team.
On the bad side there was a sometimes healthy and sometimes a not too healthy competitive mentality; where there were a number of scraps and nasty tackles in training.

You went on to have a successful footballing career with Sheffield United and Scunthorpe,  who was the greatest player that you ever played with?

Andy: At Sheffield United it was Alan Woodward, who played over 500 games for the club. He was the best striker of a ball that I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. In one game I was standing behind him. He was 30 yards out from goal and he slightly mis-controlled the ball a little too far in front of himself. He decided to toe punt the ball, like an old fashioned rugby player. The ball flew into the top corner of the net before the keeper could move.
At Scunthorpe United I enjoyed Ian Botham (famous cricketer, pretend footballer). Not much of a footballer but a character that every dressing room should have.

What are your memories of the FA youth cup campaign of 1973/74?

Andy: I remember the semi final v Arsenal and the final v Huddersfield. They were close games. In the semi final we needed to play at our best to compete with a star studded Arsenal team. We were the underdogs but knew that we had the talent and tenacity to beat them. Against Huddersfield we travelled to their ground for an evening KO against a team that we expected to beat, but they were like most typical Northerners, tough and uncompromising. Fortunately we won and I believe that our successful cup campaign was because of the camaraderie in our team. We were great friends and were prepared to fight for each other.

Do you still follow/support Spurs?

Andy: I do and I attend the occasional game, when I can get tickets. I saw Gareth Bale play a couple of times a few seasons ago and was so impressed with his control, passing, dribbling and shooting. Let’s hope that he will return one day.

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

Andy: Unfortunately I’m not and would love a re union with them. Ian Cranstone, Ian Smith, Michael Stead, Wayne Cegielski, Gary Anderson, Noel Brotherston, Neil McNab, Chris Jones, Roger Gibbins and John Margerrison.

What was it like making the transition from Spurs to going up to Yorkshire to play for Sheffield United?

Andy: At the time I wanted it. Being an arrogant young player I believed that I should have been a regular in the first team at Spurs, and had a few run in’s with Keith Burkenshaw about why he wouldn’t keep me in the team. I should have knuckled down and fought for my place but instead asked for a transfer. When I joined and first played at Bramall Lane it felt like a big step down from the Spurs. A few months after joining Sheffield United I married Simone (we are still married), at Easter. Not the best of times to get married as we had 3 games to play in 4 days. This made the transition so much easier. During our time with Sheffield and Scunthorpe we made some great friends, who we see regularly even though we now live back in Basildon.

Spurs versus Brighton And Hove Albion: (match preview)

Spurs versus Brighton And Hove Albion: (match preview)

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Apologies about the late publication of this match preview, I’ve just arrived at Wembley. And to my great surprise I just met the Brighton team walking down the street, what a great experience to meet Brighton manager and Spurs legend Chris Hughton, he is a very nice guy! Regarding this evenings game, Spurs host newly promoted Brighton at the national stadium in what will be viewed by Pochettino as a must win game, bearing in mind that our next fixture is away to Man City. Chris Hughton’s Brighton team are one who I have a huge amount of respect for, they’ve adapted well to life in the premier league and have a fantastic work ethic and attitude both on and off the pitch. Their danger men include skilful winger Anthony Knockaert, creative force Pascal Gross and target man Glen Murray. Massively important game tonight! COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lloris(c), Aurier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Lamela, Alli, Eriksen, Kane.

Subs from: Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Foyth, Son, Llorente, Nkoudou.

Absent: Alderweireld and Sanchez.

Doubtful: Wanyama.

My score prediction: 2-0.

One to watch: It’s quite rare that my ‘one to watch’ is a defender, but in this case I believe Brighton’s centre half Shane Duffy will provide the biggest threat to Pochettino’s side when these teams meet this evening. Chris Hughton’s side are built around their two big centre halves Dunk and Duffy. Duffy is a player who I have watched play for many years, a Derry man and Ireland international Duffy is an immensely talented centre half who is excellent in the air. He puts his body on the line and is also incredibly brave, I’d love to see him play for Spurs one day.