My interview with former Spurs player Jeff Minton:
Jeff Minton burst on to the scene at Spurs as a young trainee in April of 1992, it was the debut for the young Jeff Minton who managed to score that day past Neville Southall in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Everton, at the Lane. Jeff went on to make a further two appearances for the lilywhites before departing for Brighton in 1994. He also went to play for a host other clubs which include Rotherham and Leyton Orient. Jeff kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at Spurs.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Jeff: I joined the club as a 10 year old after the scout “Dick Moss” watched me playing a district game for Hackney against Enfield in which I scored a Hat-trick. He came up to me after the game and said would I like to come to Tottenham as a schoolboy which of course I said yes to. I was training at Arsenal at the time but was a no brainer as I was a Tottenham fan. My earliest memory was training at White Hart Lane on the indoor astro turf on a Monday night and just always remember it being cold but was an unbelievable experience just to be a Spurs schoolboy.
Could you talk me through your Spurs debut and how you got the nod?
Jeff: My debut I remember being a little nervous before the game as I was unprepared due to the fact I was only told by Peter Shreeves that I would be starting the day before after training. It was a fantastic occasion as it was also Gary Lineker’s last home game for Spurs. Very proud moment for both myself and family and managed to also chip in with a goal.
Were there any players at Spurs who you’d watch closely in training?
Jeff: Every player at the club always looked up to Gazza at the time as “in my opinion” he was the best player in the world at the time, so yes he would definitely be one but I would also watch Gary Mabbutt as he was the captain and also so professional. Just watching the way he conducted himself both on and off the pitch was a great example of how a true professional footballer should be. I would also watch Nayim (lovely guy) very closely as he had unbelievable technique and skill of which I tried to base my game around. He was also a great guy with the young lads and would tell us stories about how good Diego Maradona was during his time at Barcelona.
Who was the toughest opposition player that you ever came up against?
Jeff: I would say both Ryan Giggs and Paul Gascoigne (who was at Everton at this point) Both could turn a game in an instant with their great ability to go past people and cause havoc. Both unstoppable on their day.
Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?
Jeff: My hero hands down would be Diego Maradona since the age of 9 whilst watching him in the 1982 World Cup for Argentina. He was the best player ever as far as I am concerned and just did things which were out of this world and which I have never seen done by any other player both before or since. My other hero’s were Glenn Hoddle and John Barnes who were both super talented, exceptional players.
Who for you was the most talented player you’ve played with during your career?
Jeff: Paul Gascoigne.
Could you talk me through your footballing career after you left Spurs?
Jeff: I left Spurs to join Brighton and play for Liam Brady who was like a father figure to me and also somebody who had great confidence in my ability during his spell as manager. It also offered me 1st team football week in, week out. I Stayed there for 5 years and had a fantastic time (the best years of my career in hindsight). Great club, great fans!. From there I joined Port Vale. Brian Horton who was my manager at Brighton the year before asked me to join him as he had become their manager and was also the chance to play in the 1st division. It was the first time I had lived away from the London area and proved difficult to adjust for me and subsequently left to join Rotherham at the end of my second year on loan. We gained promotion to division one and was asked to stay but my wages proved a sticking point!. I then returned to London with Leyton Orient. I only stayed the one season as was offered a new 2 year contract by Barry Hearn but had an agent that was not negotiating with the club in my best interests (but rather for his own benefit). This caused a falling out with Barry and was then offered a reduced 1 year contract and less wages which I did not except. In hindsight I should have stayed here for many years as it was the ideal club for me both by location and by the fact I really liked the club, fans and staff and it will always be the biggest regret of my career alongside leaving Spurs.
Are you still in contact with any of your former Spurs team mates?
Jeff: Only a few. One being Ian Walker on facebook, Gazza on Instagram a few times, Sol Campbell who i have seen a few times whilst out and about over the years and the other being Kevin Watson to whom I speak regularly. Myself and Kevin are still very good friends who grew up together from the age of about 4-5, both from Hackney, both went to the same schools, both joined Spurs at the same time after leaving school and both played in the first team Spurs. We still talk about our days their regularly so is a nice story. I also speak via Facebook with a few of my youth team mates who were at Spurs at the time.
Were there any players who you tried to model your game around?
Jeff: I would say nobody in particular really. I would of course try to watch and take little bits from various players styles and try to incorporate certain things they did well in to my own style of play. If I was to pick one player it would have to be Paul Gascoigne as I got to obviously see him train and play close up and on also on a daily basis. He was one of the most talented players to ever come out of the English game.
What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?
Jeff: On the whole it was incredible really. Joining as a 10 year old and leaving as a 20 year old gave me 10 very valuable learning years at a club I supported and also one of the countries top clubs which is steeped in so much tradition and history. Those treasured memories will forever live with me.