My interview with former Spurs academy player Michael Eade:
I had the great pleasure of interviewing former Spurs Academy player Michael Eade for my blog. Michael who played as a goalkeeper for the lilywhites, was a schoolboy at Spurs for four years during the late 90’s to early 2000’s. Appearing on the bench for the under 17’s on a couple of occasions, Michael Eade shared some of his memories with me about his time in the Spurs youth setup.
Questions: What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Michael: My earliest memories were training at Spurs Lodge in the evenings on the AstroTurf, and then at the weekends departing from white hart lane on the team coach for the away games and travelling to play the different academies. I use to love seeing all of the different training grounds of the top clubs we would play. I came to Spurs after being offered a trial and fortunately there was a need for a goalkeeper in my age group, I spent a season on trial Under Brian Stein and was signed at the end of the season.
What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?
Michael: It was a great experience, you are always on your toes and go into every training session and game with some fear that if you don’t perform you could be replaced. It was a very competitive environment that was enjoyable but initiating at the same time. I played alongside and against some great players and improved as a player and as a person during this time.
Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?
Michael: I was a big fan of David Seaman, as the England number 1 at the time I was inspired to be like him. I would try and emulate him as a young player.
Who were your greatest influences at the club?
Michael: The best team coach I worked under was David Kerslake he was a fantastic coach, and a great communicator, he would give unbelievable demonstrations in training and would give you feedback.
Were there any other players at the club or outside, who you’d model your game around?
Michael: I wanted to emulate Neil Sullivan, when I was at the club he was a great goalkeeper so I would watch him closely. We were always given two tickets to the home games at white hart lane so I would go and watch him warm up and play.
What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time?
Michael: It was a very competitive position and still is, in the age above me Nicky Eyre played in goal, he represented England in the Victory Shield and was a highly rated young goalkeeper, David Button was younger than me and was a good goalkeeper. We would always have goalkeepers come on trial who would be looking to take your place, the toughest thing is that only one goalkeeper could play per team.
Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to and are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?
Michael: Don’t stay in constant contact with anyone in particular, I am still Facebook friends with Charlie Lee who was a good lad and is having a good career in the game. I also was friendly with Tommy Welch who was a very good player and still pops up on Facebook. As well as the GK union of Nicky Eyre and Robert Burch.
What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?
Michael: My best memory was during a half term break when I was given the opportunity to train with the first team keepers under goalkeeping coach Hans Segers. Neil Sulivan and Kasey Keller were at the club at the time and it was a surreal experience. I remember during one activity all I wanted to do was score against Neil Sullivan, unfortunately that didn’t happen, but it was a great experience.
Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?
Michael: After I was released I went on a few trials and ended up signing as a YTS with Luton Town. At the time the club were in administration so I was given the opportunity to play a season with their U19s. During my second season the age groups shifted to U16 and U18, so I spent my last two seasons one as a true U18 and my last as a U19 playing down. At the end of the 2006 season I was not being offered a professional contract and was released by Mike Newell. My next step in my career was moving to the United States to pursue a soccer scholarship where I played for three seasons at Park University. During this time I obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and got involved with the coaching side of the game. This was the best decision I made after being released.
What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?
Michael: It was an unbelievable experience and although I never went on to become a professional footballer I enjoyed training and playing alongside some great players and coaches at the youth team level. My best moment was playing for Luton Town in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round away at Yeovil. The game was played at Huish Park and we went down on a great team bus, which was equipped with satellite TV and leather seats. It was a glimpse in to the world of professional football and although we got knocked out that evening, it gave me motivation to kick on. Although professional football didn’t work out for me football has helped me to come over to America where I met my lovely wife Haley.
Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?
Michael: In my youth team at Spurs it would have to be Phil Ifil, he was exceptional and went on to play a few games for the first team. At Luton Town Curtis Davies played central defender during my season with the U19s and has gone on to have a great career, he is currently playing for Derby County.
What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?
Michael: Enjoy every single day, stay humble and work hard to continuously improve. Don’t take for granted being a Spurs player because as quickly as it begins it can be taken away. Stay grounded enough to know that you may not achieve all your dreams as a professional footballer. Give everything to football but also do well at school and have a plan B if football doesn’t work out. Ultimately have no regrets and do everything in your power to succeed as a footballer, however if it doesn’t happen other opportunities will arise.