My interview with former Spurs academy player and Ireland youth international. Darren Grogan:
I had the pleasure of interviewing former Spurs academy player and Ireland youth international Darren Grogan. The Dubliner who played in the Spurs youth set up in the 1990’s, spoke to me about his time at the club, a time which was sadly blighted by injuries.
Questions: What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Darren: Earliest memories was coming over as a 13 or 14 year old for trials. Had been to a good few clubs but no club felt as good. Remember David Beckham Jamie Redknapp. Evening sessions in the Astro pitches beside the old stadium. Great 5 asides in there.
What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?
Darren: Great time overall. it was a pleasure to train and play with players like that. I got a bad injury as soon as I came over. Dislocating knee cap. Had a fairly big op to sort it. Club were super in getting me sorted with the best surgeon. And John Sheridan the physio was great. I was only 15 and away from home and not involved for a long time so that was hard.
You must have played in some really prestigious youth competitions during your time as a Spurs apprentice, could you share some of your experiences?
Darren: To be fair our youth side had some great players but can’t rememember too many trophys. Remember playing against Norwich in a league cup final at white hart lane. I was injured for a long time and missed a lot of the first couple of years.
Who were your greatest influences at the club?
Darren: I have great respect for Patsy holland our old manager and Chris Hughton . John Sheridan. player wise I looked up to gazza. He had the lot.
Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?
Darren: i loved to watch gazza. Great craick around the training ground as well.
Were there any members of the first team squad that you used to watch closely in training?
Darren: I loved to watch nayim he had so much skill and touch.
How demanding was it to be an apprentice at one of the finest clubs in the country?
Darren: it was demanding but great experience. Other clubs took advantage of the apprentices but not at Tottenham. We had our jobs but were always treated with respect.
You played in an Ireland under 18 side which included the likes of Shay Given, what are your memories of what must have been a very proud time for you?
Darren: Ye great time with the Irish squads. Shay was a great lad and he never changed after making it big. Met him years later and had a pint. Cant beat playing for your country.
Are you still in contact with any of your former Spurs team mates?
Darren: im actually friends on Facebook with a good few of the old lads. Great to see they’re all well.
Were there any players who you tried to model your game around?
Darren: Glenn Hoddle. What a player.
After leaving Spurs in 1994 you went on to play in Portugal (if my research is correct) what was your footballing career like after you left the lillywhites?
Darren: played for Leixoes in the Portuguese league. Another great experience but ended up playing back in the league of Ireland with Steve cotterill as our manager. Again got a bad Achilles injury. Had two ops but that was the end. couldn’t shake it off. Finished very young. Probably 21.
Do you still follow Spurs’ progress?
Darren: Ye still watch out for their results. Was always a Liverpool fan as a kid but Spurs left a mark. Great club and people