My interview with former Spurs player Destin Makumbu:

My interview with former Spurs player Destin Makumbu:

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Destin Makumbu came through the youth set up as Spurs in the 1990’s before embarking on a fascinating career which saw him play in three different countries. The defender who is now semi retired from the game kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at Spurs, Destin’s answers make fascinating reading.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Destin: Well my early memories were that, Spurs a huge club across the country and globe. Lots of good players, well tuned, very fit and Spurs lodge the training ground where we had great footballing education. Astro turf field at WHL, went away with the youth team back in 1999 to Berne, Switzerland, won the tournament and scored in the final too. Training/playing against Crouch, Ledley King, Johnnie Jackson and making my reserve team debut at 16. Getting called up to the U19s after 2 games with the under 16s, it was a big learning curve and test.

What was your time as a youth player at Spurs like?

Destin: I’d say my time as a youth player at the club was good except for the long term groin muscle injury i had. I had thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, every time i had pulled the clubs jersey on. Great set up, lovely grass field to train/play on. I owe the club a lot because it is where i learnt my trade, became a better player, understood the game much better and where we given the opportunity to play the game at a higher level.

What were the facilities and coaching like compared to what the current Spurs youth players have now?

Destin: The facilities and coaching back then was very good i thought, i loved it at the Lodge, it was tight and neat. Great fields for everyone, well cut, lean and absolutely no bumps, so we were lucky and we had access to a nice gym.
The coaching was good too, we were coached at a higher level. I’d say our coaches had great knowledge of the game and passed tons of advise on.
But today with the current climate, it is more well advanced with the new set up at Enfield. Been there once to see what’s it like, totally blown away to be fair with the whole set up, the indoor astro, the gym, the recovery area after the game. I’d say everything is miles better and ahead compared to what we had.
It is the best in world i believe, if not certainly top 2 for sure.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Destin: Those were big Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Alton Thelwell, Narada Bernard, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Ian Walker, Luke Young, David Kersley and Ian Hillier.

You were a talented young centre half during your time at the club, were there any other defenders at Spurs or elsewhere who you modelled your game around?

Destin: Around that time i’d watched Sol, Led, Alton and Ramon a lot at training whenever i had the opportunity so that helped a lot. Played alongside some of them in the Reserve and plus one game with David Kersley. He talked me through the game well, learnt a lot from him. Outside the club it was usually big guns Desailly, Rio F, P Maldini and Canavarro.

Who were your coaches at Spurs?

Destin: Those were Bob arber, P Suddaby, P Holland, C Hughton, C Gross, G Graham.

How tough was it for a young player at Spurs back then, to break into the first team?

Destin: I think it is always tough for a younger to break through at any premier league these days even back then. You are expected to be superb and ahead of the pack which is not easy. I mean i had ahead of me, Sol C, Led K, Anthony Gardner, Luke young, Gary Doherty, Alton Thelwell and Ramon Vega.
All international players respectively. So younger players are not given time to flourish.

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?

Destin: I was particularly close to Johnnie Jackson, Paul Ellis, Charlie Mapes, Alton Thelwell, Narada Bernard, Yannick Kamanaman, Jamie Attwell, Blake Saker, Paul Tait and few others. Remained on good terms with most of the lads i had played with, exchange emails now and again.

Who was the greatest player that you’ve ever played with in your footballing career?

Destin: Without a shadow of doubt i would say Ledley King, i remember telling him as i was leaving the club, England Led, nothing less because i know you’re up there with the likes of Ferdinands Terrys etc or even technically better and faster too.

After leaving Spurs in 2001, you took a path less travelled by many young English players during that time. Signing for American side Milwaukee Rampage before having stints in Sweden and Norway. Could you tell me some of your memories of what must been an intriguing time for you?

Destin: Well in the A-league (USL) as it was known back, making my full debut at the old Swangard Stadium in Vancouver, BC. 90 minutes of pure abusive language from the home crowd so that really intimidating, a welcome to mens football at 19. On the main land US, playing right in the middle of the summer during the day, Milwaukee Rampage did not have the flood lights up, it was baking hot, 30-35 degrees, could not really breath. Our mouth would dry pretty quickly, we had drink breaks in between. In Sweden i’d say playing a friendly match in february in Kemi, i can not remember who were the opponent that evening but all i can remember was it was freezing cold, minus 34, we’d played on this hard sand filled with small stone field and it was indoors too. But that did not help at all, i had a diarrhea right after the game, my hands were frozen.
Beating AIK stockholm back in 2005 in Boden, that caused an upset in the league, they were expected to walk over everyone.Knockout Chicago fire in the US open cup in 2002, with Beasly and Josh Wolf on the field, two former US internationals whom had represented the nation in Japan/south Korea world cup 2002. Shut out Landon Donovan, basically it was my job not to let him score and he did not, my task was to stick with him the entire 90 minutes and not let him score and he did not. In Norway, since the population is around 5 millions, in certain areas or part of the country, i’d played in front of 20-30 people.

 

What (so far) has been the pinnacle of your career?

Destin: Winning the A-league playoff in 2002, tons of individual awards such A-league young Defender of the year, best starting 11 in the league that year, team of the week, player of the week. Defender of the year at Milwaukee Rampage 2002.In Sweden, Norrbotten SD 2007 player of the year, runner-up with Kuriren. In Norway, i’d say winning Ranablad 2009 and 2012 player of the year awards, top 3 players in the 3rd div in 2016, not a single yellow card in 2012 and played 24 games in div 2, i think it is a record in Norwegian Football, look it up.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs Academy players as they look to find their way in the game?

Destin: Well i’d say never doubt yourself, trust your instincts, listen to all the advises you are going to get from ex players, senior players, current coaches or even certain team mates. Enjoy the game, enjoy training on a regular basis because there are lots of kids would give an arm to swap places with you. Extra training on the field to work on your weaknesses, whether it is passing, shooting, long passes, speed, agility training, free kicks, corners the lot. Plus gym work to get yourself stronger but not so bulky, quickness and 1st 10 meters in football matters.In bed early, around 2100 or 2130 if you can, it help a lot, done myself and i know. Stay away from the nightlife, it serves you no good at all, it brings bad companies. Stay way from alcohol, eat healthy, do some yoga on your spare time and stretches and absolutely take good care of your body.

 

Spurs under 18’s 4-4 Leicester City: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 4-4 Leicester City: (match report)

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The visit of Leicester City on Saturday morning to the training centre provided an absolute thriller of a game for Scott Parker’s under 18’s, as they drew 4-4 with foxes. It was an absolute belter of a game on a chilly winters morning in Enfield. Now two days later I sat down to reflect and write up my match report on a remarkable game of football even by youth standards, which saw Spurs throw away a three goal lead in a game which must have seen over 50 shots on goal. It was the away side who got the game started, an early penalty shout was waived away from the foxes in a high tempo and lively opening minutes. The early end to end nature of the game which was to last throughout, saw Spurs take an early lead when fullback Jamie Reynolds forced the opener. It was an impressive counter attacking move by Spurs who caught the foxes on the break. Left back Jamie Reynolds burst down the left before sending a nice low cross into the box, which was turned in to his own net by Leicester defender Husnek. A nasty two footed challenge on Reynolds shortly afterwards was very lucky to escape with a red card, as Spurs started to control the game. A bad mis kick from Leicester keeper Rhys Davies gifted Patterson with the ball in a dangerous central area of the pitch, the midfielders crisp pass setting Clarke free down the left. The wingers shot was stopped by Rhys Davies before he once again managed to block Griffiths attempt on the rebound. The game continued to be played at a very fast tempo, both sides only wanted to attack and this resulted in numerous openings for both sides.

Some decisive Spurs defending from both Lyons-Foster and Dinzeyi helped to prevent numerous goal scoring opportunities for the foxes. Then on 17 minutes another nice attacking move resulted in Spurs doubling their advantage. It was another incisive move which was initiated by Patterson, the midfielder cut the ball back to Markanday from the left. The forwards first time effort curled emphatically into the top corner of the helpless Davies’ goal. Leicester now trying to overturn a two goal deficit, were all on the offensive. Another brilliant intervention from Lyons-Foster thwarted a dangerous cross from the visitors, as Spurs continued to look really comfortable and assured in their defending. Parker’s side were showing no signs of lowering their high press and attacking style of play, a promising move resulted in Richards’ effort being blocked just in time. Whilst the influential Rayan Clarke should have had a penalty given to him for a blatant foul in the box. Spurs’ third of the game which came inside just 25 minutes was their best so far. The lively Rodel Richards picked up Dinzeyi’s pass on the half way line before advancing forward on a Messiesque run. The forward continued unopposed to the edge of the Leicester penalty area before sending a lovely low finish past Davies with his weaker right foot. This resulted in a furious exchange between one of Leicester’s defenders and his team mates who were on the verge of capitulating at Spurs’ expense. This had been sheer domination from Parker’s side who had totally overwhelmed a fine Leicester outfit with their quick attacking movement and sharp incisive play.

The rapid Edwards-John (who really impressed me throughout the game!) curled an effort well wide of De Bie’s goal before winning a penalty moments later. The pacy winger managing to get the wrong side of Dinzeyi in the area with the Spurs defenders challenge resulting in him missing the ball and catching the Leicester man. De Bie made a brilliant diving save to deny the Leicester forward from the penalty spot before the alert Brown was there to bury the rebound, 3-1. This was becoming a frustrating spell in the game for Parker’s team. A counter attacking move by Trevor Peake’s side caught Spurs out again a couple of minutes later. Leicester’s Brown went around Dinzeyi before slotting inside the bottom corner of De Bie’s goal. Parker’s side looked to respond, Richards’ effort was blocked whilst Jamie Bowden’s deep swinging free kick dashed just wide at the far post. It should have been 3-3 when Conor Tee’s deep cross was met by Elewa-Irpakwu at the back post who headed it narrowly over on to the roof of the net. The influential Dilan Markanday made a brilliant challenge early on in the second half to stop a Leicester counter attack. Whilst De Bie played Spurs into danger with a sloppy pass in which Tee got to, forcing De Bie into making a good low save. A superb curling effort from the potent Phoenix Patterson forced an excellent diving save out of Davies as Spurs looked to retain their control of the game. Tariq Hinds was then there at the other end to make a crucial block before Tee’s freekick went straight down the throat of the Spurs goalkeeper as Leicester continued to pepper the Spurs goal, in a thrilling end to end game.

Just when it looked as if the foxes were on the verge of finding an equaliser, Spurs made it 4-2! It was a brilliant goal which started with some great skill from Clarke down the left. Reynolds managed to the pick ball up and squirm past a congested defence before picking out Patterson inside the area. The midfielder bending a delicious effort into the far corner of Davies’ net, despite the best efforts of Leicester’s McLeod on the line who managed to make contact with the ball. Maxwell Statham replaced Dinzeyi as Spurs looked to protect their lead with some fresh legs. We were continuing to advance forwards, Patterson sumptuous cross was inches away from being tapped home by Griffiths. Whilst the man of the moment Patterson received the ball inside the area from Griffiths moments after. The Spurs man’s curling effort was stopped only by an excellent save from Davies. Then, Rodel Richards deflected effort flashed narrowly wide of the Welshman’s goal as Spurs looked to be running away with the game, whilst Clarke’s powerful effort was stopped shortly afterwards. However, the foxes still posed a real threat going forward. Rayan Clarke having to make a brilliant last ditch challenge inside the Spurs box to deny a clear chance. It appeared as if our lads were getting a little tired, Richards gave the ball away to 10 who advanced towards the Spurs goal before forcing a top save out of De Bie. The pressure was being piled on us by the visitors, substitute Statham making two important blocks in quick succession as Spurs looked to see out the remainder of the game.

A brilliant surging run from substitute Bennett resulted in the 16 year old whipping in a promising cross into the box. Before Patterson squandered a good goalscoring opportunity on the edge of the box, with a wayward effort. Some incisive passing by the foxes resulted in them pulling a goal back through Connor Tee who slotted home with a smart finish. Before the same player produced the unthinkable deep in stoppage time when he headed home a cross from the right side to deal a bitter late blow to Parker’s side. The final score Spurs 4-4 Leicester. Parkers side go again on Wednesday with an important premier league under 18 cup quarterfinal with Liverpool at hotspur way. Steven Gerrard’s side are yet to lose a game this season! COYS

Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Made some very important stops, distribution was at times a little erratic. But once again the Belgian put in another fine performance.
– Tariq Hinds: Put in a strong and very defensive display, sat deep and made some important interventions.
– Jamie Reynolds: Excellent performance by the 18 year old left back, he was brilliant going forward and managed to chip in with two assists. He is starting to remind me a bit of Ben Davies in the way he gets forward.
– Jamie Bowden: Another good performance from the consistent Spurs anchorman. Tidy, efficient and subtly creative. Much like a young Michael Carrick.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: This was his first start for some time following a frustrating injury. And the powerful centre half really impressed me along with Lyons-Foster. Dinzeyi was strong in the tackle and composed in his overall play what I also like about the 18 year old. Is how he brings the ball out from the back in a very attacking Vertonghenesque way. Felt he was very unlucky with the two opening goals that Leicester scored.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: A superb display from the confident centre half, some of the challenges he made were top class and once again it was his reading of the game which proved so crucial for Spurs. I would be surprised if he wasn’t given another England call up in the spring.
– Rodel Richards: Scored a lovely goal and caused a lot of problems down the left with his weaving runs.
– Phoenix Patterson: My Motm, see below.
– Reo Griffiths: Worked very hard and put in a good shift up top.
– Dilan Markanday: Nice and creative, showed some brilliant skill and ball control. Works very hard. He also scored a lovely goal.
– Rayan Clarke: Very influential in the game with his powerful runs down the left, what I also like about Clarke is his eagerness to track back and get stuck in.
– Maxwell Statham: Made some important blocks.
– J’neil Lloyd-Bennett: Went on some good forward runs.

My man of the match: Attacking midfielder Phoenix Patterson has made the switch from the flanks to the central ‘number 8′ role over the past few weeks, and the 17 year old has excelled. Putting in some really productive performances. Patterson was the main source of Spurs’ creativity against Leicester, he was dare I say it an Özilesque force in the centre of midfield. He brought the ball forward, initiated many openings. And also got an all important goal and assist, I’ve been very impressed with the 17 year old since his been converted into an 8, he is a player with serious ability.

Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Bowden, Dinzeyi (Statham 56), Lyons-Foster, Richards (P Maghoma 79), Patterson, Griffiths (Bennett 73), Markanday, Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Lock.

Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-11
Phoenix Patterson -5
Dilan Markanday- 4
Jamie Bowden- 1
Moroyin Omolabi-1
Rayan Clarke-1
Maurizio Pochettino-1
Paris Maghoma-2
Rodel Richards-7
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-1
TJ Eyoma-1

Assists: Phoenix Patterson-6
Jamie Bowden-1
Matt Lock- 2
Jeremie Mukendi-2
Jamie Reynolds-3
Reo Griffiths-5
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-4
Rayan Clarke-2
Rodel Richards-1
Dilan Markanday-1

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Mark Arber:

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Mark Arber:

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I had the great pleasure to interview former Spurs Academy player Mark Arber about his time at the club. The South African footballer who many will remember from his time at Dagenham and Redbridge and Barnet, went on to have a hugely successful career as a centre half after leaving the lilywhites.

Questions: What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Mark: I was playing as a striker for a local club in the Echo league called Lakeview. I was scouted by Len Cheesewright who took me in at 8. I remember the old ball court at white hart lane, training on Tues and ‪Thurs night‬ and picking up my £2 expenses.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Mark: Enjoyable, I could have left as a kid to join Man Utd or Arsenal but even though i supported one of them (won’t say which one) I was happy in the environment I was in. I signed as a 9 year old and left as a 21 year old so it was all in all a great time.

Were there any players at Spurs who you’d watch closely in training during your academy years?

Mark: Quinton Fortune early on was magnificent in the indoor ball court.
As a pro it was Jurgen Klinsmann, he trained as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen.

Who has the toughest opposition player that you ever came up against?

Mark: I had the very fortunate experience of playing against Dennis Bergkamp in a behind closed doors game at Highbury.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Mark: Paulo Maldini or Franco Baresi. I converted into a centre half and these 2 were all time greats

How did your years as a young player at Spurs serve you throughout your career as a professional footballer?

Mark: It was the perfect education, like being at school. Those early years set me up for life.

After leaving Spurs in 1998 you went on to enjoy a hugely successful footballing career with the likes of Barnet, Peterborough and Dagenham and Redbridge? Could you talk me through some your memories from that time?

Mark: I played over 650 career games which in the modern era is a hell of an achievement to be proud of. Captaining Dagenham and Redbridge to the league 2 play off final at Wembley ranks as my finest hour.

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

Mark: Yes loads. In the modern era with social media it’s easy to keep in touch. A lot are still in football in some capacity too and so we often cross paths.

Who were you greatest influences at the club?

Mark: My father was an obvious help. I’d often get accused of nepotism but in all honesty I was single minded and overcame many obstacles along the way. Player wise Sol Campbell and Gary Mabbutt gave me great encouragement when I was on the fringes of the first team.

Who in your eyes was the most talented player that you played with at Spurs?

Mark: David Ginola and Gazza are the obvious ones that spring to mind

As somebody that is still involved in the game what would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players as they look to find their way in the game?

Mark: Don’t take anything for granted, work hard everyday, continue to look to improve. Off the field stay humble, appreciate what you’ve got and play with a smile on your face.

Spurs versus AFC Wimbledon: (match preview)

Spurs versus AFC Wimbledon: (match preview)

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The visit of AFC Wimbledon to Wembley on Sunday, is a game of the utmost importance to both Spurs’ season and to Pochettino’s ambition of winning a trophy. The general consensus among the supporters is that they want Pochettino to field a squad strong enough of going all the way. Whilst Sundays game against the league one club should be nothing less than a comprehensive victory. Pochettino will know that experimenting against such a club is not without risk, a perfect example of that being the Wycombe game last season. The visitors who are fighting for their lives near the bottom of the league one table, have already played Spurs once this season. It came against our development squad during a checkatrade trophy game in October, Spurs very narrowly being denied at the death by an almost full strength dons team. Wimbledon have nothing to lose and I’m sure they’ll give it a right old go, but with a strong enough Spurs side which will hopefully include a couple of youth players, I’m very confident that we’ll progress comfortably into round 4. COYS

My score prediction: 5-0 Spurs.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Vorm, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Wanyama, Winks, Nkoudou, Sissoko, Lamela, Llorente.

Subs from: Gazzaniga, Trippier, Dier, Tanganga, Alli, Edwards, Son.

One to watch: The dons top scorer in league one this season with 8 goals, Lyle Taylor.

My interview with former Spurs player Jeff Minton:

My interview with former Spurs player Jeff Minton:

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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.

Spurs under 23’s 1-6 Leicester City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-6 Leicester City: (match report)

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Reporting on Wednesday evenings game involving our under 23’s and Leicester City from a cold and secluded Holmes park, there were periods in the game when it was painful to watch. The foxes aren’t second in the table for nothing and they certainly showed their attacking prowess in the 6-1 thrashing of Wayne Burnett’s team. However, it had a lot to do with Spurs having two men sent off during the second half combined with the fact that Spurs seemed to capitulate upon taking an early lead. In all honesty Keanan Bennetts opener early on in the game was one of very few times we troubled a foxes defence which included the vastly experienced Robert Huth. It was a bit of an end to end start to the game, Dewsbury-Hall fired an early shot over for the home side. Whilst Anthony Georgiou looked to use his pace to send in a peach of a cross in to the box, sadly there was no one there to meet it. Leicester were seeing more of the ball, Josh Gordon tried an ambitious effort to beat Austin but the Spurs keeper caught it with ease. This almost frantic start to proceedings did have a positive outcome for Burnett’s team when they took the lead on 11 minutes, courtesy of a wonderful goal from Keanan Bennetts. The lively winger picked up the ball on the right before skilfully evading a couple of Leicester players before cutting in on his left and curling a typically sumptuous effort in to the top corner of Iversen’s net. However, a quick free kick by Leicester almost caught Spurs out soon afterwards. George Thomas’ pass set Ndukwu free down the left side of the box, Ndukwu fired the ball against the side netting.

Then at the other end Spurs looked to extend their lead, a nice attacking move culminated in Harrison’s low shot being stopped by Iversen. The signs were ominous for Spurs, this prolific Leicester side weren’t going to lower their high tempo style of play. Josh Gordon fired an excellent dipping effort just over Austin’s goal, before the latter had to do well to deal with a dangerous ball in. Josh Gordon once again went close moments later, the forward was allowed to go through on goal and would have equalised were it not for a fine stop by Austin who spread himself well. Leicester’s attacking persistence paid off shortly before the half hour mark after Spurs failed to deal with a deep in swinging cross, as the foxes Sam Hughes bundled the ball home with a precise low effort. Leicester continued to pepper the Spurs goal, Layton Ndukwu’s curling long range effort fizzed off the upright before coming out to Thomas whose first time effort was saved by Austin. Spurs were struggling to keep up with such a high tempo outfit and were continuing to make forced errors. One such error occurred after Oliver Skipp was robbed of the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, George Thomas’ resulting effort having to be palmed away by Austin. Then moments later Leicester headed the ball just wide at the far post, the foxes forwards showed no signs of stopping. The attempts at goal kept on coming, Thomas’ effort had to be headed to safety by Maghoma whilst the same player was forced in to making a vital block moments later.

Josh Gordon left George Marsh on the floor when he surged down the left flank before whipping a low cross into Ndukwu, who flicked the ball onto the outside of Austin’s post. Spurs had barely got out of their own half since taking the lead. Steve Beaglehole’s side almost took the lead straight after the restart when George Thomas fired an effort just over on the turn. Spurs were frustratingly not utilising the pacy wingers and were therefore unable to cause much of a threat going forward, isolating the likes of Harrison and Sterling up top. Dewsbury-Hall had an effort cannon off the crossbar soon afterwards before a game changing decision left Spurs in the lurch. It was a flailing arm by George Marsh which ended up seeing the Spurs man receive his second yellow card in the space of just two minutes though it seemed a tad harsh, Marsh was given his marching orders to the delight of the home side. The foxes were now looking to capitalise on their extra man, and it didn’t take them long to trouble the Spurs goal. George Thomas had an initial effort on goal blocked before gloriously wrapping his foot around the rebound, bending on to the inside of Austin’s post only to see it go agonisingly wide. Connor Wood drilled a shot inches wide a couple of minutes later before the home side finally made the breakthrough. It was like a game of pin ball inside the Spurs box as Leicester tried to get a clean shot away, the ball eventually falling to Thomas who on his second effort managed to curl the ball home, 1-2.

The foxes were bombarding the depleted Spurs defence as they continued to counter attack us when ever we went forward. Things got a whole lot worse for Burnett’s side when they received their second sending off of the game. On first viewing it did seem a bit harsh even though the Leicester fans sitting next me thought it was a terrible challenge, young Oliver Skipp who is not a dirty player by any means, went to get the ball off of Gordon. Slipping as he made the tackle Skipp went straight through Gordon giving O’Donnell no choice but to show him the red card. The game was by now a forgone conclusion and just moments after Skipp’s sending off, Leicester grabbed their third. It came from a corner kick, Austin managing to save a header inside the box. Though he could do nothing about Darnell Johnson’s resulting effort as he scrambled the ball home. Maghoma once again produced a fine piece of defending before a sloppy Spurs gave the ball away to Leicester. In an incisive attacking move which put Josh Gordon through on goal, the young forward showed the composure to calmly slot the ball past Austin, to put the game to bed. Whilst assistant manager Justin Cochrane continued to motivate his players throughout this late stage, unfortunately it was to little success. Soon after Gordon was once again allowed a free route to goal, though this time he fired the ball just wide. Leicester were in no mood for stopping, a short corner resulted in Leicester (Dewsbury-Hall) whipping a dangerous ball into the box in which the unmarked Gordon was allowed to head home, it had become all to easy. Leicester almost extended their lead after they chased a long ball which Austin had come rushing out to clear, only to miss the ball entirely. Leicester advanced on goal squaring the ball to Josh Eppiah inside the box, his low effort was only denied by a brilliant goal line block by Brown.

Substitute Jack Roles tried his best to pull a goal back for Spurs but his long range effort flew well wide of goal. But there was still time for Leicester to get a sixth as Luke Thomas went surging down the right before crossing for George Thomas whose improvised flick went in off Eyoma to make it 6-1. Not a night to remember for Spurs in the Midlands, there next game is a home one against Everton on the 15th.

 

Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Made some really good stops to keep the score line lower, but his distribution put us into danger on more than one occasion.
– George Marsh: Was doing well until he got booked twice in two minutes, he certainly doesn’t have the best disciplinary record out of the squad.
– Jaden Brown: Decent performance. Was good going forward, especially towards the latter part of the game.
– Luke Amos: One of the better performers on the night, I thought Amos put in a good shift. He mopped up well even after the dismissal of Skipp, he showed his experience and put in some fine challenges.
– C.Maghoma: My motm see below.
– TJ Eyoma: Tough game for Eyoma, but the 17 year old put in a strong enough performance.
– Keanan Bennetts: Scored an absolute beauty in the first half, but rarely came into the game after that.
– Oliver Skipp: A strong first half performance before an unfortunate dismissal in the second half.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Barely touched the ball, was isolated up top.
– Shayon Harrison: Was a similar case for Harrison who did however show really good feet on occasions.
– Anthony Georgiou: One of our best performers, Georgiou was one of the few players willing to run at the Leicester defence and whipped in some nice crosses. He also tracked back really well.

My man of the match: Whilst it may seem odd to award it to a defender after we conceded six goals. I felt that the one player deserving of being man of the match was centre half Christian Maghoma, yes Spurs conceded six goals but this was down to exceptional circumstances. Maghoma was the leader of the side even when we were 6-1 down. The 20 year old made countless important blocks, challenges and recoveries. His pace and prowess in the air saved Spurs on numerous occasions. Even the Leicester fans sat near me were left mightily impressed by the DR Congo internationals performance.

Leicester City: Iversen, Johnson, Wood (L Thomas 83), Hughes (c), Knight, Huth, Kaba Sherif (Eppiah 65), Dewsbury-Hall, Gordon, G Thomas, Ndukwu (Martis 68). Substitutes (not used): Bramley, Debayo.

Spurs: Austin, Marsh, Brown, Amos (c), C Maghoma, Eyoma, Bennetts (Roles 74), Skipp, Sterling, Harrison (Pritchard 78), Georgiou (Tracey 71). Substitute (not used): Whiteman.

Goals: Leicester – Hughes 28, Thomas 66, 90+4, Johnson 76, Gordon 82, 89; Spurs – Bennetts 11.

Yellow cards: Leicester – Ndukwu 64; Spurs – Amos 43, Marsh 56, 57.

Red cards: Spurs – Marsh 57, Skipp 73.

Referee: Christopher O’Donnell.

Attendance: 497.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-7
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-3
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts: 2
Tracey-1
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-1
Pritchard-4
Edwards-3
Tracey-3
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-3
Bennetts-3
Marsh-1

Spurs 2-0 Swansea: (my take on a good night in South Wales)

Spurs 2-0 Swansea: (my take on a good night in South Wales)

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The weather was abysmal as the rain came gushing down on to the muddy turf of Swansea’s liberty stadium. Fortunately for Pochettino’s side, they managed to overcome the adverse weather conditions to record a comprehensive 2-0 victory over the relegation stricken swans. As expected it was a game in which Pochettino’s energetic Spurs side dominated throughout, playing a slick passing game on the wet and slow pitch, Spurs pressed Swansea aggressively in the opening minutes. With star man Harry Kane dropped to the bench for this one, Fernando Llorente made the step up as he returned to the club he left to join us in in the summer. That gamble was to pay off, as after a positive start Spurs were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area. Christian Eriksen’s whipped ball was met by Llorente who glanced the ball beyond Fabianksi to give Spurs the lead. Spurs continued to dominate the home team for the remainder of the half, coming close to doubling their lead on numerous occasions. It had been a fine performance. However, the second half was quite different, Spurs weren’t as aggressive or creative as they had been in the first. Whilst they were still controlling the game they lacked a bit of punch to find that all important second goal. Swansea grew into the game and for a spell Spurs were under the cosh, Van Den Hoorn’s deflected header hit the upright, whilst substitute Luciano Narsingh also threatened Lloris’ goal. But Spurs defended well and once Harry Kane was introduced towards the latter stages of the game, you always got the impression that a second Spurs goal was on its way. And that was to be the case courtesy of a magnificent assist from Mr.Kane.

It was a pass of real quality and precision, Kane who was down the left flank curled a sumptuous pass to Dele Alli, who controlled it first time. Rushing through on goal his initial effort was saved by Fabianksi, but Alli gobbled up the rebound with an emphatic finish. It was a deeply satisfying result and performance from Pochettino’s men, they had braved the pouring rain and tricky conditions. To outclass Carlos Carvalhal’s men over the course of 90 minutes. It was a good team performance but for me the game changer was a young man by the name of Dele Alli. Alli has been in excellent form of late and yesterday’s game was no exception, the midfielder was on top form. Everything from his diagonal runs to his creativity on the ball impressed me. And yet again he was there to make the run which would seal the game. The 21 year old has now been involved in 18 of Spurs’ goals this season! COYS

 

Senior: goal scorers: Alli-8
Davies-2
Kane-24
Eriksen-6
Son-9
Sissoko-2
Llorente-2
Nkoudou-1
Aurier-1

Assists Eriksen-7
Trippier-7
Davies-3
Kane-4
Alli-10
Alderweireld-1
Sissoko-2
Son-6
Dier-1
Lamela-1
Llorente-1
Winks-1
Aurier-1

My interview with former Spurs man Ross Darcy:

My interview with former Spurs man Ross Darcy:

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The year was 1996, Spurs had just been beaten by an illustrious Manchester United team, in a nail biting penalty shoot out in the final of the FA youth cup at Old Trafford. A player who was playing that day, was the immensely talented Irishman Ross Darcy, the young centre half was a player tipped for stardom. Since joining the club as a kid in 1994 from across the water, Darcy went on to rise up through the ranks in the Spurs academy. Representing his country all the way up to the Ireland under 21 team, Darcy seemed to be heading for a successful career with the lilywhites and for his country, Ireland. Fast forward just 8 years and Darcy’s career as a footballer was over, taken so cruelly away from him by a series of devastating injuries. I caught up with the former Spurs starlet to talk to him about his time at Spurs and career as a whole.

Questions:

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Ross: My earliest memories were obviously the big name players you are around daily. Getting settled into my digs was also quite a big thing to get used to. I played in a tournament in Northern Ireland called the Milk Cup and was spotted there. It came down to a decision between Man Utd and Spurs who to sign for. It just felt more comfortable at Tottenham at the time.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Ross: I loved every minute of it. It is such a special club.

Could you talk me through your memories of that FA youth cup run of 1995/96, a competition you came with in touching distance of winning?

Ross: That was amazing… I remember David Pleat was commentating on the first leg live at white hart lane and had given me man of the match and as soon as he said that I made a mistake that allowed Terry Cooke to equalize for Man Utd. We lost on penalties in the second leg at Old Trafford but a special memory all the same.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ross: Chris Houghton and Sol Campbell.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Ross: Paul McGrath

I’ve asked you a lot about your time kicking a ball at Spurs, but what was it like off the field. Adapting to a new country/culture in a big city like London?

Ross: It was tough to get used to living in a big city like London especially coming from a small village just outside Dublin. I got used to it very quick and I love London and visit it all the time now.

Do you remember your first youth game at Spurs and if so who were the opposition?

Ross: I don’t actually but I do remember playing against the reserves on my first day. That team included some well know players and future stars.

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?

Ross: I was very close to Stephen Clemence and Neale Fenn. Neale lives in Ireland now and manages Longford Town. We see each other as much as we can.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Ross: Sol Campbell and it’s tough to pick also between Teddy Sherrinham and Jurgen Klinnsman.

After leaving Spurs you went on to play for a couple of clubs before your retirement, including Barnet and Dundalk. What were your footballing experiences like post Spurs?

Ross: They weren’t great to be perfectly honest. I had done so much damage to my knee that I couldn’t play or do the same things on the pitch that I was used too. That was frustrating.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Ross: Two things – winning young player of the year at Tottenham and representing my country.

Were there any members of the first team squad that you used to watch closely?

Ross: Being a defender it would always be Sol Campbell but I also loved to watch David Ginola on the training pitch, some of the skills he had were phenomenal.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs Academy players as they look to find their way in the game?

Ross: Always have something to fall back on. There are so many players from around the world now even in youth teams it can be hard to make it. If you are dedicated you will certainly give yourself a good shot.

What was it like to represent your country at youth level?

Ross: It is always an honour to represent your country. I was lucky enough to do it from under 15 level all the way up to Under 21.

 

 

 

 

Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)

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After a lengthy break over the festive period, Wayne Burnett’s development side return to action when they travel to Leicester for a PL2 game on Wednesday night. The game which is being played at Holmes park (a tiny little ground owned by the Leicestershire FA) is the second meeting between these two sides this season after a closely encountered 1-1 draw at Hotspur way in the reverse fixture. And the foxes are flying in the league and are currently on a remarkable 9 game undefeated run in the league which has seen them move up to second in the table only to Liverpool. Steve Beaglehole’s side are mounting a series challenge for the league title, and having already seen Leicester’s youth team three times this season it’s obvious to see why. Whilst they don’t have any outstanding youth prospects, Leicester have a very talented young pool of players as well as being aided by a couple of fringe members of the senior team, are tough to breakdown. As the stats would suggest, they have conceded the least amount of goals in the league this season, a mere 9! Whilst it likely that some of the fringe senior players will be involved such as 30 year old centre half Yohan Benalouane and 25 year old Nigerian international Ahmed Musa, that experience combined with some of the foxes young talents may be too much for Burnett’s young side. But as always it’s an experience and a game which I am very much looking forward to reporting back from. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Eyoma, Tanganga, C.Maghoma, Brown, Skipp, Pritchard(c), S.Shashoua, Edwards, Georgiou, Harrison.

Subs from: Austin, Bennetts, Marsh, Roles, Sterling.

Doubts: Dylan Duncan and Nick Tsaroulla.

My score prediction: 2-2.

One to watch: Experienced Tunisian centre half Yohan Benalouane is a player who most of you will know. The former Saint Etienne defender has struggled for game time since joining the foxes and this season has found himself playing three times for the development squad. He will be a tough player to play against, if involved.

A round up of recent Spurs games plus a youth update, and more:

A round up of recent Spurs games plus a youth update, and more:

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Apologies for my lack of writing over the festive period, a dislocated knee amongst other reasons has given me little time to sit down and write pieces on recent games. Now it is the new year, all will return to normal and I’ll be writing about Spurs everyday. However, as I’m quite behind in my articles on recent games I thought I’d combine all my pieces in to this one blog post. Starting on those two sparkling performances against both Burnley and Southampton, the record breaking Harry Kane was at the heart of both of those wins. But it was the togetherness and sheer dominance of Pochettino’s players collectively as a team, which saw them overcome Burnley and Southampton so emphatically. The fluid attacking play and the sharpness and incisive movement overwhelmed the opposition, it looked just like the Spurs of last season. There’s a lot of talk about Liverpool’s ‘fab four’ and the attacking prowess of the leaders Manchester City. But when our four attacking players are all on form they are just as unstoppable as shown in our previous two games, the victory over the saints saw us play some of our best football this season. Tomorrow Pochettino’s side travel to South Wales for a tricky away game with relegation stricken Swansea, buoyed by a rare win against Watford in their last game. Newly appointed manager Carlos Carvalhal has a monumental task on his hands to keep the swans in the league, they’ve scored the fewest goals this season. Have the poorest home form and lack quality and depth, on paper it’s an inviting game for Spurs and one which they would want to achieve maximum points.

In other news our under 18’s and 23’s both return to action in the coming week starting with our under 23’s who face Leicester in the PL2 on Wednesday night. I will be making the trip to Leicester for that one to report on the game. Meanwhile our under 18’s return to league action on the Saturday with a home game against Leicester at the training centre. In other youth related news, I was at the valley earlier today to watch Spurs loanee Connor Ogilvie in the Charlton v Gillingham game. The 21 year old full back only came on for the last 20 or so minutes of the game, at which point the gills were leading 2-0. Ogilvie put in a typically assured and composed performance at left back. Ogilvie got involved and was dominant in the air, he is getting plenty of game time at the league one club. Watching today’s game (which ended 2-1 to the visitors) it got me thinking. A club like Charlton for example who are on a poor run of form (seemingly lacking a bit of creativity) with a manager with a good youth policy in Karl Robinson, would surely be a good place to send a couple of our young academy starlets on loan to, over the January transfer window. Players like Marcus Edwards (so lacking in senior game time) the brilliant Keanan Bennetts who has been exceptional at wing back for our under 23’s this season and the commanding centre half Japhet Tanganga are just some of the players who could in my eyes all benefit from a loan spell in the football league. We shall see if any of those players are loaned out over the course of the coming weeks.