My interview with former Spurs academy player Mark Janney:
Mark Janney came through the youth ranks at Spurs in the mid 1990’s, the midfielder went on to enjoy a successful career in the game. Playing for the likes of Brentford, Dagenham and Redbridge and A.F.C. Hornchurch. Mark kindly agree to doing an interview with myself as he recalls some of his memories from being at Spurs.
Questions: What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Mark: Training in the ball court at White Hart Lane on a Monday night after school. I was 14 and playing in a trial game for Colchester, there was a Spurs scout there who approached me after the game and asked me to come training.
What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?
Mark: Absolutely fantastic, especially the two years in the youth team. We had a great set of lads and not a bad side either! We won the South East Counties Division One in my first year and got to the FA Youth Cup Final, losing to Man Utd on penalties at Old Trafford. Think there was about 30,000 people there which was unbelievable.
Who was your footballing inspiration/hero? Mark: John Barnes and Ryan Giggs.
Who were your greatest influences at the club?
Mark: Youth team managers Pat Holland and Bob Arber plus Teddy Sheringham. He was one of the best around and always had time for the youngsters, unlike a few lot less talented players that I won’t name!
Were there any other players at the club or outside, who you’d model your game around?
Mark:As mentioned earlier Giggsy, loved how direct he was and I tried to be the same. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite as good as him though, ha!
What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time?
Mark: The amount of pros at the club, during my one year as a professional I could go a month without a game as the reserve team was filled by non playing first teamers and other senior pros.
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?
Mark: Paul Mcveigh was my room mate on any trips we had and I used to travel in with Mark Gower. I still see Mark now and is a good friend. We play in a six a side team together too.
What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?
Mark: Walking round the pitch at half time of a first team match after winning the league. Even though I’m a West Ham fan it was pretty special to get an ovation off 35,000 people!
Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?
Mark: I had a pretty successful eight years or so at Dagenham and Redbridge and then played for Thurrock and AFC Hornchurch before a ruptured hamstring ended my career when I was 32
What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?
Mark: Winning an England C cap and three FA Cup runs with Dagenham, we reached the third round twice and the fourth once in three consecutive years. I also scored with my very first touch in league football when I went on loan to Brentford from Spurs. Don’t think many players have done that!
Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?
Mark: Teddy in a reserve game, pure class. And seeing Jurgen Klinsmann train was pretty special too.
What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?
Mark: When training has finished, stay out and work on your game. In my day the culture was train, get your jobs done and get home. If I could do it again I’d be out for at least an hour every day doing extra, give yourself the best chance to make it as there’s no better job trust me.