My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:

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I caught up with former Spurs youth player Andy Theodosiou, a familiar name for those of you who followed the football league during the 1990’s. Andy who operated as both a centre half and holding midfielder is fondly remembered for his stint with the now defunct Hereford United, but also enjoyed spells with the likes of Norwich, Brighton and even Cypriot giants APOEL Nicosia. I had the great pleasure of talking to the tenacious and tough tackling Theodosiou about his time in the Tottenham Hotspur youth set up and resulting years in the game.

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

Andy: I remember my first day at Spurs training, it was on a ‪Monday evening‬. I
turned up thinking I had been invited down but was told I shouldn’t have been
there. They let me train and afterwards I asked the coach if he wanted me to
come back? He said there was a match next week (October half term) and he
only had 11 players & I could be sub. The previous season I was at Arsenal, they had released me at the end of that season when I was 13. A number of the boys in my Sunday team were training at Spurs and thats how the mistake happened (that I thought I’d been invited down to spurs). I went to the match and I was a sub… I can’t remember who we played but at half time it was 1-0. The Coach put me on centre midfield (one of the first things I learnt, if you are going to look at a player ask him where he wants to play to give him the best chance to show what he can do). We went on to win 7-1 and I scored a hat trick. The next training session I was called into an office and signed associate schoolboy forms for Spurs. That week I played in a district match at Arsenal (on the astro behind the clock end) and scored 4 in a 4-2 win. Arsenal then asked me to go back. NO WAY!

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Andy: To play at a club like Spurs was an honour. I had 3 years as a schoolboy & 2 years as an apprentice…..brilliant experience and memories.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Andy: I didn’t have any footballing heroes. I just loved to play football as much
as possible and watch at every opportunity.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Andy: My biggest influence was Keith Walden. He took us from u15s and ended up youth coach in my final season taking over from Keith Blunt. An excellent coach and I owe him a huge thank you. If I had listened to him a bit more I would have been a much better player. He was coach when they won the FA youth cup in 1990.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Andy: I wouldn’t model my game on anyone but I would watch and try to pick things up from other players. I found the best way to learn was playing alongside someone. So at Spurs I was very lucky in the central defensive partners that I had. In the youth team playing alongside Guy Butters. Reserves Neil Ruddock, John Polston, Brian Statham and Chris Hughton. Chris Hughton was excellent with us young players, always helping  and giving advice. I can see why/how he has become a top manager. People forget what a top player he was.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Andy: Toughest things to deal with: Having a bad game or training session. The
coach would tell you if you messed up in training often shouting his abuse at
us. Worse if you made a mistake on a matchday or had a poor game. You had
to deal with it and not let it affect your next training session or match. I think
it toughened me up. As I went through my career I could bounce back from a poor performance or bad defeat.

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Andy: Answered a bit in previous question. Add to that, knowledge of how to play yours or any position on the pitch. In my first year I played right back,
centre back, right & centre midfield and was used on a few occassions as a
striker. I enjoyed playing different positions, I think it really helped my understanding of the game. You were expected to give a decent performance
wherever you were played in the team.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Andy: So many good memories on and off the pitch. Start with a bad one leading 4-0 at swindon in a youth game with 20 mins to go. We end up hanging on for a 4-4 draw & Dave Mcdonald scored one of the best own goals I’ve ever seen, it was like Dowie’s famous og for the hammers. A bullet header into bottom corner. Winning league in both seasons I was there. Scoring 2 in reserves 2-0 win over Chelsea. The highlight was winning league cup v Southampton in final over 2 legs. They had a really good side with Shearer upfront, the Wallace twins, Steve Davis [played for Burnley] plus a few others who had pro careers. We won at home 2-1.  2nd leg was a brilliant match, we went 2-0 up early 2nd half [4-1 on aggregate]. They came back 2-2 with about 15 mins to go. We hung on for a 4-3 win but last 10 mins we hardly got out of our box.

We lost a FA youth cup semi final v Doncaster which was a huge
disappointment….losing 1-2 away then after leading 1-0 and going into extra
time conceding in last minute to lose 2-3. Arsenal won the final which was a
disappointment for us because we all felt we would beat them as we had done so in the league twice that season.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Andy: Norwich 2yrs, Hereford utd 2 yrs, 2 yrs in Cyprus playing for APOEL Nicosia & AEL limassol. Dover conference 2 yrs. After Dover I played for a number of non league clubs; Billericay, Harlow, Windsor, then player coach at Arlesey Town & Hemel Hempstead.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Andy: I wouldn’t say I had a pinnacle but highlight was playing Nottingham Forest away in the FA cup 4th round in 1992. Clough manager, Roy Keane, Des Walker, Stuart Pearce & I marked Teddy Sheringham (never got near him all day) all played. We lost 0-2.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Andy: From the match above Roy Keane. After he put in a nasty challenge on one of our players, our captain said to him “no need for that Roy you’re a better player than that”. I dont think he took too much notice of that comment.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Andy: To try and improve everyday, listen and take in as much as possible from your coaches. Always be willing to do extra training….don’t wait to be asked go and do the extra training yourself.

Are you still involved in the game?

Andy: I coached a few non league clubs up to a few years ago. I did enjoy it but
non league is tough and takes up a lot of time with little reward.

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

Andy: Over the years I have come across quite a few old Spurs boys. Danny Hill, Jeff Minton, Dave mcDonald plus a few others. Paul Moran when I see him we always have a chat. Trevor Wilkinson I played with at Harlow and Arlesey. Steve Smart I speak to occasionally. Continue reading “My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:”

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My interview with former Spurs man Wayne Van Hughf:

My interview with former Spurs man Wayne Van Hughf:

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I had the pleasure of catching up with former Spurs youth player Wayne Van Hughf. A regular in the reserve team during the turn of the 21st century, the former midfielder reminisces about his time at the lilywhites in the following interview.

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

Wayne: I was a schoolboy at Middlesbrough but wasn’t offered a Y.T.S (scholarship) as there was no age groups for 15-18 I started playing in a semi professional adults league, a scout from Durham spotted me and I went on trial at Crystal Palace and Spurs, after one trial Spurs offered me a professional contract, Middlesbrough also came in with a contract but I declined.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Wayne: I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Tottenham and although I got a bad injury against Southampton reserves (in the 90th minute too!!!) I have no regrets and look back proud and with fondness!

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Wayne: My footballing hero was Stuart Ripley a flying winger for Middlesbrough who won the premiership with Blackburn and got some England caps, and then went to Southampton where I had the privilege of meeting him when I played against their youth team for Spurs.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Wayne: Chris Hughton was a great influence selecting me for reserve games and showing confidence in me and calling me during my hospital stay to check up on me etc! A true gentleman and so pleased he is doing so well now.

Were any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Wayne: I loved Maldini and Franco Baresi but at the club I was in awe of Darren Anderton and David ginola, their talent was off the scale.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Wayne: Toughest thing was being away from home at a young age… and the cooper runs!

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Wayne: I think football or sport in general prepares youngsters for later on in life if they can learn to listen to coaches and take on board instructions it puts them in good stead for almost anything in life.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Wayne: Playing against Southampton reserves although we got beat and I sustained an injury but getting to play against a real strong side including Matt Le Tissier, Wayne Bridge, Chris Marsden and ex spurs man David Howells was a great experience.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Wayne: I got selected to represent England in a tournament in Denmark when I was 13 which was pretty special but signing a professional contract and playing reserve team football was my biggest achievement.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Wayne: Anderton/Ginola and Le Tissier was special.

Are you still involved in the game?

Wayne: No not since having my first child 7 years ago I couldn’t find enough time with work commitments, I’m now a scaffolder on Didcot power station.

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

Wayne: Destin Makumbu and Johnnie Jackson.

My interview with former Spurs academy player Shaun Murray:

My interview with former Spurs academy player Shaun Murray:

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I caught up with former Spurs academy player Shaun Murray who played at the club during the late 80’s. Described as the star of the England Schoolboys’ midfield, the now retired Murray shared some of his memories with me, from being at Spurs to playing further down the footballing pyramid.

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

Shaun: From about 14 Spurs showed interest the scout at the time was John Moncur. He travelled up to Newcastle quite often, he was a lovely guy and the family and I felt comfortable with him. Spurs treated us well, it was amazing going down in school holidays and weekends to train and play matches. It was such a special place. I loved White Hart lane and the training ground at Cheshunt was special too. On occasions Peter Shreeves used to invite me to train with the first team, that was so nerve racking training with the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Ardilles and the likes. I was fortunate at that age there were quite a few clubs wanting to sign me, so it was difficult to come to a decision.I felt alot of pressure and it wasn’t nice turning clubs down. But I had a good feeling about Spurs, they made me feel welcome and I loved going down and playing for the juniors. There was something about the strip aswell, loved the colours.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Shaun: Mixed emotions to be honest. There were so many enjoyable times, playing two years in the youth team and winning the league both years and reaching the semis of the FA youth cup both years was a good achievement. It was quite difficult at times living away from home, when training was done you had a lot of spare time and it got lonely at times. Looking back now if I looked for more support and guidance it might of turned out different. Maybe a bit premature to leave Spurs, I had a contract up to 21. Should of maybe held on a bit.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Shaun: From a very early age I loved football and I felt very lucky that all the schools I attended the PE teachers were so inspiring. They encouraged me, helped me and made sport fun and interesting. All the staff at England schoolboys were great too. That gave me a lot of good times and great memories.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Shaun: Greatest influence at the club was Keith Waldron juniors manager at the time, I felt he had time for me and he was always enthusiastic about the game. Doug Livermore was a good coach and nice man.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Shaun: There were so many great players at Spurs. The reserves was full of talent too, so even getting an occasional game with them was an honour. Chris Waddle was class and also Gazza. One player I also admired was Mickey Hazard.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Shaun: Toughest thing being an apprentice which to be honest was not that hard was being on kit duty. Sorting out all dirty kit after training. To be fair we had it quite easy at Spurs compared to a lot of clubs.

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Shaun: At Spurs you had to be at your best, expectations were high. Hard work and fitness was important but quality and finesse on the ball was what I thought you needed at a good level. So when I moved on to different clubs that was always my main aim, try and play the game skilfully.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Shaun: Favourite times at Spurs. I used to enjoy playing on White Hart lane in the cup games and other 1st team grounds. I remember scoring a hatrick at Reading and Terry Venables was watching and he passed a message down saying make sure I get the match ball. Used to love playing against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, we had some great encounters. I remember beating Arsenal 1-0 at their ground and I got the goal.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Shaun: After I left Spurs I joined Portsmouth, I played quite regular in my second season there under a manager called Tony Barton. I was getting established then unfortunately a new manager came in and I was out of favour. I spent a couple more seasons there on the fringe then moved onto Scarborough. I loved it there, really enjoyed the football and the manager Steve Wicks was great with me. I was there a season then moved to Bradford City. They were a great club, I was playing regular and enjoying my football. I was there for 4 seasons, won promotion to championship via play offs on second season and avoided relegation on last game of season the following year. I then moved on to Notts County and had 3 years there. Sam Allardyce signed me and first season I played most games, after that I played partly under new managers. I was 30 then and moved to Kettering Town in the conference. Another lovely time spent there, enjoyed my football and lots of lovely people associated with the club. I then went onto play with other non league clubs but stayed in Bingham which is a lovely little town near Notts.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Shaun: Pinnacle of career would probably be returning to side after Chris Waddle left Bradford and we had 10 games remaining and relegation threatened but we managed to avoid going down after beating QPR on last game. Also Chris Kamara promised a new two year contract if we stayed up and gratefully he kept his word. Also winning promotion with Bradford via the play offs. Unfortunately I missed final as was recovering from operation on achilles tendon but was still there at Wembley. Winning patrons player of year on first season at Notts County was a nice personal touch aswell. Winning promotion with Kettering Town was great too. It meant so much for the supporters and people connected to the club.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Shaun: After a lot of contemplation I’ve picked Georgia Kinkladze of Man city. He was amazing to watch, his speed with the ball at his feet when dribbling was top quality.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Shaun: Advice for youngsters starting off would be when tough decisions need to be made, have a moment and don’t react too hastily. Try and enjoy every moment as it goes very quickly.

What was the toughest moment of your career?

Shaun: Toughest moment would be the reality of it all finishing and getting prepared for a new chapter in life. Luckily I’ve got a gorgeous wife who’s been such an enormous support throughout and two beautiful sons who I still pester to have a kick around with me at any given chance.

Spurs under 18’s 9-0 Arsenal: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 9-0 Arsenal: (match report)

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Our under 18’s final league game of the season was also their most memorable one, as Scott Parker’s side recorded an astonishing 9-0 victory over arch rivals Arsenal at Hotspur Way, on Tuesday morning. It was a remarkable and hugely satisfying performance from Parker’s side, who dominated the game from the minute go. Kwame Ampadu’s Arsenal side were by no means at their strongest, with the 1st leg of the FA youth cup final against Chelsea coming up on Saturday, unsurprisingly he opted to field a team consisting mainly on fringe first year scholars, alongside a couple of under 16’s and one under 15. But take nothing away from Spurs who just like they managed to do last week against Chelsea, were able to play the opposition off the park. With the panache of a peak Pep Guardiola Barcelona side, Spurs tore the young gunners apart over the course of 90 minutes, outdoing them in every department. Whilst Arsenal opted to field a weakened side which included former Spurs schoolboy Bayli Spencer-Adams, Spurs decided to field their strongest possible 11. With the experienced trio of Skipp, Dinzeyi and Eyoma all starting. There was a good turnout as always with these games, some noticeable attendees included scouts from the FAI, Clive Allen, Pochettino, David Howells, Pat Jennings and David Pleat. It was a game in which Spurs’ top scorer Reo Griffiths won’t forget in a hurry, the centre forward netted four of Spurs’ goals as well as laying off three for his teammates. The other five goals came from a Markanday brace, a brace for the electric Richards and an own goal scored by Arsenal’s Mazeed Ogungo.

Parker’s side got game the underway and it wasn’t long before they made their first meaningful attack of the game. Less than 40 seconds into proceedings, Spurs managed to counter attack Arsenal through Markanday who charged forwards through the middle. His promising through ball towards Griffiths was well snuffed out by Arsenal defender Spencer-Adams. After enjoying the brunt of possession in the opening stages Spurs came close to opening the scoring through the lively Griffiths who almost outwitted the gunners goalkeeper. An excellent pass from Markanday set the Tottenham striker through on goal with only Barden to beat, his clever scooped effort almost came off but for the chest of the Arsenal goalkeeper who managed to thwart his effort. Spurs had shown some really good, fluent passing in the opening stages of the game. The lively Rodel Richards had an effort deflected out for a corner soon afterwards, as Spurs piled the pressure on Ampadu’s side. The excellent movement of left winger Richards was providing Spurs with an outlet, shortly after winning a corner the forward almost found the back of the net with a well improvised header. Tainio’s looping cross had managed to pick out the Spurs forward at the back post, but despite a decent attempt Richards couldn’t keep the ball down, and it went narrowly over the Arsenal goal. Spurs’ impressive start continued, the wide men were causing multiple problems for an out of their depth Arsenal defence. The potent Markanday forced a good save out of Barden with a low drive from range, as tensions rose in the Arsenal camp with gunners defenders shouting angrily at one another as Spurs continued to carve them open. Despite their dominance, Parker’s side needed to make their possession count.

Unable to threaten De Bie’s goal Arsenal were caged in their own half as Spurs continued to run rings around them. It was such a shame for Spurs that they had a spectacular Reo Griffiths volley ruled out for offside around the 20 minute mark. It was such a superb move and finish, Markanday had pinged the ball out to Hinds on the left wing. His excellent first time delivery was met beautifully by Griffiths inside the six yard box as he volleyed emphatically into the left hand corner. In what was a rare bit of defending for the Spurs backline, TJ Eyoma managed to make up for Dinzeyi’s misplaced pass into the feet of Okoflex, as Eyoma won the ball back just as the forward was sprinting towards goal. Then came a superb and much deserved opener for Spurs on 28 minutes after another sumptuous attacking move from the lilywhites. Griffiths laid the ball off to Richards on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. The confident wide man calmly curled a beauty of an effort inside the top right hand corner of Barden’s goal with a first time strike, to put Spurs 1-0 ahead, Griffiths was impressed with his team mate as he remarked ”excellent finish”. Spurs were all over the gunners and just a matter of minutes later we doubled our lead courtesy of an instinctive strike from Richards. Spurs had extended their lead from a corner kick, Dinzeyi rose the highest to power an effort towards the Arsenal goal. His header was blocked by an Arsenal man but the lively Richards was on hand to poach home the loose ball as he smashed it past Barden to make it 2-0 to Spurs.

Things got even better for the dominant Spurs side after we made it 3-0 only a couple of minutes after getting our second. The Arsenal players were moaning and groaning as Spurs continued to run all over them. The third came courtesy of another fine Spurs strike, this time from Dilan Markanday. After Griffiths had been brought down by an Arsenal player on the edge of the box as he burst forward, the referee allowed Spurs to play on and it was a good job he did as Griffiths managed to shift the ball out to Markanday on the periphery of the six yard box. The skilful forward took his chance early and managed to finish it off incredibly well, as he finessed the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the Arsenal goal, 3-0. And Parker’s side almost made it 4-0 soon afterwards, Bowden’s pass managed to pick out Griffiths inside the danger zone. Tottenham’s talisman peeled off his marker before trying to send a delicate chip over the Arsenal keeper, but Barden managed to read what Griffiths was trying to do and was able to get a vital hand on the ball to keep it out. It had been like a training session for Spurs, their intricate passing and constant rotation amongst players and regrouping, had played Arsenal played off the park in the opening 35 minutes. The intelligent Shashoua saw his low cross snuffed out by McGuinness just as it was about to fall to Griffiths in front of the centre of the goal. Despite our dominance we still had to have our wits about ourselves. Matthew Smith’s low curling free kick on the stroke of half time could easily have caught De Bie out with the wall blocking his view. But the Belgian managed to get down at the vital moment to superbly push the ball away just as it was about to creep into the bottom left. That was to be the last piece of action from what had been an exceptional first half from Spurs’ perspective.

Spurs got the second half back underway and within a matter of minutes it was back to business as usual for the lilywhites. Arsenal hadn’t learnt their lesson and less than four minutes after the restart we bagged our fourth of the game, one Arsenal parent/agent was going ballistic beside me as the gunners defence had succumbed to Spurs once more. It was another excellent goal from Spurs’ point of view, Bowden had curled a beautiful pass to the unmarked Griffiths inside the box, he all too easily peeled off the shoulder of his man before taking the ball down and calmly clipping it past Barden and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 4-0! Arsenal responded with another long range attempt from Smith who sliced the ball narrowly wide of the angle, after Dinzeyi had given the ball away to the Arsenal man. Soon afterwards De Bie was forced into making a terrific save with his feet to stop Okoflex’s one on one effort even though the linesman had already flagged for offside. The Arsenal defence were in bother every time Spurs ran at them, another fine example of this came a couple of minutes after Okoflex’s effort had been saved by De Bie, as Spurs made it 5-0. In what had been yet another fluent move from Spurs, the eager Shashoua had managed to pick the ball up on the left hand side and decided to charge forwards. He eventually squared it for Griffiths who quickly slipped the ball through to Markanday inside the box. The Spurs forward kept his composure to slot the ball home, the possession for Spurs in this game must have been well in the 70’s. The much more attacking Jamie Bowden lashed over from range shortly afterwards as Spurs looked to extend their lead.

I spotted a comical conversation between the referee and Arsenal’s Zak Swanson a couple of moments later. The ref was explaining to Swanson that football was a contact sport, after the Arsenal winger had continued to moan about the slightest bit of contact. It was quite noticeable from whatever attacks Arsenal made that there were never any red shirts in the box to convert a chance. Though in saying that, Ampadu’s side would go onto would enjoy a bright and creative spell in the game. Dinzeyi was forced into making a crucial challenge a couple of moments before the Arsenal players made an absurd claim that Skipp had handled inside the area whilst heading away a corner. Swanson then saw his ambitious cross land on to the roof of De Bie’s net, before the same player managed to find substitute Stan Flaherty at the back post, but Flaherty’s effort was deflected wide. Harrison Clarke headed a looping effort at goal from the resulting corner kick, which was easily dealt with by De Bie. Before Spurs went straight at Arsenal at the other end with a sublime counter attack. Markanday passed the ball to Griffiths who then managed to work it out to Bowden on the right. The 16 year old sent in a peach of a cross towards the unmarked Shashoua at the back post, the smallest man on the pitch sent a looping, dipping header over Barden and onto the frame of the cross bar. The rebound came out to Bowden inside the box but the midfielder was brought down from behind by an Arsenal player, giving the referee no other option but to point to the spot. Griffiths stood up confidently to smash a low effort to the left of Barden to make it 6-0 to the lilywhites, the same scoreline which saw Arsenal defeat us in the reverse league fixture back in November.

Swanson forced a good save out of De Bie at his near post straight from the restart, before Spurs caught Arsenal on the break once again and with devastating consequences. Oliver Skipp went on a rare attacking foray after picking up the ball in the centre of the park, he drove forwards before trying to play Griffiths through with a creative through ball. However, he failed to pick out Griffiths and Ogungo intercepted before running back into his own box. But Griffiths applied pressure on the Arsenal defender and he lost his cool just as he was about to pass back to the goalkeeper, Ogungo put far too much power on the back pass and it ended up totally deceiving Barden as it rolled past him and into the back of the net to make it 7-0 to Spurs. Arsenal had barely caught their breath back when Spurs went at them again and with similar consequences. Bowden turned creator once again, this time picking out Griffiths at the back post with a sublime lofted pass. Griffiths attacked the ball well and did excellently to just flick the ball over Barden and into the back of the net on the volley, it was all too easy for Parker’s side. Shortly after netting his hat-trick Griffiths urged his teammates to keep their tempo ahead of the final stages of the game. The gunners would have almost certainly pulled a goal back through Swanson’s effort but for a heroic diving block by Dinzeyi. From the resulting corner Armstrong Okoflex had an effort tipped over by De Bie. And in what was a late flurry of action for the gunners, Bowden had to be alert to clear Mceneff’s looping header at the back post. With the game well and truly out of sight Parker made a double substitution, bringing on Maghoma and Thorpe for the final 15 minutes of the game.

In search of his fourth goal, Griffiths went close to further extending our lead when substitute Rayan Clarke whipped a pacy ball into the danger zone which was only a matter of centre meters away from the boot of Griffiths to tap home. Arsenal had a goal ruled out for offside as Parker’s side fought desperately hard to maintain their clean sheet for the remaining minutes. Despite such dominance on the field Spurs weren’t going to rest on their laurels, they were hungry for more goals. Markanday did ever so well when he brought Maghoma’s pass down at the back post showing great technique, before volleying across the face of Barden’s goal. The newly introduced Maghoma fired an effort wide a couple of moments later, roaring in frustration as it flew wide of the mark. And the tricky midfielder was involved in the thick of the action once again after being brought down in the box by an Arsenal player, despite it being a clear penalty (in my eyes) the referee waived away Maghoma’s protest. By this point in the game, Arsenal were down to nine men due to injuries sustained by players. This allowed Parker’s side to knock the ball around the pitch with much more ease. However, it was never a case of winding down the clock for Parker’s side who made it an incredible 9-0 in the 88th minute. Rayan Clarke’s cross came to Hinds inside the six yard box, the defender took a sloppy first touch but luckily enough the ball rolled out to Griffiths who cooly slotted past Barden from five yards out, 9-0! Jonathan Dinzeyi made a crunching challenge to thwart a late Arsenal attack as Spurs held on to record a remarkable 9-0 victory over their north London neighbors, to ensure that they finish the season in fourth place. Every player in lilywhite was exceptional from start to finish, I just hope that they’ll savour every moment of what was one of our highest ever wins at this level in the history of the club! COYS

Player reviews: -Jonathan De Bie: Despite being a spectator for the majority of the game, De Bie was impressive whenever he was called into action. He was cool under pressure and was alert to danger, making a couple of decent stops. Including an excellent save to prevent Matthew Smith’s free kick from going in on the stroke of halftime.
– Maximus Tainio: Very assured performance from the young Finn albeit against a not very threatening Zak Swanson. Tainio maintained good positioning throughout.
– Tariq Hinds: Like Tainio, Hinds didn’t have a lot to deal with down the flank. What he did do he did well and decisively, played an instrumental part in creating our ninth goal of the game. Caps of an excellent season, one which has seen him play as an LB (like he did yesterday,) RB, CB and CDM.
– Oliver Skipp: Skipp and Bowden bossed the midfield with ease against a weak looking Arsenal midfield. He mopped up superbly well and more often than not was only ever in third gear, such was the ease of his task. His excellent surging run through the middle singlehandedly created our seventh goal of the game. His maturity knows no bounds!
– TJ Eyoma: It was a terrific performance from TJ Eyoma against the gunners, he was flawless throughout. His timing and anticipation were perfect, he knew when to step in front of his man and to make the interception. He was excellent in the air and tenacious on the ball, but never rash in the challenge!
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Dinzeyi is a player who I’ve really grown to like over the course of the season, after a tricky and injury disrupted first few months to the campaign Dinzeyi has put in some masterful performances for both the U18’s and U23’s. Dinzeyi was terrific once again for the visit of Arsenal to Hotspur Way although he wasn’t called into action an awful lot, Dinzeyi was excellent at what he had to do. Made some excellent crunching challenges, made himself dominant in the air (assisting Richards second) and played it out from the back well. He is an exciting centre half who isn’t afraid to take risks.
– Dilan Markanday: Markanday put in yet another superb display out on the right wing, mesmeric with the ball at his feet. Markanday provided Spurs with a creative spark from early on, with a tendency to cut in on to his left and run through the Arsenal defence, feeding in some superb Lamela-esque through balls to Griffiths. His excellent, tricky attacking forays caused so many problems for the Arsenal defence. His fine movement in and around the six yard box resulted in Markanday dispatching two lovely finishes.
– Jamie Bowden: Tidy and dominant during the first half, Bowden upped his game during the second and really utilised his excellent passing range. A lot more attacking during that half, Bowden whipped some sublime deliveries in to the danger zone, resulting in two classy assists. He also won Spurs’ penalty after being first to Shashoua’s header.
– Reo Griffiths: My motm, see below.
– Armando Shashoua: It was a very good performance from the lively attacking midfielder on Tuesday. He linked up excellently with Griffiths and the wide men, used the ball resourcefully and went on some lovely runs down the left hand side whipping in some decent crosses in the process. His chasing down of opposition players was top class as was his movement across the park. Shashoua was desperately unlucky not to score with a header late on.
– Rodel Richards: Exceptional stuff from the sharp and pacy left winger who terrorised Harrison Clarke down the left wing. Showed tremendous close ball control and proved to be a real nuisance, running at the Arsenal defence and wrong footing their defenders. His ‘fox in the box’ style resulted in him scoring a well deserved brace. The first being a terrific curler with the second being a real poachers finish inside the six yard box.
– Elliot Thorpe: Looked neat and tidy during his 15 minute cameo, made some nice passes.
– Paris Maghoma: Maghoma really got involved in the action during his late cameo, linking up well with the forwards and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
– Rayan Clarke: Fleeting cameo which saw him play a big part in Spurs’ ninth of the game with a well timed cross.

My man of the match: Reo Griffiths. It was just the four goals and three assists for Griffiths against Arsenal on Tuesday morning. Capping off a remarkable season for the u18’s which has seen him score 33 goals and assisted 12. His movement, hold up play and prowess in and around the danger zone made him impossible to defend against. He was too strong, quick and astute for the Arsenal defenders as he has been for the majority of teams who he has faced this season. All four of his goals were excellently despatched.

Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Tainio, Hinds, Skipp (Thorpe 76), Eyoma (P Maghoma 76), Dinzeyi, Markanday, Bowden, Griffiths, A Shashoua, Richards (Clarke 68). Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Mukendi.

The end of season statistics for you all to enjoy.👇🏻

Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-33
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 9
Jamie Bowden- 1
Moroyin Omolabi-1
Rayan Clarke-2
Maurizio Pochettino-1
Paris Maghoma-3
Rodel Richards-15
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-2
TJ Eyoma-1
Armando Shashoua-1
Troy Parrott-1

Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Jamie Bowden-4
Matt Lock- 2
Jeremie Mukendi-2
Jamie Reynolds-6
Reo Griffiths-12
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-6
Rayan Clarke-2
Rodel Richards-2
Dilan Markanday-4
Oliver Skipp-2
Tariq Hinds-4
Paris Maghoma-5
Armando Shashoua-1
Maurizio Pochettino -1
Jonathan Dinzeyi-1

Spurs under 18’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

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I think it’s quite fitting that our under 18’s final league game of the season comes against our bitter rivals Arsenal. The rearranged fixture which takes place at Hotspur Way on Tuesday morning, sees Spurs take on the high flying gunners, a side who they thrashed 4-1 in our previous meeting back in the semifinals of the league cup. Scott Parker’s side will be hoping to end the season in style, after picking up a historic 3-0 away win against Chelsea in their last fixture, his side will be full of belief going into the the final north London derby of the season. Looking to avenge our 6-0 thumping from Kwame Ampadu’s side back in November, Spurs have enjoyed on the whole a very good season. Ampadu’s side are rightly regarded as one of the best under 18 sides in the country, and its no surprise that they’ll contest the final of the FA youth cup against Chelsea this Saturday. The good thing for us is that Arsenal will have no choice but to field a second string squad for tomorrows game, meaning that players such as talented schoolboy Armstrong Okoflex could well feature. There could also be some rotation from Parker and and co, with the possibility of some of our fringe players getting a chance in a big game. One thing is for certain, despite our experimental style in the u18 league this season Parker and his coaching staff will desperately want to win this derby. It may be at u18 level, but from watching these games you can tell that there is a different kind of determination and competitiveness etched on the players faces, there is an eagerness to grab the bragging rights. This is a north London derby after all. My report of our league finale against the gunners will be out on Tuesday evening. Despite this being the under 18’s final league game of the season, they still have the annual Stemwede and Terborg tournaments to look forward to next month. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) De Bie (c), Tainio, Dinzeyi, Hinds, Clarke, Bowden, P.Maghoma, Markanday, Richards, Patterson, Parrott.

Subs from: Freeman, Statham, A.Shashoua, Pochettino, Thorpe.

Doubtful: Jeremie Mukendi and Matt Lock.

Unavailable/injured: Brooklyn Lyons-Foster (ligaments), Jubril Okedina (continuing his rehabilitation) and Jamie Reynolds (leg injury).

Previous meeting: Spurs 4-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2!

One to watch: Arsenal schoolboy and England u17 international Bukayo Saka really stood out for the gunners in our last meeting against them. A speedy, powerful and tricky winger, Saka will cause problems for whoever is defending down the left hand side as he did for Reynolds in our last meeting.

ICYMI: https://superhotspur.com/2018/04/22/my-interview-with-former-spurs-man-and-1970-fa-youth-cup-winner-bobby-almond/

My interview with former Spurs man and 1970 FA youth cup winner Bobby Almond:

My interview with former Spurs man and 1970 FA youth cup winner Bobby Almond:

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From winning the 1970 FA youth cup for Spurs, to playing for the renowned non league side Walthamstow Avenue in the early seventies. Spurs amateur Bobby Almond would then go on to play in the 1982 World Cup for New Zealand! After making the bold move to go down under as a young player in the mid 1970’s. Almond has enjoyed a fascinating career in both England and New Zealand, and I was lucky enough to have the honour to interview one of our own about his footballing career.

Questions:

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

Bobby: My earliest memories were about how long it took to get to White Hart lane from my home in South London!! I recall that I received a player of the year award at the end of season function for the league that my team played in. It got reported in the paper and from that I received contact from Millwall about going for a trial. Millwall were my team and I was very excited about this opportunity. But for some reason and I don’t know why but someone, I cannot remember who, contacted me from Spurs and asked me if I would like to play for their youth team for the 69/70 season. Like any young kid the pull of playing for a team as famous as Spurs was too good to turn down so I signed amateur forms with them.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Bobby: Being a young lad from the other side of the thames I wondered how I would fit in but it was quite seamless. Our squad was made up of professionals, apprentices and guys like me on amateur forms but like anything, we all wore the same shirt and wanted to win. As well as the FA Youth cup we won two others and also won the youth league title.

Who was footballing inspiration/hero?

Bobby: I was a solid Man utd supporter but my hero was Bobby Moore of West Ham. Cool calm and collected. A great reader of the game as he never raised a sweat always in the right place at the right time. George Best was my all time favourite though.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Bobby: I was really too young to think about who influenced me. I just wanted to do the best that I could with my time there. I suppose our Youth Team coach Pat Welton, was a mentor to me in that I had never been in this position before and needed some guidance.

Being a central defender, were there any players at Spurs or outside the club who you would try to model your game around?

Bobby: I actually played at right back all the time that I was there. We had two very good central defenders in Matt Dillon and Billy Edwards so I didn’t mind where I played as long as I wasn’t on the bench!! No not really. For me it was about playing week in, week out and concentrating on being a good defender.

What was the toughest thing about being a youth fooballer at Spurs during the 1960’s?

Bobby: The fact that there was a very small window for amateur players to make the grade and sign professional simply because of the calibre of the young players already there.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Bobby: I made some good friends at Spurs, in particular Bobby Wiles and Johnny Oliver as the three of us were on amateur forms. Bobby and I also played together at Walthamstow Avenue the following seasons after our Spurs stint. I have vivid memories of the marathon that was the FA Youth cup final with Coventry. We had cleaned up all before us in all other competitions but this was the big one. Two specific memories come to mind though. One was Johnny Oliver scoring the equalising goal in the ‪2-2 draw at Highfield rd‬ to get us back to our home ground for what was to be the final game. Two was Graeme Souness scoring the only goal at White Hart Lane to win the cup. magic.

How did your time at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Bobby: It taught me to be prepared for setbacks. It taught me that no matter how good you think you are, until you sign on the dotted line then you haven’t achieved anything. I recall after arriving at Liverpool street Station after competing in an end of season Tournament in Holland, Pat Welton came up to me to tell me that I wasn’t going to be signed up by the club as a professional. it absolutely knocked me sideways as I thought that I had done enough to secure my apprenticeship. I was devastated but it taught me not to take anything for granted and that what I did in football in the future was about playing the best I could and with no expectations, at all.

You were a key member of the Tottenham side that made history in 1970 when you became the first Spurs side to win the FA youth cup. An extraordinary feat, would you be able to talk me through that triumphant campaign and the lead up to the final? A final which saw you take on a Coventry side which included future Spurs star Jimmy Holmes and a certain David Icke.

Bobby: Other than the final the rest was a bit of a blur. I recall us beating Bristol City in the semi final and also accounting for my childhood team Millwall in an earlier round. Coventry were a really good side and I remember in the replay at Highfield road I felt I was responsible for Coventry’s first goal. That was well and truly forgotten when Johnny Oliver equalised late in the second half to tie the game ‪at 2-2‬.

After leaving Spurs you played for Walthamstow Avenue, a side which attracted two of your former team mates in Gary Crofts and Martin O’donnell. Gary has told me of some great tales from your time there including a memorable victory over Charlton, what do you think prompted so many of the Spurs lads to make the short move to Walthamstow?

Bobby: The Manager at the time was Peter Carey, ex West ham. He was a great people person and you wanted to play for him.

After playing for Walthamstow Avenue you took a journey few had taken before you, and moved to New Zealand to play your football. What prompted your move there and what was the standard of football like at your new club Christchurch United?

Bobby: I was still playing for Walthamstow when I received a call from an old team mate, Bruce MacDonald. He had taken over management of a team called New Brighton that had won promotion to the country’s premier league competition and asked if I wanted to come out and play for them. I was really at a loose end at the time, like a lot of young players who sought professional football, so I decided to go and try it out. The standard of football at the time was slightly higher than the standard at Walthamstow.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Bobby: I guess that most professional players would give their right arm to represent their country and play on sport’s greatest stage. I can honestly say, playing for my country and making the World Cup finals in 1982 was the absolute highlight.

Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?

Bobby: I think back to my playing days at Spurs and then recollect our game against Scotland in 1982,  Graeme Souness is a stand out for me. Great football brain. Made playing football look easy.

Do you still follow Spurs’ progress?

Bobby: Yes I do, although my heart is with Man U. I didn’t shed a tear at last weekends FA Cup semi final result!

Finally, I couldn’t end the interview without talking about an extraordinary moment in your career, playing for New Zealand at the 1982 World Cup. Would you be able to talk me through what must have been a fascinating chapter in your career?

Bobby: It would take a couple of books to tell you the story but in short, we were a bunch of mainly amateurs, mainly kiwis, sprinkled with a few “poms”, who played more games (15) than any other team in qualifying for the World Cup Finals. We travelled more miles in qualifying, we were the last of the 32 teams to qualify. The NZ public provided funding to help us with costs for the second qualifying tournament.

It was the stuff of fairy tales. We had to beat Saudi Arabia away by 5 goals in our last game to set up a play off against china for the final spot. We were 5-0 up at half time but couldn’t score the extra goal in the 2nd half.

We beat China 2-1 in Singapore, to achieve sporting history for New Zealand.

Lennon,

I thought I would add a story that was told to me later on in life that gave me an insight into where I might have failed in my quest to be a pro at Spurs.

A good friend of mine went to watch Bromley Town play. Sitting next to him during the game was Sir Bill Nicholson. Anyway, they got chatting and my friend mentioned my name and my time at Spurs.

Sir Bill Nicholson replied, “oh yes, Bobby Almond, good on the park, not so good off it” True story.

So a good player but not disciplined enough to deserve a contract.

You live and you learn eh?

Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Chelsea: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Chelsea: (match report)

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Something quite extraordinary occurred during our under 18’s league game with Chelsea on Wednesday afternoon, at their Cobham training centre. Scott Parker’s sides penultimate league game of the season would prove to be one of their finest wins of the campaign, as his lads brought Chelsea’s three year home unbeaten run to an abrupt end, with a superb 3-0 victory over our London rivals. As I predicted in my preview, the blues minus Jody Morris were forced into fielding a much weekend side owing to this Fridays UEFA youth league semifinal against Porto. This meant that fringe players such as former Spurs schoolboy Tushaun Walters got their chance alongside a coupe of under 16’s. But don’t take anything away from Parkers side, who still had to deal with an abundance of talent. Which included the likes of Scottish wonder kid and captain Billy Gilmour, u17 world cup winner Jonathan Panzo and prolific forward Martell Taylor-Crossdale. Meanwhile, Spurs lined up with the experienced trio of Jonathan Dinzeyi, Oliver Skipp and TJ Eyoma. Playing a 4-2-3-1 which saw Eyoma and Dinzeyi line up as the centre halves, Skipp and Bowden as the midfielders and Markanday and Patterson playing as the wide men. From start to finish, Parker’s side were exceptional. They showed a maturity and class about their game which the young blues couldn’t handle, they were imperious at the back and slick and tidy in the midfield. The wide men, especially Markanday created openings down the channels whilst the powerful Griffiths used the ball resourcefully up top. We were superb across the park. The already crowned champions got the game underway on a hot April’s day at Cobham. As expected it was an even start to proceedings, Skipp’s hopeful but eventually blocked attempt was the first piece of action of any note.

It was a lively start for the England u17 international, who did incredibly well to win the ball off of Lawrence a couple of moments later down the left hand side. The blues were very compact in the opening stages and were doing little to get forward. A fine move from Spurs managed to create their first decent chance of the game, when Dinzeyi picked out Markanday down the right flank. The skilful winger took the ball forward before slipping a nicely weighted pass into Griffiths down the right side of the penalty area. With little to aim at and with few options, Griffiths fired an effort straight across the face of Ziger’s goal. However, things all changed for Spurs when they took the lead on 15 minutes albeit through a slightly fortuitous goal from Reo Griffiths. It was another fine move in the lead up to the goal, the lively Markanday brought the ball inside from the right flank before passing to Griffiths. The Tottenham striker ran across the Chelsea goal before letting fly. His powerful effort took a heavy deflection off of Jack Wakely, before looping over the head of the stretching Ziger and bouncing into the back of the net, 1-0. Spurs were looking to consolidate their lead and soon after the restart they almost doubled their advantage. Courtesy of another exciting attacking foray from Markanday who managed to pick out Patterson on the edge of the Chelsea box. The winger brought the ball into the area before rifling a low effort inches wide of Ziger’s near post. Spurs were passing the ball about really well and were continuing to dominate the central areas, as the home side struggled to break us down.

We were pushing for our second of the game and we weren’t a million miles away from achieving that goal. The prominent Markanday cut inside from the right wing before smashing an effort ajar of Ziger’s goal. Chelsea responded with a clever move up the other end, Uwakwe’s clever over the top pass managed to find Taylor-Crossdale inside the Spurs box. But the striker couldn’t keep down his effort as it flew over De Bie’s crossbar, on the half volley. Desperate for his team to maintain their stranglehold on the game, manager Scott Parker could be heard urging his team to ”keep it short”, from the dugout. Spurs continued to unsettle this inexperienced blues side, Patterson’s curling effort had to be diverted clear by the head of Lavinier. Before the Spurs man’s resulting corner kick caused more bother for Ziger. Who got lucky after dropping the ball at the back post, luckily for Chelsea Jon Panzo was on hand to clear the ball before Griffiths could tap home at the far post. The last piece of action of the half would come through a rare Chelsea foray into the penalty area. When Jonathan Dinzeyi was forced into making a terrific, pitch perfect sliding challenge to rob the advancing Taylor-Crossdale of the ball inside the box. Parker’s side got the second half back underway as Spurs looked to hold on to a historic win. It was a lively start to the second half, Chelsea’s Clinton Mola did just about enough to stop Bowden’s promising through ball from putting Griffiths through on goal. Straight from that chance Chelsea brought the ball forwards after Taylor-Crossdale had robbed the ball off of Patterson.

The young winger surged into the penalty area before being taken out by the sliding Dinzeyi, who made a rash two footed challenge on his man. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, it was a really rash decision to make from the Spurs defender. The awkward looking Taylor-Crossdale stood up to take the penalty kick but his finely struck effort was excellently kept out by De Bie who dived to his left, to palm it away. Moments later, Maximus Tainio got a vital head on the ball to prevent Lavinier’s header from squeezing in at the back post. Chelsea were really going for it and were looking far more threatening in the final third. But the Spurs defence were resolute and they managed to hold there own incredibly well. The imperious Dinzeyi made another crucial intervention, then a couple of minutes later De Bie was almost caught out by Taylor-Crossdale whilst trying to play the ball out from the back. After a spell of pressure, Spurs were able to break down the other end through the so far uninvolved Griffiths. The striker caught the blues out as he charged forwards, his first touch was erratic but he got lucky as the ball came back to him off of a Chelsea leg. Griffiths continued into the Chelsea box but despite an excellent run from Shashoua to his right, he opted to go for glory from a tight angle. His effort was duly closed down by Masampu who blocked it out for a corner kick. You could tell that Shashoua was in disbelief that Griffiths hadn’t squared the ball to him, with his hands in the air he roared ”Reo!” In this such instance, Griffiths had made the wrong call.

The impressive Tainio made an impressive last ditch challenge at the other end to stop Walters inside the box, as Spurs continued to frustrate the increasingly desperate looking home team. One player who had been excellent throughout was Oliver Skipp, and the Spurs man made a vital block when he threw himself in the way of Lavinier’s powerful effort from the edge of the area. We were having to defend for our lives against an increasingly more attacking Chelsea side. It was end to end and exciting, a proper London derby. After catching Chelsea in possession, Markanday embarked on yet another surging run as he sprinted past his man before slipping the ball into Griffiths who ended up getting his feet all wrong at the vital moment. Shortly after being introduced in the place of Phoenix Patterson, forward Rodel Richards made the perfect impact when he doubled Spurs’ lead on 74 minutes. The opportunity was created by our high pressing, in this instance it was from Shashoua whose tigerish running managed to unsettle Karl Ziger. The Chelsea keeper ended up passing the ball straight out to the newly introduced Richards who took a sublime first touch to knock the ball past his man. Richards then sprinted into the Chelsea box before weighing up his options and calmly slotting the ball inside Ziger’s near post, it was a terrific finish. Spurs were now dominating play and their constant high press was causing nightmares for the blues defence. Soon after restarting the game, the Industrious Oliver Skipp went on a brilliant attacking foray of his one down the middle, eventually passing the ball to Tainio out wide. The Finns pacy cross only just evading the alert Rodel Richards at the back post.

We came close to extending our lead once again through an incisive attacking move. Markanday’s mesmeric weaving run saw him bring the ball towards the penalty area, he sent a crisp pass to Richards out left. The substitutes first time cross managed to pick out Skipp on the edge of the area, but the Spurs anchorman’s powerful effort flew a fraction wide of the mark. Thankfully it wasn’t to matter, as soon afterwards Parker’s side wrapped the game up in style, with a scintillating move. Richards passed the ball to Hinds who burst forward down the left wing before sweeping the ball across the Chelsea goal and into the path of Markanday to calmly tap home at the back post, 3-0. Panzo attempted to respond with an effort at goal, which was dealt with all too easily by De Bie. Spurs had managed to totally unravel the Chelsea defence, comfortably seeing out the remainder of the game to claim a rare victory over our old foes. It was a superb performance from Parker’s men who thoroughly deserved the win, from start to finish they were the more impressive side, limiting Chelsea to few clear cut chances whilst managing to pose a significant attacking threat up the other end. Up next for Parker’s side is a home game against Arsenal, in our final league game of this season. COYS

Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Excellent all round performance from our under 18’s very own brilliant Belgian. De Bie had yet another top game, making a game changing penalty save with the scores at 1-0. He made a string of fine stops, he was excellent in the air. And his distribution was just as impressive. I have a feeling that De Bie is more than ready for u23 football!
– Maximus Tainio: Solid and assured at right back, the young Finn put in a really impressive performance. Tainio dealt well with the threat of Walters down the flank, he was focused and decisive in his defending. Two notable pieces of defending, were a vital headed clearance and a superb last ditch challenge inside the Tottenham box in the second half. After struggling to get game time for the majority of the campaign, it’s great to see Taino looking so assured in the team.
– Tariq Hinds: A typically flawless defensive performance from Hinds. Filling in at left back for the injured Jamie Reynolds, Hinds put in a sterling defensive performance. As well as combining that with some well timed runs down the left hand side, he bagged a fine assist for our third of the game.
– Oliver Skipp: It was a performance of epic proportions from Tottenham’s domineering midfielder. His impact on the game was immense from start to finish, he bossed the central areas anticipating danger to perfection. Skipp also managed to recycle possession well, and threw himself into danger on numerous occasions to make vital blocks in and around the six yard box. He is without doubt the best midfielder of his age group in the country!
– TJ Eyoma: I can’t remember Eyoma making a single mistake throughout the game. Him and Jonathan Dinzeyi formed a formidable defensive partnership stopping everything that came between them. Eyoma took no risks, he was good in the air and strong in the challenge. His experience of playing in the development squad is really showing.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: My motm, see below.
– Dilan Markanday: Markanday played a significant part in our dominant victory over the blues. Electric down the right hand side, with his weaving runs and numerous attacking forays, Markanday managed to totally unsettle the Chelsea fullback Lavinier. He mixed things up and cut inside on numerous occasions, the ball glued to his boot as he ran at the Chelsea defence. An assist and a goal for Markanday takes his goal involvement tally to 11 for the season.
– Jamie Bowden: An industrious force in the centre of midfield, Bowden’s energetic performance really caught the eye. He was relentless and helped to thwart the creativity from Chelsea’s midfield. He is such a grafter!
– Armando Shashoua: Like Bowden, Shashoua is another grafter who really caught the eye against the champions. Playing in the number 10 role, Shashoua gave a great account of himself. With his crisp passing and fine movement, Shashoua made some excellent runs into the danger zone. He worked immensely hard for the team and also performed his defensive duties really well.
– Phoenix Patterson: It was a good showing from the left winger, who had a particularly bright first half in which he managed to cause quite a bit of a trouble. However, he wasn’t as involved in the second half and ended up being replaced by Richards on 71 minutes.
– Rodel Richards: Excellent cameo from our second top scorer this season. It only took him a matter of minutes before he doubled our lead with one of our goals of the season, he remained for the rest of the game.
– Rayan Clarke: A bright, albeit it very short cameo.
– Troy Parrott: From his short time on the pitch, a single terrific sliding challenge from the Irishman really caught the eye. It also caught the eye of the Spurs coaching staff who were cheering him on. Physically he is more than ready to lead the line for the 18’s!

My man of the match: Jonathan Dinzeyi. A colossal defensive performance from the 18 year old centre half, Dinzeyi had an excellent game alongside Eyoma. Dinzeyi was superb, he was so calm and composed on the ball and decisive without it. He won all his aerial duels, made some absolutely brilliant sliding challenges inside his own box, and he also managed to successfully frustrate Taylor-Crossdale, for whom he allowed little time on the ball. He did however concede a penalty in the first half for a two footed challenge on Taylor-Crossdale, but at least he had the courage to make that challenge in the first place, many defenders wouldn’t have had the bottle!

Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Tainio, Hinds, Skipp, Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Markanday (Clarke 83), Bowden (Parrott 81), Griffiths, A Shashoua, Patterson (Richards 71). Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, P Maghoma.

Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-29
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 7
Jamie Bowden- 1
Moroyin Omolabi-1
Rayan Clarke-2
Maurizio Pochettino-1
Paris Maghoma-3
Rodel Richards-13
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-2
TJ Eyoma-1
Armando Shashoua-1
Troy Parrott-1

Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Jamie Bowden-1
Matt Lock- 2
Jeremie Mukendi-2
Jamie Reynolds-6
Reo Griffiths-9
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-6
Rayan Clarke-2
Rodel Richards-2
Dilan Markanday-4
Oliver Skipp-1
Tariq Hinds-3
Paris Maghoma-5
Armando Shashoua-1
Maurizio Pochettino -1
Max Tainio-1

Spurs under 18’s versus Chelsea: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Chelsea: (match preview)

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Our under 18’s resume league action tomorrow when they make their second trip to Chelsea’s Cobham training ground of the season. Parker’s will be hoping to get revenge on the blues for their 2-0 defeat to Jody Morris’ side in the league cup final in March. With just two league games remaining for both sides, the already crowned champions of the southern section have bigger fish to fry ahead of this dead rubber league game, with an important UEFA youth league semi final and FA youth cup final to look forward to. As for Parker’s side, he’ll be wanting the lads to finish the season off in good form. After suffering a surprise 5-3 defeat to Norwich in their last match, Parker will likely field a much stronger side for tomorrows derby. Whilst Morris will likely do the opposite, and field second and third string players for the game (still excellent players mind you!). It’s unlikely that Spurs will end Chelsea u18’s three year unbeaten run at Cobham, but it’s certainly not beyond their realms to bring the game to them, just like they did during the reverse fixture earlier in the season. When we drew 4-4 with the blues at Hotspur Way. I think our poor form against the blues over recent years has been down to psychological aspects rather thana lack quality, a win tomorrow would do no harm in stopping that. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) De Bie(c), Hinds, Eyoma, Dinzeyi, Clarke, Bowden, A.Shashoua, Markanday, P.Maghoma, Richards, Griffiths.

Subs from: Freeman, Statham, Mukendi, Parrott.

Unavailable: Brooklyn Lyons Foster (ligaments).

Doubtful: Jubril Okedina and Jamie Reynolds. The following schoolboys are doubtful due to school commitments: Troy Parrott, Harvey White and J’neil Bennett.

My score prediction: 2-2.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-2.

One to watch: The Scottish maestro that is Billy Gilmour. A midfield technician, Gilmour caused havoc for Spurs in the league cup final at Cobham, with his excellent vision and Winkseque passing ability, the former Rangers man is a player who Spurs will need to watch closely.

Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Chelsea: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Chelsea: (match report)

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After being reduced to ten men inside the opening 40 minutes, Wayne Burnett could never have predicted his sides heroic response to what was an unfair dismissal of the Spurs skipper Christian Maghoma inside the first half. Our lads have endured a difficult campaign, a campaign where results don’t tell the whole story of how well they have played and gelled as a team. Last nights victory over London rivals Chelsea was testament to that fighting spirit and quality that they have in their ranks. A defensive performance of seismic proportions, not only did we manage to keep Chelsea at bay following the dismissal of Maghoma, but we also managed to time our counter attacks to perfection. Two excellent free kicks from Keanan Bennetts managing to secure a rare win at the bridge for Spurs, who responded to Jordan Grants opener for the blues on 66 minutes. It might just have been our finest performance of the season. Burnett’s side got the London derby underway from a floodlit Stamford Bridge, for Spurs’ penultimate PL2 fixture of the season. And they enjoyed a dominant opening few minutes. As they knocked the ball about with ease, some good tracking back from left winger Bennetts saw him get back to make an important challenge on the byline. Tottenham skipper Christian Maghoma conceded a dangerous free kick a couple of minutes later after being adjudged to have brought down Jacob Maddox, who clearly dived. Charlie Colkett sent the resulting free kick well over Austin’s crossbar. The referee Adrian Quelch wasn’t giving the Tottenham players the benefit of the doubt in the opening 20 minutes, and he was more than happy to book Eyoma on 16 minutes.

There was very little between both sides as we reached the 20 minute mark, it was becoming a very cagey game. Spurs continued to look solid at the back, the impressive Tanganga managed to deal accordingly with Dujon Sterling’s menacing cross. The blues then had a good chance, after Maddox slipped the ball in to Sterling down the right hand side. The Chelsea fullback cut inside Georgiou before squaring the ball to McCormick inside the box. However, the Chelsea midfielder squandered the chance as his miscued effort flew well wide of the mark. Brandon Austin had to make his first save of the game when he dealt comfortably with Colkett’s effort shortly afterwards. Spurs then picked up their second yellow card of the game after Maghoma was penalised for pulling back the advancing Redan on the edge of the Spurs box. Harvey St.Clair’s resulting free kick flew straight into Eyoma in the Spurs wall, winding him in the process. The only criticism of Spurs in the opening stages was their tendency to let the Chelsea wingbacks bomb forwards down the flanks far too easily, giving them lots of space. Spurs managed their first attempt on goal of the game through Kazaiah Sterling after he picked up Tracey’s cross on the edge of the Chelsea box. The Spurs striker fired just over Bulka’s crossbar on the turn. Dutchman Daishawn Redan was being allowed too much space to run at the Spurs defence, the former Ajax mans pace was continuing to cause us problems, once such attacking foray forced Tanganga into making an important block inside the danger zone. Then in the 38th minute the referee made a bold and significant decision when he sent off the Spurs captain Christian Maghoma, after he picked up his second yellow card of the game.

Redan had gotten Maghoma sent off after he had managed to get in front of the Spurs defender after latching on to a through ball. Maghoma kept up with Redan well, before the Dutchman fell emphatically to the floor after Maghoma had made the most minimal if any contact on his man (I was sat right behind the goal!). Quelch produced his red card almost immediately afterwards and to Maghoma’s credit he didn’t even make a major fuss of what was a terrible refereeing decision. Maghoma had been our best player up until his sending off. Chelsea were looking to make the extra man count and soon after the dismissal of Spurs’ skipper they threatened the Spurs goal through St.Clair. The Scotsman cut inside before firing an effort straight at Austin in the Spurs goal, before whipping a delightful cross into the danger zone moments later, which was only narrowly missed by the outstretched boot of Redan. Chelsea hogged possession for the remainder of the half, McCormick’s overly ambitious bicycle kick would be the last significant action of the half. Spurs had the first chance of the second half when Keanan Bennetts cut inside from the left before curling a low effort towards goal, which was only just kept out by the diving Bulka. McCormick had two attempts on goal for Chelsea at the other end, the first being a speculative effort from long range. The second being a sliced effort which he hit following St.Clair’s lay off. Chelsea were continuing to threaten, Redan had an effort deflected narrowly wide after getting on the end of Castillo’s cross. Substitute Reece James then whipped a dangerous ball across the face of the Spurs goal, before St.Clair threatened once again when he bent an effort inches wide of the mark.

Spurs were unable to get out of their own half, they were reluctant to run at the Chelsea defence and were also struggling to stop the blues down the channels. Something which Burnett wanted to address when he brought off Georgiou for Brown on the hour mark. In a rare Spurs attack, Tanganga powered a diving header towards the Chelsea goal after meeting Pritchard’s corner, but his effort was diverted wide by a Chelsea defender. Adrian Viveash’s side broke straight down the other end, but to Spurs’ rescue came makeshift centre half Oliver Skipp who made a key interception at the decisive moment. Tracey conceded a free kick in a dangerous position soon afterwards, but once again the Spurs wall was on hand to stop the ball. The Chelsea onslaught would continue through St.Clair who sent a dangerous corner kick into the penalty area. Despite Tottenham’s resilience the net would finally bulge, as Jordan Grant rose the highest to plant a header inside the far corner of Austin’s goal, 0-1. Burnett’s side had been excellent up until this point, now they had to get body’s forward to try and salvage something from the game. Keanan Bennetts seized the initiative as he burst forward straight from the restart, managing to win a promising free kick in the process. The dead ball specialist managed to curl the ball over the Chelsea wall and into the left hand corner of Bulka’s goal to give Spurs an unexpected leveller, 1-1. It was an excellent effort from Bennetts who did so well to get the ball over the Chelsea wall from just 20 yards out, it had been a brilliant response.

With the game back in the balance Chelsea looked to regain the lead, substitute Reece James’ attacking advance into the penalty area could well have achieved this, were it not for another decisive interception by Tanganga. A couple of moments later Spurs had another go at the Chelsea, Bennetts once again ran straight at the Chelsea defence and in doing so he managed to win a free kick in an identical position to the first. Unbelievably the 19 year old took the resulting free kick with aplomb and managed to outwit Bulka for the second time in the space of just five minutes, with another excellent attempt. Curling a deceptive effort around the Chelsea wall and into the bottom left hand corner of the Poles goal to send the away end into dream land! Now Spurs had to guard their lead against a potent and aggressive Chelsea front line, for the remaining 16 minutes. Brandon Austin had to be alert to make a good stop soon afterwards, as Chelsea began to really pile the pressure on the Spurs defence. The dangerous St.Clair bent another dangerous effort narrowly wide, as the blues continued to push for a late leveller. Spurs were staying deep but the pressure was mounting from the home side, St.Clair’s brilliant cross field pass managed to pick out McCormick whose first time delivery into the danger zone was met by Redan. The Dutchman smashing an effort inches over the Spurs crossbar, the Chelsea players fervently claimed a touch from Austin on the way over. Burnett had instructed his side to wind down the clock, and they were doing a great job of it. Some good hold up play was coming from the potent Bennetts whose skill and athleticism made it hard to for the Chelsea players to win the ball back, on one such occasion he was hacked viciously by a Chelsea player as he guarded the ball.

Spurs did tremendously well to see out what was an anxious remaining ten minutes, to record one of their finest wins of the campaign. They defended magnificently, counter attacked Chelsea at the decisive moment and managed to show the maturity of a senior side to see out the game, with just ten men. It was an absolute pleasure to witness such a hearty Spurs display first hand, this means we can well and truly relax when we take on Man City in our final league game of the season next month, with safety rubber stamped for another campaign! COYS

Player reviews : – Brandon Austin: A solid all round performance from the 19 year old in between the sticks. Austin was flawless, excellent at dealing with aerial balls, the US youth international also managed to make a string of fine stops against the club that released him as a youngster.
– TJ Eyoma: Another player who didn’t put a foot wrong. Eyoma was rock solid down the right channel. He defended with class and let little in the way of openings for the Chelsea wingers to exploit, he was also dominant in the air. Fine showing!
– Anthony Georgiou: A more defensive showing from the Cypriot international, who managed to keep up with the speedy Maddox down the left channel. He defended superbly and didn’t allow the Chelsea man with much space to run through.
– Oliver Skipp: The words magnificent and Skipp seem to go together all the time! A domineering figure in the central areas during the first half, the dismissal of Maghoma on half time forced Skipp into reverting to centre half. A position which he mastered throughout the second half. Skipp was so comfortable playing the ball out from the back, but it was his perfect timing and decision making which proved the most effective. I’d lost count at the amount of times that he managed to single handedly thwart the Chelsea attack. If ever there was a player that deserved to be going on the summer tour of the USA, it’s him!
– Christian Maghoma: Our best player of the game up until his wrongful dismissal on the stroke of half time. Maghoma dominated in and around the danger zone, leading the defence by example. He made many crucial interceptions. As for his two bookings which may cost him his place in the side for the Man City game, well I’m not even going to go there!
– Japhet Tanganga: A defensive performance of real stature, Tanganga managed to marshal the Tottenham defence to perfection following the dismissal of Maghoma. He managed to maintain excellent positioning throughout and this led to him making many heroic challenges. Dominant in the air, Tanganga’s performance was not too unlike Vincent Kompany’s majestic performance against our first team on Saturday.
– Shilow Tracey: Despite having his offensive capabilities hampered somewhat by the Chelsea defence, Tracey made up for his lack of openings by tracking back and working exceptionally hard for the team, running back and getting involved with our defence. I desperately hope to see Tracey retained for next season, as he thoroughly deserves it.
– Tashan Oakley-Boothe: A tidy and competent performance from the 18 year old midfielder. Oakley-Boothe managed to keep the ball well and use it resourcefully. It was a well rounded performance from the England youth international.
– Kazaiah Sterling: A workman like performance from the Tottenham striker who despite his limited service up top, still managed to make a positive contribution to the game through his hard work and grit. Sterling was rewarded with a surprise inclusion on the bench for the Manchester City game the next day.
– Joe Pritchard: Dominant and effective midfield showing, maintained a ridiculously high work rate throughout. Helping to break up possession and get forwards whenever possible.
– Keanan Bennetts: My motm, see below.
– Jaden Brown: Good half an hour cameo, he managed to strengthen the Spurs defence.
– Dylan Duncan: N/A.
– Samuel Shashoua: N/A.

My man of the match: Keanan Bennetts. The speedy winger took the game into his own hands, his individual brilliance and attacking initiative changing the outcome of the game. Of the three on target attempts that Spurs managed to muster throughout the game, all three managed to come from Bennetts. The 19 year old won us the game through his attacking prowess. Not once but twice did his hopeful attacking forays lead to us winning free kicks in dangerous positions. Both of which were despatched with real class from the Spurs wide man. He was the only player brave enough to run at the Chelsea defence, his pace and trickery managing to cause the blues problems. His brace makes it seven goals from 21 PL2 performances for the Spurs man this season! I would be surprised not to see him make the bench for the seniors during the last couple of league games!

Chelsea: Bulka, Sterling, Chalobah, Grant, Castillo, Sammut (c, James 54), Maddox (Hudson-Odoi 54), McCormick, Redan, Colkett, St Clair. Substitutes (not used): Cumming, Colley, Nartey.

Spurs: Austin, Eyoma, Georgiou (Brown 61), Skipp, C Maghoma (c), Tanganga, Tracey, Oakley-Boothe, Sterling (S Shashoua 90+2), Pritchard (Duncan 82), Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Roles.

Goals: Chelsea – Grant 66; Spurs – Bennetts 68, 74.

Yellow cards: Chelsea – Sterling 37, McCormick 67, Grant 73; Spurs – Eyoma 16, C Maghoma 26, 39.

Red card: Spurs – C Maghoma 39.

Referee: Adrian Quelch.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-11
Loft-1
Duncan-2
Edwards-4
Tanganga-1
Pritchard-4
S.Shashoua-5
Bennetts-7
Tracey-3
Harrison-4
C.Maghoma-2
Roles-4
Walkes-1
Eyoma-1
Skipp-1
Georgiou-1

Assists: Skipp-1
Miller-1
Sterling-2
Pritchard-7
Edwards-3
Tracey-7
Eyoma-1
S.Shashoua-1
Brown-1
Sterling-4
Bennetts-8
Marsh-1
Harrison-1
Roles-1
Tanganga-1

 

Spurs under 23’s versus Chelsea: (match preview)

With safety all but confirmed, Wayne Burnett’s Spurs under 23 side can afford to play with the shackles off when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening, in their penultimate game of the PL2 season. After defeating Derby 4-2 in their last game, Burnett’s side are four points clear of the relegation zone and a win tonight would rubber stamp their division one status for another season. Unbeaten in their last seven games, Burnett’s side have enjoyed quite a turn around over recent months and the visit to Chelsea will not faze them in the slightest. Adrian Viveash’s blues side occupy sixth spot in the table after having a decent season thus far. Though they may lack in consistency, they certainly don’t lack in quality with players such as Hudson-Odoi, Juan Castillo, Daishawn Redan and Trevor Chalobah all at their disposal. It promises to be a cracking game of football, my in depth match report of the game will be published by tomorrow morning. Ironically we may even get to see Ross Barkley turn out for Chelsea this evening as he continues to make his return from injury! COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Eyoma, C.Maghoma (c), Tanganga, Georgiou, Skipp, Marsh, Tracey, Oakley-Boothe, Bennetts, Sterling.

Subs from: O’Reilly, Brown, Pritchard, Roles, Griffiths.

Injured/unavailable: Nick Tsaroulla and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster.

Doubtful: Samuel Shashoua and Jonathan Dinzeyi and Marcus Edwards.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.

Previous meeting: Chelsea 3-2.

One to watch: The blues speedy Dutch forward Daishawn Redan, still only 17 years of age. Redan has adapted well to life at Chelsea following his move from Ajax in the summer, he has also been in particularly good form for their under 23’s, scoring five goals from five league games. Including a hat trick in his last outing at Derby.

Important info: For those unable to attend the game, it is being shown live on Chelsea TV.