My interview with former Spurs defender Jimmy Holmes:
I caught up with Jimmy Holmes to have a brief chat about his career at the lilywhites. A left back by trade, Holmes was full international for Ireland and played at Spurs from 1977-81. Making 80 appearances for the lilywhites before moving to the Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada. Jimmy is now retired from the game and lives in Warwickshire in England.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Jimmy: I played my last game for Coventry at Derby County we won 2-1 when we got back to Coventry I was told by our Manager Gordon Milne, that Bill Nicholson and Keith Burkinshaw were waiting for me at a local hotel and wanted me to join Spurs. I had no idea I was leaving Coventry.
What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?
Jimmy: Brilliant, best club I ever played for, very professional.
Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?
Jimmy: Johnny Giles.
Who were your greatest influences at the club?
Jimmy: Bill Nicholson and Steve Perryman.
Were any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?
Jimmy: Tony Dunne. Great fullback.
What was the toughest thing about coming over to England as a youngster and trying to adapt to English football at your first club Coventry City?
Jimmy: Missing all of my mates from John Bosco FC. But Coventry City had a great youth team so I settled down very quickly, I played for Ireland before I played in Coventry’s first team.
Could you share with me your memories of your testimonial at Dalymount Park against a Glenn Hoddle XI?
Jimmy: I can say it was my proudest moment of my life all my family were there. I can recall myself watching Ireland play in Dalymount, and now they were there for me.
Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time at Tottenham Hotspur?
Jimmy: To see Glenn Hoddle progress into a wonderful footballer, a great bloke, and top man. Also having the pleasure to play with Ossie and Ricky, amazing players.
Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?
Jimmy: when I broke my leg playing against Bulgaria it took me about a year to recover I was not the same player after that, I went out to Vancouver Whitecaps stayed there for 3 years. Came back played for Torquay, Leicester, and Brentford, then joined West Midlands Police Force in Coventry. I done 23 years in the Police and retired. I have been retired for 8 years and I now drive the Mayor of Nuneaton, where I live.
What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?
Jimmy: Playing against Brazil in Rio at the Maracana Stadium.
Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?
Jimmy: Playing against Pele.
Spurs and Ireland have a long and rich history. Was the strong links between Spurs and Ireland something that had prompted your decision to join the lilywhites in the late 1970’s?
Jimmy: Of course, Joe Kinnear was one reason.
Could you talk me through the day you made your Spurs debut?
Jimmy: Played at home against West Brom and had a great right winger playing against me, Laurie Cunningham. Good game, 1-1.
As a Dubliner yourself, you may be aware of the highly rated Irish striker Troy Parrott who is currently a part of the Tottenham academy. As a player who came to play in England as a young man, what would your advice be to this latest Spurs starlet as he looks to carve a career for himself at the lilywhites?
Jimmy: I would tell Troy listen and learn and try to be honest in everything that you do. Train hard and don’t leave anything out on the field.