My interview with former Spurs man Richard Cooke:
Richard Cooke was a product of the Tottenham Hotspur youth system of the late 1970’s. A winger by trade, Cooke broke into the senior team during the 1980’s. Playing on 11 occasions for the lilywhites, scoring two goals and even making the bench for the first leg of the 1984 UEFA cup final. After being sold by David Pleat in 1987, Cooke went on to play for Bournemouth and Luton Town. Before resigning for the cherries in 1991 where he would spend a further two years at the club, before injury forced him to call it a day.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Richard: I was spotted playing football by a scout playing for a Sunday schoolboy side Ajax who played in the Enfield district league and my School Albany comprehensible in Enfield. my earliest memories are wow I’ve signed for the club I support. Because I went to the school which was on the back of the east stand, St Paul’s and All Hallows.
What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?
Richard: As a supporter my time was fantastic until a certain manager came in and sold me.
Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?
Richard: Glenn Hoddle.
Who were your greatest influences at the club?
Richard: Keith Burkinshaw, Peter Shreeves, Robbie Stepney and John Pratt.
Were any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?
Richard: I used to love Tony Morley at Aston Villa as a winger and as a kid so he inspired me quite a lot.
What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?
Richard: Not knowing if you were going to be taken on as a pro or not.
How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?
Richard: was quite spoiled I guess as playing for a big club you take things for granted, as when you play for a team in the lower leagues you realise how massive this club is.
Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?
Richard: As a Youth player I used to love it when I got called up to the reserves in the football combination, as a youth team player we once played Sunderland in the FA Youth cup at Roker Park when I was 15 years of age, it was incredible.
Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?
Richard: I was sold to AFC Bournemouth in 1987 and that year we won the old 3rd division championship under Harry Redknapp, I was then sold onto Luton Town of the then 1st division under Ray Harford in 1990, then Harry Redknapp bought me back to AFC Bournemouth in 1992, I then sustained a knee injury that year that would end my career.
What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?
Richard: The pinnacle of my career was winning a UEFA Cup winners medal in 1984 and scoring on my league debut at 17 years of age.
Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?
Richard: Glenn Hoddle, he was absolutely amazing, some of the things I used to see in training would blow your mind away. And he took it to the pitch then on a Saturday.
What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?
Richard: Have confidence in yourself and listen to any pro player that gives you advice as they are saying it for a reason because they have gone through it, if you get released by the club, be positive and be strong as there are lots of opportunities in the game for you to succeed.
You played 11 times for the senior team, could you share some of your memories of your stint in the Spurs first team?
Richard: As I said before as a 17 year old, my parents took a call from Peter Shreeves at 8.00am on the Saturday of my debut to say I was going to be making my debut at Kenilworth Road in a Division 1 game at Luton, wow! And then to score the first goal of the game on Match of the day was just incredible