My interview with ex Spurs player John Margerrison:
John Margerrison was a highly thought of youth prospect at Spurs during the early 1970’s. A talented central midfielder, Margerrison would go onto play a big part in Spurs winning the 1974 FA youth cup. Following on from his time at Spurs, Margerrison made a name for himself at London clubs Fulham, Leyton Orient and Barnet via stints in both Holland and America. I caught up with John to discuss his memories from his time at the club.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
John: I joined Spurs from school at around 15, as an apprentice. Their scouts saw me play for the county football side, Hertsmere, and invited me down for training. From the training they then offered me an apprenticeship. Other clubs such as Arsenal, Leeds, Aston Villa also offered me apprenticeships too. I went with Spurs as always I followed them growing up. At first it was cleaning the first teams boots and the gyms, alongside the football.
What was your time at the lilywhites like on the whole?
John: Very enjoyable. Met some great players and made some good friends. Was very sad when I left.
Did you have any footballing heroes/inspiration and if so who were they?
John: To be honest I didn’t really have any specific inspirations, I just enjoyed playing football. It was a dream to be able to do it as a profession from a young age.
Who were your greatest influences at the club?
John: At the club Pat Welton the youth team coach and Eddie Bailey the reserve team coach were very influential in my progress as a player. I had a good relationship with them both. I think they saw I had potential and always tried to push me further in my development.
Being a midfielder, were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?
John: Again, not really. I always played midfield and enjoyed that this position meant I was quite involved in every match. I literally played from an enjoyment point of view and my game came from there with the help of coaches and teammates.
What was the toughest thing about being an apprentice at Spurs and what were your biggest challenges?
John: I think who had the biggest challenge was the coaching staff. I was always told I had great skill but lacked in pushing myself to my full potential. Getting me to do that was a challenge. Trying to get in the first team was the toughest thing. I was with great up and coming players so it was never going to be easy.
How did your time as both an apprentice and professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?
John: It definitely helped make me a better player. Playing against/with great players and pushing myself to get into the first team improved my game both physically and mentally.
Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout in your memory?
John: Just to be there, around professionals, taking in the clubs achievements was a dream come true. As I said I’d followed the club since being introduced to football so to be in the youth team was an amazing achievement.
After leaving Spurs in 1975 you went onto join fellow London club Fulham, from there you played for a variety of clubs including Leyton Orient, Barnet, Kansas City comets and Wealdstone. Could you talk me through your career post Spurs?
John: Playing at Fulham, I was close to getting in the first team and the manager came to watch me. In that game I had a stinker and later went off injured. I was close to getting transferred but worked my way back to get into the first team. The first few years at Fulham I have fond memories of. At Leyton Orient I had some good and bad games, looking back I’m disappointed in my performance at the club. At Kansas I only had a few games and didn’t really have time to adjust to the game there, as it was a 5 a side team and they played at a million miles an hour. After there I went to Holland and the team there wanted to sign me, but family commitments stopped me. Looking back I think I may have enjoyed it there. I really enjoyed my time at Barnet. I played some great football and made some life long friends. At the same time however it was here I suffered an injury that I feel I never really fully recovered from, snapping my medial ligament in my knee. This then effected my time at Wealdstone. However, I enjoyed my time there and got voted players player, and fans player of the season, so didn’t do too bad.
Whilst at Fulham you played alongside the legendary George Best, What was George like to play with?
John: He was such a fantastic player, far better than the rest of us. Not only that he was a really lovely bloke with it. I have some great memories with him.
What was the pinnacle of your career?
John: What always comes to mind is scoring against Man United in the FA cup at Fulham. Such a great feeling.
Who was the greatest player that you had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?
John: I played with some great players, Glen Hoddle, Graham Souness. However it goes without saying that George Best was just that, the absolute best.
Are you still in contact with any of your former Tottenham team mates?
John: No, sadly not.
I couldn’t end our interview without talking about the triumphant FA youth cup winning side of 1974, a side which you played a major part in. What are your memories of that campaign and did winning the cup help your development as a player?
John: I tried to think about this but I just can’t remember much. I know I scored in the draw at White Hart Lane against Huddersfield. In the first leg we should have won the match in the first half. Second leg it was anyone’s game. A great experience and achievement in the start of my career, and I’m sure it would have gave me more confidence as a player.