My interview with former Tottenham Hotspur youth player Terry Lloyd:
Terry Lloyd was a lightning quick centre forward who was also adept at playing out wide on either flank during his time in Tottenham Hotspur’s youth team during the early 1960’s. Lloyd was a prolific scorer at youth level for Spurs at the time of the famous double winning side, and the promising teenager from East London was touted by many at Spurs to achieve great things in the game. Lloyd could also play as an outside left and he racked up some pretty impressive statistics during his time in the youth team and the A team. Lloyd was in the same age group as future first team players Philip Beal and Frank Saul and during one particular FA youth cup game against QPR, Lloyd scored five goals in a 7-0 win at Loftus road. Although Terry never made the grade at Spurs, after departing the club he joined his boyhood club West Ham where he played predominantly for their A team alongside a certain Harry Redknapp. He would later go onto play for a host of non league sides before quitting the game and eventually going onto forge a successful career out of being a London black cab driver. The season ticket holder at West Ham kindly agreed to doing an interview with me back in October, I met Terry in Biggleswade where he lives. And can I just say what a fantastic man he is and what an absolute privilege it was to interview him about his time at Tottenham Hotspur. Terry is pictured above and he is situated on the far left of the bottom row.
What are your earliest footballing memories?
Terry: My earliest memories of playing football were at school in East Ham when I played for the local schools and then for the borough and East Ham boys. We nearly won the best borough in the whole of England but drew away to Doncaster in the final, and then lost 1-0 at West Ham in front of a crowd of 17,000 at that game in West Ham. My earliest memory at Spurs was basically when I was offered the chance to go to Tottenham and I thought I was going to make it to the top, but nevertheless I didn’t. I didn’t put enough effort into it and now I realise that I didn’t and that you need to go back in the afternoon to training, as in them days you had an option and we all went home. All I can tell you is that I should have done more.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?
Terry: Bill Nicholson came to my house and knocked on my door and asked me if I would like to play for Spurs, after the scouts had told him about me. So he came around in his car and knocked on my door and met with my parents before asking them if it was ok to go to Spurs and they said yes. So that’s how it started and I enjoyed it.
What were you first impressions of life at Spurs?
Terry: At first I felt a bit lost because I’d come to Spurs straight from school, I hadn’t had a job. I used to come on the bus to Tottenham and it would take an hour and a half to get there and then back home afterwards. It was strange but exciting in the fact that you didn’t have to be in till 10 in the morning, so there was no madness. You trained for two hours in the day etc, and then you headed home at 12:30 on the bus to East Ham. So that was brilliant and you got paid for it, but when things didn’t go as good as they should have done you realised that you should have stayed on studying and if not I should have been dedicated at the time. You always think your going to be alright and that you’ll do your bit and then be in the first team, but it doesn’t work like that. You suddenly get to a point when if you’re not getting in quick enough then you think hold on there’s somebody else there that’s as good as me. And all of a sudden the club are saying that they don’t want you, and then you realise that you’re lovely today but tomorrow it’ll be I’ll speak to you later, the new boys in. It’s ruthless and don’t get me wrong I should have had my head on more but there we are, I hadn’t quite made it. Maybe I didn’t have the ability and didn’t study and train hard enough and like lots of things you need to do everything you need to do. Because in sport it’s a short period of time and in the beginning it’s not a problem but all of a sudden 2-3 years down the line and your not going to where you want to go. So you think oh dear, and as you start to slide that way down scouts start to think that your not good enough. So it was hard but I’m happy!
What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?
Terry: It was as good as gold. All of the first team players were great even though one or two players might not have got on as well with you as another player. I was happy and privileged to go to Spurs straight from school because I didn’t have to go to work, instead I went to football.
Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?
Terry: The left winger at Spurs at the time was Cliff Jones and he was unbelievable, he was so fast and he could jump taller than anybody else despite being shorter than me, and he was lethal. I got on with both Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin but as a player he was something else. There was also the centre forward Bobby Smith who wouldn’t take no nonsense if defenders tried to mess him around and he was brilliant. However, the whole squad was and you could talk to all of the first team players and ask them questions. Although you may get the odd one who was a bit touchy, the rest of them were as good as gold.
Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in the Spurs youth team?
Terry: On the left wing, on the right wing and as a centre forward because I used to score a lot of goals as I realised my speed and my strength. Something I’ve got to tell you about is when we were doing something for BBC television and we (the youth team) were all training to be live on television. We were shooting and crossing the balls at the main stadium. We trained all morning and I was hitting every shot into the goal, it would come across to me and bang it was a goal. But then it came to five o’clock at night and it went live, they put the ball over to me and I must have been four feet away from the goal and I went and hit it straight over the bar! I didn’t know where to put my face because it was live and I couldn’t change it.
Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?
Terry: The most famous ones were Cliff Jones, Bobby Smith and Danny Blanchflower but the whole lot of them were good players. There wasn’t one of them you could pull out and say no, it was a whole team who all had their own abilities. We also had a Scottish winger called John White who was unbelievable in the respect that he was never physical as such, but he had it all in his head. Every time he moved he found space and when the ball came over he instinctively knew where the gaps were. It was actually his father in law Harry Evans who was the assistant manager who said at the time to me that he would have kept me at the club a bit longer, but that’s football.
During your time in the youth set up at Spurs, you would have played regularly with the likes of future first team players Frank Saul and Roy Low. What was that youth team that we had during the double winning era like to play in?
Terry: It was very good but like myself there were not many that made it through. I thought I wasn’t going to make it and the money wasn’t any good at the time. I ended up working in the office for the port of London in the docks and I worked there for 16 years. In the meantime I did the knowledge and I became a licensed black cab driver and I only retired two years ago after driving a cab for 42-43 years.
Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?
Terry: I liked the tours that we went on with the junior side because that was the first time I ever travelled abroad. We played in Switzerland one year and then Germany another where we lost a tournament which included Man United and clubs from all different countries. The first time I ever got on a plane was in 1959 and never did I think I’d ever be on an aeroplane as I was from a working background, and playing in a stadium in a different country was just wonderful, it was a great way of life. However, you must do your education first then you can carry on with your football! Because when you look back there are a lot of players who got into things like gambling because they had too much spare time.
Was playing abroad your favourite memory?
Terry: Yes, because playing abroad you thought that you were on another planet because I’d never travelled before.
What was the coaching you received at Spurs like?
Terry: I can’t really say much on that because basically they used to get us to be fit, if you were fast then you were fast and if you were slow then you were slow but the slow players were normally better up top. In training the coaches always wanted you to be in position and to connect with the ball that was being passed to you.
What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?
Terry: That was during my second year at Spurs when they said that they were going to keep me on, and I really thought then that I was going to be there forever. In those days at the end of each season you had to go to see the manager to see whether you were going to be kept on.
Who was the greatest player that you ever had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?
Terry: In training I used to train with all the big players but not in the A team. There were people like me who got near it but didn’t get there, but in training they put you in the reserves.
What if you had to pick a player?
Terry: Cliff Jones. He had everything including speed even though he broke both of his legs. He was only about my size but no one could touch him with his speed, and Cliffie could out jump anyone, he used to just glide up in the air. Even now he still looks fit!
You played at Spurs during that famous double winning season of 1960/61 and you would have got to have known the likes of Bill Nicholson and Danny Blanchflower. What was it like brushing shoulders with that group of players, and what were they like as a team?
Terry: The players were always friends as they got to know you from being there as juniors and they were helpful. Every now and again somebody was a bit touchy after you tackled them as they didn’t want to get injured, but everybody was good. The first team players were never rude or flash generally speaking.
What was Bill Nicholson like as a manager?
Terry: Like a lot of managers he would take to some players more than other players but he was good. He was hard and he wouldn’t take any messing about. You used to have to see Bill Nicholson every year to sign up again or whatever, he was typical Yorkshire and he would do things how he wanted to do them and he was very strict, and I liked that. He was the one who came to my house to ask me if I’d come to Spurs. However, if any of the players needed help then they would go to Danny Blanchflower.
What was the great Danny Blanchflower like?
Terry: He was a really nice fellow but he was never somebody who would hang around. After the matches he would go inside the changing room and have one drink but he would never stay beyond that. How can I put it, he was helpful and he knew everything but he didn’t hang around and play cards or things like that but then again his levels were a lot higher than the rest of us.
What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?
Terry: They didn’t want me anymore so after leaving Spurs I went back to West Ham and after being injured for six months I started playing again and I thought that I would be kept on. However, they ended up saying that they didn’t want me and in the end I went to play in the southern league with Brentwood and I was there for two years but in the end I thought that it was pointless. I’d just got married and we had a young child and it was pointless playing football because I wasn’t going to get enough money and so that’s when I went back into the city to work. After coming out I worked for the port of London and after 14 years working there I wanted to be self employed so I decided to do the knowledge. I ended up driving a cab for 24 years.
After all these years how do you look back on your time at Spurs and despite being a West Ham fan what does the club still mean to you today?
Terry: Spurs and my local club West Ham are the two teams that I always want to do well. One is where you were born and the other was where you wanted to be successful.