My interview with former Spurs player Ally Dick:

My interview with former Spurs player Ally Dick:

1C5539AB-4B1E-418B-8B7B-158D2497EC8D.jpeg

Ally Dick is a name in which Spurs supporters will remember fondly, the Scottish former professional footballer who was and still is the youngster ever Spurs player to play in a league game, featured on 17 occasions for Spurs scoring two goals. Dick would go onto have a fascinating career, linking up with Johan Cruyff’s Ajax before playing football in Australia for Heidelberg United. Alistair’s story is a fascinating one and I was privileged enough to get to interview the former Tottenham man talk about his time at the ‘ Lilywhites ‘ in the early 1980’s.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Ally: My earliest footballing memory I had would of been when I was on holiday with my mum and dad in Mallorca when I was about 11. And I was playing keepy uppies with a wee plastic ball on my own and this guy was watching me. As I went back to my mum and dad, he came up to them and he said I’ve been watching your wee son and he’s going to be a football player. He’s got one of the best touches ever. And although I can’t remember who he was, he was a professional footballer player who I think played for Stoke but I can’t remember his name. That was the first time that it was ever brought to my attention that I was decent at football.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Ally: Ever since I was 14 I used to come down in the school holidays and play with the Tottenham youth team and normally be under an assumed name as you weren’t allowed to play if you were Scottish and under age. I would maybe play half a game with the youth team so I got to know the boys pretty well. So maybe once or twice a year during the school holidays I’d go down to Tottenham to train with them for a couple of days. One of the strongest memories I have was just before the 1981 FA cup final when they (Spurs) flew me my father and my brother down to the game against Manchester City which was 1-1. And in the evening we had tickets for the big fancy celebration banquet which was held at the Hilton hotel in Park Lane but obviously the game went onto a replay so the celebration turned into a muted celebration but I can remember that very well and I was only 15 at the time. I can also remember being sat down next to a guy called Danny Blanchflower so I was only 15 not really knowing who Danny Blanchflower was at the time but I was sat down next to him, and he spoke to me for 20 minutes and I remember that pretty well. So that Spurs and Man City game was one of my first Spurs games so that was a great way to start.

How did you come about joining the club?

Ally: Up here in Scotland I was pretty much the most sought after player, I was doing well with my local club and my school team and the Scotland youth team, so there was plenty of people after me. However, the thing I done which really set me apart was that I never signed an S form because my youth team manager told me that it didn’t mean anything and he was 100% right. I used to train with Celtic on a Tuesday, Hibs on a Thursday and on the weekend I’d fly down to Tottenham to play with their youth team. And then the following week I’d fly down to Aston Villa to play with their youth team and train with the squad, the following week I’d then go to Man City and train with their squad and they’d take me out and wine and dine me, so I had the best of both worlds. However, when I turned 15 which was the clincher I played in a Scotland schoolboys international at Wembley where Scotland beat England 5-4 and we had Paul McStay and John Robertson and Paul Ryder who scored a hat trick, and that was one of the most famous schoolboy internationals ever and it was live on tv with a 70,000 crowd and as I say was only just turned 15. I played really well and scored a goal but when they were talking about all the English players on that field, they’d signed with West Ham and Swindon and this club and that club while all the Scotland guys were signed with Celtic while Ally Dick was unattached and that was through choice. After that game the phone rang off the hook, honestly I was getting four of five calls a day from clubs asking me to train with them. 

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Ally: I enjoyed it but I was only a kid, I was only 16 and if you look into players who are breaking into any first team now I’d been their since I was 14 and I was only just turned 21 when I left, I was still a young guy. I was lucky to play the games that I had played when I was such a young guy and to this day I’m still the youngest person ever to start a game in a league game for Spurs. John Bostock came on as a sub in a European game and beat my record by about five days but it was easier then to get games for the first team. It was a very homely club, very close knit and it was all good. 

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Ally: I was always a Celtic supporter so when I was growing up I used to watch Celtic play as a youngster, and Kenny Dalglish was the main man which was kind of funny because my second game that I played with Tottenham (I was only 17) was against Liverpool. And Dalglish was playing along with Souness and Hansen who were all from my area, and to think only a couple of years before that I was going to watch them play and two years later as a 17 year old I was playing against them.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Ally: When I first arrived at Tottenham I was very much an out and out left sided midfield player. In my first season at Spurs I went from scoring 40 goals a season to ten goals a season because I was playing with much better guys.

You made your Spurs debut on the 20th of February 1982 in a 2-0 win over Manchester City. Could you talk me through your memories of that day and how it came about?

Ally: I was still living in digs in Edmonton at the time and on a Friday morning I thought it would be a usual weekend, maybe playing with the youth team or maybe play with the reserve team. That morning my landlady came up to me as I sat down for breakfast and she said look at this and it was a newspaper saying youngster makes his debut for Tottenham, and I thought that can’t be true! And then I went into training that day and on a Friday we always had an eleven v eleven and it was the first team practicing their free kicks and their corners for the next day and right enough I was in the first team that day and I was fine about it. However, I remember on the day of the game I went out for a warmup and Stevie Perryman took me aside and took me out for a wee warm up and so we kicked a ball at each other, but my feet felt like two big marshmallows, the ball felt like a ping pong ball and I could hardly hit it. However, as soon as the game started I was fine and I felt right at home and the game seemed to whiz by very quickly and it was actually easier than playing with the reserves because you were playing with better players. So I enjoyed it and I wasn’t too nervous either, but my biggest memory was with me and Stevie Perryman before the game.

Who were you biggest influences at Spurs?

Ally: When I first went there the youth team manager was Robbie Stepney and he was one of the main guys who had brought me down from Scotland. He looked after me and kept in touch with my family and I always liked to do well for Robbie because he was probably the closest to me when it came to the coaches. I also got on well with Keith Burkinshaw who would always give me opportunities with the first team even when I wasn’t playing that great, but when it came to the players Stevie Perryman would always have time for you and he’d give you little bits of information to take into the next game which would stick with you.

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?

Ally: At the time probably it would be Tony Galvin who was playing in the position that I hoped to break into and things Tony was good at, I wasn’t too great at. Tony used to work very hard and he used to track back very well and he was a good tackler which were all things that I wasn’t. I was still slight of build and I wasn’t as fit as these guys so I had to do what Tony did. 

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Ally: Obviously my debut was very memorable but at the time I don’t think I realised that I was the youngest ever person to play for Spurs, because there was no internet or facts or figures flying about in those days and I can’t actually remember when I found out. I also remember in the youth team we had a lot of international tournaments where we’d go out to places like Switzerland and play a tournament and spend a week away with the guys. And I’ll always remember those weeks because they were such a laugh! 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Ally: If I think about it now it has to be making my debut as a 16 year old kid for a club like Tottenham Hotspur because that doesn’t happen every day. Also the game at Wembley as a schoolboy in front of 70,000 people was a really strong memory, and I played really well. To this day I still bump into people and they remember that game which for a schoolboy game is very unusual. Also playing in the UEFA cup final at White Hart Lane was also a great thing. 

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

Ally: There’s a couple! If I had to pick a midfield player I’d say Glen Hoddle every day of the week and to play and train with him every day was a pleasure. He was such nice a guy. The first game I played with Ajax I played with Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman but of that lot Marco Van Basten was the standout player and he was also a nice guy. So Glen Hoddle and Marco Van Basten are the two stand outs.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham youth team?

Ally: The things I remember most about that was the trips that we used to have,  I can remember going to Switzerland one time and another place which I can’t remember where but you always got to play against teams from Holland, Germany and Italy. I used to enjoy playing against foreign opposition more than domestic teams. We were given a lot of freedom when we went abroad and we all used to have a laugh. I never actually played that many games with the youth team at Spurs because I was put in the reserves straight away, so what I would do I’d play half a game for the youth team in the morning and then I’d change and go and play for the reserves who were kicking off at 3pm, so I’d double up. I can remember Ron Henry who was the manager of the youth team the first year that I was there and he was a very funny man. I think when I first went there I wasn’t quite sure who he was and I didn’t realise that he was a famous old Tottenham player, but he liked me and I’ll always remember his funny team talks. So they are probably my biggest memories.

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Ally: I remember that I had not that long signed a new contract (I was only about 19) and Keith Burkinshaw had just left the club so I knew that it was going to be a little bit more difficult for me without Keith there because as I’ve said Keith was very good to me. He’d give me a lot of chances even when I probably didn’t deserve them, so I knew that it would be a bit more difficult without him. However, I can remember waking up one Sunday morning in Enfield and the back pages of the newspaper read that Spurs were going to sign Chris Waddle for a couple of million of pounds. As a kid at Tottenham you knew that regardless whether you played well players like Waddle were going to be playing in front of you, so I knew that my chances were getting tougher and tougher. Rather than being one of two guys who might have got a chance, I was going backwards and I was now the third or fourth choice. However, I was still only 19 and there weren’t many 19 year olds at that time who were playing in first teams but it was kind of the start of the end for me at Spurs because I knew that I wasn’t going to play much with Chris Waddle there. So about a year and a half later things hadn’t quite planned out how I’d hoped they would and so I left the club. I can remember then getting a phone call from Graeme Souness who was still playing at the time for Sampdoria and he said to me that a mate of his had just become the manager of Glasgow Rangers and he asked if I would be interested in signing with Rangers. I’m a catholic and up until that point Rangers had never ever signed a catholic and I told him that. I said to him do you know what school I went to? Anyway he explained to me that he was going to come to Rangers and change all the policy and he said he didn’t care about all of that. So I said that I didn’t care about all that either and that I’d sign with any club that was right with me. However, the newspapers managed to get hold of the story and it was a big thing up in Scotland and it all got a little bit too hot to handle and they phoned me back to say we’re going to leave it right now because it’s got a bit too political. And then about two days after that I got a phone call from Johan Cruyff which you don’t get everyday. At first I thought it was my mate winding me up. It was only later that I found at that Ajax had tried to sign Davey Cooper from Rangers but they didn’t want to sell.

Ajax then wanted to sign somebody who was very similar and played in the same position and it was Rangers who actually recommended me. I was invited to Amsterdam by Johan and I played in a couple of amateur friendly matches in Holland and my first game there was with Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman and Marco Van Basten, so it was a very good team. I played really well and after a couple of days I was asked by Johan to sign for Ajax so it kind of happened very quickly and right away I was in the first team squad. I went from training once a day with Tottenham to three times a day with Ajax so I got very very fit. Soon into it however, in a game against Olympiakos I did my cruciate ligaments!  I was never the same after that.

Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?

Ally: I used to hate playing against Graham Roberts in training because he was very tough. He was also great at tackling as well! So he’s the toughest player that I can remember.

Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?

When I was young the players I was close to were Allan Cockram, Mark Bowen and Micky McCabe. 

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?

Ally: Soak up every piece of information. If I had my time again I’d go up and ask people things and I would try and retain it because things just whiz past you. So my advice would be to try and learn as much as you can off of everybody. Also you should never give up. 

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Ally: They will always be my favourite club because they were my first club and I was going there for seven years even though I was only signed there for five. Tottenham is and always will be my team.

Advertisements

Spurs XI 2-2 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)

Spurs XI 2-2 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)

5D44427E-E181-443C-A43F-3BD193360B34.jpeg

Our development side returned to action after a summer break when they took on National League side Ebbsfleet United in their first friendly of pre-season, on Saturday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side competed well on a warm summers day in County Kent, and they did well against a very physical Ebbsfleet side. It was a close end to end game for large periods of the match although the first half was tough for Spurs, a number of second half changes made the game a lot more even. In particular midfielders Paris Maghoma and Armando Shashoua helped to energise the Tottenham midfield and move the ball about a lot quicker. The game was started well by the home side and after threatening the Spurs defence during the early stages of the game, the ‘ Fleet ‘ took the lead through towering centre half Ayo Obileye from a corner kick in the 15th minute of the game. Ebbsfleet continued to test the Spurs defence for the remainder of the first half but they were unable to extend their lead before halftime. Spurs started the second half well and a rather comical own goal from Ebbsfleet’s James Grimes put them level at the beginning of the half. However, an absolute pile-driver from Ebbsfleet’s Aswad Thomas saw the ‘ Fleet ‘ regain their lead less than a minute later. Spurs improved considerably during the second half and the game became a very even one, with chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch. Wayne Burnett’s side pushed for an equaliser and they finally got it in the 83rd minute of time through Elliot Thorpe. Spurs came close to finding dramatic a later winner through Paris Maghoma however, in the end both sides had to settle for a draw in what was a highly competitive pre-season friendly. Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday afternoon. In goal was trialist and former Southend United goalkeeper Edward Smith. A back four of Jubril Okedina, Maxwell Statham, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Tariq Hinds and captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster teamed up in central midfield, while Dilan Markanday and Shilow Tracey operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Tashan Oakley-Boothe. 18 year old centre forward Rodel Richards led the line for Spurs.

Spurs got the game underway at the Kuflink Stadium but it was Ebbsfleet who managed the first goal attempt of the game. The ‘ Fleet’s ‘ centre forward Gozie Ugwu forced an early albeit comfortable save out of Edward Smith with a speculative effort on the turn from about 20 yards out from goal. A mix up between Maxwell Statham and Jonathan Dinzeyi on the edge of the Spurs box shortly afterwards allowed Ugwu the space and time to test Smith however, he fired the ball over the goalkeepers crossbar. Ebbsfleet continued their strong start to the game after Myles Weston robbed Dennis Cirkin of the ball down the right flank but his resulting whipped cross was cleared away by Maxwell Statham in the Spurs box. Ebbsfleet were seeing a lot more of the ball during the early periods of the game. Ayo Obileye fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal from long range before a slip from Jonathan Dinzeyi on the edge of the Spurs box allowed Myles Weston to shoot. The Antigua and Barbuda internationals effort was parried by Smith before he smothered the ball. A couple of moments later makeshift central midfielder Tariq Hinds lost the ball to Alex Lawless who surged forward down the right side of the Spurs penalty area before dragging an effort across the face of the Spurs goal courtesy of a vital touch from Smith who then did well to hold Lawrie Wilson’s cross. At the other end of the pitch Dilan Markanday had an effort on goal deflected wide by James Grimes, after he had latched onto an excellent cross field pass from Lyons-Foster. Spurs were now enjoying a decent spell of possession in the game. Some good pressing from Shilow Tracey saw him come close to robbing Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore of the ball inside his own penalty area but the goalkeeper managed to clear the ball in time. Then in the 15th minute of the game the home side took the lead through Ayo Obileye after the central defender connected with an Ebbsfleet trialist’s corner kick. Smith was hesitant to try and claim the ball and Obileye powered an unstoppable header past the Spurs goalkeeper and into the middle of the goal, despite the best efforts of Lyons-Foster to prevent it on the line, 0-1.

Shortly after the restart Maxwell Statham blocked a shot from Gozie Ugwu inside the Spurs box. After Myles Weston had slipped the ball into the feet of an Ebbsfleet trialist (number 18) down the right side of the Spurs box, he fired an effort wide of Smith’s goal. Shortly afterwards Gozie Ugwu managed to find trialist A in the Spurs box, but the alert Edward Smith rushed out to make an important save. Shilow Tracey then went on an excellent galavanting run down the left flank before firing the ball into Nathan Ashmore’s side netting after entering the Ebbsfleet box. A good move from the ‘ Fleet ‘ at the opposite end of the pitch saw Weston pass the ball to Wilson, he gave the ball to trialist A but his shot was blocked by Jubril Okedina inside the Spurs box. Jonathan Dinzeyi cleared trialist A’s resulting corner kick. Another Ebbsfleet attack, this time resulted in Lawrie Wilson’s cross being headed back across the Spurs goal by trialist A for Gozie Ugwu in the middle of the Spurs box, but he headed the ball over Edward Smith’s crossbar. Dennis Cirkin did well to clear Aswad Thomas’ cross before Jonathan Dinzeyi glanced Tashan Oakley-Boothe’s cross wide of the Ebbsfleet goal. Then at the opposite end of the pitch Smith was called into action to catch a whipped cross from trialist A. After Jubril Okedina conceded a free kick out on the left flank, trialist A’s pacy free kick was punched away well by Smith. Spurs continued to try and see more of the ball. After receiving Jonathan Dinzeyi’s pass, Rodel Richards sublimely turned Ebbsfleet captain Jack King before testing Nathan Ashmore with a low effort which the ‘ Fleet ‘ goalkeeper dealt with relatively comfortably. Tariq Hinds then tested Ashmore long from range. Ebbsfleet then attacked Spurs. After Gozie Ugwu darted into the Spurs box he had a shot blocked by Dinzeyi, a couple of moments before Lyons-Foster cleared a cross from Myles Weston. Gozie Ugwu then headed trialist B’s cross late wide of Edward Smith’s goal in what turned out to be the final piece of action from what had been a lively first half of football.

Spurs made a number of changes at halftime as Wayne Burnett brought on Paris Maghoma, Armando Shashoua, Kazaiah Sterling and Rayan Clarke. Ebbsfleet got the half underway and it got off to the best possible start for Spurs who drew level less than three minutes in. After being put under pressure by the tigerish Armando Shashoua, Ebbsfleet defender James Grimes turned before passing the ball back to Nathan Ashmore. However, his pass had far too much pace on it, and it ended up rolling past the helpless Ashmore and into the back of the Ebbsfleet goal, 1-1. However, the home side regained their lead less than one minute later through Aswad Thomas. After the left back powered an unstoppable effort past the helpless Edward Smith from 25 yards out and into the top right hand corner of the goal. Spurs tried to respond, the lively Rayan Clarke tried to thread a pass through to Kazaiah Sterling inside the Ebbsfleet box but the Spurs striker slipped at the vital moment and Nathan Ashmore was able to gather the ball. A good passing move from Spurs resulted in Cirkin giving the ball to Maghoma out on the left flank. He passed it to Sterling in the middle of the Ebbsfleet box and the 20 year olds resulting effort appeared to strike the arm of James Grimes. However, the referee Alan Dale didn’t spot anything wrong and Dennis Cirkin ended up volleying the loose ball wide of Nathan Ashmore’s goal. A couple of minutes later Paris Maghoma connected with a cross from Shilow Tracey inside the Ebbsfleet box before shooting the ball over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar on the half volley. Kazaiah Sterling dragged a shot wide of goal a couple of minutes later from long range before Rayan Clarke came close to finding a leveller. After receiving Paris Maghoma’s pass on the edge of the Ebbsfleet penalty area Clarke drilled a low effort narrowly wide of Ashmore’s right hand post. Spurs were now seeing a lot more of the ball and Wayne Burnett’s side were growing in confidence. The ever involved Paris Maghoma sent a powerful dipping effort narrowly over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar before an Ebbsfleet trialist tested Edward Smith after he had gone down the left side of the Spurs penalty area, before Myles Weston forced a save out of the 23 year old from the edge of the box.

Spurs made a triple substitution when Wayne Burnett brought on Jamie Reynolds, Elliot Thorpe and goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi. Myles Weston’s cross managed to pick out number 17 in the Spurs box but his resulting header was cleared on the line by Jubril Okedina. Spurs then attacked the Ebbsfleet defence, Sterling brought the ball forward well before shifting it out to Clarke on the right wing. Instead of shooting, the Spurs winger whipped the ball across the face of Nathan Ashmore’s goal. An intelligent piece of play from Maghoma shortly afterwards saw him spot the good run of Armando Shashoua into the Ebbsfleet penalty area. Maghoma picked out Shashoua with a nice lofted pass, but the Tottenham midfielder who was at full stretch could only volley the ball over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar. A dangerous cross from Rayan Clarke a couple of moments later was cleared away by James Grimes, as Burnett’s side continued to push for an equaliser. A menacing cross from number 17 at the other end of the pitch was spilt by Oluwayemi before being headed over the crossbar by Tahjae Anderson. Spurs managed to draw level for the second time in the game on 83 minutes through substitute Elliot Thorpe. A good attacking move resulted in Rayan Clarke passing the ball to Oakley-Boothe down the right flank. Oakley-Boothe surged forward into the Ebbsfleet penalty area before squaring the ball for Elliot Thorpe who had made a run into the middle of the box. And the Wales under 19 international managed to turn Oakley-Boothe’s pass into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Ebbsfleet defender James Grimes on the line. The Ebbsfleet players had tired and Spurs’ good high energy levels were getting the better of them. Kazaiah Sterling fired an effort wide from distance before Jubril Okedina headed behind a potentially dangerous cross from number 17. Spurs came desperately close to netting a dramatic late winner in second half stoppage time after Kazaiah Sterling managed to latch onto a badly misjudged back pass from James Grimes to Ebbsfleet’s substitute goalkeeper Harry Palmer. Sterling shot early but it was saved by the chest of Palmer. The ball then ran out to Maghoma whose subsequent curling effort from over 30 yards out from goal, squirmed a fraction wide of the mark.

It was a very competitive friendly and it was a good test for Wayne Burnett’s young side who managed to give a good account of themselves against a very physical Ebbsfleet side. Next Saturday Burnett’s side will take on National league south side Dulwich Hamlet in their second friendly of pre-season. 

Player reviews: 

  • Edward Smith: The trialist and former Southend United goalkeeper (23) made six saves in total in what was an impressive performance from him. Smith who has formerly represented England at youth level was good at dealing with crosses and his distribution was also good. Although he could have done slightly better to prevent Ebbsfleet’s opening goal Smith made a number of very smart stops and I was impressed with how he played.
  • Jubril Okedina: A player who I thought had a very solid game both at RB and at RCB during the second half. Okedina was good in the air (he made an important clearance on the line) and he was effective in the way in which he protected the right flank. However, I thought that after transitioning to RCB he looked a lot more comfortable, and he made some important defensive interventions in that position. 
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: It was a good all round performance from the 19 year old at LCB. Dinzeyi looked composed in defence and he wasn’t bullied by Ebbsfleet’s physical centre forward Gozie Ugwu. Dinzeyi made a number of important interceptions and blocks throughout the game, and he was also strong in the air. 
  • Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old completed the the first half of yesterday’s 2-2 draw where he operated at RCB. Statham teamed up well with Dinzeyi in defence and he made a number of good headed clearances. Statham read the game well and like Dinzeyi he wasn’t fazed by physical Ebbsfleet centre forward Gozie Ugwu.
  • Dennis Cirkin: It was a solid showing at left back from young Dennis Cirkin (17) who dealt well with the pacy and experienced Ebbsfleet winger Myles Weston. Cirkin went on some good attacking forays and he also managed to defend tightly during his 68 minutes on the pitch. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Spurs captain completed the first half of yesterday’s match at CDM. Lyons-Foster did a sterling job alongside the energetic Tariq Hinds and he recycled possession well. He also made some nice forward passes, and he read the game to great effect and made some rather timely interceptions. Hopefully Lyons-Foster will play the whole of next Saturday’s game against Dulwich Hamlet.
  • Tariq Hinds: It was a very tidy performance from the energetic Tariq Hinds (19) in central midfield during the first half. Constantly on the move, Hinds was a real force to be reckoned with in central midfield which he patrolled around well. Hinds broke up play successfully and he also went on some nice surging forward runs. Furthermore, after reverting to RB for the second half he put in another very solid performance.
  • Dilan Markanday: The 17 year old put in a decent first half performance out on the right wing. Markanday managed one goal attempt and he did look tidy whenever he received the ball. 
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Impressing both as a CAM and as a CM Oakley-Boothe had a really positive influence on the game. Apart from setting up Elliot Thorpe’s second half goal, the 19 year old who has been linked with a loan move to Swansea City was, like Hinds a real force in central midfield, he used the ball well and he also moved about the park with real purpose. In addition Oakley-Boothe managed to get himself into some good goal scoring positions.
  • Shilow Tracey: Operating both on the right wing and the left wing, I thought that Tracey had a good game against his former club. The 21 year old went on a couple of good galavanting runs down the flanks, and he constantly made himself available to receive the ball. There was a lot of purposefulness about Tracey’s performance. 
  • Rodel Richards: I was really impressed with Rodel Richards’ first half performance as a number nine. The 19 year old led the line well and he worked tremendously hard to try and impact the game. Richards would often come deep to receive the ball and with his tricky and quick feet he did caused the Ebbsfleet players problems during his time on the field.
  • Paris Maghoma: The 18 year old helped to change the game in Spurs’ favour after he entered the field at halftime. Maghoma put in an industrious performance as a CAM, making some really intelligent passes and runs towards the danger zone. The energetic Maghoma came close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions yesterday. And I really liked how he linked up with central midfielder Armando Shashoua. The 18 year old was one of Spurs’ main danger men during the second half. 
  • Armando Shashoua: My man of the match, see below.
  • Rayan Clarke: I was impressed with the second half substitutes directness and skill yesterday. He also came close to finding the back of the net on one occasion, and he was involved in the build up to Elliot Thorpe’s late goal. 
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The 20 year old led the line well during the second half and he made himself a handful. Sterling carried the ball well, made some intelligent forward runs and also linked up well with the wide men. 
  • Elliot Thorpe: It was an impressive cameo performance from the Wales under 19 international who operated out on the left wing. Thorpe made a good, intelligent run and he took his late goal well. 
  • Jamie Reynolds: The Spurs trialist who was released by the club last month, put in a commendable performance at left back during the latter stages of Saturday’s game. Reynolds looked very solid at left back during his time on the pitch. 
  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The substitute goalkeeper didn’t have to make a single save during his short time on the pitch.

My man of the match: After coming on at halftime 18 year old Armando Shashoua helped to energise the Tottenham midfield with his sharp movement, low centre of gravity and quick feet, and it helped to change the game. Shashoua’s darting forward runs and link up play with the forwards made him difficult to defend against. That along with his clever one and two touch football made him a real threat going forwards. Shashoua’s aggressive pressing led to James Grimes’ own goal at the start of the second half. Overall it was a very positive day for the young midfielder who certainly didn’t let the physical Ebbsfleet players bully him. He is such an intelligent player who has such a great understanding of the game.

Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore (Palmer 77), King (c), Thomas (Trialist 71), Lawless, Obileye (Dainkeh 52), Grimes, Weston, Ugwu (Anderson 77), Wilson, Trialist (Trialist 71), Trialist.

Spurs: Smith (Tr) (Oluwayemi 68), Okedina, Cirkin (Thorpe 68), Lyons-Foster (c) (A Shashoua 46), Statham (R Clarke 46), Dinzeyi, Markanday (Maghoma 46), Hinds, Richards (Sterling 46), Oakley-Boothe, Tracey (Reynolds (Tr) 68).

Goals: Ebbsfleet – Obileye 15, Thomas 48; Spurs – Grimes (OG) 47, Thorpe 83.

Referee: Alan Dale.

Venue: Kufflink Stadium, Ebbsfleet.

Spurs XI versus Ebbsfleet United: (match preview)

Spurs XI versus Ebbsfleet United: (match preview)

FE3600F9-98F6-474D-862A-18248332C275

Our development sides first game of the 2019/20 pre-season takes place tomorrow afternoon at the Kuflink Stadium, when Wayne Burnett’s team take on National League side and former nursery club Ebbsfleet United. A Spurs XI as it has been described in the run up to the game, will be taking on the Kent based club for the third time in recent years, the previous two friendlies being part of the transfer of Shilow Tracey to Spurs back in January 2016. This will be a good first test of the new season for Burnett’s young side, who could be without a number of their more experienced players due to the forthcoming ICC cup tour of the Far East. This could mean that we see a lot of first year pros and second year scholars in action tomorrow, with the likes of Troy Parrott, Anthony Georgiou and Jack Roles unlikely to play. This could however, also be seen as a trial game for those who will be looking make the cut for Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-season squad. Ebbsfleet finished in eighth place in the National League last season, just outside the play offs and Garry Hill’s side will be hoping for another strong season this campaign. A solid and experienced side, the ‘ Fleet ‘ gave us a really good game the last time these teams met back in the summer of 2017. And although they ran out deserved 3-1 winners on that day, Burnett’s side held their own, played some attractive football and they weren’t fazed by the physicality of the non league team. Tomorrow’s game will present the young Spurs lads with an important opportunity to test themselves against some fine players, while also getting the invaluable experience of playing in front of a fairly big crowd. Burnett’s side will come up against some good players tomorrow, of which include solid and experienced goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore (he played in this fixture in 2017), central defender Ayo Obileye, experienced winger Myles Weston and left back Aswad Thomas. It will be a fascinating contest tomorrow and I am intrigued to see how we will fare. Tomorrow afternoons match kicks off at 3pm and tickets will be available on the gate. My in-depth match report of the game shall be out on Sunday. Finally I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck, and I hope that they enjoy the experience.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) De Bie, Hinds, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi, Cirkin, White, Bowden (c), Markanday, Maghoma, Tracey, Sterling.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Kurylowicz, Statham, Okedina, Binks, A.Shashoua, Clarke, Pochettino, Patterson, Richards.

Injured/unavailable: J’Neil Bennett, Jeremie Mukendi.

Doubtful: Malachi Walcott, TJ Eyoma, Marcus Edwards, Samuel Shashoua, Shayon Harrison.

My score prediction: 2-2.

Previous meeting: Ebbsfleet 3-1.

My one to watch: Ebbsfleet’s experienced left winger/midfielder Myles Weston is a player who could cause the Spurs defence bother tomorrow afternoon. The Antigua and Barbuda international has good pace and skill about him and he could potentially cause problems for whoever’s playing in the right back position for Spurs. Weston (31) made 40 league appearances for the ‘ Fleet ‘ last season.