My interview with former Spurs player Gerry Armstrong:

Powerful, pacey and hardworking centre forward Gerry Armstrong may have started playing football at a relatively late age, but his career and route to playing at two World Cups was a remarkable one. Armstrong was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and he grew up in the Springfield Road area of the city. He was an avid Gaelic footballer during his youth and it was only due to a suspension from the sport that he started playing football. Starting off with Cromac Albion before moving onto Bangor, Armstrong was spotted and signed by Spurs in 1975 despite strong interest from rivals Arsenal. He would spend five years at the Lilywhites, making 96 first team appearances (not all of which were in competitive games) and scoring 32 goals. The Ulsterman who would have a great career with Northern Ireland on the international stage, would later play for the likes of Watford, Real Mallorca, West Brom and Brighton at club level. Armstrong now works as a football analyst and commentator in Ireland, after having worked as a coach. I was fortunate enough recently to have the great pleasure of interviewing Gerry who is a really nice man, about his time at Tottenham Hotspur.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Gerry: Growing up as a kid I played all Gaelic football but as a kid you’d play football on the streets you know, and there weren’t many people that had footballs then, if you did then you were counted lucky to have a football that you could play with in the street. There wasn’t that many cars around on the road so you could play with the lampposts or use something to make the goals, and so that was the sort of football that I played. There wasn’t that many areas with fields however, because my family were all into the Gaelic football I went to St Johns GAA and my grandfather was the founder. I used to go up there and play on the pitch all of the time and I used to bring a hurling stick and ball, and a football with me to play football. I got myself into the sport and it was all good but then it wasn’t until later on and I was older, sort of 15/16 that I started playing a little bit more soccer. 1969 was when the troubles started in Northern Ireland and my school soccer team had a lot of players who couldn’t play because some of them had been interned and taken away. So they couldn’t play as they had been interned as 17 year olds, so they asked me in the soccer team to play, so I did but I played as a centre half, and I captained the team after a few weeks. I captained the team to the senior schools cup final then which was called the Sir Robert Kinehan cup, and I captained the team to the final and we beat Carrickfergus High School 3-1, and I scored a couple of goals in that game even though I was playing centre half. I scored a header and a volley and so we won the cup, and I don’t know if they’ve ever won it again, but that was my first introduction to soccer. Then afterwards some guy came up to me after the game and asked me if I’d like to go on trial to Everton. And I said no as I wasn’t really interested in soccer, as I was just playing it for fun.

Then shortly after that I got suspended from the Gaelic for fighting and I got suspended for a month, and so I started playing a bit more soccer. I played some games for a club called Cromac Albion and I didn’t play many games for them, it was only a handful like three or four. And I was spotted in one of the games by the manager and assistant manager of Bangor football club and they saw me playing and they invited me down to Bangor to train with them. So I went to Bangor and started training with them and I was enjoying it as it was good fun. They had a semi-final of the Steel & Sons Cup on the Saturday and they said would you come along, but I couldn’t start because the players had done well to get there, but they put me on the bench. The game was against Civil Service and I came off the bench with about ten or 15 minutes to go with the score at 1-1, and I came on and I made a goal and scored a goal. However, I punched the centre half after the third goal and I so I was only on for Bangor for ten or 15 minutes.

What was it like making that transition from Gaelic football to football? 

Gerry: It was fun for me because it was new sport for me, and it was fun for me because I loved soccer and I watched and followed Leeds as a boy since I was seven years old. I followed the Leeds United team and I was a big fan of Mick Jones and Allan Clarke who were the two centre forwards at the time, I watched Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles in the middle of the park, and Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter as the two centre halves. So I’ve followed Leeds all my life and the funny thing was that my first goal for Spurs was against Leeds and that was a crazy one at Elland Road. However, the transition was fun in one way but it was difficult in another, because I didn’t know all the rules, and the rules of offside and what have you were difficult for me to pick up at first. Especially when you’re trying to time runs and get them right, but I caught up quickly and I was a good athlete, and I was very strong and I had very good attitude and determination. So that was all the attributes to have, it was just a question of honing my skills and making them work for me. At the time I had only been at Spurs for six months and I was watching the likes of Glenn Hoddle and what he could do in the gym and Neil McNab and some of the players, so that was crazy. However, I then realised that I had other skills that they didn’t have, I had pace and power and an attitude and determination, and I was good in the air. That’s one of the reasons why Keith Burkinshaw tried to convert me to playing at centre half after a couple of years however, I liked playing in more attacking roles, and I always liked playing in those attacking roles. So I wasn’t playing centre half although I did play a lot of games for Spurs at centre half.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Gerry: It was a crazy one because a lot of clubs had shown interest in me when I was at Bangor, and the manager Bertie Neill used to keep me informed. And he used to say that we’ve got Liverpool watching you one day, and Coventry watching you the other day along with Arsenal. And it went on a long time like that for a while but because Terry Neill had played for Bangor, and he was the manager of Tottenham. Myself and another fellow called Jonny Jameson were invited over to Tottenham for three or four days to train, and then we went over to Tottenham. We stayed in digs for three or four days in Chingford with the Brett family, and Peter Shreeves would pick us up and take us to training every morning and we trained with the reserves. It was great fun and and watching what it was like a bit from a professional point of view, and on the first day we trained and then on the Saturday we had a match against the RAF at Hendon. I scored a couple of goals in that and I done well, and then on the very last day that we were training we had a practice match where the first team was playing the reserves. I played for the reserves and it only lasted 25 to 30 minutes but I scored the only goal for the reserves against the first team and I thought that I’d done pretty well again, but then afterwards we went back home. I didn’t hear anymore from Tottenham for a long time and I didn’t realise if they were still interested or not, but Arsenal had continuously chased me and there was a scout in Belfast who watched me a lot. He was trying to sort me out and get the deal done, and Bertie Mee I think was the manager of Arsenal and he contacted me a couple of times to say that the club wanted to sign me, and that they were making progress on signing me.

I played soccer on a Saturday but then I represented the county on a Sunday playing senior Gaelic football for County Antrim, and so I played Gaelic every Sunday. I had a phone call about half 11 one Sunday morning, and I was told by the chairman of Bangor to meet him at the back of the city hall in an hour. He said that you were going to sign today, and I thought that the deal was done with Arsenal, so I got into the car at the back and we drove to a hotel just outside Belfast called the Dunadry Inn. I got there and I walked in and I couldn’t believe it as Terry Neill was there, he had flown over and I was signing for Spurs. I spoke to Terry Neill with my manager and he negotiated the contract for me on my behalf, and I signed a contract for Spurs on that day. I then had lunch with all the directors but it was good fun and it was exciting as well, obviously as a 20/21 year old going across the water and getting an opportunity like that was just great. 

Could you talk me through your competitive first team debut for Spurs against Ipswich Town on the 21st of August 1976 and how it came about?

Gerry: Basically it was the first game of the season and we were away from home, and you know what we played really well. We played really well and I had some good chances and the keeper made a couple of good saves, and I was really surprised because Alan Hunter was the centre half for Ipswich and he was very good in the air, and he read the game very well. And he was also very experienced, but the guy who was alongside him who I didn’t know too well was Kevin Beattie and he was so quick and strong and good in the air as well. So the two of them were to good competitors but I loved it as I was a very competitive person anyway, and we (Tottenham) played really well, and if you ever look at the replays of the game, I don’t know how we didn’t get something out of it. We should have won it or we should have at least got a draw out of it but we made a couple of mistakes at the back and we paid the penalty. I was really disappointed because I wanted to do well on my debut and come away with something but it wasn’t to be however, it was exciting and I really enjoyed it. So that was my debut for Tottenham.

Prior to joining Spurs were you aware of the rich history that Spurs had had with Irish players over the years?

Gerry: Yeah obviously I knew Pat Jennings and he was very good to me when I joined the club, and he was one of the first people to come up to me in the dressing room and say congratulations on joining Tottenham, well done and I hope you do well. However, he was on a different level to me as he was a big name and he was really successful and had done it all so he was amazing. However, I was only at Tottenham six months and before my debut Terry Neill had put me forward a lot of times, and I was then selected for a friendly match in Israel. I then got to know Pat Jennings even more because he was a teammate then when I was in the Irish squad for the first time, and it was more for experience than anything. Terry Neill had told the manager Dave Clements that I had done really well in the opening six months that I had joined Spurs and I was coming on really well in the reserves, and that it wouldn’t be long before I was in the first team and that I could be one for the future. There were plenty of occurrences that certainly helped along the way but meeting Pat Jennings was great however, Steve Perryman was another one. He was a top man and he was the captain but he ran the club from the dressing room, and the players had so much respect for him.

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

Gerry: It was brilliant and for me it was a great club to play for and I made a lot of good friends and I still have a lot of good friends from my time at the club. I speak to Glenn Hoddle quite a bit and I speak to Pat Jennings every other week and we’ve become very good friends, we roomed together for ten years on the international scene. Paul Miller was another one who I was close with when he was coming through the ranks, and he was coming through the reserves at the same time as me and I still keep in touch with Paul, but there’s plenty of players who I still keep in touch with as well such as John Pratt. And also Ossie was great fun and I had him as a guest of mine on the show (Gerry and Friends) and so I’ve always kept in touch with Ossie as I love him, and he’s a good guy. However, Spurs was a really close club with lots of friends and family, and I’ve got nothing but good memories at Tottenham I have to say. However, it was one of those where Tottenham were moving up and they had signed Garth Crooks and that limited my opportunities to play up front, and we also  had Ian Moores and Colin Lee and Chris Jones, so we had a lot of strikers. However, Keith Burkinshaw had his heart set on me playing centre half and I was a good centre half I know I was, but I just didn’t want to play there it was just as simple as that. I told him that I didn’t mind helping the team out if they were struggling when we had injuries on occasions and I was able to fill in. However, in those days you have to remember you could only have one sub and the sub was on the bench, I could play in at least five, six, seven positions so I was a very good choice to be sat on the bench and be brought on to fill in a gap where someone was injured or whatever. He knew that he would always get 150% out of me and I liked Keith, he was a very good coach and he did brilliant for Tottenham in his career.

However, he was the start of a lot of good things and bringing Ossie and Ricky over from Argentina was pretty big at the time, and Tottenham have always had a great reputation of playing good football and stylish football. Certainly when I was at Tottenham it was great and entertaining and I enjoyed my five years, but I knew that I had to move on if I was going to progress. So moving to Watford was the right thing even though it was down a division, and sometimes you have to move downwards before you move up, and I got the opportunity to play more as a striker under Graham Taylor. And a lot of the success I had at the World Cup I put down to Watford and Graham Taylor’s regime, he got me fitter than I’d ever been and I used to be really fit at Tottenham. I actually still hold the record for the fastest lap at Tottenham.

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

Gerry: Heroes and inspirations were all throughout my days as a Leeds fan because you know I followed Leeds, but if you’re playing football yourself you then find out when you’re playing against them. Some of the players that I played against were class and I’ve told you about Kevin Beattie and wow he just got better and better and better, he was just a fantastic player. Dave Watson was another one who was a really tough opponent, and Dennis Smith at Stoke I can remember scoring against him, but we had one hell of a battle. We were relegated and we were fighting to go back up again and I filled in for John Duncan and I scored twice that day and we beat Stoke 3-1, but it was a brutal match and myself and Dennis beat everything out of each other. I loved those type of games but he loved it as well to be fair, he was a battler and he didn’t mind me getting stuck in or hitting me back either. So it was fun but I loved the camaraderie that you had in football, so you could beat everything out of each for 90 minutes on the park, but then afterwards when you get off the pitch it’s ok, it’s all over and you’re done and dusted and you get over it.

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

Gerry: I played mostly as a centre forward certainly in my first two or three years at the club, but then when we had problems and injuries I played in other positions. It all started when went over to Sweden and I can’t remember who it was, or if it was Keith Osgood who was the centre half at the time but one of them was injured. Steve Perryman was playing at the back as a sweeper and they brought me in as a centre half to play in the opening game against some Swedish team in pre-season. The centre forward must have been at least six foot five or six foot six, but he couldn’t jump, but I could and I had good timing. So Steve said you attack the ball and I will sweep round behind him, so I used to attack the ball and Steve would come up, but I also had pace and I wasn’t afraid to pull out of a tackle. I was tough enough that I could look after myself so they were all really good attributes to have at centre half, and I did do well. We beat the Swedish team in the first game and then the second one was the final and it was against Leicester City and Frank Worthington was the centre forward and he was class, but he wasn’t quick enough to get past me. I was too secure at the back let’s say so we had a good day, but I think that we were Second Division then and they were First Division and we beat them 2-0 and I had a good game and I think that Keith definitely preferred it that I had to play centre half on my own, and he wanted me to play centre half. So whenever we had a problem I would play in that position, I remember when we went to West Bromwich Albion and he (Keith Burkinshaw) said to me that he wanted me to play centre half against West Brom on Saturday as they had Cyrille Regis who was really quick. However, Keith thought that I could handle him, and he put me in at centre half and I played there.

He played me at right back against Millwall and I think that I might even have played in goal, but I know that Glenn Hoddle played in goal a couple of times. However, I could play in midfield roles and I could play on the right hand side and on the right wing, so I played in numerous positions. So when I was a sub and whenever I was brought on I was thrown up front as a forward or at the back as a defender, so I could play at the back, in midfield or up front. However, Graham Roberts was a midfield player to start off with but then Graham ended up going into defence as a centre half as he was very versatile. However, that was the early days and I was playing for Northern Ireland as a centre forward, the week that we played Stoke, I’m sure it was October or November we played Stoke and we beat them 3-1. Then on the next day on the Sunday I went to join the international team for a World Cup game against Belgium in Belfast. I’m sure that it was against Belgium at Windsor Park, I had played with George Best up front in Germany, Frankfurt about four or five months earlier in a friendly match, but this was a World Cup qualifier. I scored the first goal and the third goal and we beat Belgium 3-0 and I had scored two that day, and two on the Saturday against Stoke. I can remember going back on the Thursday and coming back into training on the Friday and Keith said well done you’ve had some week, you’ve got two in the qualifier and two for us. Then we had another game (Spurs) John Duncan was fit so I thought this will be interesting, does he stick with me or does he go with John, anyway I went in and I trained on the Friday. The team sheets were up on the wall and I looked at the first team and I wasn’t in, so I thought he must have put me on the bench, but I looked at the bench and I wasn’t on the bench either. 

So I then had to go to the other sheet which was the reserves and I was on that sheet as centre half number five in the reserves at Bristol, so I wasn’t happy about that. Peter Shreeves was the manager of the reserves and I had a chat with Peter but he just said that he was doing what the manager tells him to do and he wants to play you at centre half. I thought I don’t want to play in that position so that’s when I knew that I had to get away from Tottenham and become a striker, but I continued playing as a striker for Northern Ireland until the 1982 World Cup when I was played on the right wing as a right wing back. So I was played in that role because I had a lot of energy, and I was quick and fit and strong and I could defend, so the manager Billy Bingham thought that I could play at the back and help Jimmy Nicholl at right back, as I played in front of him. And then also I could go up as well with Billy Hamilton and Norman Whiteside who had come on the scene at 17 however, he was naturally left footed, so you had Norman on the left and Billy straight down the middle, whereas I was coming in behind him at the far post. It worked really well because I was coming in from deep positions and nobody was picking me up, and I ended up scoring three goals in that World Cup, so I could see the method in his madness for Northern Ireland. However, all those things happen for a reason in your career and I believe that that happened for a reason as well.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Gerry: Well I used to watch Martin Chivers play and Martin was a fantastic athlete who was a great striker of the ball however, I didn’t have the touch that Martin Chivers had. I was more rough and ready and they (Spurs) looked at me more as a Bobby Smith you know as I was more akin to him than anybody else, but Bobby Smith did really well for Tottenham and he was a bustling centre forward. So I was probably more like him than anybody else however, Mick Jones at Leeds was that kind of centre forward as well, and he was good in the air and he was one of those who would stick his head in and not be frightened to get a kick in the head. He was also a brave lad as well, but I was more that type of player as I was committed.

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

Gerry: All the time. I used to watch Glenn Hoddle with both feet and I talked to him about that on my show, but he could do anything with his left foot and he could then do it just as good with his right foot. And I used to ask him what was his best foot and he would say that he didn’t really know, and the fact that we worked on it from a young age is something that younger players can listen to and learn from and also practice with both feet. I thought that George Best was much the same as he was just as good with his left and right foot, and them sorts of players are once in a life time and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a better player play for Tottenham than Glenn Hoddle you know. I also don’t think that I’ve seen a more skilful player for Northern Ireland than George Best, so you learnt from people like that but they weren’t my type of player but what I did want to do was improve my level of fitness. And also improve my knowledge and obviously my touch as well however, if you improve your knowledge of the game and your touch then you can do things better. If you’ve got a good first touch then you’ve got a chance of scoring and also getting the ball with your second touch, as if your touch is poor then you are not going to have possession of the ball for too long.  So that’s what I worked on in the gym in the first year that I was at the club with Glenn Hoddle and Neil McNab and players like that, but everybody was trying to improve their game. However, the one thing and it took me six months to realise was that I was gifted with an attitude and a determination and I was gifted with pace and power, you know you can’t be quick you’re either quick or you’re not quick. You can obviously improve your fitness levels but there are certain things that you cannot change, that’s why some players don’t always make it because there is a commodity missing. 

I realised after six or seven months that I had certain attributes that I had to work to and improve on, and to try and make them work for me and that’s what I think I did. 

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

Gerry: Well the fact that Keith had made his mind up and wanted me to play centre half made me know that I was more of a utility player at Tottenham, and I wanted to play up front to make myself more of a striker. I was happy playing in a more attacking role, I also didn’t mind playing on the right hand side or in the middle, but I wanted to play in a more attack minded role. So that was what prompted me to leave Tottenham and that was the only reason that would make me leave Tottenham, because I knew that opportunities would be few and far between up front in terms of the other strikers that they had there. However, it was a good fee, in fact it was a record fee at the time for Watford buying me and then for Spurs obviously selling me, and so I was at Watford for three years. Then straight after the World Cup I was really flying on top after winning the golden boot for the best British player after scoring three goals, and we (Watford) had been promoted and I scored the first goal for them against Everton in top flight football. So that put us 1-0 up and then Pat Rice scored and we ended up winning 2-0, then in the next game we played Southampton away and I remember coming up against Peter Shilton and Mick Channon and Kevin Keegan and those boys. We ran riot and I scored there as well and I was just scoring goals for fun and suddenly after four or five games Watford were top of the First Division and it was just absolutely unbelievable. Everybody had tipped us to be relegated again but we were top of the league after four of five games, then in a game I jumped for a ball and I landed awkwardly on my ankle and I broke my ankle (my fibula and tibular). That was just one of those things that happens but that was five weeks in to the season, and that was me ruled out for three or four months.

When I came back from it there were a lot of clubs showing a lot of interest in me and one of them was Real Mallorca, and that was what prompted me to go to Real Mallorca in Spain. I thought that it was another challenge and I wanted to try out different leagues and what have you, so I took the opportunity I don’t know why but I did to go to Spain and play for Real Mallorca. I was at Real Mallorca for two years and I scored my first goal for Real Mallorca against Barcelona and that was a diving header, that game was against the likes of Maradona and Carrasco so they had a great team. I learned a lot about Spanish football and their style of play, and they were very technical but they didn’t like the physical side of it and that’s why they bought me because I was very strong and physical. They wanted a British style centre forward and I was quite successful at Real Mallorca and I had two years with them, before coming back in time for Johnny Giles’ West Bromwich Albion. At West Brom I went on loan at the end of the season to get some matches because I broke a couple of ribs, and when I actually came back I started training with Tottenham when Peter Shreeves was the manager. So myself and Pat Jennings trained at Tottenham and then I would drive up on Saturdays and play for Chesterfield during the last seven or eight weeks of the season to help them stay up. That was some match practice for the 1986 World Cup, and then after the World Cup I signed for Brighton under Alan Mullery who had asked me to sign for them before the World Cup, and in the end I did. That was a great experience as well as Mullers was a top man, and that’s where my professional career in the game came to an end.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Gerry: It would have to be playing in the World Cup finals for your country for me, and not just going there but also winning the group and finishing top of the group, and scoring the winner against the host nation Spain was one of my best days when nobody gave us a chance, so that has to be at the very top. However, I’m not being funny but we won the British Championships twice in 1980 and 1984 and that was a surprise because we weren’t one of the best teams and we didn’t have one of the best squads. The Scotland and the Wales squads were a lot better than us but we still had a great team and camaraderie which was what it was, we had great spirit and determination and we were very well organised. And of course we had Pat Jennings in goal and that always helped as well.

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

Gerry: I think playing against Maradona he has to be the best player that I’ve played against certainly, but George Best was the best player that I’ve played with and also Glenn Hoddle. I’ve played against Michel Platini and I’ve played against some great players in World Cups over the years and a lot of German players were class such as Sepp Maier who was in goal, and they were the World Cup winners in 1974. They had one great team with players such as Karl- Heinz Rummenige and they just had such a great team however, the greatest player that I’ve played against was Maradona, it has to be.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories or ones which stand out from your time at Spurs?

Gerry: When you score your first goal for your club that is always a standout moment and as I say scoring against Leeds was great but we went on to lose that game 2-1. However, we came back a year later and we beat them 2-1 and I scored twice, so in my two visits to Elland Road with Tottenham I scored three times, so you make little steps at the start in your progress and then you get into the first team squad. You feel comfortable that you are recognised as a first team player and you’re playing on the same pitch, but one of the games was unbelievable when we were playing Manchester United away and Ossie scored the winning goal, but Glenn ended up in goal, so I’ve had some unbelievable games.

Who was toughest player that you ever came up against?

Gerry: There’s so many of them, I told you that I had a real battle with Dennis Smith so certainly he was one and when I played at international level as well I played against Migueli, and he was always ready. I remember that he jumped in with his feet and caught me in the back of the neck once with his knees, I mean these guys were tough but Migueli was a tough competitor in Spain for Barcelona and his nickname was Tarzan, but they were all tough opponents to be honest with you. However, you have to have the right attitude though as it’s always about the attitude with me.

I couldn’t interview you and not ask you about your time playing for Northern Ireland at the highest level. What was it like to play for them and play for them at two World Cup?

Gerry: Representing your country is fantastic and I don’t think that it gets better than that when you put the green shirt on and you represent your country you are very proud of that. When I made my debut and Danny Blanchflower was my manager and he was a legend, and he said to me son you’re playing against West Germany and they’re world championships and you’re playing up front with George Best. George was one of my heroes as a kid and I thought that it won’t get any better than this when you are playing up front with George Best against the World Cup winners as it was special. You want to do well but you’re nervous of course and we lost the game although we played really well for an hour however, I loved playing for Northern Ireland and especially to win two British Championships and to play in two World Cup finals. My last game for Northern Ireland was against Brazil alongside the great Pat Jennings who had his last game as well winning his 119th cap, and so that was a pleasure and a privilege to play alongside Pat at that time.

What was it like to play under the great Danny Blanchflower for Northern Ireland?

Gerry: You know he was a breath of fresh air and in his company he was great and could make you feel ten foot tall and that you were the best player in the world, and that you were so good. However, he was always funny and a very wise man who seen the game from a different level, he always wanted to play attacking football and if they score three goals then we’ll score four. So if he’d have went to Barcelona he would have been the perfect foil there however, Danny was great and he only saw the plus sides of everything and the players loved him, I don’t know any of the players that played under him that didn’t love him as Danny was class. He was just a lovely man and I remember speaking to him after he had got Alzheimer’s and the year before I remember talking to him, and then the year later he didn’t even remember me and that was horrific.

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

Gerry: Yes Noel Brotherston was one in the reserves and we were together for a year and a half in the reserves, because I was in the reserves for most of that time and then Noel got a couple of games in the first team as well. However, he knew that he had the chance to play for Blackburn and that was the right move for him and him and his wife Lynne moved up to Blackburn. I was very close with Noel and we were good friends, I also shared digs with Chris McGrath at the start and me and Chris were in digs together for three months at Ms Walters on Tottenham high road, and she had a big flat up above a supermarket, I think that it was Tesco’s. And we were up in the flat above the supermarket and I liked it but Chris was very very quite but he was in the first team at the time. So we became good friends and then gradually when I got into the first team more I became more friendly with Pat Jennings, and even when Pat went to Arsenal we were still teammates with Northern Ireland and so I’ve always been close to Pat.

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?

Gerry: They are my first club and it’s the first result I look out for every week, it’s funny when you end up signing for a club and you do start looking for the clubs results. And even though I supported Leeds when I was a boy I always look at Tottenham’s results first and then I look at the Watford’s results and then you check all the other clubs you played for, and it’s funny because you do want them to do well as you have an association with them. I was on loan for two months when I was at Brighton with Millwall and I played up front with Teddy Sheringham for two months and Teddy went onto play for Spurs, and he is a good friend now and I still keep in touch with him now as he is a good lad. However, you meet some good friends in football and there is a great association and camaraderie there and Barnsey was one, and he had two great feet and could run all day and then you watch him evolve as a fabulous footballer and do what he does. 

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