Outside-left Bobby James Scarth was born in Chatham, Kent in 1954. The son of former Spurs player Jimmy Scarth, Bobby was playing for local non-League side Haringey Borough when he was scouted by Spurs, and he joined the club in 1970. Scarth was a quick and direct winger, who like Steve Outram on the opposite flank, had the main job of getting to the byline and delivering crosses into the box, although he did also have a good eye for goal. Playing for our youth and reserve side during his time at Spurs, Bobby was released by the club at the end of the 1972/73 season. Scarth went in to the semi-professional game after leaving the club, and he played for the likes of Royston Town, Hertford Town, Ware and Enfield (after retiring from the game he used to play for the Spurs legends side). I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of catching up with the former Spurs man.
What are your earliest footballing memories and how did you come about joining Spurs?
Bobby: I played at a match for Haringey Borough and the scout Charlie Faulkner was there, and afterwards he came up to me and said would l like to train on Tuesday and Thursday with Tony Want and John Pratt who took the training. I used to go from school and go up there in 1970, so that was one of my earliest memories.
What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?
Bobby: Well the year before l signed as an amateur and played in the junior and youth, we used to go up to Cheshunt to train now and again with Ron Henry our manager, and l really liked him. Then in the year next year when l signed as an apprentice professional we used to train in the morning and than do jobs in the afternoon, or sometimes we’d do weights.
Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?
Bobby: Alan Gilzean was the main one. l used to love wingers, so people like Roger Morgan, Jimmy Neighbour, Ralph Coates and Jimmy Pearce.
Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in during your time at Spurs?
Bobby: I was number 11/outside-left. l was fast and my game was to get the ball and cross it. l would always cut inside and shoot at the goal and also get to the byline and get it over.
Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?
Bobby: Tony Want and John Pratt were really good l learnt from them. Ron Henry was an influence and also scout Charlie Faulkner.
Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or look to learn from?
Bobby: Steve Perryman was one of them, but also Jimmy Neighbour the winger was another one along Alan Gilzean who had a great touch, and could flick and head the ball well.
Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories or ones which stand out from your time in the various Tottenham youth teams and reserves?
Bobby: Winning the youth league and London youth Cup and reserves league, and also when the first team won the League Cup in 1973, and we went to the Savoy which was a fantastic feeling with all the first team players around. Good times!
What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?
Bobby: It was a fantastic feeling being signed by Spurs and invited for the training and being given a season ticket. Wonderful feeling. Amazing!
Who was the greatest player that you have had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with?
Bobby: Alan Gilzean. I could say Graeme Souness as l played with him in reserves three times together.
Who was the toughest player that you ever came up against?
Bobby: Graeme Souness was so hard and John Pratt too. He was pretty hard as well.
What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?
Bobby: Pat Welton came up to me and said you’re not going to make the grade, but l already knew that he didn’t like me. l was very disappointed as l trained very hard and had a very good attitude. After that l went semi professional.
What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?
Bobby: The first two years were really good as a schoolboy and an amateur, and then I signed apprentice professional, but I didn’t get on with Pat Welton who was the youth team manager, but l did get on with Ron Henry who always gave me confidence. Eddie Baily gave me my chance to play for the reserves and l will never forget that time. l alway supported Spurs since l was small.
Were there any players at Spurs who you were particularly close to?
Bobby: Roger Gibbins and Wayne Cegielski from our youth team. We keep in touch on text message. Roger and l have played in charity games.
What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as they look to break into the first team?
Bobby: l would say to players to knuckle down and train hard and have a good attitude, and don’t give up like l did, whether you make it or not.
Your father Jimmy Scarth also used to play for Spurs. How big an influence was he on your footballing career?
Bobby: Yes my father played for Spurs from 1948-1952. Yes he did influence me and he made sure that l worked hard and had a good attitude, and also keep my feet on the ground. He helped my confidence in everything.
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?
Bobby: I still always love Spurs and that will never change since l was small, and I will never forget when I went to the Savoy. l wish l could go back and enjoy those times again.