My interview with former Spurs player Paddy Stack:

(Paddy Stack is pictured on the extreme left of the top row.)

Paddy Stack predominantly played as a centre-half during his playing days for Spurs at youth level, during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. From nearby Walthamstow just like his old Spurs teammate David Sunshine, Stack often captained the Spurs youth team during his time at the club, and he also played for them in the South East Counties League, as well as playing for the Spurs reserve side on one occasion. After leaving Spurs the defender would play non-League football, playing for the likes of Woodford Town and Walthamstow Avenue. I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Paddy to talk about his time at Spurs.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Paddy: My earliest football memories are when I was about ten in the junior school, and our headmistress in a Catholic school (they had nuns at the school) called sister Peters decided to form a football team, which we hadn’t had before. She taught us how to play football and so that’s how I got started, and so that’s my earliest memory.

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

Paddy: I think that I was recommended by my district schools coach, but when I hadn’t heard anything (he had said that he had said something to Spurs) I wrote to Spurs. And so I explained who I was and what I had done and what have you, and they invited me for a trial and there was at least 100 people like me there for this trial, and most of them stayed on for five to ten minutes or whatever, but I stayed there for the whole match. I was then taken on as a ground-staff apprentice professional which is what they called it then, but the odd thing about it was that I was 15 in the November, but they wouldn’t let me leave school until Easter. I never did understand that, and so the last three months of my schooling was an absolute total waste of time, because I wasn’t interested. When I eventually left in the Easter of course the season was virtually over, so when I got to Tottenham all of the other youth players had already gone on to a tour. So there was about two or three of us there at Spurs and that was all there was, so they stuck me in the ticket office throughout the summer, so I was handing out season tickets and doing paper work, as well as doing a bit of training now and again, and running up and down the steps. However, there was hardly anybody there and it was a strange atmosphere really, but if they’d have let me go on my birthday in the November or Christmas then I’d have been involved in all of that, but I wasn’t. From there we went on to pre-season training and I was pretty fit, and slim and agile and a good sportsman, but at the end of the first day of pre-season training I couldn’t get get out of bed, as everything hurt, so I really couldn’t move, but it was interesting.

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

Paddy: As a youngster the one that I liked most was Stanley Matthews, because he was a special dribbler and people didn’t dribble much in those days, as it was long balls from one end to the other from defence. So I was really keen on people like Stanley Matthews, but I didn’t get a chance to watch much football because we didn’t get a telly until I was about 11, but obviously Spurs was my first team because I lived in Walthamstow and they were the nearest. I’d been over to Spurs several times to watch them, and one day it was thick fog outside of my window and I thought well it must be clear at Tottenham, because I hadn’t heard anything. So I walked three miles across the marshes to Tottenham and by the time I’d got within 100 yards of the stadium you couldn’t see anything in front of you, literally there was smog everywhere. And so there was two or three of us all holding on to each other as total strangers, just to hold on to each other to keep safe, instead of going in the road or what have you. Of course when we got there the game was called off, but I was really keen in them days for watching Tottenham.

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

Paddy: Well I was centre-half and I mean I’d always been a centre-half but of course when I’d got to Tottenham I’d stopped growing by then for some reason. I was about five foot ten when I was about 11 or 12, and I was still five foot ten when I got to Tottenham at 15, so I wasn’t tall enough at that position. They did try me in a couple of other positions but I just couldn’t do it, and I wasn’t good enough at the other positions as I was just a basic defender. I could tackle well, I could run fast and I could anticipate things quite well but when they tried to get me to be a proper footballer and be clever no, I couldn’t do that. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Paddy: Well there were no influences really, because we didn’t have any coaching whatsoever, we did have training and gym work but there was nobody ever that told us how to do things. I played for the reserves once as they must have been missing a lot of players, so they stuck me in the reserves just for the one game and it was so totally different from us playing in boys football, because every time that the ball came to you you had somebody telling you what to do. One player or another would be pointing and talking to you, whereas before that I never had any of that and I didn’t know what to do, and so you just used your own initiative. So there were no big influences at Tottenham really, I wasn’t a loner as such but I was independent and so I made all my own decisions. My parents were never interested in football although my dad played for All-Ireland at hurling my mother told me, and nobody really talked about it, so I would have expected him to take a lot more interest in me than he did, but neither were interested really. When I went and played for the schools team and then the district team and county team and London, there was nobody ever that influenced me as how to play. Nobody told you what to do or how to improve yourself, so anyway that I could improve myself I did by heading. Because I knew that I was short for a centre-half so I used to tie a football in a net and hang it up on a high hook of some sort, and then try and reach it with my head. I spent hours jumping up and down to head the ball, but I don’t think that I was aggressive enough, as I was far too nice. If I barged somebody over then I’d spend five minutes picking them up again rather than getting on with the game.

So I don’t think I really wanted to become a professional footballer really, and so of course when we got called in by Bill Nicholson along with Dave Sunshine and Terry Lloyd, he called us three in. And he said that I don’t think you’re going to make it at this club at this time, so he said I’ll give you the opportunity to turn professional and stay on for another year and see how you go. The other two stayed on for the year and I said no I don’t fancy that and so I left, because there was no money in the game at the time and I’d already been told that I could earn more down the road working in a shop or something. So because I made all my own decisions I just sort of walked out really, I later went on to play for Woodford Town and I played there for a couple of years before going to Walthamstow Avenue and they were a good team at the time but I couldn’t really get in the first team there. I eventually ended up playing Sunday football, or Sunday and Saturday as I was playing on Saturday and Sunday every week at one time, but I don’t know if I’d have ever made it as I just was disinclined I think to try hard.

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

Paddy: No not really, because I was always independent and I was always captain for every team I played for, including Tottenham youth. I played for the Rep side in the South East Counties League alongside some other good players and so I didn’t take a lot of notice of other people, so yeah there was nothing there for me to influence myself or base myself on.

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

Paddy: Well as I said I left Spurs because I wanted to and I didn’t think that there was any future for me there but at least I gave it a try. Then when I went to non-League football and played for Woodford and Walthamstow I had a lovely time for quite a few years and thoroughly enjoyed myself, because it was less demanding and I was captain so what I said went. I made some really stupid decisions really, I got a bit blasé about it I think in the end, so I’ve never considered having a problem with leaving.

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

Paddy: It was ok, I mean I was disappointed about getting there late and missing the tour but other than that it was fine and I was playing quite well, and as I say I got into the Rep side. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Paddy: I suppose being take on by Spurs after that trial match, and so that’s the one that stands out. I won lots of cups and leagues and all that sort of thing, but I don’t remember them, so nothing was really important. When I was playing Sunday league football I got in the Rep side there of course, and I played against various teams including the showbiz team twice, which was good, and we also played against a jockeys team. When I was playing the showbiz team a helicopter landed on the pitch in the middle of a game as it was some celebrity/actor from a long time ago whose name I can’t remember, and he gave out the trophies afterwards. So little things like that stick in your mind but I can’t think of the greatest thing or anything that was outstanding.

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

Paddy: I shared a pitch with the whole of the Tottenham team obviously, and that was the year before the double so they were pretty good, and I’ve got lots of little stories about them. I suppose top internationals such as Bobby Smith and also Terry Dyson and people like that, and talking of Bobby Smith and Terry Dyson they had a snooker room at White Hart Lane, and during the summer while I was there virtually by myself I used to go in there and play. And when they came back off tour (the first team and everybody else) one day there was Bobby Smith and Terry Dyson playing snooker, and they were always rowing and were very combative, and I was playing on one table by myself and they were playing on another. All around the room they had pictures of past teams and stuff like that, and at one stage Terry Dyson got annoyed so much that he literally threw the cue like a javelin at Bobby Smith, and it missed him and smashed into one of these pictures, so yeah there were things like that that I remember. I played in a pre-season match against Bobby Smith and I was at centre-half and he was at centre-forward, and the first time a high ball came over he easily beat me although he was about the same height he would use his arms and legs, and so he virtually just pushed me out the way. So the second time that happened and a high ball came down the middle I thought I can’t let this happen as Bill Nicholson was standing watching. So I climbed all over the back of Bobby and my knees were in his back and my elbows were on his shoulders, and I headed the ball away and fell over as I did it. He came down and lifted me up and said don’t you ever do that again! And that scared the life out of me as he was the England centre-forward and I was only a 15 year old schoolboy virtually. So it’s things like that which I remember.

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

Paddy: I haven’t got any memories of it really, and I know that we played in various cups and leagues and stuff like that, but I can’t remember it now, as it’s just another team that I played for. 

Who was toughest player that you ever came up against?

Paddy: It’s got to be Bobby Smith, because I wasn’t at Tottenham for very long I didn’t come up against many tough players really, as in other leagues and teams that I played for I was always the toughest. I wasn’t dirty but I was aggressive and I didn’t like getting beaten, and that didn’t matter what team or league I was playing for, so yeah there’s nobody who I could really put down as the toughest.  

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

Paddy: No, I mean obviously I knew Dave Sunshine for a few years because we played everywhere together, and we both played for the schools team, and the Essex team and the district team and the London team, so where I was he was, or the other way round. So yeah I got to know him fairly well but he had no influence on me.

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

Paddy: Well just work hard and be determined, and you’ve got to want it in the first place as I think that I wanted it more for the glory than the football to be quite honest. I don’t know that but it’s just what I’ve realised over the years, but I could have done a lot better I don’t know, because I was independent so I made my own decisions and maybe walking out on Spurs was one of the wrong ones, but I had nobody who influenced me or who was tough with me. 

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?

Paddy: No, not really as it’s all a bygone age now and the whole thing (football) has changed now. There’s different pitches, a different ball and new rules and you can’t get away with anything now. 

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Jamie Reynolds:

A Spurs Academy player for over a decade, versatile player Jamie Reynolds was born in Westminster but brought up in Grays in Essex, and he had been playing for Chelsea’s Academy and also Grays Cosmos prior to joining Spurs. After working his way up the Academy ranks at Spurs, Reynolds joined the club on a full-time basis in the summer 2016, signing scholarship forms with the club after having missed the majority of the previous 2015/16 season through injury. Reynolds played predominantly in midfield for our under 18 side during his first year of scholarship at Spurs, making 13 competitive appearances for the Spurs under 18 side, scoring one goal and also registering one assist. Jamie demonstrated his ability on the ball during that particular season, and he was really tidy with it, and he also worked well off the ball. Reynolds started the first three competitive games of the following 2017/18 season in central midfield once again, but starting with an Under 18 Premier League South game against Southampton in the September of 2017, Reynolds was moved out to play at left-back. He adapted really well to playing in that particular position, and he was given license to get forward in that role, and in the games that he played for Spurs during the 2017/18 season I thought that he really flourished from playing in that position. A regular for Spurs’ under 18 side that  season, the tigerish but skilful left-back who loved to get forward, also demonstrated really good defensive ability, particularly in one-on-one situations. Strong in the challenge and with good pace to his game, Reynolds put in some really strong performances during the season, such as in a UEFA Youth League game against AS Monaco’s under 19 which we won, and also against Liverpool’s under 18 side in the Premier League Cup, a game which we won 4-0.

A really good crosser of the ball, Jamie Reynolds was really potent going forward and the creative side of his game meant that he created a good number of chances over the course of the season, and he ended up registering six assists for Spurs’ under 18 side that season. Jamie was making really good progress that season up until he sustained a bad injury in an under 18 league game against Norwich City at the Norfolk clubs Colney training centre, in the April of 2018. Having to be helped off the pitch by the Spurs physios, Reynolds did not play again that season. In fact Reynolds missed the whole of the next pre-season, and he didn’t make his competitive return to action for Spurs until the October of 2018, when he completed a half of football for our under 23 side, in a 1-0 Premier League 2 victory over Leicester City. By now a first year professional at Spurs and a part of our under 23 side, Jamie made seven more competitive appearances for Spurs at Academy level during the remainder of the 2018/19 season, but sadly he left the club after his contract came to an end in the summer of 2019. Reynolds did actually play again for Spurs as a triallist, featuring in a pre-season friendly for a Spurs development side in July 2019, when we played against Ebbsfleet United, and Jamie did well on the pitch that day, but that was to be the last time that he played for Spurs. A player who is good at making overlapping runs down the left flank, and who is also a good passer of the ball, Reynolds spent some time without a club after leaving Spurs. I recently caught up with Jamie’s old Spurs teammate Charlie Freeman and regarding Jamie he said “Jamie and I both joined Spurs at a similar time and played together for around ten years. Jamie always had great ball control and was confident to drive at players, over time he became very physically strong however, he was majorly set back due to knee and shin injurys, like me game time got tough, but off the pitch Jamie was and still is one of my closest friends, we shared digs together and it made both our stays a lot more enjoyable. He’s a great lad and was well respected at Spurs! ” Reynolds signed for National League South side Billericay Town during the first half of the 2019/20 season, with former Spurs player Jamie O’Hara the manager of the Essex Club. 

Reynolds only featured on a couple of occasions for Billericay’s first team (he made his competitive debut for them as a substitute in an FA Cup first round tie against Forest Green Rovers), but he left Billericay not long afterwards. He then ended up trialling with category one Academy side Sunderland, and Jamie played one Premier League 2 game for their under 23 side, playing at left-back in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, but Reynolds never ended up signing for Sunderland. However, in the December of 2019 he signed for Isthmian Premier Division side Cheshunt F.C. (former Spurs player Mark Hughes was the assistant manager at Cheshunt at the time), and Reynolds has played a good number of games since jointing the Hertfordshire club in 2019. Unfortunately the Isthmian Premier Division was stopped during the March of 2020, but in the following 2020/21 season Jamie has got a really good run of games in senior football, scoring three goals from left-back during the 2020/21 season, with his first of the season coming against Horsham, Reynolds demonstrated his quality going forward with the ball. Sadly the Isthmian Premier Division has been stopped since November of last year, although the former Spurs man who is now 21, did play in Cheshunt’s last game of competitive football, when they played Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Trophy in the December of 2020. Since I’ve started this series of articles on looking at where former Spurs Academy players are now, I strongly believe just like in the previous articles on former Spurs Academy players who I’ve written on, that Reynolds is  another player who has great potential to go really far in the game. And I have no doubts whatsoever that in the future Jamie will rise up in the leagues in England and enjoy a really good career in the game.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Kodi Lyons-Foster:

(In the above photograph Kodi is pictured second on the extreme right, to the left of Joe Pritchard.)

Islington born defender Kodi Lyons-Foster is a real footballing centre-half, just like his younger brother Brooklyn who currently plays for Spurs’ under 23 side. Kodi Lyons-Foster joined Spurs relatively late on as a schoolboy, but he settled in well at the club that he has always supported. A very gifted player, Lyons-Foster is a modern day centre-half, always a player who was good on the ball the Londoner can pass well off both his left and right foot. A tall but quick defender who reads the game well and who is also good at bringing the ball out from the back, Kodi is also strong in the air, but the player who came to Spurs as a centre-half would move into midfield for a spell at the club, playing primarily as a number four. However, he came back to play at centre-half after a period of time playing as a defensive midfielder for Spurs at Academy level, and the composed defender would enjoy some very successful times at the club. Such as when he impressed for a Spurs youth side at the prestigious Milk Cup in Northern Ireland at two successive tournaments, in 2011 and 2012. Kodi also performed really well for Spurs’ youth team at a tournament in Solsona, Spain, and he also played at a number of other tournaments in Europe during his time at the club. He was also picked to represent England at youth level, and he played for their under 16 side at the Victory Shield one year, and he did well for his country. A player who would constantly step up to play for the year above his age group at Spurs, in his final year as a schoolboy at Spurs he would also train with the under 21 side regularly. However, unfortunately Kodi wasn’t offered scholarship terms by Spurs, and he left the club at the end of the 2012/13 season.

Lyons-Foster signed scholarship forms with Aston Villa in the summer of 2013 for the start of the 2013/14 Academy season, and the former Spurs player would go on to play many a game for Aston Villa at under 18 level. He also captained their under 18 side on a good number of occasions, but he only made three competitive appearances for their then under 21 side, making his competitive debut for them in a league game against Bolton Wanderers in the March of 2015. In that particular game Kodi played with current Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, while he also played against his future Aldershot Town central-defensive partner Alex Finney. Lyons-Foster suffered a bad injury towards the end of his time at Aston Villa which set him back quite a bit, but after leaving them in the summer of 2016 he joined Bristol City, a club whose under 23 side he would play for. Kodi spent a season at Bristol City, he also went on a short loan to Guernsey FC, as well as trialling for Irish Premier Division side Derry City during his time there. And after playing at centre-half for them in friendlies against UCD and Cabinteely FC respectively, the Irish side who were then managed by Kenny Shiels wanted to sign Kodi, but it wasn’t the right time for him to move countries, so in the end he declined. After leaving Bristol City at the end of his contract in the summer of 2017, Kodi decided to step into the non-League, when he signed for Aldershot Town that summer. Lyons-Foster was loaned out to then National League South side Whitehawk FC in the October of that year for a short period of time.

The Londoner did return to Aldershot but he was given a free transfer to sign for Whitehawk on a permanent basis in the January of 2018. A versatile defender who I watched as recently as last Saturday, when he played in central defence for Aldershot against Bromley, when I thought that he put in a solid defensive performance. Kodi can also fill in at right-back and as a defensive midfielder, and he is also good at organising the defence. The former Spurs Academy player unfortunately couldn’t prevent Whitehawk from being relegated to the Isthmian Premier Division that season, and he ended up leaving them in the August of 2018. He joined then National League side Braintree Town for the start of the 2018/19 season, and he did well as he got regular games in the top division of the non-League, but unfortunately he suffered relegation again, as Braintree Town were relegated to the National League South at the end of that season. However, Kodi rejoined Aldershot for the beginning of the 2019/20 season, and during that particular season the determined defender was a regular in the side, and he put in some strong defensive performances over the course of the season, which ended up coming to a halt in March of 2020. He remained with Aldershot for the current 2020/21 season and so far he is doing really well for Danny Searle’s side, and he is starting virtually every game alongside Alex Finney in the heart of defence, and the pair complement each other on the pitch. The player who was part of the same age group as Kyle Walker-Peters and Anthony Georgiou at Spurs, is getting stronger as a defender by each passing game.

Kodi seems to be popular at Aldershot with the fans, and the more games that he plays the player who is fast approaching 100 National League appearances will get closer and closer to playing in the EFL, something that I have no doubt that he will achieve, and from there even greater things will follow for him. A defender with great technical ability, at only 24 Kodi Lyons-Foster is still a player with a lot of potential I feel. To already have played almost 100 games in a really tough league like the National League is a tremendous achievement for Kodi at his age, and to have left Academy football without having played a competitive senior game, and make the brave step into the non-League is something which should be applauded, and Kodi should be very proud of what he has achieved so far in his footballing career. Aldershot currently occupy 15th place in the National League, but are only six points off the play-off places. I would like to wish Kodi all the very best of luck for the remainder of the 2020/21 season with Aldershot Town, and I look forward to continuing to follow his progress in the game.

Some notes on the loan move of Spurs youngster Jack Roles to Stevenage:

On transfer deadline day (Monday) it was announced that goal scoring midfielder Jack Roles had joined League Two club Stevenage on loan until the end of the 2020/21 season. Not the only Spurs Academy player to go out on loan yesterday with Troy Parrott and Kazaiah Sterling joining Ipswich Town and Greenock Morton respectively, Roles had previously been on loan with League One side Burton Albion earlier on in the season, but he returned from that loan last month. The Cyprus under 21 international made only three appearances for Burton earlier on this season, and I reckon that he was very unlucky not to feature more for the club who are currently bottom of League One. However, the player from Enfield who had a great spell on loan with Cambridge United last season scoring five goals from 25 competitive appearances, has now been loaned out to a club where I’m sure that he will get a lot of game time. The Lamex Stadium (Stevenage’s home) is a ground that Roles has scored plenty of goals at for Spurs’ under 23 side, and he joins a Stevenage side who are currently in 21st place in the League Two table, just four points off the relegation zone. However, the addition of Roles who is already proven at League Two level to Alex Revell’s side will be a really welcome addition to Stevenage. Roles is a versatile player who will provide Stevenage with goals and creativity, and he can play in a great variety of positions. Positions such as central midfield, the CAM role, out on the left wing, the second striker role or even as an out and out number nine. A really intelligent player who has great vision and who loves a forward pass, Roles is an expert off the ball with his movement and ghosting runs into the oppositions penalty area.

Somebody who like Spurs first team player Dele can score a variety of goals, Roles is so good at creating pockets of space for himself in forward areas. He scored some really fine goals for Cambridge United last season, but as a very skilful player he also demonstrated the great skill that he has on the ball, and his ability to get past players and hold on to the ball in tight space are really good sides to his game. Already called up to the senior Cyprus national team (I’m sure that it won’t be long before he wins his first cap for them), Jack is a really hard worker off the ball and he likes to press players and try and win the ball back. His great scoring record for Spurs at Academy level speaks for itself, and while he will be competing with the likes of Arthur Read, Charlie Carter and Chris Lines to get into the starting 11 at Stevenage, Jack’s versatility I am sure will mean that he is a regular starter in the side. What Roles needs is a really good run of games from now until the end of the season, and in my view the talent and work that he does off the ball should hopefully see him flourish in this Stevenage side. While I would imagine that it is unlikely that the Spurs man will be in Stevenage’s squad to face Exeter City tonight, I really look forward to following his progress at the Hertfordshire club, and I wish him a very successful loan move and look forward to seeing him return to Spurs for the start of the 2021/22 season.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Christian Maghoma:

(This photograph of Christian Maghoma scoring a superb headed goal against West Ham United’s under 23 side in a Premier League International Cup game in 2017, is from Tottenham Hotspur FC.)

Christian Maghoma spent many years at Spurs as an Academy player, and the central defender would rise up the ranks at Spurs to play as high up as under 23 level for the club, a side which he would captain on a good number of occasions. Born in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997, but brought up in north London, Christian Maghoma attended Finchley High School and he joined Spurs’ Academy while his older brother Jacques Maghoma was still at the club (Christian’s younger brother Paris joined him at Spurs not too long afterwards). A tall and determined centre-half, as a youth player Maghoma was a part of the England side that won the Victory Shield in 2012 (Luke Amos and Josh Onomah were also part of that squad). A schoolboy during the following 2013/14 season, Maghoma made the step up to play for Spurs’ under 18 side on 18 occasions in competitive games (he scored two goals), and he was an important member of the Spurs side that won the southern division that season (he also played in the semi-final play-off game against Everton at the end of that season). Impressive throughout the 2013/14 season, during his first year of scholarship in the following 2014/15 season the defender made a good number more appearances for the Spurs under 18 side, and he would also play for the then under 21 side on a decent number of occasions (he scored one goal in a 2-0 league victory over Fulham at the end of that season). A season of fine progress (2015/16) followed for Christian as he played mostly for the under 21 side, while also stepping down to play for the under 18’s on occasions. He also went out on a short loan to Yeovil Town, but he didn’t make a competitive first team appearance for them.

In the 2016/17 season (Christian was now a first year professional at the club) Maghoma was a mainstay in the new Spurs under 23 side, captaining the side on a good number of occasions and also putting in some really strong performances over the course of the season. A players who will provide constant encouragement (he used to talk the younger defenders of the Spurs under 23 side through games)  and motivation to his teammates on the pitch, Maghoma showed this throughout his time at Spurs, the tall and commanding centre-half who is outstanding in the air,  strong in the challenge and aggressive in defence, is also a real leader. The leadership that he showed on a regular basis at Spurs at both under 18 and under 23 level was very impressive, as was the alertness of his defending and ability to get in front of opposing forwards at the crucial time. Maghoma’s final season at Spurs saw him become a very important and experienced member of the under 23 side, and he played almost every game for them during the 2017/18 season, with games against Arsenal (we won 3-1), Liverpool when he defended really well against Danny Ings (we won 1-0) and Manchester United at Old Trafford (Spurs won that game 3-1) some of the matches that Maghoma put strong performances in. A player who really loves defending and whose footballing hero is the great Ledley King, left Spurs at the end of the 2017/18 season after his contract at the club came to an end in the summer of 2018. I always enjoyed watching Christian play for Spurs, I loved his passion on the pitch, his qualities as a leader and also his no-nonsense approach to defending. 

Whenever Maghoma played alongside the slightly younger Japhet Tanganga at centre-half, they both formed a very strong defensive partnership, and both were key to Spurs’ under 23 side surviving relegation to the Premier League 2 Division Two in 2018. Christian’s former Spurs teammate Samuel Shashoua recently described to me what it was like to be around Christian Maghoma at Spurs. Samuel said “ it was a pleasure to be his teammate. He was so big and commanding in the air, but still had loads of technical ability and composure to be able to play through the press. Off the pitch I’m lucky enough to call him one of my closest friends. One of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is playing in one of the top leagues! ”After leaving Spurs in the summer of 2018 the Democratic Republic of the Congo international (he won his one international cap so far for them in a friendly in 2017) joined then Polish Ekstraklasa side Arka Gdynia and his time with them got off to a great start. Christian won his first senior competitive trophy with Arka Gdynia on his competitive debut for them, as they beat Legia Warsaw 3-2 to win the Superpuchar Polski. Maghoma did have to wait a while before he made his Arka Gdynia league debut, but the then 21 year old did make 15 league appearances for his new side that season. A young player who made the decision to experience a new footballing culture, Maghoma got a really good run in the Arka Gdynia side during the following 2019/20 season (he made 20 Polish Ekstraklasa appearances that season. All of which were at centre-half), and he got his one and only goal involvement (an assist) for Arka Gdynia in a 4-1 league win over Łks Łódź.

I did watch a fair few of Christian’s games for Arka Gdynia in the Polish Ekstraklasa  during his time at the club, and I always thought that he was solid, confident and commanding in his defending. Also, something which I didn’t mention earlier on in this piece when talking briefly talking about Christian’s style of play was his passing ability and distribution from defence, something which I’ve always been impressed with, especially his ability to spray the ball out to teammates in wide positions with good accuracy. While at Spurs he also had a growth spurt, which would have been challenging for him, but he has managed to adapt his game. In total Maghoma made 39 competitive first team appearances for Arka Gdynia during his time in Poland, but unfortunately at the end of the 2019/20 season the club were relegated to the second tier of Polish football. Christian left Arka Gdynia in the May of 2020 during that season, to return to England, and he would have gained a lot of invaluable experience from playing regular first team football in a league in Europe. After some time without a club Christian signed for English League One side Gillingham (joining up with former Spurs teammate Connor Ogilvie) in the August of last year, and after training with them in pre-season he made his competitive debut for the club in a League Cup first round tie against Southend United in September of last year, helping them to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory. The now 23 year old centre-half has since made ten more competitive appearances for Gillingham’s first team, but he has missed some of the season with injury. Earlier on in this piece Samuel Shashoua mentioned what a great guy Christian Maghoma is, and also that he believes that Christian will play in a top league at some point in the future.

 I totally agree with what Samuel said about Christian Maghoma, and I would like to wish Christian all the very best of luck for the remainder of the season. Hopefully he will get a really good run of games for Gillingham during the remainder of this season, as that is exactly what he needs. I also feel that he has a lot to look forward to in the game in the future.