My interview with former Spurs player Darren Gosnell:

Darren Gosnell was a talented defender who was at Spurs as a youth player during the 1990s. A local to Tottenham, having grown up not far away from the old stadium, Darren Gosnell would later play for other clubs after leaving Spurs, and the first one who he joined after leaving the club was Wycombe Wanderers. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing Darren in person, about his time at Spurs.

 What are your earliest footballing memories?

Darren: That would be kicking a ball out in the garden with my dad.

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

Darren: I was brought to the club by a scout called Dickie Moss, when I was playing at Enfield Playing Fields. I wanted to come off as well, but then I saw him after looking over my shoulder. And that was it. At first after joining the club I was shocked and I couldn’t sleep after the first week of training, and what shocked me was the amount of quality that was there at training, and that was quite difficult. To be honest I didn’t want to go back to Spurs, as I thought that I was out of my depth. 

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

Darren: Growing up I used to watch a lot of the Spurs 1981/82 team on London Weekend TV. So I watched a lot of Glenn Hoddle and Steve Perryman, and also Graham Roberts. Graham Roberts was someone who I looked up to, and obviously everyone wanted to be Glenn Hoddle, and that was when I was a schoolboy. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Darren: I actually knew David Howells when I was a youth team player, because he stayed in digs at my aunt and uncles house. So David was the main one.

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

Darren: I was a defender. I wasn’t very quick but I read the game well, although I actually started as a central midfielder, and I remember in my first game which was against Arsenal, we lost 4-0. They said to me that I wasn’t a central midfielder, and that I had to go back to be a defender. It was Len Cheesewright who said that to me.

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

Darren: Gary Mabbutt. What a great pro he was, and his attitude was fantastic. I always used to look at him during training and also in matches. He’s an absolute legend!

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

Darren: I think that it was an eye opening experience, and a very good learning experience as well. I know that I could have done better personally, but I never. Breaking my nose had a big effect on me, but it was a really good learning curve to play with these really top players. It also sets you up for life, because the jobs that you have to do like cleaning the changing rooms and the stands, and the kit all stands you in good stead.

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

Darren: I was just invited into the office one day and they said to me that they weren’t going to renew my apprenticeship, and they never did, and so I was released. After leaving I went to Wycombe, where I played under Steve Walford, and then after leaving there I went to play for Enfield Town, Haringey Borough and various other non-League clubs. Then I stopped playing at roughly the age of 23.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Darren: I think that it would be the day that I was called into the office at Spurs to be offered my YTS/apprenticeship, that would be the greatest moment.

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

Darren: Quinton Fortune, without a doubt, as he was just unbelievable. I remember that we were playing a game against Charlton, and we were losing 4-0 at half-time, but then he scored four goals to get us level, and that was at Mill Hill, and I’ll always remember that game. That game was also the only time that I was the captain at the club, because Peter Suddaby used to give it around to a different player each week, and I was fortunate enough to get it that day. 

 Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories or ones which stand out from your time in the various Tottenham youth teams?

Darren: I’ll always remember the banter in the boot room, especially when the lights went out, but it was quite scary as well as funny as well. It used to be between the first year apprentices and also the second year apprentices. I remember that we played Arsenal away, and we drew 1-1. That was one of my proudest and also best games as well.

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

Darren: John Hartson. I was keeping a clean sheet against him at Mill Hill, but within half an hour I had been taken off as he had scored a hat-trick.

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

Darren: That would be Dean Calcutt and Neale Fenn.

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

Darren: My advice would be to enjoy every moment of your playing career, and also to enjoy the experience. You should enjoy being at a big club like Tottenham, as it doesn’t really last too long. 

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?

Darren: I have loads of great and fond memories, and I loved every minute of it from being a schoolboy, right up until YTS. I think that the most important thing for me is to see some of my heroes and then to see them around the club when you’re there yourself. That makes you feel that extra bit special, and to actually be involved in the 1991 FA Cup final, and to actually watch that team play as a schoolboy was absolutely fantastic, and one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. 

Are there any other memories from your time at Spurs which really come to mind?

Darren: I’ll always remember the day that Terry Venables got sacked and that was the day that our contracts came through, and I’ll always remember sitting in the Bill Nicholson suite when Ossie Ardiles and Steve Perryman walked in, and everyone there went “ oh no! ”As they didn’t want them. Everyone was very close to Terry Venables, and I was in particular quite close. But I remember seeing the great pros that we had at Spurs at the time such as Gordon Durie and Nayim, and so it was a really good time to be around at Spurs. When you make it as an apprentice then you possibly think that you’re going to make it, and that is the big difference. I also remember that Bill Nicholson used to watch all of of our youth games, which was a great privilege. 

Spurs Under 23’s 3-4 West Ham United: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side returned to Premier League 2 action on Monday evening, when Wayne Burnett’s side played West Ham United, at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium. Spurs lost what was a very lively match 4-3. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal, while a back four consisting of Marcel Lavinier, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Kallum Cesay started in front of him. Matthew Craig and Spurs’ captain Harvey White started in midfield, and Jack Clarke and Dilan Markanday started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Nile John. Alfie Devine led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway, but it was the visitors who started the game better. After Tobi Omole cleared Armstrong Okoflex’s cross early on in the game, West Ham managed their first goal attempt. Pierre Ekwah headed behind Harrison Ashby’s corner-kick, with it taking a deflection on the way. After initially saving well from Okoflex’s low effort, Oluwayemi could do nothing to stop Pierre Ekwah from finding the top left hand corner of the goal in emphatic fashion from distance, moments later, 0-1. Spurs tried to respond. Harvey White’s through-ball pass allowed Jack Clarke to run forward with the ball towards the edge of the West Ham box. Clarke was dispossessed by a West Ham defender, but the ball came to Nile John, who powerfully found the inside netting of the bottom left hand corner of the West Ham goal, 1-1.

In the 16th minute of the game Spurs managed to take the lead, as Alfie Devine latched onto Nile John’s well weighted through-ball pass, before continuing forward, striking the inside left post, with the ball then rebounding into the goal, 2-1. Harvey White then blocked a low effort on goal from inside the Spurs box, before Dilan Markanday hit over a Harvey White corner-kick from close range inside the West Ham box. The lively start to the game continued, and after Daniel Chesters received Keenan Forson’s pass, the winger continued forward before powerfully finding the back of the Spurs goal, with a low effort. Things got even better for West Ham not long afterwards, as Spurs defender Marqes Muir accidentally turned Harrison Ashby’s cross from the right flank, into his own goal, 2-3. After cutting inside from the left flank onto his right foot, Kallum Cesay tried his luck on goal, but West Ham goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi made a good save. Armstrong Okoflex’s side-footed effort from distance went narrowly wide, before at the other end of the pitch Markanday had an effort blocked. Jack Clarke hit a promising effort across the face of the West Ham goal, before the same Spurs player ended up being fouled inside the West Ham penalty area a couple of moments later, resulting in a penalty kick. Nile John stepped up to powerfully find the back of the net, 3-3.

Okoflex put a low cross just behind at Oluwayemi’s back post, and then a couple of minutes later Harvey White had an effort saved by Hegyi, in what was the final action from the first half. West Ham got the second half underway, and an early chance for Sonny Perkins ended in the centre-forward hitting an effort just wide of the Spurs goal. Lavinier managed to cut out a promising West Ham pass inside the Spurs box, and then Tobi Omole was adjudged by the referee to have fouled Keenan Forson inside the penalty area. Up stepped Armstrong Okoflex to powerfully side-foot the ball past Oluwayemi in the Spurs goal, 3-4. Oluwayemi gathered an effort on goal before Spurs made a double substitution, as Matthew Craig and Alfie Devine were replaced by Yago Santiago and Michael Craig. Keenan Forson struck the Spurs crossbar with an effort, and then Brooklyn Lyons-Foster came onto replace Marcel Lavinier at right-back. Nile John hit two efforts wide in quick succession, before Kallum Cesay became the first Spurs player to receive a yellow card during the game. Harvey White hit a free-kick into the West Ham wall, and then at the other end of the pitch substitute Thierry Nevers hit a bicycle-kick just over Oluwayemi’s goal. Dilan Markanday tried to get an equaliser for Spurs in second half additional time, but he couldn’t keep his effort on target. The final score was Spurs 3-4 West Ham. Spurs will travel up to Manchester to play Manchester City in their next Premier League 2 game, which is on Saturday.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent any of West Ham’s four goals from going in. Oluwayemi made a couple of good saves during the match. 
  • Marcel Lavinier: The right-back cut out two good and promising chances for West Ham, during his time on the pitch. 
  • Marqes Muir: The right-sided centre-half started alongside Tobi Omole in central defence, and Marqes Muir was good in the air throughout the match.
  • Tobi Omole: The central-defender started as a left-sided centre-half against West Ham. Omole went down injured during the second half, but was fine to continue afterwards.
  • Kallum Cesay: Going on some good runs down the left flank, full-back Kallum Cesay had a good effort saved during the first half.
  • Matthew Craig: The deepest of the two central midfielders patrolled the midfield alongside Harvey White.
  • Harvey White: Delivering some good corner-kicks into the West Ham box, midfielder Harvey White also made some good forward runs off the ball.
  • Jack Clarke: The winger started the match out on the right flank, but later switched flanks with Dilan Markanday during the second half. Clarke won the first half penalty which Nile John scored.
  • Nile John: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dilan Markanday: The winger may not have had a lot of the ball against West Ham, but on another day he could have had a goal or two. He grew into the game as it went on.
  • Alfie Devine: Playing as a centre-forward Alfie Devine had in my opinion another good game. Making some good runs off the ball, Devine took his first half goal really well – it was his sixth league goal of the season.
  • Michael Craig: The midfielder and second half substitute often got forward during his time on the pitch.
  • Yago Santiago: The second half substitute played as a centre-forward.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The late substitute replaced Marcel Lavinier at right-back.

My man of the match: Nile John. Always looking to receive the ball, CAM Nile John was without doubt Spurs’ most influential player against West Ham. John scored two well taken goals, and also registered an assist. The midfielder was always looking to play the ball forward and take players on.

Spurs Under 23’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 23 side return to Premier League 2 action on Monday evening at The Lamex Stadium (the game starts at 19:00pm), when they face West Ham United. Wayne Burnett’s side narrowly lost 4-3 to Crystal Palace in their last league game, just before the international break. Last season Spurs did the double over West Ham in the league, winning 3-0 in the home game, and 2-1 in the away fixture. The East London club have picked up 13 points from seven league matches so far this season, and they currently occupy fifth place in the league, and are two places above Spurs. Always a difficult fixture, Spurs, however, have only lost one of their last five competitive meetings with West Ham at this level. A talented side, West Ham have won their last three competitive matches at this level, and with players such as Amadou Diallo, Harrison Ashby and Jamal Baptiste, this will be another tough game for Spurs, before they travel up to Manchester to face Manchester City next Saturday. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game. I will be reporting on the game today.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Matthew Craig, Fagan-Walcott, Omole, Cesay, Lyons-Foster (c), White, Clarke, John, Devine, Markanday.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Paskotši, Michael Craig, Pedder, Santiago.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Defender and Scotland Under 21 international Harrison Ashby. The 19 year old has already been involved in five goals from seven league appearance this season, two goals and three assists.

Spurs Under 18’s versus Stoke City: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side will play their second group game of this seasons Under 18 Premier League Cup, when they face Stoke City at Hotspur Way on Saturday afternoon (the game starts at 13:30pm). Not a side that Spurs would usually face at this level, Stoke City are currently bottom of the Under 18 Premier League North, having picked up four points from their opening six league games of this season. This is a game which Spurs will need to win to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition, after losing their opening group game to Leeds United. Spurs’ last competitive meeting with Stoke City actually came in this competition back in 2019. On that day Spurs won 3-2. This will be an interesting game, and I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for it. My match report will be published on Sunday.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Hayton, McKnight, Bryan-Waugh, Chaplin, Andiyapan, Cassanova (c), Haysman, Torraj, Bloxham, Owen, Williams.

Subs from: Krasniqi, Linton, Abbott, Heaps, Amo.

Injured/unavailable: Roshaun Mathurin.

Doubtful: Jordan Hackett.

Previous meeting: Spurs 3-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Emre Tezgel (16). The centre-forward has scored seven league goals from just five appearances so far this season.

Spurs Under 23’s 3-4 Crystal Palace: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side were involved in a thrilling match against Crystal Palace, at the South London club’s training ground on Friday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side lost the match 4-3, although they had fought back from being 3-0 down, to get back to 3-3 during the second half. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal for Spurs, while a back four consisting of Matthew Craig, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Kallum Cesay lined up in front of him. Captain Harvey White and Nile John started in central midfield, and Jack Clarke and Dilan Markanday started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Yago Santiago led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway, but it didn’t start well for Spurs. Crystal Palace took the lead after just five minutes, through defender Jay Rich-Baghuelou. After a corner kick came to Jesuran Rak-Sakyi just inside the Spurs box, he looped it back into the centre of the penalty area, where he found Rich-Baghuelou, who got up well to head the ball past Oluwayemi, who managed to get a hand on the ball and into the back of the net, 0-1. Kallum Cesay had an effort from the edge of the Crystal Palace box saved, before the home side doubled their advantage. After receiving the ball on the right flank Jesuran Rak-Sakyi went into the Spurs box before going to the byline and then cutting back inside and finding the inside left hand corner of the goal, 0-2.

A powerful effort from Markanday inside the Crystal Palace box was well saved by Crystal Palace goalkeeper Joe Whitworth, before the ball came to Clarke, whose effort was cleared onto the post by defender Jack Wells-Morrison. Oluwayemi did well to tip over Jesuran Rak-Sakyi’s effort over his goal, before Rob Street headed over a corner kick from Scott Banks, and then a couple of minutes later Devine tracked back to make an excellent challenge on Street inside the Spurs box. Crystal Palace made it 3-0 in the 24th minute of the game. After winning the ball off of Marqes Muir in defence Rob Street took the ball into the Spurs box before then curling the ball in off the post, and into the the right hand corner of the goal. David Omilabu whipped a promising ball across the face of the Spurs goal, but Spurs tried to respond. After Clarke had won a free-kick in a promising position, Harvey White had a curling effort saved by Joe Whitworth. Then Kallum Cesay had a headed effort blocked by Sean Robertson inside the Crystal Palace box. Harvey White had a free-kick from the the right flank gathered by Joe Whitworth, before at the other end of the pitch Joshua Oluwayemi saved really well with his feet from a low effort from Scott Banks inside the Spurs box. Markanday was beginning to really grow into the game, and he had an effort saved by Whitworth, before helping to start the move which led to Spurs getting a goal back.

Markanday passed the ball to Santiago on the left flank, he then entered the Crystal Palace box, and showed some great skill before seeing his cross dropped by Whitworth. Then Devine managed to just get a foot on the ball and direct it into the goal, although Crystal Palace defender Reece Hannam may well have got the final touch on the ball. The referee sounded his whistle for half-time soon afterwards. Crystal Palace got the second half underway and it was the home team who had the first chance of the goal. Jake O’Brien’s header from a corner kick was saved by Oluwayemi. Nile John then had an effort blocked, before Alfie Devine’s deflected effort from just outside the Crystal Palace box went just wide of the goal. Hannam blocked behind Markanday’s shot inside the Crystal Palace box, and then as Spurs continued to play well Devine headed Harvey White’s corner kick towards goal, but Whitworth was able to save. Nile John’s effort on goal was saved before Dilan Markanday got Spurs’ second goal of the game. The Spurs winger had a shot blocked before managing to latch onto the loose ball inside the Crystal Palace box. He then powerfully hit the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 2-3. Less than two minutes later Spurs got an equaliser. Santiago passed the ball to Markanday out on the right flank, he then skilfully worked his way into the Crystal Palace box, before cutting the ball back for Kallum Cesay on the edge of the box. Cesay’s side footed first time effort on his right foot found the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 3-3.

After receiving Santiago’s pass inside the Crystal Palace box Nile John had a low effort saved by Whitworth. A Crystal Palace free-kick in a really promising position on the edge of the Spurs box, resulted in Scott Banks stepping up to take it. The midfielder curled a really good effort up and over the Spurs wall and into the top right hand corner of Oluwayemi’s goal, 3-4. An excellent challenge by Jay Rich-Baghuelou on Markanday inside the Crystal Palace box stopped Spurs from drawing level again. At the other end of the pitch Markanday cleared well from a Crystal Palace cross. John was shown a yellow card for stopping a Crystal Palace counter attack, and then Michael Craig came on to replace Jack Clarke. After latching onto a through-ball from Scott Banks, Rob Street hit the ball over the Spurs goal, after having been through on goal. Markanday had a shot blocked inside the Crystal Palace box, before Crystal Palace had a chance to extend their lead. A headed effort was cleared off the line, after Oluwayemi was unable to gather a corner kick. Yago Santiago then won a free-kick on the edge of the Crystal Palace box, which Harvey White curled narrowly over. Maksim Paskotši came on to replace Yago Santiago for the latter stages of the game. Markanday had another shot blocked inside the Crystal Palace box, before Cesay headed wide from a cross from the 20 year old. The referee then sounded his whistle a couple of minutes later. Spurs’ next game at this level is on the 18th of October, against West Ham United in the Premier League 2.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper made a decent number of saves, including a very good and impressive one with his feet during the first half.
  • Matthew Craig: The right-back often stayed deep to help out the defence, and he didn’t often get forward too much during the game.
  • Marqes Muir: The 18 year old centre-half played as a right sided centre-half against Crystal Palace. Muir liked to bring the ball out of defence, alongside Tobi Omole.
  • Tobi Omole: The left sided centre-half made some good forward passes, and like Marqes Muir he liked to bring the ball out from the defence.
  • Kallum Cesay: The left-back for this game took his goal really well, and he also went on some fine runs both with and without the ball down the left flank.
  • Harvey White: The Spurs captain was playing as the deepest of the two midfielders against Crystal Palace, and I thought that his passing was good.
  • Nile John: Trying his luck on goal on occasions, the central midfielder got into some good positions both inside and around the Crystal Palace box.
  • Jack Clarke: Starting the game really well and having a strong first half, where he liked to try and take on players for pace and skill, Jack Clarke later switched flanks with Dilan Markanday in the second half.
  • Alfie Devine: Once again playing as a CAM, Alfie Devine’s tremendous work rate helped the team out a lot. Devine got another goal for Spurs, to get Spurs back into the game, and he also came quite close to getting a second in the second half.
  • Dilan Markanday: My man of the match, see below.
  • Yago Santiago: The Spurs centre-forward led the line well I thought. He showed good skill and also pressed the defence well. He played a big part in helping to create our opening goal of the game.
  • Michael Craig: The second half substitute played in midfield after being introduced to the game. 
  • Maksim Paskotši: The Estonia international slotted into the back four after he came on late on in the game.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday. Without doubt Spurs’ most influential player against Crystal Palace, winger Dilan Markanday got a goal and assist for the second game this week. He played well in the first half, but during the second half the 20 year old really helped to get Spurs back into the game. Creating and scoring our second goal of the game by himself after switching flanks with Jack Clarke, Dilan then created Kallum Cesay’s goal to make it 3-3, after taking the ball into the Crystal Palace box and then passing the ball to Cesay.

Spurs Under 23’s versus Crystal Palace: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 23 side beat Derby County 3-1 on Monday night, and they have another game on Friday against Crystal Palace, at their training ground (the game starts at 13:00pm). Wayne Burnett’s side face a Crystal Palace team who have picked up six points from their opening six league games of the season. A talented side, players such as former Spurs Academy player Jack Roles, Jesuran Rak-Sakyi and David Omilabu, means that this will be another tough test for Spurs. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Cesay, Omole, Lavinier, White (c), John, Santiago, Devine, Clarke, Markanday.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Matthew Craig, Paskotši, Michael Craig, Pedder.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Jack Roles. The 22 year old former Cyprus youth international was at Spurs as an Academy player for many years, and his movement off the ball and ability to score all different types of goals means that he could cause Spurs problems today.