Looking back at the senior Spurs youth team that won the 1984/85 South-East Counties Senior League Cup:

During the 1984/85 season, Spurs’ very talented senior youth side won over two legs against a very good Arsenal youth side, to win the 1984/85 South-East Counties Senior League Cup, for the first time in their history. Under the tutelage of head-coach Keith Blunt, Spurs’ senior South-East Counties League Cup winning side won against the likes of QPR, Southend United, Portsmouth and a very talented Arsenal side, to lift the trophy. Spurs had a very talented side of their own however, and with players such as David Howells, John Moncur, Danny Maddix and Vinny Samways all members of the squad, their talents as a team were recognised at that level during the mid 1980s. Spurs would win the South-East Counties Senior Division One during the following season, but during 1984/85, Spurs played some great football at senior youth team level, and they thoroughly deserved to win the South-East Counties Senior League Cup. Their first round game at home against Queen’s Park Rangers, finished 3-0 to Keith Blunt’s side, with John Moncur and David Howells scoring, as well as there being an own goal scored by one of the QPR players.

In the second round tie with Southend United, the score finished 1-1, with Gary Poole getting Spurs’ goal in that game. This meant that there had to be a replay, with Southend playing the match at home. Spurs were able to win the replay 2-0, thanks to goals from Danny Maddix and Shaun Close. Into the semi-finals of the competition Spurs went, but they wouldn’t play the semi-final match until the end of March 1985 (the previous game against Southend was played during December 1984). In the semi-final Spurs met Portsmouth, who they were able to win 2-0 against (Shaun Close and David Howells got the goals), with the game being played in front of fans at White Hart Lane. In the final of the competition Spurs would face Arsenal, over two legs. For the first leg, which was played at Arsenal’s old Highbury ground, the game would finish 3-2 to Spurs, with a brace from Shaun Close and a goal from David Howells enough to beat an Arsenal side which included Paul Merson, David Rocastle and Niall Quinn. 

In the second leg of the final (it was played at White Hart Lane) Spurs made a couple of changes to the team that had won the first leg at Highbury. The Arsenal side for this game included Tony Adams, who started in defence. Spurs were able to impress once again, as they won the match against a very talented Arsenal side which included players who would go and have great careers in the game, 2-1. Steve Grenfell and Brendan Conroy got Spurs’ goals in the second leg of the final. A great day was had for the Spurs lads who played in the two legs of the final, and who were part of the squad. It was a great achievement for the Spurs players and coaching staff that helped them to win the South-East Counties Senior League Cup. This piece is a commemorative piece about that cup winning side, with pieces written on every player that played for the Spurs senior youth team in the South-East Counties League Cup during the 1984/85 season.

(Special thanks must go to former Spurs players Allan Cockram and Peter Corder, for their help in writing this piece).

The players:

Peter Corder: A tall goalkeeper who had previously been with West Ham United, Peter Corder was the only goalkeeper to play for the Spurs senior youth team in the South-East Counties Senior League Cup winning side of 1984/85, and would play all six games in the competition. The Loughton born former professional footballer was a very competent goalkeeper, whose very good communication skills would have been very important during the six South-East Counties Senior League Cup games that Spurs played during that season. Corder was a mainstay of the South-East Counties Senior League team during the 1984/85 season, after joining Spurs an apprentice during the previous season. The goalkeeper would go on to play a good number of reserve team games for Spurs during his time at the club, before leaving them in late 1985, after going out on loan to Peterborough United for a time. Corder later played for the likes of Nuneaton Borough, Boston United (on a loan) and then Holbeach United and Raunds. He later went on to become a physiotherapist, and he would even become Peterborough United’s first team physio for a time. Back in the May of 1984 Corder would make his one and only first team appearance for Spurs (as a substitute) in a testimonial game with West Ham United.

Peter Corder still works as a physiotherapist to this day, and not so long ago I had the great pleasure of interviewing him (he is a really nice person) about his time at Spurs. He also still supports Spurs and his goalkeeping hero during his playing days was the legendary Ray Clemence.

Andy Edmonds: An FA Trophy winner with Enfield, later on in his footballing career, Andy Edmonds would make three appearances for Spurs in the 1984/85 South-East Counties Senior League Cup winning season. The player who started the first leg of the final with Arsenal, was a full-back who could also play at centre-half during his Spurs days. An enthusiastic defender who always gave 100% out on the pitch, the player who made 18 league appearances for the senior Spurs youth teams during the 1984/85 season, actually left the club at the end of that season. He would later play for the likes of Colchester United and Enfield, before later becoming a player-coach for non-League side Ware.

Mark Stimson: A player who would go on to have a good career in football after leaving Spurs in 1989, full-back Mark Stimson was previously with Queen’s Park Rangers as a youth player, before joining Spurs in the summer of 1984. The Plaistow born former footballer was a left-back during his Spurs days, and he was a footballer who had a cultured left foot. Stimson was a full-back who was full of energy, and got up and down the line really well. He started both legs of the final, and made a total of six South-East Counties Senior League Cup, playing in all of the games running up to the final. An important player for the Spurs senior youth team during that cup winning season, Mark Stimson made 23 league appearances at senior youth level for Spurs, during the same season. He would go on to make two competitive appearances for the Spurs first team, plus some additional ones in friendlies, after working his way up the youth and reserve team ranks at the club.

Mark Stimson would later enjoy a fine career in the game, after leaving Spurs. He played for the likes of Newcastle United, Portsmouth and Southend United, before starting a successful coaching career. Stimson has so far been with Spurs as an Academy coach, managed the likes of Stevenage, Gillingham and Barnet, and is now in charge of non-League side Hornchurch. Last season he led them to the FA Trophy final, which they won. That was a really big achievement for everyone involved in the club.

Tim O’Shea: Originally a centre-half during his Spurs youth team days, Londoner Tim O’Shea could also play in midfield, a role in which he would often fill in at during his career in the game. Previously with Arsenal, before signing for Spurs on the Youth Training Scheme in late 1983. As a youth team player with Spurs, the one time Republic of Ireland youth team international was a centre-half in the mould of the great Gary Mabbutt. In the sense that he was a real leader on the pitch, and also a very good defender at youth team level, forming a very good defensive partnership with John Polston. O’Shea was a real all-rounder and he would often captain Spurs at youth team level. Yet another member of this cup winning side who would go on to play for the Spurs first team, Tim O’Shea made three competitive first team appearances for the club (he made his debut as a substitute in a league game against Sheffield Wednesday, in 1987). He would leave Spurs to go on loan to Newport County in 1986, before then joining Leyton Orient on a permanent transfer in 1988.

O’Shea would later play for the likes of Gillingham, Yeovil and Welling United, later on in his career, before going into coaching. The former Spurs player made five cup appearances for Spurs’ senior youth team in 1984/85, plus 18 senior appearances in the league. He was undoubtedly an important member of Keith Blunt’s side during the 1984/85 season.

John Polston: A future first team player for Spurs, Spurs supporter John Polston (older brother of former Spurs player Andy Polston) was a centre-half who played in and started all six of Spurs’ South-East Counties Senior League Cup matches in 1984/85. The defender from Walthamstow formed a very good defensive partnership with Tim O’Shea for Spurs at youth team level. Polston joined Spurs as an apprentice for the start of that season, and he was a very brave defender who actually adapted really well to playing at centre-half, having previously been a centre-forward. A talented athlete during his youth, John Polston would later become a regular for the Spurs reserve side, before going on to make 24 competitive first team appearances (he scored one goal) for Spurs. He left to join Norwich City in the summer of 1990, and would stay there until 1998, when he joined Reading. He later went into coaching. 

Gary Poole: East Londoner Gary Poole, was yet another member of the Spurs senior youth team of 1984/85, who would go on and have a very respectable career in professional football. A right-back by trade, Gary Poole joined Spurs on the Youth Training Scheme for the start of the 1984/85 season, having previously been with Arsenal. A steady and reliable defender, Gary Poole could also play in midfield. He made five appearances (including one as a substitute) during the South-East Counties Senior League Cup winning season of 1984/85, scoring one goal. He was named on the bench for Spurs in the second leg of the final with Arsenal. He was yet another player from the cup winning side who went on to play reserve team football for the club. He would leave Spurs in 1987, to join Cambridge United, and would enjoy a fine career. Later playing for the likes of Barnet, Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic.

Eddie Martin: A part-time youth footballer who was at Spurs during the 1980s, full-back Eddie Martin made just one appearance (as a substitute) for Spurs’ Senior youth team in the South-East Counties Senior League Cup, during 1984/85. A tough left-back who used to like to make challenges, Eddie Martin made an additional 14 senior South-East Counties League appearances for Spurs during the same season. After leaving Spurs during the 1980s, unfortunately I was unable to find out where Eddie Martin went, and whether or not he continued his career in the game.

Ryan: Ryan (surname) made a single appearance (he also made six senior league appearances during the same season) from the bench in the South-East Counties Senior League Cup, of 1984/85. Unfortunately no one that I spoke to who played for Spurs around that time, could remember what his first name was. It is quite possible that he was a triallist with the club.

Brendan Conroy: A good all-round footballer who always had a good work rate, Islington born former footballer Brendan Conroy made three appearances in the South-East Counties Senior League Cup winning side, of that season. Conroy would actually score an important goal (he started the match in midfield) in the second leg of the final with Arsenal, at White Hart Lane. Often playing in midfield for Spurs, but also capable of playing in defence, Brendan used to train with local club Arsenal and also Charlton Athletic, prior to joining Spurs as an apprentice during the 1983/84 season. Once called-up to attend a Northern Ireland Youth training session (he was eligible to play for Northern Ireland at international level), Conroy would play for Spurs as high up as reserve team level, during his time at the club. The midfielder also made 20 senior South-East Counties League appearances during the 1984/85 season, scoring two goals. After leaving Spurs during the 1980s, former Spurs player Allan Cockram mentioned to me that Brendan possibly went to QPR for a time, but I was unable to confirm that he did.

Carl Hoddle: The younger brother of Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle, Carl Hoddle was in many ways similar to his brother, in regards to his style of play. Carl was very good at shielding the ball, making very good long passes and was also a very skilful player, who read the game really well. The midfielder had a good first touch and was physical as well during his days as a Spurs youth team player. Carl made five South-East Counties Senior League Cup appearances during the cup winning season, and he was an important member of that side. The Harlow born former footballer was a regular for Spurs in the senior South-East Counties League, and also made a good number of appearances for the Spurs reserve side, during his time with the club. Carl Hoddle left Spurs in 1986, and would later play for the likes of Barnet, Leyton Orient and Enfield, in what was a good career (he later went into coaching). He started the first leg of the South-East Counties Senior League Cup final with Arsenal in 1985. Very sadly Carl passed away in March of 2008, at the age of just 40.

Vinny Samways: Talented midfielder Vinny Samways was an intelligent midfield player, who was very technical with the ball, and would keep it moving well in midfield. The Bethnal Green born former professional footballer who joined Spurs as an apprentice during the 1984/85 season, would make two South-East Counties Senior League Cup appearances during that season, plus an additional ten appearances in the South-East Counties Senior League. Samways was described to me by Allan Cockram recently, as being a bit like a very technical Dutch midfielder during his days at Spurs as a youth team player, and later on in his Spurs career. The Londoner was definitely a very skilful player, who would later go onto enjoy one of the most successful careers at Spurs of those who played in the cup winning team of the mid 1980s. The former England youth international worked his way into the Spurs first team, and would make over 200 competitive appearances for Spurs at that level, and was also part of the Spurs side that won the FA Cup in 1991. Samways had a really good career as a professional footballer, and would later on play for the likes of Everton, Las Palmas and Sevilla.

John Moncur: The son of Spurs’ former youth development officer John Moncur Senior, John Moncur Junior was another very skilful midfield player, who was also very creative at youth and reserve team level. The Mile End born former footballer and England Youth international made four South-East Counties Senior League Cup appearances, scoring one goal in the first round cup tie with Queen’s Park Rangers. John Moncur did very well at youth and reserve team level for Spurs, and was yet another member of this side who would play for the Spurs first team. He joined the club during the 1982/83 season and would later go onto make 24 competitive first team appearances for Spurs, scoring one goal. He went out on a number of loans during his time at the club, before leaving on a permanent transfer to join Swindon Town in 1992. The midfielder would later join West Ham United, a club that he would later play for for a long time, before retiring from the game in 2003. He is still really well remembered by the West Ham supporters.

Steve Grenfell: A local lad from nearby Enfield, Steve Grenfell was a talented athlete  who was good at cross-country, and who was also a talented box to box midfielder with a great left foot. He was one of the Spurs youth team players who would play in all six of the South-East Counties Senior League Cup games in 1984/85, scoring an important goal in the second leg of the final against Arsenal. Described to me by former Spurs player Allan Cockram as being like a Bryan Robson type midfielder, the former London Schools footballer and Spurs supporter joined Spurs as an apprentice in 1983, and he was another member of this talented Spurs senior youth team, who would go onto play reserve team football for Spurs. He would actually make one non-competitive first team appearance for Spurs in 1985, in a testimonial with Maidstone United. Steve Grenfell would later join Colchester United on loan, before joining them on a permanent basis in late 1986. He would spend a couple of seasons with Colchester, before later playing for Bromley, Dagenham United, Aylesbury and finally Purfleet. The former footballer would then go into coaching, and would actually return to Spurs for a while to coach for them at youth team level. 

Danny Maddix: Initially a forward who would then go onto successfully become a centre-half later on in his career, Danny Maddix was also a very talented athlete who joined Spurs at Associated Schoolboy level. Maddix made two South-East Counties Senior League Cup appearances in 1984/85, scoring one goal in the second round replay with Southend United. He often played out wide as a winger but could also play as a centre-forward, where he was good at making good runs in behind the defence, and was also a good finisher in front of goal. Danny Maddix was a very agile and also skilful forward at Spurs, and the Kent born former Spurs player also scored eight goals from 19 senior South-East Counties League appearances in the 1984/85 season. Danny Maddix also played for Spurs at reserve team level during his time at the club in the 1980s. He left Spurs in 1987 (Danny went on loan to Southend United for a while in 1986) and would join QPR. Going onto make well over 250 senior competitive first team appearances for the west London club, Maddix had a very good time with QPR, often playing in central-defence. At one point he was one of the fastest players in the Football League.

Danny Maddix would later play for Sheffield Wednesday, Barnet and Grays Athletic. He would also win one international cap for Jamaica, during his football career. Maddix would later become the caretaker manager of Barnet for a time, after finishing his playing career.

Trevor Wilkinson: Trevor Wilkinson is from the Seven Sisters Road area of north London, close to the Spurs ground. A forward during his Spurs days, Wilkinson made four South-East Counties Senior League Cup appearances during the 1984/85 season. He also made 11 South-East Counties Senior League appearances during the same season, scoring one goal. Trevor was very good at holding up the ball, and was also an excellent header of a ball, and was also very good inside the penalty area from corner-kicks. Wilkinson left Spurs at the end of that 1984/85 season, and would later enjoy a successful career in the non-League, playing for the likes of St Albans City, when former Spurs player Allan Cockram was the manager, Enfield Town and Harlow Town. 

David Howells: Originally a centre-forward, Guildford born former footballer David Howells scored an impressive total of 21 goals from 28 competitive appearances for the senior Spurs youth team during 1984/85. A Spurs supporter, David Howells joined the club for the start of the 1984/85 season, and during his first season with the club he scored a very impressive total of 31 goals from 38 appearances for the senior Spurs youth team. Howells played in all six South-East Counties Senior League Cup matches throughout that season, scoring three goals, including one in the first leg of the final. The former England Youth international was a talented finisher who was very impressive at youth team level for the club, and although as time went on he would become a midfielder, where he showed his quality on the ball and ability to pass it well. Howells would make over 250 competitive first team appearances for the Spurs first team, since making his debut for them in 1986, in a league game with Sheffield Wednesday (he scored a goal in that game). He scored a total of 27 competitive first team goals for Spurs, and was along with Vinny Samways an FA Cup winner with the club in 1991.

After enjoying a very successful career with the club that he supported, Howells left them in the summer of 1998, when he joined Southampton. He would later play non-League football for the likes of Hartley Wintney and Havant & Waterlooville. Howells would later go in to coaching after retiring from playing and has since regularly played for the Spurs Legends team. He is still involved in football to this day.

Shaun Close: During the 1984/85 season Shaun Close scored a remarkable total of 27 goals for the senior Spurs youth team, from 25 competitive appearances in the senior South East Counties League and Cup (he scored five of those goals that season in a league game against Fulham). Born in Islington, but brought up in Waltham Abbey, the centre-forward joined Spurs in 1983, and he was one of the best finishers at youth level for Spurs during the 1980s. Close played in all six South-East Counties Senior League Cup matches in the 1984/85 season. And the forward scored four goals from those six matches including two in the first leg of the final with Arsenal, at Highbury. Shaun Close had a real eye for goal as a centre-forward, and unsurprisingly he was also a very good finisher. Shaun Close was a very important player for the senior Spurs youth team in 1984/85, particularly in the South-East Counties Senior League Cup. He was yet another member of this talented team who would go onto play for the club at first team level, scoring two goals from 12 competitive first team appearances. After leaving Spurs in 1988, after a loan move to Bournemouth (he signed for them on a permanent basis in 1988), Close would later play for the likes of Swindon Town and Barnet. The former Spurs player now lives in Australia.

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