Remembering former Spurs player Stuart Skeet:

In this commemorative piece I will be looking back and remembering former Spurs goalkeeper, youth team, A team and reserve team player Stuart Skeet, his time at Spurs and his footballing career. Born in Edmonton, in the July of 1948, Stuart Christopher Skeet grew up in nearby Cheshunt, and he was a talented all-round sportsman during his schooldays. As well as being very good at football, Stuart was also a good golfer, fisherman, squash player and athlete. The 100 yards record holder at his old school in Cheshunt, Stuart was scouted and recommended to Spurs and manager Bill Nicholson, by former chief-scout Dickie Walker, after he had watched Stuart play local schools football in the Cheshunt area. Stuart was first associated with Spurs as a youth player before signing for them in the May of 1964, at the age of 16. The tall goalkeeper (Stuart was 6ft 2 1/2 inches tall) would sign professional forms with Spurs in the December of 1965. 

Part of a very talented Spurs youth team, which included the likes of Jimmy Pearce, John Pratt and Tony Want, Stuart was the first choice goalkeeper for the Spurs youth side, before the mid 1960s. He would later progress up to the Spurs A team, who competed in the old Metropolitan League. In that old Metropolitan League Stuart would play against teams like Sheppey United and Chatham Town, and that would have been a great experience for the then young goalkeeper, against tough sides. He loved being at Spurs as an apprentice and as a professional, and the goalkeeper who is remembered by his old Spurs youth teammates (such as Jimmy Pearce) as being a solid, reliable and talented goalkeeper, also had a good sense of humour. Jimmy Pearce remembers Stuart as being a “ genuinely nice man ” and from speaking to a number of Stuart’s old Spurs teammates over the last couple of years, they all say very similar things about Stuart, who was clearly a very popular player at Spurs, in the Youth, A team and reserve sides.

Stuart Skeet played a really good number of games for the old Spurs A side, and he would eventually get opportunities to play for the Spurs reserve side during the 1960s. It was of course at that time in the club’s history a great achievement to make the Spurs reserve side, as the Spurs reserve side had a very, very good squad of players throughout the 1960s. In addition, the legendary Pat Jennings was the first choice goalkeeper for the Spurs first team during much of Stuart’s time at Spurs, so there were basically no opportunities for Stuart to get first teams experience at the club. There was also double winner Bill Brown and Stuart’s old friend from the Spurs days Roy Brown at Spurs as goalkeepers during the 1960s. However, Pat Jennings and Stuart Skeet also got on well, and Pat Jennings always used to say that Stuart was a very good goalkeeper. In fact Stuart actually borrowed Pat’s Jaguar car for his wedding. 

Stuart used to clean the great Jimmy Greaves’ boots as an apprentice, and Jimmy was a player who like so many of the other apprentices, Stuart idolised. Very confident as a goalkeeper on the pitch, Stuart Skeet was a member of the Spurs youth sides who did very well in The Netherlands at several end of season tournaments, and he would have remembered those tournaments really well. After playing matches for the Spurs reserve and A side, Stuart went out on a loan move to Northampton Town in the March of 1969, for a short time. Stuart would get the train up to Northampton from London, all of the time for matches. He left Spurs not long after returning from his loan at Northampton, and although Stuart did go to The Republic of Ireland, to trial for a team based just outside of Dublin called Drumcondra, he didn’t actually sign for them in the end because it was only at a semi-professional level, and he would have needed to have got a job in Ireland, to continue playing football there.

Stuart would continue playing football while also working as a manager at a bookmakers in the Enfield area (Stuart was very good at mathematics). The goalkeeper played for a number of Saturday and Sunday teams until his late 40s, and he would later go into coaching, where he coached a number of men’s team and also youth sides as well, as Stuart really enjoyed the coaching side of football. He always followed Spurs in the years after he left the club, and he would even coach with former Spurs player Ralph Coates, at Allenburys at Glaxo. A man of many talents, Stuart was also a really good artist, and he was a much loved family orientated person. Stuart very sadly passed away from Bowel cancer in the February of 2011, and one of his last wishes was to watch Spurs play. He was able to fulfil that wish shorty before he died, as he watch a match between Spurs and Bolton Wanderers. Stuart’s passing was mentioned in the match programme for the Spurs versus AC Milan (home) match.

Stuart Skeet’s son Simon, is also a talented sportsman. And during his youth both Spurs and Chelsea scouted him for their respective Academy set-ups. However, at Stuart Skeet’s funeral a number of his former Spurs teammates were in attendance, including John Pratt. Stuart may not have had the opportunity to play for Spurs at first team level, but he was a man of great talent, who was highly thought of at Spurs, and who also achieved a lot during his life. Many thanks must go to Stuart’s daughter Louise, and also his former Spurs teammate Jimmy Pearce, for all of their help in writing this commemorative piece.

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