My interview with former Spurs player Bobby Wiles:

A member of the the very talented 1969/70 FA Youth Cup winning squad at Spurs, Bobby Wiles mainly played as a forward for Spurs at youth level, during his time at the club. Part of the same Spurs youth team as Steve Perryman, Graeme Souness and Phil Holder, Wiles was a player who had good pace, skill and a real eye for goal. After leaving Spurs in the early 1970s he went onto have a successful time in the non-League, playing for the likes of Walthamstow Avenue and Hayes. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of talking to Bobby about his time at Spurs. 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Bobby: Like everybody else I played for the school team, and then I went onto represent the district side from 11 right the way through to when I finished school at 16. So I was part of Walthamstow Boys and then Waltham Forest, but I was also selected for Essex although I never played, but that was where I first met Steve Perryman and Phil Holder. A lot of my footballing life revolved around my dad because he was interested and he taught me a lot. I played Sunday football for Walthamstow Rangers, which was quite a prominent team then and it was where I met a lot of the lads who I went to Tottenham with. People like Steve Kirby, Dave Phillips and Tony Hafford, who was a goalkeeper. With Tony I never really understood why he never made it at Tottenham, because in the first year that I was there he played every game in the junior side. But then when we went back the next year he had gone. But you also had people like Billy Hazel (former Spurs player), who was also in my Sunday side.

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

Bobby: Well there was a chap who I knew from my school days and his dad was a scout for Tottenham in the Walthamstow region. At the time I was already playing at Leyton Orient for the junior side. I played a few games and enjoyed it but didn’t really understand what was going on then because football for me was just a game that I was able to play quite well. So this scout got me a trial at Spurs with people like Steve Kirby and Dave Phillips, and I remember having to come back from holiday a day early so that I could play in the trial on the Saturday. I played in the trial which was really good for me as I knew a lot of the people there, and it was one of those things where I had always been a midfield player. But when I got there they said that they had enough midfield players and can you play up front on the left. I didn’t mind where I played and so I said yes. I had done quite well in the game and after the game Eddie Baily came up to me and asked me if I would be interested in joining Spurs to come and train, and I was very happy to join those people. So that was how it started for me from that trial from a guy who only knew me from schools football. I had had scouts look at me from Spurs, such as Charlie Faulkner and Dickie Walker, but it was only through this trial that I managed to get an opportunity there.

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

Bobby: Well my love of football came from watching Bobby Charlton, who I loved. I just thought that he was a fantastic player who had everything. He could score goals, he could make goals and he was just brilliant. Of course that sort of led me to supporting Manchester United. But I did admire people like Jimmy Greaves, who was a superb player, and also I loved John White. I used to go down to Cheshunt to collect autographs, and I can remember being so happy that I had managed to get John white’s autograph. But for me Bobby Charlton was the main one, but there was also my dad who only ever played Saturday and Sunday football, but he was the main influence on my career.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Bobby: I didn’t really see a lot of the first team because we trained on a Tuesday and Thursday. Pat Welton joined the same year that I did at Spurs when he took the job as the head of youth development at Spurs in 1968. So Pat was a big influence on me, but then when I started to play there were people like Steve Perryman, who was just superb and also a lovely guy. There was also Phil Holder, who although he didn’t play much in the last year because of injury he was quite a big influence on the team, as he was the captain before Steve took over. Basically he was quite a big influence of what went on in the side and the way the side played. Also when I joined Spurs Graeme Souness also joined Spurs as well, and I can remember playing the first game that I did for Spurs with Graeme in the side. Right from the off you could see that he was a class player.

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

Bobby: Well when I was at Tottenham I played in the forward line of the front three. So the front three of the youth side was myself, Ray Clarke and Johnny Oliver. So in a 4-3-3 I played on the left side of the forward line which was never me. I had never played forward in my life before as I was always a midfield player. But I was quick and reasonably brave, and being quick made a lot of difference during the games. But I could also play although I don’t ever put myself down as being a forward, but I did score every other game, and so I had a reasonable record of scoring goals. Whereas the other forwards scored pretty much every game 

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

Bobby: I didn’t really have a lot of chance to see the first team, but I remember one time sitting near the edge of the pitch watching Jimmy Greaves, as he was someone who I would take note of, as by then I was regularly playing up front. But it was quite difficult as we never had a car and every time that we traveled to Spurs it was by the bus, so it was only if I got an opportunity to watch Spurs after we had got back from our morning game. So I would say that Jimmy Greaves would be the one that I would take note of and watch his movement and things like that.

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

Bobby: I had a brilliant time and I just couldn’t believe that I was playing with some of these players, who were absolutely excellent. People like Bobby Almond, who had come to Spurs in the second year. And he was a centre-back who was playing at right-back, but he came in and did marvellous. Also you had Mike Dillon and Billy Edwards who were two really solid centre-halves and footballers, and you had Phil Holder who was a driving force in the team. Then when Phil got injured a young guy called Eddie Jones came in and played left-back and did very, very well. You also had Brian Turner who was Australian, and he came over for that last year that I was there and he was on the ground-staff. But he was a powerful player in midfield who was also good on the ball, but then you also had Graeme Souness who played most of the time in the centre of midfield, and he was just a quality player. There was also Johnny Oliver as well, and for someone who played out wide he scored lots of goals and he could strike a ball with both feet as well. I realised at an early age that I wasn’t going to make it as a pro, as when I looked at some of these young players at Spurs I was never that good. But playing in that side made me a better player, and I went on and had a good career in non-League and amateur football. So I look back at my time at Spurs as being a great life changing event for me, and I loved it.

I met a lot of nice people at Spurs as well, and a lot of the people that I played with at Spurs I ended up playing with in non-League football as well. People like Dave Yerby, Steve Kirby, John Field and Dave Phillips. They all went onto have good amateur careers.

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

Bobby: Basically they let me go, and it was just at the same time as we had come back from our end of season tour in Holland – at the Rotterdam Tournament. We got off the train coming back and Pat Welton had pulled myself and Bobby Almond aside and said to us that we weren’t going to be required for next year, as by then we’d have to be playing in reserve football. And basically that wasn’t going to happen, and so I left Spurs in 1971 and from there I went to Romford, who were in the Southern League. They were run by a guy called Harry Clarke, who was a Spurs player. He took me there and I played in the reserve side there for a little while and played a few games there. I enjoyed it and it was good, and there were a lot of old pros there like Ted Ditchburn and people like that who Spurs would know, but I wasn’t going to get into the first team early enough for me. I wanted to go and play on a regular basis and so I finished up going to Walthamstow Avenue, and as it happens the guy there was called Peter Carey, who was an ex-Leyton Orient player.  Just before I’d got there he had signed Bobby Almond, and then the week after I’d got there he had signed Johnny Oliver, and so that was fantastic. I stayed at the Avenue for five years and a lot of my friends now are people that I played with at Walthamstow Avenue. Then after five years at the Avenue I went to Hayes, which was near to where Steve Perryman was in Ealing. I spent five years at Hayes where I played with Cyrille Regis for two years, and also there were a lot of players who had come out of the pro game having finished their pro career and went into the non-League.

After leaving Hayes I went to Leytonstone-Ilford and that was a really good time for me as I played in a really good side there. We came third in the Isthmian League in the first year, and then the second year we won it and then in the third year we finished second. So I had three years there where I really enjoyed it, and then after I left there I went to Barking to play for Peter Carey at Barking for a year, and so I had 14/15 years in non-League football playing a decent standard with some very, very good players and nice people. Non-League football was the best for me as I think that I realised that I was never going to be pro, and so I think that I had the best of both worlds really. I also managed to play in an FA Youth Cup winning team with some excellent players and I had a good career in the non-League.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Bobby: That would have to be playing in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final. We had over ten thousand people playing there then, and that for me was the pinnacle and I loved it. Unfortunately I didn’t play in the other three games as they picked Micky Flanagan to play, but I didn’t lose out to someone who I didn’t have some respect for as Micky Flanagan had a fantastic career. 

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

Bobby: Because it’s a Tottenham thing I could say Graeme Souness and Steve Perryman, but the greatest player who I’ve played with was Cyrille Regis. He was just superb and when he came to Hayes he was just 18 years old and had only had one season playing non-League football in a lower division, but when he came he was just fantastic. He was also a lovely, lovely man. I also played with Robin Friday, who was just phenomenal, but if I had to choose one player then it would be Cyrille as I got to know him really well. Of course there was also Graeme Souness, who had everything, but I think that he was a bit impatient when he was at Spurs, and you can understand that with what he’d done with his youth caps, but I don’t think that Bill Nicholson wanted to put him in the team then. Bill Nicholson was a nice man and I met him about four or five times after I left Spurs and quite a long time after. He would always make a point of coming up to me to see how I was doing. He was a gentleman but he could also make hard decisions as well. I can remember training once and Jimmy Greaves was training with us in the youth set-up, and that was just before he left to go to West Ham. 

Could you talk me through your memories of the 1969/70 FA Youth Cup winning campaign. And also describe what it was like to be a part of that squad?

Bobby: That was something special to me. We had played a lot of games and I don’t think that we realised that we were going to be that close to winning it. We’d been beat a couple of times during the season, but only in youth games and I think that we lost an early youth game against Millwall, and I think that we also lost a game to Fulham during that year 1-0. We had West Ham in the first game of the Youth Cup and we had already played them a couple of times during the season and beat them quite comfortably, but we ended up beating them 6-1 which built us up a little bit. Then in the next game we played Leyton Orient, and I think that we beat them 2-0 and Johnny Oliver got a couple of goals. But my lasting memory of it was the next round because we played Arsenal, and I managed to get us the only goal which won us the game. We’d beaten them 2-1 at their place earlier on in the season, and then we beat them 1-0 and Steve Perryman played a rare league game for us. After we played Arsenal we played Reading and then Stoke, and then the semi-final against Bristol City. We ran out reasonably comfortable winners, and then for the first leg of the final against Coventry I enjoyed it. But I didn’t play that well and I lost my place in the side to Micky Flanagan for the second leg, and unfortunately we lost the second leg 1-0. I can’t really remember much about that game, but what was annoying was that we had already played Coventry that season and beat them 3-0.

When we played Coventry in the final they seemed to play better players such as Jimmy Holmes, but anyway we recorded a 2-2 draw in the first replay. I think that Johnny Oliver and Steve Perryman scored. Then in the final game Graeme Souness got a goal from the edge of the box, before getting himself sent off! So that really was the highlight for me as a youth player, and it was just brilliant.

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

Bobby: The best memory for me was obviously the goal against the Arsenal, and that is something that I’ll always remember. As it happens my wife’s family are all Arsenal supporters and I’d just started going out with her at that particular time. I remember being in her front room when her brother came in and asked me if I played football, and I said that I played the other night against Arsenal. I didn’t know then that they were all Arsenal supporters, but I said that we managed to knock them out of the cup and that I scored. So that wasn’t a great start. I made some good friends from my time at Spurs and I have good memories of my time there. I listen to Steve Perryman’s podcast and he has been a good ambassador for the club, but I don’t understand how he never got England caps. But my best memory of Tottenham is meeting those teammates and then seeing how their careers developed, which was a pleasure for me.

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

Bobby: That would probably be John Borland, who was a Scottish international who came down to play for Dagenham. He was a really tough competitor and midfield player who I always had a really tough time against.

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

Bobby: I spent most of the time with the amateurs as we didn’t really get to train that much with the apprentices and professionals, as we trained Tuesday and Thursday evenings. So Bobby Almond, Johnny Oliver and Eddie Jones were friends of mine, and also Ronnie Gilson was a lovely chap, but he never played that much in our side. But when required he did really well. So those would be the people that I really remember.

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

Bobby: It’s difficult for me to say but my thing would be work hard, get good habits and also don’t be afraid to use your skill. The youngsters nowadays have so much skill, and they are taught more than we ever were. The best part of our training was running around the pitch at White Hart Lane. So nowadays it’s easier now for the youngsters in some respects, but they’ve got to use the skills that they’ve been given. I was lucky to be able to be given the opportunity to play for Spurs.

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: The club will always be close to my heart because of my time playing there. For me it was special and I can still remember goals that I scored for Spurs, and I remember being livid with the Spurs people in a game against West Ham. As I got a second goal there (it was a diving header) as an own goal to Clive Charles, as my effort was going in! It’s a silly thing to remember but that would have been something for me to carry. However, it was a pleasure to play for Spurs and my overriding memory would just be the people that I met. 

Spurs Under 18’s 3-0 West Ham United: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 18 side hosted fellow London side West Ham United at Hotspur Way in a league meeting on Saturday morning. Spurs won what was a very lively match 3-0, with Jamie Donley, Jaden Williams and Rio Kyerematen getting Spurs’ goals. Spurs lined up with Thimothée Lo-Tutala in goal, while Maxwell McKnight, Alfie Dorrington, Archie Chaplin and Will Andiyapan lined up in defence. Captain Dante Cassanova and Rio Kyerematen started in central midfield, and Khalon Haysman and Renaldo Torraj started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Jamie Donley. Jaden Williams led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the match underway. Renaldo Torraj headed away an early headed effort on the Spurs goal before Alfie Dorrington blocked Regan Clayton’s effort inside the Spurs penalty area. Divin Mubama headed just over the Spurs goal from a cross, as West Ham started the game well. However, Spurs took the lead in the 14th minute of the game through Jamie Donley. Maxwell McKnight’s lofted pass over the top of the West Ham defence set Donley through on goal, and with the West Ham goalkeeper off his line the Northern Ireland Under 19 international decided to try a lobbed effort on goal. Donley’s looping effort went over the West Ham goalkeeper and bounced into the back of the goal, 1-0. Not long afterwards Regan Clayton lost the ball just outside of the West Ham box, and Jaden Williams was there to receive the ball, enter the West Ham box and finish low past Jacob Knightbridge and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 2-0.

Lo-Tutala saved a free-kick from Archie Woods before Archie Chaplin lost the ball to Woods, who then hit an effort across the face of the Spurs goal. Dante Cassanova had an effort blocked before George Earthy hit an effort over from the edge of the Spurs box. After Jaden Williams had won the ball off of Archie Woods he tried to catch the goalkeeper off his line from distance, but his effort went wide. Donley had a headed effort saved from Khalon Haysman’s cross, before the final piece of action of the half saw Renaldo Torraj latch onto McKnight’s cross inside the West Ham box. The Spurs wingers resulting effort hit against the woodwork. West Ham got the second half underway. Khalon Haysman was shown a yellow card for a challenge, before Maxwell McKnight was also shown a yellow card a couple of minutes later. Substitute Gideon Kadua had an effort well saved by Lo-Tutala from close range, in what was West Ham’s best chance of the game so far. Jacob Knightbridge tipped behind Haysman’s curling effort inside the West Ham box, and then from the following corner kick Rio Kyerematen met Dante Cassanova’s very good ball into the box, and headed it past the West Ham goalkeeper, despite his best efforts, 3-0. Jamie Donley was shown a yellow card shortly after the restart, and then a couple of moments later Will Andiyapan prevented Gideon Kadua from being through on goal, by making a very good and well timed challenge.

Renaldo Torraj had an effort blocked, and then Spurs made their first change of the game as George Abbott came on to replace Renaldo Torraj. Abbott was fouled soon after coming on, by Asher Falase, who was shown his second yellow card of the match and sent off. Thomas Bloxham replaced Khalon Haysman a couple of minutes before Jaden Williams headed an effort just over the West Ham goal from Dante Cassanova’s corner kick. Lo-Tutala saved well from Gideon Kadua’s headed effort, before Maxwell McKnight came off to be replaced by Jahziah Linton. A long ball over the top allowed Gideon Kadua to be through on goal, but his low effort went wide of the goal. Regan Clayton then hit an effort over the Spurs goal from distance, before at the other end of the pitch Williams cut the ball back inside the West Ham box for substitute George Abbott, but his effort went wide. George Earthy hit a late effort over, before Dorrington headed over Cassanova’s free-kick, in what was the final piece of action from the game. Spurs’ next game at this level is away to West Brom in the league – next Saturday.

Player reviews:

  • Thimothée Lo-Tutala: Making a couple of good and important saves and commanding his box well, I thought that the France Under 19 international had a good game.
  • Maxwell McKnight: The right-back got the assist for Spurs’ opening goal of the game after making a good pass over the top of the West Ham defence to set-up Jamie Donley. McKnight played well today and also got forward well too.
  • Alfie Dorrington: It was an assertive performance from the right-sided centre-half. Dorrington was good in the air, kept good positioning throughout the game and also made some good challenges as well.
  • Archie Chaplin: My man of the match, see below.
  • Will Andiyapan: Starting at left-back and then later switching to right-back for the latter stages of the game, Wales Under 17 international Will Andiyapan had another good and solid game. Andiyapan made a really important and courageous challenge to stop Gideon Kadua from being through on goal during the second half.
  • Dante Cassanova: The Spurs captain impressed with his excellent deliveries from set-pieces today, and the midfielder also played well in the central areas of the pitch. 
  • Rio Kyerematen: The midfielder went on some good forward runs through the middle off the pitch, worked hard off the ball and also took his second half goal well.
  • Khalon Haysman: Playing out of position out on the right flank against West Ham – Khalon Haysman got stuck in defensively, tracked back well and also got forward well with the ball on occasions.
  • Jamie Donley: Showing good skill on the ball Jamie Donley took his first half goal excellently. Donley made some good passes and runs into good areas of the pitch, and he pressed the defence really well. 
  • Renaldo Torraj: Making some good forward runs off the ball, left-winger for the match Renaldo Torraj came very close to scoring just before half-time.
  • Jaden Williams: The Spurs centre-forward led the line really well again. Williams took his goal well, moved well off the ball and came close to scoring more goals on the day.
  • George Abbott: The second half substitute was lively out on the left flank and he came close to scoring during his time on the pitch.
  • Thomas Bloxham: The second half substitute went out to play on the right flank, where he was forward thinking whenever he received the ball.
  • Jahziah Linton: The late substitute filled in at left-back for Spurs on Saturday.

My man of the match: Archie Chaplin. Carrying on from his impressive performance against Reading two weeks ago, central defender and schoolboy footballer Archie Chaplin did well once again for the Spurs Under 18 side today. Like Alfie Dorringotn he was assertive in defence, kept good positioning and passed the ball out well from the back. Early on in the game Chaplin made an important challenge to stop a West Ham forward from being through on goal, and he also made some more tackles during the game, as him and Dorrington complimented each other well. I was impressed with how he has stepped up to play for Spurs at this level, and hopefully he’ll start again against West Brom next Saturday.

Spurs Under 18’s versus West Ham United: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side return to league action this Saturday when they host West Ham United at Hotspur Way (the game starts at 11:00am). Head coach Stuart Lewis saw his side win their first competitive match of the new season in their last league match, which was against Reading, earlier this month. Spurs most recently lost 3-1 to Leeds United in the Premier League Cup, last Saturday. Last season Spurs won their opening match against West Ham 4-1, before then recording a 1-1 draw at Hotspur Way later in the season. West Ham have picked up six points from their opening four league games of this season, while Spurs have picked up three points from their opening four league games. Always a tough game, Spurs versus West Ham at this level has been a memorable fixture in recent years. Spurs will be hoping to record their second competitive win of the season tomorrow, but with players like Sonny Perkins (West Ham’s top scorer at this level this season), Michael Forbes and Gideon Kadua, it will be a tough game. I shall be reporting on tomorrow’s game, and my match report will be out late tomorrow. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Hayton, Torraj, Dorrington, Andiyapan, Linton, Cassanova (c), Haysman, Bloxham, Donley, Owen, Williams. 

Subs from: Krasniqi, McKnight, Chaplin, Kyerematen, Heaps.

Injured/unavailable: Roshaun Mathurin.

Doubtful: Jordan Hackett.

Previous meeting: 1-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Sonny Perkins. West Ham’s top scorer in the league this season – Sonny Perkins has been involved in five goals from four appearances (four goals and one assist).

Farewell and good luck Elliot Thorpe:

Spurs’ development side player Elliot Thorpe has left the club, as it has been officially announced by Elliot on Twitter. The Hinchingbrooke born footballer who had been at Spurs from a young age following a move from Cambridge United some years ago, made 18 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 23 side last season. Primarily a CAM, Thorpe can also play out wide, or as an eight or four. The Wales youth international who was part of the 2015 Victory Shield winning campaign with Wales, signed scholarship forms with Spurs for the 2017/18 season. Limited to only four appearances that season for the Under 18 side because of injuries (Elliot also had quite a big growth spurt during that period in time), Thorpe did make more appearances during the following season, especially during the second half of the 2018/19 campaign (he scored his first goal for the Spurs Under 18 side in a win over Fulham in the March of 2019). Elliot finished a fine second half of the season off by travelling to the Terborg Tournament to play for Spurs’ Under 19 side in the prestigious tournament.

An excellent pre-season with the Spurs Under 23 side (2019/20) followed, and it saw Elliot impress greatly in the Tournoi Europeen in France, which showed great promise for the season ahead. Although he had to wait until the January of 2020 to make his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 23 side, in a Premier League 2 game against Chelsea (he made an additional competitive appearance for the Spurs Under 23 side that season, and scored his first goal for them in that game). During the season just gone the 20 year old scored two goals (he scored a brace for the Under 23 side against Liverpool at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) from 18 competitive appearances for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side.

A highly skilful and forward thinking midfield player with great close control and an eye for a forward pass, it was great to see Thorpe get a really good run of games for the Spurs Under 23 side in 2020/21. And at the end of that season he was rewarded with his first call up to the Wales Under 21 side. Not just a player with silky skills and flair about his game (he loves to take on players for skill and often glides past them), Thorpe is also an industrious and incredibly hardworking midfield player, who loves to get stuck in and press opposition players. He plays the game with real bite, and what I have always really liked about Elliot’s game is that he plays the game with a smile on his face, and is always enthusiastic on the pitch. A good finisher (he used to play as a centre-forward at times during his early days at Spurs) who can cause a lot of problems for defenders with his off the ball movement, Thorpe’s runs into the penalty area is one of his very best off the ball attributes. I was hoping that Elliot might have got a chance to play for the Spurs first team in pre-season, as I explained in an earlier piece which I wrote on Spurs Academy players and pre-season. I’m sad to see Elliot leave Spurs, as he is a player who I had high hopes for at the club, and one who was I hoping to see go out on loan in the near future. However, I do feel that it is a shame that not a lot of Spurs fans got to see Elliot play regularly, especially last season when games were behind closed doors, to see what his game is about. However, I very much look forward to seeing how Elliot gets on at his next club, and for what the future holds for him in the game.

I feel very optimistic for Elliot’s future in football, and hopefully he’ll get a really good chance to impress at his next club. Not only is Elliot a really quality young player with great potential, but he is also a really nice young man, who would always go out of his way to come over and speak to me and say hello to me at games if he saw me. I would like to wish him all the very best of luck for the future. Farewell and good luck, Elliot.

Spurs Under 21’s 0-1 Cambridge United: (match report)

Spurs’ Development side played their second group game of this seasons Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night, when they faced League One side Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium. Wayne Burnett’s side played well against Cambridge United, and they probably created the better chances. However, Sam Smith’s goal in the 72nd minute of the game won it for Cambridge. Spurs lined up with Joshua Oluwayemi in goal, while a back four consisting of Matthew Craig, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Kallum Cesay started in front of him. Captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Harvey White started in central midfield, and Dilan Markanday and Jack Clarke started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Nile John. Alfie Devine led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway on a cool evening, but it was Cambridge who had the first real chance of the game. A long ball over the top of the Spurs defence resulted in Jack Lankester being able to get inside the Spurs box, with the ball, but Oluwayemi came close to the Cambridge player, made himself big and made the save, before the ball was put out of play. Oluwayemi then gathered a low cross from George Williams on the right flank before Spurs managed their first effort on target of the game. Devine passed the ball to Harvey White on the edge of the Cambridge penalty area, and he tried his luck with a powerful and awkward effort for the goalkeeper to deal with. Kai McKenzie-Lyle did manage to save the Spurs midfielder’s effort though.

After receiving the ball and turning with it Dilan Markanday brought the ball forward at pace. He then passed the ball to Devine inside the Cambridge box, but the second year scholars effort on goal was saved. Matthew Craig blocked Ben Worman’s effort well on the edge of the Spurs box, and then a couple of moments later George Williams saw his deflected effort tipped behind by Oluwayemi. After connecting with Ben Worman’s corner kick Lloyd Jones saw his headed effort blocked, before then hitting the ball over the Spurs goal. Devine then had a low effort saved by McKenzie-Lyle, before Markanday had an effort blocked after going on a good run forward. Spurs were playing well and after Harvey White found Dilan Markanday in a good position on the right flank the very skilful Spurs winger showed great skill to enter the Cambridge box, but he didn’t connect with the ball how he would of hoped, and his effort went across the face of the goal and wide. Alfie Devine then had an effort blocked, and then a couple of minutes later he had a headed effort saved from a Matthew Craig cross. Oluwayemi was shown a yellow card for an off the ball incident just before half-time, and then Sam Smith hit an effort across the Spurs goal, before Jensen Weir then hit it over, in what turned out to be the last effort of the first half. 

Cambridge United got the second half underway. After receiving Nile John’s pass inside the Cambridge box Alfie Devine hit the ball over the goal. After showing some great skill inside the Cambridge penalty area Dilan Markanday then had an effort blocked, before the ball then came to John, who also had an effort blocked. Matthew Craig blocked behind an effort at the other end, before Dilan Markanday hit an effort wide from the edge of the Cambridge box. Oluwayemi did well to save an effort from the edge of the Spurs box a couple of minutes later, before out of nothing Markanday created a great chance. After receiving the ball around the halfway line he brought the ball forward at pace, showing great skill to enter the Cambridge box. He eventually had an effort blocked, but the ball then came to a Jack Clarke, who curled his effort wide of the goal. Marqes Muir then did well to stop a promising Cambridge move. Spurs captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster was replaced by Yago Santiago, who took up the centre-forwards position. Despite Spurs’ excellent defensive work throughout the game, they conceded what turned out to be the Cambridge winner in the 72nd minute of the match. A cross from the left flank was met by Jack Lankester inside the Spurs, and his volleyed effort was headed past Oluwayemi by Sam Smith, 0-1.

A Cambridge United forward then curled over an effort from the edge of the Spurs box, before Nile John had an effort saved by McKenzie-Lyle inside the Spurs box, after receiving Markanday’s pass. Spurs then had an excellent late chance, as Alfie Devine hit Jack Clarke’s cross into the side netting of the Cambridge goal at the back post from close range, leaving him clearly very disappointed. Kallum Cesay replaced Michael Craig for the final minutes of the game, as it finished 1-0 to the home side. Spurs’ next game at this level is at home to Derby County in the Premier League 2, on Monday.

Player reviews: 

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper did well against Cambridge United. Oluwayemi was particularly impressive in how he dealt with crosses.
  • Matthew Craig: Despite playing out of position this was a very good performance at right back from Matthew Craig. The 18 year old defended really well down his side of the pitch and made some really good tackles. Craig also kept very good positioning throughout the match.
  • Marqes Muir: Keeping good positioning and defending well alongside Tobi Omole in central-defence, Marqes Muir put in another solid performance for Spurs.
  • Tobi Omole: The more experienced of the two central defenders, Tobi Omole and Marqes Muir complimented each other well in defence, and like Marqes Muir I thought that Tobi had a good game.
  • Kallum Cesay: Bringing the ball forward well down the left flank and getting into good forward positions, the full-back showed some good quality on the ball.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Playing the game at a good intensity in central midfield, Spurs captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster made some good passes along with Harvey White early on in the game. Lyons-Foster kept good positioning, as always, and also made some good interceptions.
  • Harvey White: The midfielder impressed with his passing and positioning, and once again playing further forward in midfield allowed him to get on the ball a lot more, and also to try and create chances as well.
  • Dilan Markanday: My man of the match, see below. 
  • Nile John: Playing as the CAM for Spurs, midfielder Nile John made some good runs into the Cambridge box and showed good skill on the ball.
  • Jack Clarke: Playing on the left flank for this match, Jack Clarke looked to get on the ball whenever he could, and he also worked hard off it as well.
  • Alfie Devine: Making some clever runs off the ball, Alfie Devine was unlucky not to have scored a couple of goals on Tuesday. His movement was good, and he would often drop deep to get on the ball to try and make things happen.
  • Yago Santiago: The second half substitute came on to play as the centre-forward for Spurs.
  • Michael Craig: The late substitute came on and played in midfield. 

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday. The winger went on many excellent runs forward with the ball from the right flank, and he was without doubt Spurs’ most creative player against Cambridge United. Markanday showed some fantastic skill on the ball, worked hard off it and deserved a goal for the quality of his performance. The 20 year old seems to be getting better and better by each game that he plays. He has been outstanding so far this season.

Spurs Under 21’s versus Cambridge United: (match preview)

Spurs’ Development squad have an important Papa John’s Trophy group game to play on Tuesday night, when they play League One side Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium (the game starts at 19:00pm). Wayne Burnett’s side recorded a 3-3 draw with Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League 2 on Friday, in their last competitive match. However, it was a game that they probably deserved to win, especially as they went 2-0 up during the first half. In Group 16 of this seasons Papa John’s Trophy, Spurs won their opening group game of the competition 4-3 against Stevenage, in what was a very impressive performance, especially as Spurs were missing a number of players because of international call-ups. Cambridge United also won their opening group game – beating Oxford United 4-1. Cambridge United have started the new League One season well, picking up 11 points from their opening seven league matches. This will be a very tough test for Spurs tomorrow, against a good side who also play a good and effective style of football. Former Spurs Academy player Shilow Tracey joined Cambridge United this summer, and the one time regular player for Wayne Burnett’s side has started the season well for his new club. A very direct winger, the Spurs players will be well aware of how difficult he can be to defend against. 23 year old forward Sam Smith scored a brace in the game against Oxford United, and he will be another player to watch out for, as will talented and versatile former Spurs Academy defender Jubril Okedina.

A point or possibly two points (if the game goes to a penalty shootout) would be a very good result tomorrow, against arguably the second toughest side in the group. With Spurs’ first team playing Wolves in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night this could mean that some of the Spurs Under 23 players miss out on the Cambridge United game. However, it will be interesting to see what the team is tomorrow night. I will be reporting on tomorrow’s match and would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Lavinier, Fagan-Walcott, Omole, Cesay, Lyons-Foster (c), White, Clarke, Pedder, Santiago, Markanday. 

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Muir, Kyezu, Matthew Craig, Donley.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: Spurs 3-2.

My score prediction: 2-2.

My one to watch: Jubril Okedina. A Spurs Academy player for many years up until this summer, versatile defender Jubril Okedina is in my opinion a very good defender who reads the game really well.

Some notes on Spurs loanee J’Neil Bennett’s performance against Burton Albion:

Spurs loanee J’Neil Bennett completed the whole of Crewe Alexandra’s 2-0 League One win over Burton Albion on Saturday afternoon. It was a home debut to remember for the 19 year old, who was involved in the opening goal for Crewe, before then scoring his first goal at senior level, late on in the game. Bennett started the match at The Mornflake Stadium out on the left flank, and his first real involvement in the game came fairly early on. After receiving the ball on the left flank the winger went past Burton defender John Brayford before finding Scott Robertson on the edge of the Burton penalty area. However, the ball eventually ended up coming back to Bennett, who managed to find a teammate who came close to scoring the opening goal of the game. A couple of minutes later J’Neil found another teammate inside the Burton box, with a good cross. However, his teammate was marginally offside when he headed the ball just over the goal. Bennett played a big part in Crewe’s opening goal of the game, in the tenth minute of the match. After receiving Callum Ainley’s pass Bennett entered the left side of the Burton box, he then tried his luck on goal with a low effort, but it took a big deflection off of Michael Bostwick before going into the back of the net.

I noticed during the opening stages of the match that J’Neil was pressing well, staying high whenever the opposition had corner kicks and also switching flanks on occasions. A good run from the Spurs man down the left came to an end when John Brayford managed to win the ball, but then a matter of moments later Bennett had an effort blocked by Burton defender Conor Shaughnessy, after cutting inside from the left flank. Then after again cutting inside onto his right foot he tried his luck with an effort on goal from the edge of the Burton box, but goalkeeper Ben Garratt comfortably saved his effort, as it came at him in a fairly central position. Just before the end of the first half Bennett had a cross cleared from the left flank. At the beginning of the second half J’Neil ended up receiving a pass from Callum Ainley down the left flank. He then worked his way into the Burton penalty area before whipping in a promising cross right across the face of the Burton goal. Burton had a man sent off in the 67th minute of the game. A good run down the left flank by Bennett ended in him knocking the ball past John Brayford and then passing the ball to a teammate, but the move then ended up coming to an end despite showing promise. A teammate then played a free-kick short to Bennett on the left flank, and he then skilfully went past Jonny Smith, before having a low cross cleared.

A lofted pass from Josh Lundstram to Bennett on the left flank saw him go on a really good forward run. Bennett eventually cut inside into the Burton box, before then hitting a low effort on goal, which went past goalkeeper Ben Garratt and into the back of the net to win the game for Crewe, and it clearly meant a lot to him. J’Neil made a really good impact on today’s game, he was very direct with the ball and worked hard off the ball.

Spurs Under 23’s 3-3 Blackburn Rovers: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side traveled up to County Lancashire to face Blackburn Rovers at the LFA County Ground, in the Premier League 2 on Friday night. Wayne Burnett’s side had gone 2-0 up during a fascinating first half, which ended up being 3-2 to Spurs. The game however, ended up finishing 3-3, after Harvey White had a late penalty kick saved. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal for Spurs, while a back four consisting of Matthew Craig, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Tobi Omole and Kallum Cesay lined up in front of him. Captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Harvey White started in central midfield, and Jack Clarke and Alfie Devine started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Nile John. Dilan Markanday returned to lead the line for Spurs. It was Wayne Burnett’s side who got the game started, and it was Spurs who created the first real chance of the game. After John went on a surging forward run with the ball, the midfielder passed it to Devine, down the left hand side of the Blackburn penalty area. However, Devine ended up hitting the ball over the goal from a promising position. Malachi Fagan-Walcott blocked behind Connor McBride’s effort from inside the Spurs box, before at the opposite end of the pitch Nile John hit a low effort wide from distance. A good run into the Spurs box by left-back Lenni Cirino ended in him hitting a low effort wide of Oluwayemi’s near post. Devine then had an effort blocked by a Blackburn defender, before Spurs took the lead in the 14th minute of the game.

Dilan Markanday brought the ball into the Blackburn penalty area down the right hand side. He was then tackled by a defender, and the ball ended up coming to John, who went past an opposition player well before powerfully finding the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 1-0. Jared Harlock volleyed over Luke Brennan’s cross from inside the Spurs box as the home side looked to respond. Markanday was then shown a rather harsh yellow card (in my opinion) for being deemed to have fouled Sam Durrant, and stopping a promising move. After picking the ball up out on the right flank Jack Clarke looked up before crossing the ball into the Blackburn box, where he managed to pick out Harvey White in a central area. The Spurs midfielder connected well with the ball, and his looping headed effort ended up beating goalkeeper Antonis Stergiakis, and going into the bottom left hand corner of his goal, 2-0. Shortly after the game got started again and after Harvey White received Tobi Omole’s pass, he tried his luck with a powerful effort from distance, which was well saved by Stergiakis. A couple of minutes later the ball was given to Harvey White inside the Blackburn box, but he curled his effort over the goal. After a Spurs player gave away the ball in a good position for the home side, Lyons-Foster was forced to make a sliding challenge to try and win the ball off of McBride. However, the referee thought that he didn’t get the ball and booked him and awarded a free kick against Spurs, much to the Spurs midfielders’ disbelief.

34 year old Blackburn Rovers captain Bradley Johnson stepped up to hit a powerful low effort beyond Oluwayemi and into the bottom right hand corner of the Spurs goal, 2-1. Clarke was shown a yellow card for a foul on Lenni Cirino, before a free-kick for the home side ended up coming into the Spurs box, but Oluwayemi was able to stop McBride’s effort on goal. Then after Oluwayemi came but missed the ball when trying to gather from a corner kick, the ball eventually came to George Pratt, who was fouled by Malachi Fagan-Walcott, who claimed that he had got the ball. However, the referee ended up pointing to the spot and Fagan-Walcott and also Devine were shown yellow cards. Connor McBride stepped up to tuck the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-2. Spurs responded well though, and after John won a free-kick right on the edge of the Blackburn penalty area, Harvey White curled the ball right onto the crossbar. Alfie Devine nodded wide Jack Clarke’s free-kick, before Oluwayemi gathered Luke Brennan’s cross at the opposite end of the pitch. However, in the fifth minute of first half added time a Harvey White corner kick was headed on by Devine to Tobi Omole inside the Blackburn penalty area, and he managed to put the ball past Stergiakis and into the back of the net. It was to be the final piece of action from the first half.

The home side got the second half underway. Oluwayemi did well to stop Sam Burns from scoring inside the Spurs box, before Brennan hit the ball over down the left side of the Spurs box. Harvey White had an effort blocked and then Jared Harlock had an effort from distance saved by Oluwayemi. Lyons-Foster importantly put behind Luke Brennan’s promising cross into the Spurs box, before Oluwayemi then saved Cirino’s effort on goal. Sam Burns then ended up running all the way into the Spurs box before hitting his effort wide of the goal. Markanday then hit an effort wide from the edge of the Blackburn box, at the other end of the pitch. Blackburn managed to get the equaliser on 67 minutes, but they were quite fortunate. Substitute Adam Wharton’s effort on goal was saved by Oluwayemi, but the ball ended up bouncing off of Omole and into the back of the Spurs goal, 3-3. John showed some nice skill before powerfully hitting the ball across the face of the Blackburn goal, but he was then booked moments later after the referee thought that he had gone down to easily inside the Blackburn box from a challenge. Yago Santiago came on to replace Jack Clarke. A Blackburn player ended up giving the ball to Markanday on the edge of the Blackburn box, but his curling effort was well saved by Stergiakis. Rafferty Pedder replaced Nile John, and then Fagan-Walcott did well to clear Luke Brennan’s cross into the Spurs box.

The newly introduced Yago Santiago did really well to work his way into the Blackburn box, before crossing the ball for Markanday, whose first time effort was stopped from going in by the hand of Lenni Cirino, who was subsequently sent off, and a penalty kick was awarded for Spurs. Harvey White stepped up, but his effort to the goalkeepers right was well saved by Stergiakis. Devine then headed Harvey White’s following corner kick into the side netting, before Blackburn had two very late chances to win the game. First of all Sam Burns hit an effort against Oluwayemi’s near post, before another player from the home side hit an effort just wide from the edge of the Spurs box, in what was the final piece of action from the game. Spurs’ next game at this level is against senior opposition in Cambridge United on Tuesday night, in the Papa Johns’ Trophy.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper made some important saves on the night, and overall I thought that he did well.
  • Matthew Craig: The right-back often stayed deep down the right flank to defend against Blackburn winger Luke Brennan. 
  • Malachi Fagan-Walcott: The right sided centre-half made some good blocks and clearances.
  • Tobi Omole: Omole scored our third goal of the game, but defensively both him and Malachi Fagan-Walcott helped to keep centre-forward Connor McBride generally quite quiet.
  • Kallum Cesay: Like Matthew Craig on the opposite flank, Kallum Cesay often stayed deep during the game.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Starting the match as a four in central midfield, Spurs’ captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster demonstrated good leadership skills. Often seen pointing things out to his teammates, Lyons-Foster’s  defensive performance allowed Harvey White to get forward a lot more. However, Lyons-Foster did make some important defensive interventions during the match.
  • Harvey White: My man of the match, see below.
  • Jack Clarke: Very direct and good at tracking back, winger Jack Clarke set-up Harvey White for his goal with a fine cross into the Blackburn penalty area. Clarke showed good pace, and was always looking to take defenders on down the right flank.
  • Nile John: One of our best players on Friday, CAM Nile John took his early goal really well, and he really demonstrated his quality on the ball when going on forward runs.
  • Alfie Devine: The Spurs left-winger once again made some good runs off the ball, but he was especially potent from corner-kicks. Devine got the assist for Tobi Omole’s goal, and on another day he could have scored a couple of goals from corners.
  • Dilan Markanday: Like Alfie Devine out on the left flank, centre-forward Dilan Markanday moved well off the ball. He helped to create our opening goal of the game and also had what would have been the winner denied, because of a handball from Lenni Cirino.
  • Yago Santiago: The second half substitute went on one really clever run into the Blackburn box late on in the game to set-up Dilan Markanday for his late chance.
  • Rafferty Pedder: The late substitute came on to play in the CAM role in the final minutes of the game.

My man of the match: Harvey White. On another day the Spurs midfielder could have scored five goals. The Maidstone born player passed the ball about well, was willing to make good forward runs off the ball, took his headed goal well and also came very close to scoring (including the late penalty miss) on quite a few other occasions. However, this was another strong performance from Harvey.

Spurs Under 18’s versus Leeds United: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side will play their first group game of this seasons Premier League Cup on Saturday afternoon (the game starts at 14:00pm), when they face Leeds United at their Thorp Arch Training Centre. Spurs are in a difficult group which also contains Fulham and Stoke City. However, hopefully Spurs can start the group off well, by getting a good result against a Leeds United side who have picked up six points from their opening four league games of this season, and they haven’t actually faced Spurs at Under 18 level in a competitive game for a long time. Spurs got their first competitive win of the new season last Saturday, against Reading, and that will give them confidence going into tomorrow’s game. Leeds have a good Under 18’s side, and one of their players to watch out for is Northern Ireland youth international Charlie Allen, who could be a difficult player to play against if involved on Saturday. Unfortunately I wont be able to make Saturday’s game, as I’m at the Under 23 game against Blackburn Rovers the night before. And it’s just too difficult to get from there to where the Leeds match is being played. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Hayton, Torraj, Dorrington (c), Andiyapan, Linton, Haysman, Kyerematen, Bloxham, Donley, Owen, Williams.

Subs from: Krasniqi, Chaplin, McKnight, Cassanova, Amo. 

Injured/unavailable: Roshaun Mathurin.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: 2-2.

My one to watch: Northern Ireland Under 19 international Charlie Allen (17). The former Linfield midfielder has made three competitive appearances for Leeds United’s Under 18 side so far this season, and last season he scored three league goals from 15 appearances for them.

Spurs Under 23’s versus Blackburn Rovers: (match preview)

After beating Liverpool 2-1 last Saturday in the Premier League 2, Spurs’ Under 23 side travel up to Leyland in County Lancashire this week, to face Blackburn Rovers in their latest league game, at the LFA County Ground on Friday (the game starts at 19:00pm). Wayne Burnett’s side beat tomorrow’s opponents 3-2 away from home last season, before then drawing 1-1 with them at Hotspur Way in the reverse fixture. Spurs have picked up seven points from their opening four league games of this season, while Blackburn have picked up two points from their opening four league games of the season, and are without a win in all competitions so far this season. Always a tough team to face at this level, since being promoted to Division One of the Premier League 2 back in 2018, Blackburn have always been a strong side in the league. They play the game at a good intensity, and are also a physical side as well. The last time I was up in Leyland to watch Spurs’ Under 23’s play we actually lost 4-0, but the home side did field a strong team for that game. I personally wouldn’t have thought that the Academy players who traveled out to France for Thursday’s UEFA Europa Conference League game with Stade Rennais, would then play against Blackburn on Friday. However, that could still be possible. The home side have players who could potentially cause Spurs problems, such as top scorer Sam Burns. However, Blackburn also have experienced players like Gibraltar international Louie Annesley.

This will be a tough game for Spurs, but we also have players who have played so far this season, who have a really good amount of experience of playing competitive Under 23 football. I will be travelling up to Leyland to report on the match, and then on my way back the following day I will be hoping to watch J’Neil Bennett play for Crewe. I would however, like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for tomorrow’s game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Paskotši, Muir, Lyons-Foster (c), Cesay, Matthew Craig, White, Clarke, Pedder, Devine, Santiago. 

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Lavinier, Michael Craig, Donley.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Romaine Mundle.

Previous meeting: 1-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.

My one to watch: Sam Burns. The 19 year old has so far scored four goals from five appearances for Blackburn Rovers’ Under 23 side this season.