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. 

My interview with former Spurs player Paul Shoemark:

Paul Shoemark was a very highly rated England Schoolboys international who joined Spurs in 1965, despite interest from a number of other top clubs. The forward  who would stay at Spurs until 1969 would progress up to reserve team level at the club. From Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, Shoemark was part of a very talented Spurs youth team during the 1960s. After leaving Spurs Paul later went onto play for Hatfield Town and Kings Lynn. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of meeting Paul to interview him about his memories of the Spurs days. You honestly couldn’t meet a nicer man!

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Paul: That would be playing locally in the parks and all of the time I was kicking a ball around, because that was what he did in the 1960s. We used to have groups of players, maybe ten-a-side down at the local park, and it was just fantastic. I think that’s where I sort of honed my football skills.

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

Paul: Well it all started off with my England Schoolboys international games, having played seven games for England and scoring seven goals in that period of time. I was picked up by the chief-scout Dickie Walker, who came to the house and wanted to take me to Spurs if I wanted to. It all sort of went from there, but there were also other clubs who were interested like Arsenal. Also, my father and I went down to Southampton for an interview, also there was Coventry and lots of other different clubs who were showing interest after the England matches. Obviously the last match was against West Germany in Berlin, and that was absolutely fabulous and I scored two goals that day and we won 3-0. But from there everything progressed. 

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

Paul: I used to admire Real Madrid and Di Stéfano and Gento, and so I used to follow them all of the time because they were the greatest team in Europe. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Paul: I always looked up to Jimmy Greaves in a big way and also Dave Mackay, who was absolutely fantastic. But there was also Jimmy Robertson and Alan Gilzean, who were others, so mostly it was the forwards who influenced me, but I would say Jimmy Greaves more than anybody else. As before I went to Tottenham I was renowned for scoring goals and so with Jimmy you just couldn’t ask for anyone else to look up to. 

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

Paul: I went to Tottenham as a centre-forward, but I spent most of my time there as a winger which is a shame as I tended to get most of my goals up front. As I was so quick and if I got the right ball then I’d put it in the net, but instead I was sort of played as a winger, and so I was basically a winger.

How did you find not playing in your favoured position?

Paul: It was frustrating at times because when I was younger I was an opportunist and so if the ball came then that was it. So it did make a difference with regards to being put out on the wing as I was laying balls on for other people to score, and alright we used to score from the wing don’t get me wrong, but I found that most of it came into the middle. 

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

Paul: The only one that I would say there was Jimmy Greaves. The thing that I would say for us was after we played in the morning and if the first team were at home then we used to sit on the benches right in front of the barriers, and so you were all at ground level. And so seeing how everything went in the match was just fantastic, and so if we won in the morning then we could go and watch and enjoy watching the first team in the afternoon.

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

Paul: Very up and down. We had some fantastic times and one of the best times as far as I’m concerned was when we won the FA Cup in 1967. Although I didn’t play I was so proud to say that I was part of a club that had won the FA Cup, and we had a fantastic reception a The Savoy Hotel, and we also had a massive party laid on at the Hilton Park Lane. It was just brilliant having won the FA Cup, and that for me was the pinnacle of anyone’s playing career. 

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

Paul: Well I left the club as they released me, and then I didn’t really know what to do. I was still only young and I hadn’t sort of managed to get any skills, plus my education wasn’t very good as all I wanted to do was play football. So when I left I obviously had to get a job, but I also wanted to carry on playing football. So somebody mentioned the fact that a few players that left Tottenham had tended to go to Hatfield Town. So I approached them and they obviously knew of me and so I then played for Hatfield for about three years, and then I went to Kings Lynn and had a short time there. But when I was at Hatfield I got a job down at Brimsdown, and then when I went up to Kings Lynn I had to do the same thing. I had a relation living up there and so I stayed with him and got a job in the print trade and carried on playing for Kings Lynn for a short time. Then when I left Kings Lynn I went to Downham Market, and that was where I finished my career as such. But then when I went back to Northamptonshire one of the ex-players contacted me to see if I wanted to play locally, and it happened to be my wife’s brother. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Paul: The greatest moment of my career was scoring two goals against Scotland at Wembley in front of 85,000 people. 

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

Paul: Well I’ve got to say Jimmy Greaves. Because obviously we had practice games down at Cheshunt where they sometimes played different players against each other, and you got who you got. But it’s got to be Jimmy Greaves.

What was it like to be an England Schoolboys international?

Paul: Obviously I didn’t know what it was like initially but we were treated fantastically. You had the best hotels and it was just an incredible time, and we had Peter Shilton in goal and Stephen Death, Alan Evans and John Stenson. We had some fantastic players in that team and we never lost, and so that was one of the best times.

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

Paul: For the reserves I remember that we played at home as it was my debut game and it was against Peterborough United. I scored in that game which was fantastic, but I wished that I could have had a few more games in the reserves as I think to gain confidence and experience I needed to be in that level, but unfortunately I didn’t get many games. From the youth team days I remember that we went to Feyenoord in Holland, and we had a big competition there which was fantastic. That was a pretty good time really and we had a good team with the likes of Steve Perryman there and also John Gilroy, who I got on quite well with. Also, another memory was the day that we hadn’t got a game in the youth team in the morning at Cheshunt, so I thought that I would like to go home. As it happens the Tottenham first team were playing Northampton and so I went into see Bill Nicholson, and asked him if I could come on the coach to Northampton so that I could come home to Wellingborough. So he said no you can’t go home, but you can stay on the coach with all of the players and be part of the club at Northampton Town. We went for a lovely meal before the game which was fantastic being amongst all of the players. Then I went to the game and sat on the touchline with Eddie Baily and Bill Nicholson, and so I sat with them on the line, along with the subs. I generally helped clear up afterwards after we beat Northampton, and it was just a great experience.

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

Paul: One of the toughest players that I ever played against was Pat Rice. There used to be a ditch around Highbury, and I can remember playing against Pat and he was a hard player, and I could never get past him. And one time he actually hit me so hard that he knocked me into this ditch, and me being short I had a job to get out. You look at it now and it’s quite funny but at the time it wasn’t. 

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

Paul: Yes. I thought that I was quite close to John Collins, and I got to know his wife as well. When I went professional I had a bit more time on my hands as you used to train in the mornings and then you used to have the afternoons free. We used to go out to different places together which was great, and we’d go into the pub and have a game of darts. As he was a little bit older than me he sort of took me under his wing which was so nice.

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

Paul: Just stay level headed and keep your feet on the ground, because you can be there one minute and then you can be gone. All that you can say is to do your best.

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?

Paul: I had some absolutely brilliant times at Tottenham, I cannot say that I didn’t, and they are then ones which I’ve explained. They put me on the transfer list and obviously I didn’t make it into the big time, which I think after being so successful in schoolboy football was difficult.

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. 

Revisiting some of the biggest Spurs Youth Team/Academy side wins: 

Over the years Spurs’ various youth and Academy sides have recorded some fantastic high scoring victories. Some more recent than others, while some will be too long ago for most Spurs supporters to remember. In the following short piece I will be looking back at five high scoring (not necessarily the highest scoring victories ever) that Spurs’ various youth/Academy sides have achieved in fairly recent history. Although I must say that these games that I am looking back on are only the highest scoring victories for Spurs’ youth sides that I have heard of, but there probably are higher scoring wins if you look back through all of the club handbooks.

Spurs Under 18’s 9-0 Arsenal: The final competitive Spurs Under 18 game of the 2017/18 season was a Premier League South North London Derby with Arsenal, at Hotspur Way. The Arsenal team was by no means their strongest, as they had an important FA Youth Cup fixture to play that same week, meaning that they fielded a team consisting of first year scholars and schoolboy footballers. However, Spurs, who were then managed by Scott Parker, were absolutely unplayable on the day. With the likes of Oliver Skipp, Jamie Bowden, Dilan Markanday and Reo Griffiths all having brilliant games on the day. Centre-forward Reo Griffiths was actually directly involved in seven of Spurs’ goals against Arsenal (four goals and three assists). The following season (2018/19) Spurs and Arsenal were involved in a very competitive Premier League South title race.

Spurs Under 18’s 9-0 West Ham United: During the early stages of the 2018/19 Premier League South season, Spurs’ Under 18 side made the short trip to Little Heath to face West Ham United. It was to be their second competitive 9-0 win in less than a year, as Spurs (managed by Matt Wells) put in an outstanding performance, with their passing game proving too much for West Ham. Centre-forward Troy Parrott led the line really well and scored two deserved goals, while Jamie Bowden provided great creativity in midfield. However, it was a great team performance, and we could easily have scored over ten goals on the day, as that’s how good Spurs were going forward.

Spurs Under 18’s 10-0 Boldmere St. Michaels: Going back to 1994, Spurs were involved in a second round FA Youth Cup tie with a team from the English Midlands – Boldmere St. Michaels. Spurs were at home for the game, and they comfortably won 10-0. In the Spurs starting line-up that day were future first team players Stephen Carr and Stephen Clemence. Also playing was the talented Peter Gain, Kevin Maher, Mark Arber and Ross Darcy, as Spurs progressed into the next round of the prestigious youth competition.

Spurs XI 11-0 Canvey Island: A youthful Spurs XI (basically a youth team) took on Canvey Island’s first team in an away friendly back in the 2006/07 pre-season. Spurs won 11-0, as Lee Barnard scored four goals and Charlie Daniels scored an 18 minute hat-trick in what was a very impressive team performance from the youthful Spurs team. Also playing was Jamie O’Hara, who had an influential game, Jake Livermore, Jacques Maghoma and current Spurs Under 18’s head coach Stuart Lewis.

Spurs Youth XI 14-0 Metropolitan Police Cadets: A 14-0 FA Youth Cup first round tie win over Metropolitan Police Cadets in the November 1966 surely has to be one of Spurs’ biggest ever victories at youth/Academy level. Playing for Spurs on that day were future first team players John Collins, Ray Evans and Tony Want, in what must have been the highest scoring Spurs win that the Spurs supporters who were there on that day must have ever witnessed.

Remembering the day that Spurs played a Bermuda Select XI without a number of first team squad members available to them:

The year is 1979. Spurs were on a world tour and had traveled to Hamilton, Bermuda, to play a friendly match against a Bermuda Select XI to finish off the post season world tour on the 6th of June. A number of first team players of which included club captain Steve Perryman, Gerry Armstrong, Ossie Ardiles and countless others were unavailable to make the trip because of injury, or because they had already gone away on holiday. Spurs traveled to Bermuda with a first team squad containing just nine players, and only seven of those players were footballers. The other two who had traveled to Bermuda for the match were Mike Varney (Spurs’ club physio) and Peter Day (Spurs’ club secretary). The seven Spurs first team players who were starting for Spurs that day were Barry Daines, Don McAllister, Colin Lee, John Lacy, John Pratt, Milija Aleksic (Milija played outfield during the match as a midfielder), Terry Naylor, Chris Jones and Gordon Smith. Because Keith Burkinshaw’s Spurs side were short of numbers for the friendly match Spurs (this was the first to time to my knowledge that this had happened in a Spurs match in recent history) they asked the home side whether some of their players could be part of the Spurs squad for the match. In what must have been a fantastic experience for the Bermudan players, all four would play in that match for Spurs against their own side, although all four players started on the bench for Spurs, with Peter Day and Mike Varney starting for Keith Burkinshaw’s side.

The Bermudan players were Marischal Astwood, Ralph Bean Senior, Alan Marshall and Simmonds. Alan Marshall was a midfield player, but following his introduction in the second half of the match he would play for Spurs as a full-back, because Spurs were short of numbers in that position. A then 27 year old Ralph Bean Senior made a fine impression on the game following his introduction in the second half, and he scored a goal and also registered an assist after creating a goal. Spurs won the match 3-1. Chris Jones and Colin Lee got the other goals for Spurs, in what would have been a memorable game and day for most of the Spurs players involved. It was certainly a day that won’t be repeated in regards to how Spurs lined up, and also with how many players that they were missing. Although that was a very special day, it wasn’t actually the first time that Spurs had played a friendly match in Bermuda, as they had travelled there to play a match in the 1960s. They would also later travel back to Bermuda to play another friendly in the December of 1986. However, after reading about some of the Spurs players who played in that friendly match all those years ago in 1979, I thought that I’d write a short piece about the match, but also try to collect the memories of some of the players who played in it for Spurs. I was lucky enough to speak to former Spurs players Don McAllister and John Pratt about the day and game, and also former Bermudan footballer Ralph Bean Senior, who I had the great pleasure of speaking to recently.

Thanks must go to Ralph Bean Senior’s old team North Village Community Club, who were kind enough to put me in touch with Ralph. Below are some memories of the trip, day and match from three of the Spurs players who played for Spurs on that day.

Memories of the match from some of the Spurs players who played that day:

Don McAllister: It all started when we won the Japan Cup in an end of season tour. I think that we played a game in Malaysia (I could be wrong). We had a great time in Japan visiting things like a sumo fighters training camp, and of course Tokyo. So we win the cup and some prize money, we could take it home and lose most of it to the tax man, but the club asked if we would be interested in going to Bermuda and for those who could bring out their family, but obviously there would be some of the guys unable to come. I had been to Bermuda a couple of years before when I had finished playing with Washington Diplomats recovering from surgery, after the end of season tour a couple of years earlier. So I knew what a beautiful place it was. We arrived and stayed in a resort called Coral Island, and our families (those available were already there). But there was a little problem. We had to play a match because the club could not just pay for the players holidays, and we were short of players. So new players included Mike Varney, Peter Day the club secretary, and local guest players. And a great day in the history of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club was had by all. Plus we had a great holiday in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

John Pratt: Although I can’t remember the game, from that trip I can remember that our families also went, and that they met us there (we did a world trip and had ended up in Bermuda). I always remember that we were there for seven days, and for six of those days it was raining! But it was a very nice trip and I met up with my mate Clyde Best (ex-West Ham player), who I had played with in America. But as for the game I haven’t got a clue about it, but it was a very relaxing trip. 

Ralph Bean Senior: We had normally hosted English teams before like Aston Villa and Coventry, and each time they had beaten us because of how good they were. We knew that Tottenham were just finishing their league season and that they were coming to Bermuda for a bit of rest and relaxation. But while they were here they decided that they would play a friendly game with our Bermudian national team. But on that particular trip they didn’t bring their full list of players, as they might have been going off somewhere else on vacation. So they were short of a few players, especially outfield players anyway. And so our national coach decided that if Tottenham wanted then they could use a couple of players to make up their numbers. Of course I was one of those players that they decided to bring to Tottenham. But I was a little bit surprised when they (Tottenham) decided to put me on the bench and allow one of the goalkeepers (Milija Aleksic) to play out on the field before letting an outfield player play, but I was content and it wasn’t a problem. Then at half-time the Bermudian team were thinking that Tottenham weren’t going to use me, and that I might as well play the second half with them. So anyway later on in the second half Tottenham decided to bring me on as a substitute, because the goalkeeper that they were using had run out of steam. So that’s when they decided to bring me on as a sub, and when I did come on the field at the beginning they didn’t pass me the ball to see if I could play or not.

It just so happened that the ball bounced towards me and I got it and scored a goal. After that they realised that I could play a bit and so they started to play the ball to me, and later on in the game I managed to create a goal for one of the other Tottenham players, and in the end they won 3-1. It felt really good to play for Tottenham and around that time I was about 27 and I don’t know whether the coach here thought that if Tottenham had saw me playing then they would have given me a trial or something. But maybe I was too old for that. It was a very long time ago, but it was a nice time for me and going back that far to that game I didn’t think that anyone was interested anymore.

My interview with former Spurs player Graham Lawrence:

(Graham is pictured the fourth across from the left, of the back row.)

Graham Lawrence was a versatile footballer throughout his playing career as he could play in a variety of positions. Scouted by Spurs’ then Chief-Scout Dickie Walker, Dagenham born former footballer Graham Lawrence joined the ground-staff at Spurs for the beginning of the 1958/59 season and he would stay at Spurs until the end of the 1959/60 season. Primarily a youth team player at Spurs, Lawrence did also play for the A team and the reserves on occasions. After leaving Spurs in 1960 he joined Brighton & Hove Albion (after impressing against them in a mid-week game for Spurs). Graham also played for the likes of Cambridge United and Wisbech Town later on in his career. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing Graham in person about his time at Spurs.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Graham: My earliest memory was when I was playing for the school, and then I progressed from there up the grades, and I played for the school side in football and cricket. Dagenham was a big supplier of professional footballers and West Ham was the nearest team, but there was also Tottenham. There was quite a few people from the school who progressed up the stages, and there was also Jimmy Greaves who was in the school further over in Dagenham.

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

Graham: I played for Glendale which was a local football club for juniors, and so I played for them. I got spotted for them by the old West Ham centre-half Dickie Walker, who was a scout for Tottenham and he would go to the junior clubs and like in my case where he suggested that I went to Tottenham. I used to get the Green Line bus from Dagenham to the ground in Tottenham. I went into the ground-staff at Tottenham, which was what they used to call it, and I would clean the boots of the players. We had four teams at Tottenham with 48 players in total, and we used to train with the professionals in the morning and then after lunch we used to clean the boots. I used to play in the A side then, but you also had the Tottenham first team, the second team and also the Mid-week A side, who I also played for. 

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

Graham: As a boy my dad used to take me to watch Dagenham as we supported them, but we’d also sometimes go to watch West Ham play, and the fans there then were mostly dockers. There was no bad language used at the ground then, we just used to have fun. I used to like to watch a number of players play for West Ham, like Geoff Hurst.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Graham: We had four particular coaches at Spurs then, and also one who was part-time who used to coach the youth team. Sometimes we didn’t used to play regularly as they would have players on trial, and you wouldn’t be able to play. I can’t remember the names of the coaches at Spurs, who coached me, apart from Johnny Wallis. But I remember that one of them used to run a pub in Wisbech for a while in recent years. Sometimes the second and third team coaches used to take the training. I do remember that the first team players used to do what they liked within reason. 

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

Graham: When I was at school I used to play on the right flank, because I could run fast. I later played (at Spurs) at right-half, full-back and inside-forward. Then when I went to Wisbech they played me at centre-forward, and I used to score quite a few goals at centre-forward. I used to score goals after running in from the wing.

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

Graham: Dave Mackay was one, and also Cliff Jones. Dave Mackay was a really hard player and he even broke his leg, but along with him I also looked up to Danny Blanchflower and John White. People like Danny Blanchflower and John White were no different to anybody else, and Blanchflower didn’t have an arrogance about him as he was quite an easy-going sort of person. I also liked Ron Henry and an inside-forward called Tommy Harmer, who was very frail and tiny, and when the pitch was muddy they used to have to play someone else because Tommy couldn’t stay on his feet. I remember that he played at Norwich once for the reserves in the Football Combination, and I remember that he started kicking off and telling me where to go and what to do. I also remember once how Ron Henry got into a little scuffle once outside the ground with a reporter, as I think that the reporter was trying to get information out of him. The players in them days used to do a lot of betting, such as with cards and snooker as well, and when they used to play cards in the snooker room after training they used to bet with quite a lot of money, but then the top earners were only getting £20 a week then. But Bobby Smith did used to get in a bit of trouble because of his gambling. Another thing that I remember was how fast that Johnny Brooks was. 

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

Graham: It was enjoyable even though I didn’t make the grade to get into the first team, but I didn’t know that at the time as I used to train with the reserves and the A side, and I trained then with players like Roy Moss and Brian Fittock. I was always hopeful at Spurs but it was enjoyable, although all of the time that I was at Spurs they only signed one lad onto a contract (Dennis Walker), but also in them days they were able just to go out and buy somebody. Bill Nicholson’s favourite player from my group of players was Frank Saul, who was brought up to the first team, but he was a favourite of Bill Nicholson’s, and Frank was like a centre-forward. Because there were 48 players at Spurs then sometimes I couldn’t get a game on a Saturday for them.

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

Graham: From Spurs I was picked up by Brighton & Hove Albion (after impressing in a mid-week game against them for Spurs), where I progressed from their junior side and A side to the reserve side. After that I was taken on by Wisbech and when I arrived at the station I was picked up by the manager Jesse Pye, who used to play for Wolves and was a top player for them. I was sponsored by a farmer at Wisbech, who used to invite me to his home for dinner. It was enjoyable at Wisbech, as the people there all knew who you were, and also I was the only full-time player there. From there I went to Cambridge United, who I played for in the Southern League, but I later played for Cambridge City before deciding that I’d had enough. I did play for the village side for a couple of seasons with three other ex-pros who had dropped down to play for them, and like them I needed a permit to play. Although I didn’t make the grade at Spurs I was happy with the way that things worked out in the end.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Graham: I think that the greatest moment was being invited to go to Tottenham. I also remember when Spurs won the Eastern Counties League (in 1959/60) when I was there, but I had to go there with a sore head on the day. As we were all messing about in the shower at the ground, and Frank Saul had thrown a scrubbing brush across the shower and it had hit my head. That was in the afternoon and then later on I still played in a match, but we had some fun at Spurs during my time there. 

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

Graham: I think that that would be Danny Blanchflower. He would help you and talk to you during matches, whereas some of the other players thought that they were the bee’s knees. But Danny Blanchflower was quite a happy lad who got on with everybody, even if you were just like me and on the ground-staff he would still talk to you. Also there was Dave Mackay and Tony Marchi who I played with, and Tony went to Italy, but he was a good player. Jimmy Greaves was also a good person to play with in matches, and I used to play against him in a school competition. Also there was Tommy Harmer and Cliff Jones. Cliff Jones was the quickest player in the team and at running down the line. You also had big Maurice Norman and Johnny Brooks, and Johnny was very quick in sprint training. Not forgetting John White, who was the king of Spurs at one time, and when he joined after coming from the services I can remember the day that he arrived. He would stand up against people like Dave Mackay, and he was a very good player.

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

Graham: I remember once that we went to Copenhagen with Spurs with the junior side for a competition. We traveled by train to Copenhagen, and we traveled from Holland where we got the train, and we got there in a day. We traveled over night and I can remember that we were spaced out in a cabin, and I remember that one of the lads (one of the junior players) had got smelly socks on, and so we put his feet out of the window! 

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

Graham: Ron Henry could be a very tough player, and so I would say that he was the main one.

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

Graham: I was close to a number of lads at Spurs like Brian Fittock. As I used to talk to him and go about with him. I used to talk to Roy Moss as well, and I remember that he was one of the players who used to get a lot of the games. I also remember David Sunshine, as there used to be a record shop down the road from the ground in Tottenham where he used to be, and I used to have to get the Green Line bus to Dagenham. He used to get off halfway on the journey, but I used to always travel with him on the bus. I also knew Micky Harris as we both went to Brighton together after leaving Spurs. 

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

Graham: I would advise them to get a trade. As I was lucky as although I didn’t make the grade I did have somewhere to go to afterwards. I think that you’ve got to try and understand whether you are or aren’t going to make it, and I think that you can tell yourself. As there’s a good number of players who don’t make the grade. Getting that trade helps you when don’t make the grade in football.

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?

Graham: Tottenham was the club that me and my son Daniel mainly used to go to, but I also went with him for quite a few years to Norwich. If there were two games on the telly then it would always be Tottenham that I would watch. 

My interview with former Spurs player Peter Garland:

Peter John Garland was a hardworking midfield player who liked to pass the ball, and he had a good passing range too. The Croydon born former player who played for Spurs during the 1980s and 1990s, would make one competitive first team appearance for the club during his time in north London, but he did make additional first team appearances in friendlies. However, Garland was a regular and important player for the Spurs youth team and the reserves. After leaving Spurs in 1992, the one time England Under 17 international signed for then manager Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United side. Peter later played for the likes of Charlton Athletic, Wycombe Wanderers and Leyton Orient. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing the Spurs fan and former player about his time at the club.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Peter: That would be playing for my grassroots team which was called Selsdon Juniors. We were out of Croydon and we were a good team and we had some good players, like Gareth Southgate, who was in our team. I really enjoyed playing for them, and then because I was local I ended up training with Crystal Palace, before then training with Arsenal for a while. But Tottenham was always my team and so at 14 a Tottenham scout asked me if I would like to come to Tottenham, and Arsenal had offered me schoolboy forms, but as Tottenham came I said that I was going to go to Tottenham. So I left Arsenal and signed schoolboy forms with Tottenham, and then at 16 I signed the YTS forms.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

Peter: When I first came to Tottenham I used to travel up a couple of times a week, and we used to train behind the ground (White Hart Lane) in an indoor AstroTurf area. Spurs had two youth teams and they had the A league and the B league as such, and so on a Saturday you used to play for one of those. I can remember when I was still at school and I had been playing with the South East counties Division Two team, and I had been doing quite well. I got a phone call on a Monday from Keith Blunt, and he said that he wanted me to play in the FA Youth Cup for the main team. And there were a few of the older lads in there like Vinny Samways, and so that was a good achievement for me.

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

Peter: I loved Glenn Hoddle and that’s why Spurs was my team. I used to think that he was brilliant, and I also thought that Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were fantastic. But Glenn Hoddle was just fantastic with his passing and everything, and it was just a shame that he had already left Spurs when I had actually came to the club. But then when I signed you had the likes of Chris Waddle and Paul Gascoigne, which was great. And actually Chris Waddle was a good friend to me when I eventually left Spurs and went to Newcastle.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Peter: Keith Blunt was very good in the youth team when I started off there, and there were some good players there like Shaun Murray. I was going in there thinking that me and him were like the same position and that I’ve got to be better than him to play. But Keith Blunt helped me and after playing at Spurs I got picked for the England youth team which was good. But then once I moved on it was Ray Clemence who was the reserve team manager, and I really respected him because he was such a good person, but he helped me out too. 

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

Peter: I played central midfield, and I could either play holding midfield or attacking midfield. I liked to pass the ball as I liked Glenn Hoddle, and I liked the way that he was, and so I wanted to be like him. So one of my strengths was my passing of the ball.

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

Peter: Paul Gascoigne was just phenomenal and he was on a different level to everyone else, but when Nayim came to Spurs he was like the most technical and gifted player that I’d been in the team with. He was so calm on the ball and just brilliant, but Gascoigne was just the best by far. It’s a shame that he got that injury because he would have just went on and been the best ever. 

Could you talk me through your memories of your competitive first team debut for Spurs against Norwich City in the April of 1991. And how did that day come about?

Peter: I was a sub in an FA Cup match at Blackpool which we won, but I never got on. Then when the Norwich game was coming around Paul Gascoigne had just had an operation and so Spurs had told me that I was going to be on the bench that day. They needed Paul Gascoigne to have some minutes and I think that he played about an hour before I got the call that I was being brought on, and I was thinking wow! I didn’t expect it as there were some other good players on there who played in the same sort of position, but Terry Venables told me to get on there, and it was just magnificent and a dream come true.

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

Peter: I really enjoyed it and I learnt a lot but there just wasn’t as many opportunities as you would have liked. Sometimes if a player got injured and you’re in the reserves then you think that you’re going to step into that position in the first team, but sometimes it wouldn’t happen and they’d give someone else a chance. There were no transfer windows then, but at the end of the day you train all week and you just want to play and at the end of it I just wanted to play, as Spurs had a a big squad with big players and so I ended up getting a move. But I loved my time at Spurs and I learnt a lot, and I met some great people and I was coached by one of the best coaches in Terry Venables and I really enjoyed my time there. I’m just glad that I did get on to make my debut for the club that I support, and still support now.

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

Peter: Like I said Spurs had a big squad and it just came about that the old comedian Kenny Lynch, who was a friend of mine was also good friends with Kevin Keegan. He rang me up and said that he had been telling him about me and that he’s had a look at you, and he’s spoke to his scouts who have given you good reviews, and would you like to go up there and sign for them. So I said let’s give it a go and Newcastle at the time were down at the bottom of the First Division as such, but I signed for them on transfer deadline day. I played the last game of the season for them when we needed to stay up against Leicester, who were going for the play-offs, but we beat them 2-1 in the last minute of the game and Newcastle stayed up. Then the season ended and I went home and then Sir John Hall had came in to Newcastle and given Kevin Keegan millions and millions of pounds to go and buy the players. So he started buying all new players and so then I’m up in Newcastle as a reserve team/first team player again, but more likely to be playing in the reserves. I was a London boy and I just thought to myself that I could be back in London with all of my family instead of being up here doing the same. At the time Gavin Peacock was playing for Newcastle and his dad was assistant manager at Charlton. Keith used to know me as he used to always try and get me on loan from Spurs when he was manager of Maidstone. So after explaining the situation to him he said that he would see what he could do, and then Kevin Keegan said to me that I could down to Charlton but only play for their reserves, and not their first team and we’ll see what happens.

I played for Charlton’s reserves in my first game and we beat Chelsea 1-0 and I scored the goal and so then Charlton said that they wanted to sign me. So I said let’s do this and I signed for Charlton and spent three and a half years there before I got injured. I also went to Wycombe on loan after Martin O’Neil phoned me up, and  I had five games with Wycombe who were in the play-off positions against the top five teams. I had a months loan there and things were going well when Martin O’Neil asked Charlton to extend my loan, but they said no as you’ve got to sign him permanently. I went back and asked Charlton why they were doing this and so I had a bit of a fallout with Charlton as they could have let me play and help Wycombe for the rest of the season. So when that didn’t happen and I went back to Charlton the atmosphere between me and the manager wasn’t that great, and I still had a year left. I spoke to Martin O’Neil, who said come and sign for me, but when I went to sign he left just before as he’d got the job at Leicester and so that all fell through.   So I had to go back to Charlton, but when I started off I was not involved at all when one day I got a phone call asking me what I wanted for pre-match meal today. I said what do you mean as I’m not in the squad? But they said yes you’re in the squad to play against Wimbledon to play tonight in the cup. I’d been training with the youth team as that was where they’d put me. But when I got to the hotel (I thought that it was a joke) all the lads were laughing saying that it was nice of me to come and watch them tonight. So we were all having a laugh about it.

I remember when we went into the team room and the manager named the team and I found out that I was starting. I played and scored and we beat Wimbledon 4-3 in the cup. I played a couple more games and we I played in the return leg at Wimbledon which we also won. In the next game that I played after that I was given man of the match, but then the manager dropped me again as he said that it was my fault that we lost 1-0. So we fell out and I was dropped and so I had come back in after not being fancied and done well, but then they dropped me again. So then they said that they’d pay me to leave, but then Patsy Holland who was one of the youth team coaches at Tottenham had gone to Leyton Orient. So he said to me come down to Leyton Orient, and so I went to them and signed a years contract. We played a game for Leyton Orient against Wales in a friendly when I was on trial there, and I scored a goal in that game and so they signed me for a year. Then Patsy Holland stayed and had a lot of old players playing like Alvin Martin and Peter Shilton, but then Patsy got the sack after five months and Tommy Taylor came in. All he wanted to do was play the long ball, but being Tottenham I was brought up to pass, pass, pass. And so every time that you went to pass across the pitch he’d stop the training and make you do press-ups. So they then said that they weren’t going to renew my contract at the end of the year, so I said that’s fine.

Then non-League Crawley we’re just opening their ground and the manager of Crawley who I knew had phoned me and said why don’t you come down as we’re opening the ground and we want a couple of ex-players in the team. So I ended up going to Crawley and then my dad was manager at Dulwich Hamlet, and so after a while at Crawley I went to play for Dulwich Hamlet, with my dad as my manager. And also my brother and friends were in the team as well. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career? 

Peter: Just playing for Spurs because I was a Spurs fan, and getting on that pitch was great. Also representing my country at youth level was good, but apart from making my debut for Tottenham I also scored on my full debut for Charlton, which was also good.

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

Peter: I would have to say Paul Gascoigne as he was just on a different level. 

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

Peter: We always used to have good cup runs with the youth team in the FA Youth Cup, and one day we got through to I think the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup after playing Manchester City. They were the team to beat and they came down to White Hart Lane and we beat them, so that was good. You met good people and I was just enjoying my football at Tottenham and to start your career at a team that you supported was just better than anything. You were playing football and you were getting paid for something that you loved doing which was great, and I did love doing it. 

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

Peter: When I played for Charlton I played against Roy Keane and he was at Nottingham Forest at the time, just coming through. He was tough, and strong and quick. He wasn’t just an enforcer but he was also a good player. 

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

Peter: After I left Spurs and moved to Newcastle, Chris Waddle (he was at Marseille at the time) rang me the day that I joined from Marseille to say to me congratulations, and he asked me what I was doing and I just said that I was sitting in the hotel room. And he said to go down to the bar in half an hour and my best friend will come down and pick you up and take you out for dinner tonight. Every time that Chris used to come back home from Marseille we would always go out together in Newcastle, and I always appreciated that. I used to have to clean his boots at Spurs. As for at Spurs I used to have to go back to south London so you didn’t really have too many friends then, as a few of the lads were staying in lodgings. They are your friends and you would do anything for them but at the end of the day you’re all competing to play at the weekend. And also everyone had their own lives outside the football. 

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

Peter: I think that you need to keep your feet on the ground, enjoy what you’re doing and just keep working hard and never stop learning. Because everyone will help you, and you need to watch the players who play in your position to see what they’re doing. But just enjoy it and just be happy when you’re playing. 

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?

Peter: Yes. I loved my time there and I learnt a lot from some very good people, and like I say they’re my team and I support them. I still go and watch them and also my son supports them as well.  

My interview with former Spurs player John Gilroy:

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

John Gilroy was a fast, skilful and direct winger, who also had a good eye for goal. The former Spurs player from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, was at Spurs for a good number of years during the 1960s as a youth and reserve team player. After leaving Spurs, Gilroy would later move into non-League football, where he played for Hatfield Town FC, before later playing amateur football. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of speaking to John at length about his memories from his days at Spurs.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

John: As a youngster around Welwyn Garden City there wasn’t a lot of work around, and so there wasn’t enough for the youngsters to have bikes and things like that. So all that there was was football, and I used to kick a football about all of the time. Me and my best mate Billy used to play football all of the time, and sometimes even a tennis ball. If we didn’t have a ball then we would go around gardens and take one. Then when I went to junior school, and they had a team there I used to play at centre-half, and then after that I got into the junior county team and that’s when it all kicked off. I went to senior school and the teacher there was called Phil Mowbray, and he was a Spurs scout, and when I started playing for the school team he asked me if I would go down to Tottenham. I used to go there on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and I’ll always remember that on the first night that I went there Danny Blanchflower was taking the training, and as somebody who had always followed Spurs, he was my hero. After Danny Blanchflower stopped taking the training Laurie Brown took it a few times, and then the others were Roy Low and Eddie Clayton. 

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs?

John: I used to go training on a Tuesday and Thursday in the ball court, and they used to have like 25 or 30 players in the ball court, and there would be two teams playing and then the rest would be standing by the wall for a time. Bill Nicholson used to come and walk by and have a chat with us, and then you’d have the other ten players who were in the smaller gym, and they’d do ball skills. I was 15 in April, and just before that in February/March there was a series of trials down at Cheshunt. Initially there was 40/50 players who were vying for four apprentice places. In the first game that I played we were playing against QPR’s youth team and they had players like Frank Sibley, and they actually beat us 7-1 but I actually made the one goal that we scored. Then it was brought down to 22 players and there was like four more trials, and then it came down to this final trial in mid April. I was playing at outside-left and the player who was playing right-back had just been picked to play for England Schoolboys at Wembley along with Paul Shoemark. That was one of the best games that I’ve ever had as I gave this full-back a really difficult game, and I also scored a wonder goal. The ball was crossed from the right and then the keeper got up and punched it and I then came running in from the left wing and hit it into the far corner of the net on the half volley. I think that it was that goal which made Bill Nicholson and Eddie Baily choose me as one of the apprentices. 

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

John: As a footballer it was Danny Blanchflower. I used to admire John White, Dennis Law and George Best. I always used to say that that forward line of Charlton, Law and Best at Man United was unbeatable. I also obviously liked Jimmy Greaves and I also liked Ron Henry, who was one of the coaches in the evening. And I also liked Dave Mackay, and my dad actually bought me his book which described how he went to Hearts and then Tottenham, and that was fascinating reading. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

John: In the early days I used to get on well with Eddie Baily, and he used to take you to one side in the early days and try and tell you what you should have done instead. Obviously there was Danny Blanchflower when he was there, and when he was talking I was just listening to the things that he was saying. But I would say Eddie Baily because his knowledge of football and what he could do with a football even at his age then was excellent. He used to tell you to take a corner and hit the near post as there would be somebody standing there to flick the ball on. I would mess it up and he then used to come over and he would tell you what to do while actually hitting the post while he was talking to you. So he was a good influence on me.

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

John: I had a bit of pace and with my pace I was pretty skilful on the ball, and I played mainly on the left wing at Tottenham. But I could also play up front, although most of the time I did play outside-left. I was able to take people on outside and go down the line, and then when I came up to the full-back rather than going down the line I would cut inside. And I scored quite a few goals cutting inside like that on my right foot. My big strength was my pace.

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

John: Stephen Pitt used to play at outside-right and he had a bit of pace and his control was good. He used to take full-backs on and beat them, and I used to watch him closely as he was my type of player, and he had been at Spurs a couple of years before me, and I wanted to do the same as what he had done. My first year as an apprentice Stephen Pitt played for the first team against Blackpool, but I used to enjoy watching him play and train.

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

John: Initially it started off fine, but in the end I was getting disillusioned by certain aspects of my game. I had a bad ankle injury and in those days you would have treatment on your ankle and you’d have ice in one bucket and hot water in the other bucket. When you’re out you would lose match fitness and I was really struggling keeping up with the pace of matches, and then I’d go over on my ankle again and be out for several weeks and have to have treatment. Then I’d come back and lose my match fitness again, and then on top of that I broke my arm in a game against Millwall. I always seemed to get injuries in training down at Cheshunt apart from the one against Millwall, but all of the other injuries came in training. Like when Tony Want injured my shin in a challenge, and in another week a 50-50 challenge from John Collins left me with ten stitches in my other shin. Professional football when I was starting out wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, and you also had to clean the gym and the ball court and stuff like that. When I signed for Spurs as a pro life did get better. One man who I could never get on with though was Johnny Wallis and if you couldn’t get on with him then it made things difficult. I remember that I scored a hat-trick against Arsenal in the Metropolitan League and yet I was called into Bill Nicholson’s office after we beat them 4-0. He told me that I should have done this and that, even though I had just scored three goals.

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

John: I had this ankle injury and I had lost all of my pace as such even though I was still pretty quick. As I said I started off well with Eddie Baily but then over the five years that I was down there it got to the point where we weren’t getting on well, and in the end I wasn’t getting on well with Bill Nicholson either. I had a chat with my dad and I said that I wasn’t going to make the first team and so I didn’t want to just be in the reserves, and so anyway I left Tottenham at the end of the 1969/70 season. I then went to play semi-pro football for Hatfield Town and I really enjoyed my football then. I also had a job in a factory where I was earning good money, and I was earning £30 a week at Hatfield, whereas Tottenham were paying me £24 a week. So in 1970 I was earning a lot of money. I played for Hatfield for a couple of seasons before a person from Boreham Wood approached me (that wasn’t allowed in those days). They asked me whether I would play under a different name and as I was getting so much per week I was getting cash in hand. I did that for quite a few games and then I got a good job and so I gave up my pro status, and went to play as an amateur after getting a permit. I was playing football with my mates as well on a Saturday and also on a Sunday morning, and I really enjoyed it as it was really good. You could also go out for a drink which you couldn’t do at Tottenham. But at the end of my time at Tottenham I became quite disillusioned about football, and the same kind of thing also happened to John Clancy, who I thought was a really good player. 

You had Graeme Souness who came to Spurs and like Steve Perryman he was a good player, but Steve Perryman had this attitude that he wanted to do everything in training. He was good at fighting for the ball and at passing the ball.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

John: One of the games that sticks in my mind was when we played Millwall in the London Youth Cup final and we won 4-3. I was having a really, really good game, and for the first goal Steve Perryman got the ball and played it through. I then got the ball and went around two players before putting it around the keeper and sticking it in the back of the net. We also had a few games when we went on tour to Holland and the Dutch people made us feel welcome. I think that we played against Newcastle in the final in the Feyenoord stadium, and they were playing Ajax that afternoon, and so there was about 40,000 people in the stadium, and they watched our final first. So playing in front of all of those people was a bit of highlight for me.

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

John: Jimmy Pearce was a big influence on me and one of the best players that I played with, along with Steve Pitt. When we used to go training down Cheshunt they used to put the A team, reserves and first team all together so I played with and against a number of players. But in my mind it would be Jimmy Pearce, Steve Pitt and also Brian Parkinson as well. Brian had a lot of skill. 

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

John: From playing in the reserves I can remember playing against Cardiff City at White Hart Lane and I scored on my debut with a diving header, and also another memory which stands out was the 4-3 win over Millwall. The best memories though is from when I went on tour to Holland, and you would stay with different families and they would then bring you down to training. At Spurs you had to be very strict with what you ate, and you couldn’t drink and so it wasn’t very social. Also another memory was from the tour to Holland. Over the years of going there we had got to know people and other players. There was one particular time when we were based in Rotterdam and four or five of us went on a train down to The Hague. There was one guy who played for ADO Den Haag’s youth team and he was with us, and we’d only missed the last train coming back! We didn’t have money for a taxi so we started to walk to see if we could hitch a ride or something. We were walking through The Hague for about 15 or 20 minutes and like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with all of the roads around it, well there was a similar kind of place in The Hague. We all had the same idea to take a bike and cycle back to Rotterdam. Anyway we turned onto this road and realised that we were on the motorway! The police turned up and asked us what were we doing, and we said that we had borrowed these bikes from our friends in The Hague, as we had missed the last train back to Rotterdam.

They (the police) told us a safe way to cycle to Rotterdam, but we all thought that we were going to get in trouble about the bikes, but we didn’t.

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

John: I remember playing Leyton Orient in a league match at Brisbane Road and Eddie Baily came up to me and asked me to give Tommy Taylor a really tough game. And although we won the game and I did well, he was one of the toughest players that I ever came up against. 

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

John: Jimmy Neighbour, John Cutbush, Paul Shoemark, John Clancy and also Graeme Souness when he arrived from Scotland. I used to always see John Clancy when I used to get the train to Tottenham, and he always used to have a pack of cards on him.

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

John: Go out and do your best, as they used to say in our day. But it’s different now, but in our day we just used to try and enjoy ourselves and do our best.

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?

John: I feel proud of what I’ve done as not many people can say that they played for Tottenham. I only wish that I’d have done things a little differently, and got on better with Johnny Wallis and in the later days Eddie Baily and Bill Nicholson.

Remembering Spurs’ very popular and important former assistant manager Harry Evans: 

As a footballer Harry Alfred Evans was mainly a forward throughout much of his playing career. He started off with Sutton, who he played for after leaving school. He combined playing football with them while working at a wine and spirits merchants as a clerk. Harry Evans’ early years (he was born in 1919) must have been very difficult for him, as he lost his mother, father and one of his sisters to the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1921. The Lambeth born former footballer was brought up by an aunt during those early years. During the Second World War Harry Evans served as a PT instructor in Farnborough, Hampshire. During this period of time he also played football for Woking, Fulham and Romford, before joining Southampton (he also played as a guest for Aldershot) in late 1943. While there the Londoner played with the great Sir Alf Ramsey, but the vast majority of his games for them came during the Second World War. However, Evans did make five competitive appearances for Southampton after the war had ended. The latter years of his playing career saw Harry play for Exeter City and later Aldershot, who he played for in competitive competition. After having to retire from playing not long after returning to Aldershot after a bout of Peritonitis, this meant that he was unable to continue playing, but Evans worked hard to gain a number of important qualifications, of which included coaching qualifications.

Harry Evans took on the role of secretary-manager at Aldershot in the winter of 1950, it was a role in which Evans would remain in until he decided to go to Spurs as assistant manager to Bill Nicholson (after being sacked by Aldershot), after the Spurs manager was impressed by Harry following his application for the role. Harry and his family made home in Winchmore Hill, not too far from White Hart Lane. He was joined by a future Spurs legend in Scotland international John White, who stayed at his house not too long afterwards, and would later marry Harry’s daughter Sandra. In just a short number of years Bill Nicholson and his assistant Harry Evans, and a very talented group of Spurs players made Spurs one of the best teams around. They of course won the double in 1960/61, the FA Cup the following year, and they also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. The polite and very popular Harry Evans was a big part of this. He was an intelligent footballing man who was respected by the Spurs players and also Bill Nicholson. He was in many ways the perfect assistant to Bill Nicholson, in the sense that he was in some ways like one of the players, such was his popularity amongst them, and also because he was a very sociable person too. I spoke to a small number of people that I know who were around Spurs at the time that Harry Evans was there, to try and get a better picture of what the former assistant manager was like during his all too brief time at the club.

One of the players who was around Spurs when Harry Evans was assistant manager, was youth, A team and reserve team player David Sunshine. In a recent conversation with David Sunshine he recalled to me how friendly a person Harry Evans was, but also how he was the complete opposite of the great Bill Nicholson. Sunshine also told me that in addition to Evans’ first team duties he also took training for the Spurs A team and youth team. Another former Spurs A and reserve team player Derek Tharme recalled to me how on the brief occasions that he came across Evans, how he was a pleasant and reasonable person to speak to. A first team and also reserve team player at the time who would have come across Harry Evans at Spurs more, was Eddie Clayton. I was speaking to Eddie just the other week and I asked him what Harry was like as an assistant manager. He explained to me how Mr Evans always did his best and on occasions would even take first team training when Bill Nicholson was unavailable. Mr Clayton also recalled how Harry Evans was a gentleman who got on well with everybody at the club. Not only was Harry Evans assistant manager at Spurs, but for a time he was also the main man when it came to the impressive scouting system at the club. 

Eddie Clayton’s older brother Ronnie Clayton is the last of the Bill Nicholson, Eddie Baily, Dickie Walker and Charlie Faulkner era. I recently spoke to Ronnie, who actually joined Spurs as a scout when Harry Evans was at Spurs and part of the scouting system at the club. He recalled how in addition to his first team and occasional work with the A and youth teams, that Evans would take training for Spurs’ then very talented and successful reserve team. He also recalled to me with great clarity a conversation that he had with Harry while the pair were watching a reserve team game between Spurs and Crystal Palace in the early 1960s. Ronnie has fond memories (although he didn’t know Harry too well) of both Harry Evans and his son-in-law John White from those great Spurs days in the 1960s. Harry Alfred Evans was without doubt a big and important part in his own right of the success that Spurs enjoyed during the early 1960s. He is an important person in the history of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and Spurs supporters should be proud of what he achieved in his relatively short career as a coach. Very sadly Harry Evans passed away in the December of 1962 at University College Hospital, after suffering from pancreatic cancer. Those who knew him and who are still around today remember him with such great fondness.

Looking back at the Spurs Under 17 side that won the 2001/02 FA Premier Academy League Group A:

“ We had a brilliant group of lads with a lot of talent and ability, who all got on really well. To win any competition is an achievement and we were delighted to be able to win the league. Jimmy Neighbour was an excellent coach and as the season went on he really got the best out of us. A lot of that side are still in contact and have remained friends which is great in itself, and myself and Danny Foster still speak regularly most days. ” (Mark Yeates) 

A talented Spurs Under 17 side who played good football, and of which included the likes of Philip Ifil, Mark Yeates, Jamie Slabber and Owen Price, would go on to win the 2001/02 FA Premier Academy League Group A (there were two Southern groups, with each team playing a total of 24 league games over the course of the season). In doing so Spurs qualified for the national play-offs to see who would be crowned national champions at that level, but Spurs were unfortunately knocked out by Sheffield United at the quarter-finals stage of the competition. Under the tutelage of head coach and former Spurs player Jimmy Neighbour, a man who the Spurs lads greatly respected, the Under 17 side started the 2001/02 season by recording three consecutive 2-2 draws against Wrexham, Newcastle United and West Ham United respectively. However, they soon started to turn draws into wins, starting with a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in game week four, courtesy of a goal from Jamie Slabber. Notable victories over the course of the normal league season included a 2-1 home win over Arsenal, a 4-0 win over Fulham and a 3-2 win against Millwall. Winning 13 of their 24 league games, drawing seven and losing just four, the late Jimmy Neighbour’s side had a very strong defence that season thanks to the solidity of the likes of Danny Foster, Philip Ifil and Ricky Dobson, Spurs conceded just 20 goals in group A, and scored 38. Very difficult to beat over the course of the normal league season, it was in fact Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal who were their closest challengers for top spot in group A. And it was actually very close between Spurs and Arsenal in the end, with Arsenal finishing in second place and just three points behind group/league winners Spurs’ 46 points. 

Taking four points from our two games with Arsenal proved to be Invaluable come the end of the regular season, but so was Spurs’ defence and difficultly to win against. The Spurs lads who played in Group A during the course of the season were given medals for winning the group/league, and they then had the national play-offs to look forward to (some of the players from that Spurs under 17 side were also part of the Spurs under 18 side that managed to reach the semi-finals of that seasons FA Youth Cup). Spurs played both Barnsley and Coventry City on one occasion in a three team mini league, and after drawing 1-1 away to Barnsley, Spurs crucially beat Coventry City 2-1 at home thanks to goals from Daniel Perry and Jonathan Black, which booked Spurs’ place in the quarter-final stage of the competition, where they would meet Sheffield United at home. However, Spurs lost 2-1 to Sheffield United in the April of 2002 and as a result of that they went out of the play-offs (Newcastle United ended up becoming national champions that season). However, to still have won Group A which had some really fine sides in it, was a great achievement for the Spurs players and coaching staff, and something that every player in that side was very proud of achieving. Six of the players from the 2001/02 season went on to play for the Spurs first team (includes first team friendlies), which is a really good achievement in itself. With the great help of a former Spurs player who played for the Under 19 side and reserves during the 2001/02 season in Paul O’Donoghue, I have been able to get a much better understanding of what the players in that Spurs Under 17 side were like (for example – style of play) from somebody who knew them very well. 

In this piece I will be looking back at every player that played for Spurs’ Under 17 side in the league during the 2001/02 season, talking about what kind of player they are/were, providing some statistics and also looking at where they went after leaving Spurs.

The squad:

Paul Rutherford: A good, solid and very consistent goalkeeper, Paul Rutherford is from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and he had previously played for Colchester United and Norwich City prior to joining Spurs as a youth player. Rutherford was an important player for the Spurs under 17 side during the 2001/02 season, and he made 24 competitive appearances for us in the FA Premier Academy League. The goalkeeper would go on to play for the Spurs Under 19 side during the following 2002/03 season, but at the end of that particular season he was released by the club. He joined Braintree Town in the summer of 2003, the first of a number of non-League clubs that he played for. Since leaving Braintree Town, Rutherford went on to play for the likes of Maldon Town, Wivenhoe Town, AFC Sudbury Town and FC Clacton. 

Nicky Eyre: A former England youth international (he played for England in the Victory Shield) from Braintree who had played for Ipswich Town as a youngster, goalkeeper Nicky Eyre only made five league appearances for our under 17 side in the 2001/02 season, as he was deputy to first choice goalkeeper Paul Rutherford during that particular season. Eyre was great at communicating to his defence and he was also a very good shot stopper who had great reactions, and he did go on to play for Spurs’ reserve side on occasions, but didn’t feature for the first team. After leaving Spurs the goalkeeper went on to play for the likes of Grays Athletic, Rushden & Diamonds and Chelmsford City before retiring from playing the game in 2014. 

Michael Eade: A then schoolboy goalkeeper who actually didn’t feature for the Spurs Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season, but who did make the bench in the league for them on one occasion. Michael Eade joined Spurs as a schoolboy after going on trial at the club, but he wasn’t offered YTS by Spurs. However, Michael joined Luton Town on YTS terms and he would play a good number of games for their various youth sides. However, Michael Eade was released by Luton at the end of the 2005/06 season after not being offered a professional contract by the club. The goalkeeper then decided to go to America to pursue a soccer scholarship, and he spent three years playing for Park University, and at the same time he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Michael still lives in America.

Daniel Perry: An unassuming full-back who did his job efficiently and had good technical ability on the ball, Daniel Perry was born in Welwyn Garden City and he joined Spurs as a schoolboy youth player. Perry made 24 (he started 22 of those games) FA Premier Academy League appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season, and the defender scored one goal for the team, with that coming in the 2-1 play-off victory against Coventry City, in the April of 2002. Towards the end of the following 2002/03 season and a season after he had been a consistent and important player for the Spurs Under 17 side, Daniel Perry joined Cambridge United on trial. And Perry signed scholarship forms with the Cambridgeshire based club at the end of the 2002/03 season. However, I am unsure about where he went after leaving Cambridge United.

David Tyrie: A robust and determined defender who liked a challenge on the pitch and also the physical side of the game, Norwich born ex-footballer David Tyrie had previously been with local side Norwich City prior to joining Spurs. During the 2001/02 season the player who often played as a centre-half for Spurs would make 25 league appearances for Jimmy Neighbour’s side, scoring one goal. Capable of playing as a central defender on either side, David Tyrie would later play for the Spurs Under 19 side during the following season, before later moving to Norwich City, where he mainly played for their Under 19 side. The defender would later move into non-League football where he played for Wroxham and Heybridge Swifts. David later moved to America, and one of the teams that he played for there was the Western Massachusetts Pioneers. He still lives in America.

Philip Ifil: A very highly rated full-back, Londoner Philip Ifil was an assured defender who had great confidence in his ability during his Spurs days. Ifil was also strong defensively but could also support the attack well. The defender made a single Group A appearance for Spurs during the 2001/02 season, when he played at right-back in a 0-0 draw with Charlton Athletic. Ifil would later go on to progress up the youth and reserve ranks at Spurs, to make five competitive appearances for the Spurs first team. Ifil would also become a regular starter for the Spurs reserve side during the 2000s. After going on some loans he departed Spurs in 2008 to join Colchester United. Ifil then later played for Dagenham & Redbridge and Kettering Town, before joining and playing for Watford Sunday League side Evergreen.

Marcel McKie: Former England youth international Marcel McKie was a first year scholar at Spurs during the 2001/02 season (he was an important player for the Spurs Under 17 side that season). The talented Edmonton born former player who made 17 league appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side during the season that we won Group A, was a good and technical left-back who was also a solid defender. McKie would works his way up the various ranks at Spurs to make a number of friendly appearances for Spurs’ first team, before later leaving Spurs in the mid 2000s. After going on trial with a number of clubs Marcel signed for Kettering Town in 2006. Other clubs that he later played for include St Albans City, Enfield Town and Butlins Bognor Regis, the club which he last played for.

Ricky Dobson: A centre-half with great pace, Ricky Dobson was a determined player who made 18 league appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side in 2001/02, and he was an important member of Jimmy Neighbour’s side. The left-sided defender would later play for the Spurs Under 19 side and the reserves now and again, before leaving Spurs permanently in 2004. To name some of the clubs that Ricky played for after leaving Spurs, he played for Grays Athletic, Billericay Town and Cheshunt.

Gareth Jenkins: A technically good defender with a fine left foot, Australian former footballer Gareth Jenkins made just one league appearance for the Spurs Under 17 side in the 2001/02 season. The Newcastle born former Spurs youth team player made more appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side during the following 2002/03 season, but Gareth was later released by Spurs before returning to Australia.

Liam Francis: A full-back with great stamina and who was also a solid defender, Liam Francis (he made four appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side in the league in 2001/02) joined Spurs as a youngster after being scouted by Micky Hazard. The left-back later progressed up to the Spurs Under 19 side, before leaving the club not long afterwards. 

Lee Barnett: A technical central midfielder who was reliable and rarely gave the ball away, Lee Barnett had good composure on the ball and he was a good passer of the ball also. Barnett made an impressive 27 league appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side in 2001/02, scoring two goals. I was unfortunately unable to find out where Lee Barnett went after leaving the club, after he had stepped up to play for the Under 19 side. 

Danny Foster: A commanding player who was a focused and sure footed defender, Danny Foster was a former England youth international. At Spurs for many years as a youth player prior to becoming a scholar at the club, the Enfield born former footballer was a really important defensive member of the Spurs side which won Group A in 2001/02. Foster made 22 league appearances and scored four goals, but it was not only his defensive qualities and organisation skill which made him such a valuable squad member, but he was also a great leader within the side. Later on playing for the Spurs Under 19 side and reserves in his Spurs career, the defender later had a good career in the game, playing for Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers. After retiring from playing Danny was assistant manager at Wingate & Finchley for a short time.

Mario Noto: A local lad who was a highly skilful and energetic midfield player, Mario Noto was rated quite highly by Spurs but was unfortunate to have had a number of talented midfielders ahead of him in the Under 19 side. However, as an Under 17 player at Spurs in 2001/02 Mario scored four goals from 27 league appearances. He would often play on the right flank during that season, and he was a good team player who was intelligent on the ball. Mario’s career post Spurs took him to Reading, where he played as an Academy player, and later on he went into the non-League to play for teams such as Harlow Town, Boreham Wood and Enfield Town. Mario is currently the assistant manager of Enfield Town.

Joe Watson: A solid defensive midfielder who was able to break up the game well and win possession. Joe Watson made 15 appearances for the Under 17 side in 2001/02. Unfortunately I was unable to find out where Watson went after leaving Spurs, and whether or not he continued playing football.

Owen Price: Tooting born former footballer Owen Price was one of the youngest players to play for the Spurs Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season (he made 14 appearances for them that season). A good technical midfield player who arrived at Spurs with quite a bit of hype from Charlton Athletic, Owen Price was a popular player at Spurs and he particularly impressed with his distribution over a long distance. The former Spurs player who would later play one game for the first team during his time at the club (it was a friendly game against Falkenbergs), was also a regular for the Under 19 side and also the reserves. Price left Spurs in 2006 and went to play for GIF Sundsvall in Sweden for a time. Enjoying a long playing career which saw him play for a great variety of clubs such as Ljungskile SK, Lewes and Chatham Town. Owen is currently the assistant manager of non-League side Erith & Belvedere. 

Nicky Wettner: An aggressive and physical midfielder who was a very committed and tough player. Nicky Wettner made 17 league appearances during 2001/02, and he would patrol the midfield well whenever he played that season. Wettner also played at left-midfield towards the end of that seasons FA Youth Cup run, and he did well. After progressing up to the Spurs Under 19 side and later leaving the club the midfielder played in the non-League, where he played for Aveley.

Jeffrey Seitz: A triallist from Spandau in Germany, Jeffrey Seitz made two substitute appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side in 2001/02. After not being signed by Spurs and going on to continue his playing career, Jeffrey went in to football coaching in Germany. He is currently the manager of SC Staaken.

Jonathan Black: A Northern Irishman from Larne in County Antrim, midfielder Jonathan Black was a highly rated Northern Ireland youth international who joined Spurs as a youngster. A good free-kick taker who wasn’t afraid of the physical side of the game, but who was also good on the ball, the midfield player made 20 appearances in 2001/02, scoring one goal. Jonathan Black later suffered a career ending injury at the age of 19, which very sadly ended his career in professional football. However, he has since began a promising coaching coaching career. He coached back in Northern Ireland, at Greater Osceola United and at Tottenham Hotspur. Jonathan currently resides in America, where he continues his coaching career.

David Hicks: A combative midfielder who had good potential, David Hicks made five league appearances for the Spurs Under 17 side over the course of the 2001/02 season. Hicks later stepped up to play for the Spurs Under 19 side in the following seasons, before moving to Northampton Town on a free transfer in the January of 2004. The midfield player later played for clubs such as Stevenage, Wealdstone FC and Enfield FC.

Mark Yeates: Dubliner and former Republic of Ireland youth international Mark Yeates was in former Spurs player Paul O’Donoghue’s eyes the best player in the 

Spurs Under 17 side during the 2001/02 season. A popular member of the Spurs Under 17 side, Mark Yeates made 26 league appearances (he often played as a CAM) in the 2001/02 season, scoring six goals. Yeates was and still is a very creative player with an outstanding skill level, Yeates is also very skilful on the ball and he has an eye for a forward pass. Going on to quickly progress up to the Under 19 side and reserves, Yeates made his first team debut for Spurs against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2004, and he got an assist on his debut. He made a decent number more appearances for Spurs’ first team, before leaving the club permanently in 2007 to join Colchester United. A long and successful career followed for the man who was unlucky not to win a senior cap for his country. Yeates played for clubs such as Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, Watford and Notts County. Now at 36 years of age and still going strong, the forward thinking player currently plays for non-Legaue side Bamber Bridge.

Tim Ford: Tim Ford was a slightly built winger who made 13 appearances for Spurs’ Under 17 side in the league in 2001/02. Ford would often take corner kicks for the Under 17 side when he played for them. I am unsure where Ford went after leaving Spurs, unfortunately.

Jamie Slabber: A centre-forward who only needed half a chance to score inside the box. Enfield born former footballer Jamie Slabber had a real eye for goal and he more often than not caused problems for defenders. Jamie Slabber scored an impressive 12 league goals from 11 appearances for the Under 17 side that season, and the player who would often play up for the Under 19 side and later the reserves, would make one competitive first team appearance during his time at the club (it came as a substitute against Liverpool in a Premier League game in 2003. He got an assist). Slabber went on a couple of loan moves during his time at Spurs, before being released by the club towards the end of the 2004/05 season. The striker later played for a lot of clubs in England, such as Grays Athletic, Chelmsford City and Eastleigh. Slabber was also an England C international.

Michael Malcolm: A highly rated centre-forward who joined Spurs from Wycombe Wanderers as a schoolboy. Michael Malcolm scored 11 goals from 26 appearances for the Under 17 side in the league in 2001/02. A striker who liked the ball played in-behind, the Harrow born former footballer later played for the Under 19 side and the reserves. Michael Malcolm was released by Spurs in 2005, and he later played for a number of clubs in England, such as Stockport County, Weymouth and most recently Cray Wanderers. Malcolm made four appearances for Spurs’ team in friendlies during his time at the club.