My interview with former Spurs man Andy Keeley:

My interview with former Spurs man Andy Keeley:

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Once again, a big thank you to Andrew Scott for arranging this interview.

I was privileged enough to interview former Spurs player Andy Keeley, a member of the famous FA youth cup side of 1973-74. Keeley was an extremely talented young defender who went on to play six times for the senior side, before moving to Sheffield United in 1977, Keeley then went on to play for Scunthorpe United before retiring in 1983. I have had privileges of being able to interview three of our former players over the last month, all of whom played for us during the 1970’s. This is a long term project of mine and one for which I’ll be continuing with over the future, to collect the memories of our former players and youth players, those who may have only played for the senior team on a handful of occasions as well as those who never made the step up. Giving them the recognition they so deserve. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Questions:

What was your time at Spurs like?

Andy: In the main, amazingly good. I joined after playing in weekly trials at the old Cheshunt training ground. Out of hundreds of boys at the trials, the club signed just Martin Robinson and me. We then started to train with our team mates. I hated pre season almost as much as Steve Perryman. We trained with so many great players; Alan Gilzean, Martin Chivers, Jimmy Pearce and Pat Jennings to name just a few. At that time I was thinking how can I be anywhere near as good as them. As well as the great lifestyle and only having to work a few hours a day, I also made some fantastic friends in Noel Brotherston, Wayne Cegielski, Ian Smith, Neil McNab, Ralph Coates and many more. We had loads of fun and learnt how to enjoy the good times and deal with things when it didn’t go as planned.

What was your greatest memory from your time at Spurs?

Andy: Watching Jimmy Greaves train for his testimonial game (what a player) and being in the same club as Pat Jennings, who was not only the best goalkeeper of the era but also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

As a young defender at the time which player in the game did you look up to?

Andy: I didn’t really look up to any other defenders in the game. You’d think that I would, but I preferred the more skillful players. Two of the players that I admired at Spurs for their ability were Jimmy Pearce and Neil McNab. Jimmy was so skillful even though he struggled with his knee injuries which cut short his career, and Neil joined from Morton at 15-16 Years old. I’ll never forget how he played in a friendly match; First team v Reserves. He controlled the game from start to finish. He was outstanding. He had a very good career but I never understood how he didn’t become a superstar.

How did it feel to make your debut for Spurs against Birmingham back in 1976

Andy: It was both scary and exciting. This is what you dream of doing and you want to do yourself justice. I remember, as most players do, how much of a jump up it was from  reserve team football to league football. The game is so much faster than you would expect.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Andy: Playing for England under 18’s will always be in my best memories. Testing yourself against some of the best players from other countries, and adapting to their styles of play. We had a team that included Bryan Robson and Glenn Hoodle. In one match we played Spain, at Atletico Madrid with a 70,000 full capacity crowd. The noise from the crowd was so loud that it was difficult to hear each other. We had coins, seat cushions and a number of other things thrown at us from the crowd during the game. No stopping the game like today for bad crowd behaviour!! With this incredible atmosphere and the crowd intimidation we were even happier than normal to come off with a 1-0 victory.

What was it like to be an up and coming player at Spurs during that time?

Andy: I should write a book. A lot of memorable highs, and some not to nice lows. It was easier than now to break into the team as there was less pressure on the managers to win because of the financial down side of not being in the premiership. Without the money that is in the game today, managers relied more on youth players coming through, rather than being able to go into the transfer market and get an immediate player for the team.
On the bad side there was a sometimes healthy and sometimes a not too healthy competitive mentality; where there were a number of scraps and nasty tackles in training.

You went on to have a successful footballing career with Sheffield United and Scunthorpe,  who was the greatest player that you ever played with?

Andy: At Sheffield United it was Alan Woodward, who played over 500 games for the club. He was the best striker of a ball that I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. In one game I was standing behind him. He was 30 yards out from goal and he slightly mis-controlled the ball a little too far in front of himself. He decided to toe punt the ball, like an old fashioned rugby player. The ball flew into the top corner of the net before the keeper could move.
At Scunthorpe United I enjoyed Ian Botham (famous cricketer, pretend footballer). Not much of a footballer but a character that every dressing room should have.

What are your memories of the FA youth cup campaign of 1973/74?

Andy: I remember the semi final v Arsenal and the final v Huddersfield. They were close games. In the semi final we needed to play at our best to compete with a star studded Arsenal team. We were the underdogs but knew that we had the talent and tenacity to beat them. Against Huddersfield we travelled to their ground for an evening KO against a team that we expected to beat, but they were like most typical Northerners, tough and uncompromising. Fortunately we won and I believe that our successful cup campaign was because of the camaraderie in our team. We were great friends and were prepared to fight for each other.

Do you still follow/support Spurs?

Andy: I do and I attend the occasional game, when I can get tickets. I saw Gareth Bale play a couple of times a few seasons ago and was so impressed with his control, passing, dribbling and shooting. Let’s hope that he will return one day.

Are you still in contact with any of your former team mates at Spurs?

Andy: Unfortunately I’m not and would love a re union with them. Ian Cranstone, Ian Smith, Michael Stead, Wayne Cegielski, Gary Anderson, Noel Brotherston, Neil McNab, Chris Jones, Roger Gibbins and John Margerrison.

What was it like making the transition from Spurs to going up to Yorkshire to play for Sheffield United?

Andy: At the time I wanted it. Being an arrogant young player I believed that I should have been a regular in the first team at Spurs, and had a few run in’s with Keith Burkenshaw about why he wouldn’t keep me in the team. I should have knuckled down and fought for my place but instead asked for a transfer. When I joined and first played at Bramall Lane it felt like a big step down from the Spurs. A few months after joining Sheffield United I married Simone (we are still married), at Easter. Not the best of times to get married as we had 3 games to play in 4 days. This made the transition so much easier. During our time with Sheffield and Scunthorpe we made some great friends, who we see regularly even though we now live back in Basildon.

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Catching up with former Spurs man Martin Robinson:

Catching up with former Spurs man Martin Robinson:

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With special thanks to Andrew Scott for arranging this interview.

For those Spurs fans with long memories the name Martin Robinson will ring a bell. The striker who enjoyed a successful career at the likes of Charlton Athletic, Gillingham and Cambridge United, was a rising star for Spurs back in the mid 1970’s. A member of the triumphant FA Youth Cup winning side of 73/74 the youngster went on to make 6 appearances for the senior team between 1975 and 78, scoring two goals. Martin went on to have a successful footballing career notably at fellow London club Charlton Athletic who he played a key role at during a six year spell. Mr.Robinson kindly agreed to doing an interview with me, sharing some of his memories from his time at the lilywhites.

 

Question 1: What was it like coming through the Academy ranks at Spurs?

M.R: Back in the 70s there was no academy set up things were very different to today.  I started when I was 14 years old going to Tuesday and Thursday training sessions after school. I used to leave school early on those days ‪at 3.00 pm‬ with permission from the headmaster, get a bus, 2 trains and then a bus from South Tottenham to White Hart Lane to ‪start at 5.30 -6.00‬.
Most of the boys were regulars on schoolboy forms, but others came for a week or just a few sessions on trial and were never seen again.
As juniors we trained at Cheshunt training ground in the summer and played games on Saturday for the first year I was there.   Playing for the youth team the following year was  similar set up. At 16 I was asked to become an apprentice; one of only 6 that year.

Question2: What was your greatest memory of being a Spurs player?

M.R: Making my debut at home against Leicester City when I was 18 in the 75/76 season, then scoring the following week against Aston Villa at home, coming on as a sub in a 5-2 win.

Question3: Who were your greatest influences at the club?

M.R: The great Bill Nicholson was the Manager when I joined the club.  Ron Henry was the coach when I was on schoolboy terms.
Pat Welton & Peter Shreeves when I was an apprentice and young professional.  All of them were a great influence on my early career.

Question 4: What was it like to play with Glenn Hoddle at youth level?

M.R: He was great to play with. He had tremendous skill and vision and made quite a few goals for me at youth level.

Question 5: You scored three goals in six senior appearances for the lilywhites, what was it like to play in that famous Spurs side, and how did it feel to play at the Lane?

M.R: I only scored 2 goals for Spurs. One I mentioned against Aston Villa and the other 1 against Oldham at home in a 5-1 win in the old second division.
It was a very special feeling playing with all those great players, plus playing at White Hart Lane in front of your home fans will always be special for any player.

Question 6: Having gone on to have a successful senior career with the likes of Charlton, Cambridge United and Gillingham. What was your greatest achievement during your playing career?

M.R: Getting promoted at the first attempt after getting relegated from the second division to the third with Charlton. Also getting promoted with Cambridge in my final year in the league, before I retired from league football at the age of 33.

Question 7: I recently interviewed former Spurs man Roger Gibbins about the triumphant FA Youth Cup campaign of 1973/74. What were your memories of being involved in that competition?

M.R: I was a first year apprentice and only appeared in a few earlier games in the competition and as we progressed the second year apprentices like Roger and Chris Jones, John Margerrison were added to the squad to secure the cup. I was sub for the final at Huddersfield. I think we played Arsenal in the semi-final.

Question 8: Who coached you at Spurs?

M.R: Ron Henry Juniors.
Pat Welton as an apprentice and young Professional.
Peter Shreeves young professional.

Question 9: Who was the greatest player that you played with in your career?

M.R: Too numerous to mention but making my debut alongside Martin Chivers was a great honour.  I remember playing with some great young kids at various clubs that went on to become household names in their careers – Glenn Hoddle, Paul Walsh, Paul Elliot , Dion Dublin.

Question10: After all these years and after a long affiliation with Charlton Athletic, do you still follow/support Spurs’ progress?

M.R: I have always followed Spurs ever since I left in 1978 to join Charlton Athletic. Also I have 2 brother In laws who are Spurs fanatics, so it is difficult not to know what is happening at the club.  I usually go back to White Hart Lane for a game each season but haven’t seen them play at Wembley.

The forgotten story of Spurs’ famous FA youth cup winning side of 1973/74:

The forgotten story of Spurs’ famous FA youth cup winning side of 1973/74:

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“It was probably the best moment any of that squad experienced in their football careers!”(Roger Gibbins)

Most Spurs fans will be unaware of Spurs’ triumphant FA Youth cup campaign of 1973/74. Under the tutelage of former Spurs assistant manager Pat Welton who led the under 18’s to the trophy for the first time a couple of years earlier, Welton led a talented group of Spurs youngsters to cup glory again in the famous 1973/74 campaign. I have long been intrigued by this team, unable to find much online over the past year, I contacted a key member of the side Roger Gibbins (who joined Spurs as an apprentice in 1971) who kindly agreed to do an interview with me (which starts below). Of the young Spurs players, many of whom went on to have successful footballing careers, was an array of talent. Roger Gibbins went on to have a blossoming career across all four divisions of the English football, notably at Cardiff City where he went on to become a house hold name. In the side there was the tricky winger and former Northern Ireland international Noel Brotherston who made one appearance for Spurs before going on to become a legend at Lancashire club Blackburn Rovers. Former Spurs men Neil Mcnab and Chris Jones are two more familiar names for Spurs fans, who were part of a young team that went on to forge successful careers in the game. This group of Academy players achieved a remarkable feat which if achieved in today’s game would have been plastered across the whole of social media, their names ingrained in the brain of every Spurs fan. Football for our current youth players has moved on a great deal since the mid 1970’s, but that same prestige and affection for the FA Youth Cup is still so evident in our current and recent under 18 sides.

Pat Welton’s side had to give their absolute all to make the final of England’s most prestigious youth football competition. Enduring some tough teams on route to the two legged final with Huddersfield. Spurs over came a brilliant young Leyton Orient side which included the legendary Laurie Cunningham. But perhaps the greatest achievement of that cup run was the semi final victory over bitter rivals Arsenal. To put it into context Arsenal probably had the best young group of players in England. An Arsenal which includes the legendary Irish trio of Frank Stapleton, Liam Brady and David O’Leary, Welton sides had a gruelling task to make the final. But they managed just that, overcoming an incredibly talented Arsenal team to book their place in the final against a physical Huddersfield side. The first leg at White Hart Lane ended in a 1-1 draw, forward John Margerrison getting Spurs’ goal, meaning Spurs had it all to do up in Yorkshire. The second leg was an incredibly close affair as Roger described to me. It went to extra time before none other than Mr.Roger Gibbins himself scored a dramatic late winner to achieve something that has only ever been achieved on three occasions in Spurs’ history. It was a fabulous and historic achievement for the young Spurs team of 74 and one in which meant a lot to the players and the club, in what was Bill Nicholson’s final season in charge of the senior team. The class of 74’s story is a remarkable and important one and it’s more relevant now than ever, with the connections with our club and producing youth talent so strong.

Roger and the group are legends of our club in their own right, they achieved a historic feat and we are all proud to call them one of our own. 43 years on from that triumphant cup campaign, our current under 18 side led by Scott Parker will be starting their youth cup campaign with a home tie against Preston on Wednesday week, as they look to make their mark on the history books of our famous Academy. COYS

Question1: What was it like being a scholar and training during that campaign?

Roger Gibbins: It was a brilliant time for me. I was a professional by this time playing regularly in the reserves and the campaign was so exciting. beating Arsenal in the semi final was the real highlight as they had such a strong side and were favourites.

Question 2: What are your greatest memories of being involved in that campaign?

Roger Gibbins: Beating Arsenal in the semi final and scoring the winning goal in the final!!!

Question 3: How did it feel to be crowned winners of the prestigious competition?

Roger Gibbins: It was one of the best moments in my whole career,very proud and felt on top of the world …… And Spurs had won it 3 or 4 years earlier I believe so it was great to emulate that team.

Question4: What was the season leading up to the final like for the team?

Roger Gibbins: Most of the team we’re regulars in the reserve team squad, so didn’t play in the youth team u-18 so much that season so to have a great FA youth cup run was special.

Question5: Who for you, were the standout players of the group?

Roger Gibbins: Stand out players for me were Andy Keeley(centre back) Neil McNab(midfield) John Margerrison(midfield) and Chris Jones(striker).

Question6: Were both legs of the final close games, was it a fiercely fought final?

Roger Gibbins: Yes both legs were very fiercely contested, Huddersfield were a very strong physical side and there was really not much in either leg, as the scoreline suggests.

Question 7: Do you remember how you and the team celebrated winning the competition and what it meant to you?

Roger Gibbins: I remember we celebrated in the dressing room with a bottle of champagne being sprayed over everyone and we were so happy I can’t explain it in words! It was probably the best moment any of that squad experienced in their football careers!

Question 8: As a player who went on to have a great career, What did you take from that experience into your senior career?

Roger Gibbins: know Chris Jones and Neil McNab went on to play for the 1st team at Spurs, and players like Micky Stead, Ian Smith, Mike Robinson, Noel Brotherstone ,Wayne Cegeilski, Andy Keeley & John Margerrison went on to play League football, but I think I was the player who had the longest career, playing 596 league games in all 4 divisions until I retired in 1993 at 37 years old.

Question 9: The late Noel Brotherston who played once for Spurs’ senior team, went on to become a Blackburn legend and international with Northern Ireland, what was the skilful winger like to play with?

Roger Gibbins: Noel was a very talented player and a quite shy unassuming lovely young man.Very good player to have in your team as he liked to have the ball, take players on, and deliver into the penalty area, he was a great outlet for us. A very sad day when he passed away far too young.

Question10: Are you still in touch with your fellow squad members of that campaign?

Roger Gibbins: Unfortunately I am not in contact with any of them!!!!!  It was 43 years ago mind you!!! …. it would be so lovely to have a reunion …could you arrange that?

Question 11: Finally, with the new FA youth cup campaign about to kick for Spurs’ current under 18’s side, with a home tie against Preston ‪next Wednesday‬. What would your advice be to the Spurs youngsters, many of which will be getting their first taste of the competition.

Roger Gibbins: Well the game has changed so much in the last 43 years, and I am sure the boys will be well prepared by the coaches at Spurs for this game and hopefully a good campaign …. but one thing I would say and this hasn’t changed in all these years: It’s a team game and generally the team that has the most desire, passion, team spirit and togetherness will come out on top …. that’s what we had in 1974! Good luck to the Spurs boys of 2017-18 👍

Remembering that 95 yard goal from Paul Robinson: (memory lane)

Remembering that 95 yard goal from Paul Robinson: (memory lane)

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Former Spurs goalkeeper and England international Paul Robinson today announced his retirement from the game of football. The Yorkshireman who played for Spurs between 2004 and 2008 became a popular and important figure at the lilywhites, Robinson who was signed from Leeds United for a fee of £1.5 million pounds back in May of 2004, Robinson went on to make 175 appearances for Spurs which included a 2008 league cup winners medal for Robinson. As well as a top shot stopper Robinson was also a brilliant kicker of the ball, and on St.Patrick’s day in 2007 Robinson created an unforgettable memory for Spurs fans, when in a premier league game against Watford, he remarkably scored the second goal of his professional career. I was sat in the north stand on that sunny Saturday afternoon at White Hart Lane, Martin Jol’s side were in full control of the game as Jermaine Jenas had put us ahead on the stroke of half time. On the 63rd minute of the game a seemingly routine free kick from 95 yards out was kicked by Robinson, even now I remember it in slow motion as it travelled all the way into Ben Foster’s box before bouncing over the England internationals head and into the back of the net, to the astonishment of the crowd. I remember thinking to myself did Robinson really score that! As Ricardo Rocha and Michael Dawson rushed to congratulate him, we ended up winning the game 3-1 over the hornets. But that game will forever be etched in to the memories of Spurs fans for the incredible long range goal scored by Paul Robinson. I wish Paul a very happy retirement and thank him for his time at Spurs.

Mixed results for our under 16’s and 18’s against Chelsea on Saturday:

Mixed results for our under 16’s and 18’s against Chelsea on Saturday:

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Under 18’s: Our under 18’s side lost 3-2 to Chelsea yesterday afternoon at the blues Cobham training ground. John McDermott’s side played well and grew into the game as it went on, but despite their best efforts they couldn’t draw level. Their two late goals all they could manage on the day, Spurs’s goals came from forward Reo Griffith’s and midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe. Up next for our under 18’s side is the rearranged FA Youth cup fifth round tie against Norwich on Thursday.

Spurs U18s: Austin, Eyoma, Tsaroulla, Marsh (c, Skipp 77), Tanganga, Dinzeyi, Shashoua, Duncan, Sterling (Griffiths 58), Oakley-Boothe, Bennetts (Hinds 71). Substitutes (not used): Gonzalez-Velasco, Freeman (GK).

Under 16’s: It was a different story for our under 16’s as they impressively defeated Chelsea 4-2 on Saturday. Forward Jeremie Mukendie netted a brace, whilst Jamie Bowden and Phoenix Patterson also got on the score sheet. An impressive result from a such a talented group of players.

George Hunt: An unsung hero of the lane

George Hunt: An unsung hero of the lane

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Facts:
– Born in Mexborough, Yorkshire in 1910.
– Hunt is Tottenham’s sixth all time top scorer with 136 goals in 198 games for the Lillywhites.
– Hunt became the first ever player to move from Spurs to Arsenal in 1937.
– Hunt scored three hat-tricks for Spurs in six games, in March of 1934.
– Hunt ran a car wash department in Bolton after he retired from the game.

If I were to ask 100 Spurs fans who our sixth all time top scorer is, very few would say George Hunt, in fact a fair few of those Spurs fans would probably have never heard of the Tottenham goal machine. George Samuel Hunt was born on the 22nd of February 1910 in Mexborough just outside the city of Rotherham in Yorkshire. The five foot eight inch striker started out at Chesterfield in the 1929-30 season, and the Yorkshireman finished the season at Saltergate with an impressive total of nine goals from 14 appearances. Hunt was given the nickname ‘the Chesterfield tough’ by the fans because of his powerful and pacy displays on the pitch however, in the summer of 1930 Arsenal and Spurs battled it out for the acquisition of the promising young striker. Although it was the Lillywhites that Hunt chose and over the preceding seven seasons, Hunt accumulated a remarkable tally of 138 goals from 198 games for the north London club. Furthermore, Hunt’s prolificness helped Spurs get promoted back into the old first division. The Yorkshireman’s style of play is in fact similar to that of the late Bobby Smith and also our current Spurs star Harry Kane, in the sense that Hunt shared both the centre forwards high energy rates and strong physical build in which made him so potent and hard to shrug off the ball.

Hunt adjusted slowly to life at the lane however he was still scoring the goals although he ultimately couldn’t regain his prolificness in his debut season in which Spurs failed to win promotion. However, in the following seasons at Spurs Hunt Sparkled hitting the back of the net nearly every weekend. The pace in which the centre forward possessed became such a problem for opposition defenders that it resulted in him getting bashed about as they tried all they could do to halt him from scoring. George Hunt was formidable during his time at Tottenham in many ways he was their hero, although he is not as well remembered as someone like Bobby Smith or Jimmy Greaves. I personally believe that is down to the fact that Spurs had yet to endure club glory at that stage in the league. After seven incredible seasons Hunt controversially left Spurs to join Arsenal in October of 1937, and in doing so became the first ever player to go from Spurs to Arsenal. However Hunt’s time at Highbury was far from successful with the forward only managing 3 goals from 21 games. Nonetheless the Gunners won the league that season and Hunt got the winners medal that he deserved.

The Spurs great played for Bolton before ending his career at Sheffield Wednesday in the late 1940’s, he then went on to coach the famous Bolton side of 1958 the year in which they won the FA Cup. Hunt stayed at the Lancashire club for a decade before retiring in 1968, he went on to run a car wash department in Bolton. George Hunt passed away in 1996 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, he was one of he finest strikers of his generation and arguably one of the greatest Spurs players to ever grace the White Hart lane pitch. He created a fantastic impact and legacy at Spurs as he restored our pride at the club through a tough patch in their history, Hunt should be fondly remembered from all at Tottenham Hotspur, he was without doubt a Tottenham Hotspur legend.

Memory lane: Ledley King⚽️

Today I shall be revisiting an extraordinary record held by our very own club legend Ledley King. 

The date is the 9th of December 2000 a league match against Bradford at Valley parade, the game kicks off 9.9 seconds into the match were ahead Ledley King found the ball at his feet and put his foot through it 1-0 and Ledley entered the premier league record books a spontaneous moment that lasted seconds from Ledley and yet that record still stands and shall most probably stand for the next century unless there is a remarkable piece of skill, a 45 yard screamer that flys in faster than lighting, but the likelihood of such an occurrence is next to nothing yet our club legend Ledley King holds this most remarkable of premier league records.

 

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Welcome to my blog Super Hotspur!

Hello there and welcome to my blog on the world famous Tottenham Hotspur, I shall be meticulously covering many aspects of the club including Match reports of every Spurs match as well as detailed Information from every U21,U18 and U16 match, and that’s just one side of this blog. In addition I shall be writing articles on specific players, transfer updates and the progress of loan players. As well as all other news on Tottenham Hotspur from updates on our new stadium construction to trips down memory lane this is the blog of Super Hotspur⚽️ Please share and feedback via Twitter is much appreciated. Here’s to a great Spurs journey, COYS!