My interview with former Spurs goalkeeper Ian Cranstone:

My interview with former Spurs goalkeeper Ian Cranstone:

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A key component of the 1973/74 FA youth cup winning side, goalkeeper Ian Cranstone played a significant part of Tottenham successes. A talented young goalkeeper who signed for the club in 1972, Cranstone was a part of one of the most talented Tottenham youth teams in the clubs history. I caught up with Ian to chat about his time at the club and subsequent career at both Colchester United and Wealdstone.

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

Ian: Playing for Essex County schools. Scouted by Dicky Walker who was the chief scout at the time and a legend. Aged 15 ½ years of age it was a big deal to leave home and stay in a strange place. Being cared for by another couple (adopted parents). Playing for the club was an honour. Wherever you went in the Tottenham area people would know who you were and would stop and talk to you. Even away games, supporters would ask for your autograph. I would always oblige. It was great!

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

Ian: A great experience, a dream come true. The experience still remains with me. Being around famous people and socialising with the first team players and players from other clubs, it was fantastic.

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

Ian: Apart from Pat Jennings of course, my goalkeeping hero was Peter Shilton. I met him by chance in a hotel in Nottingham prior to me playing for Notts County for a trial match when I was playing for Wealdstone. Peter was playing for Nottingham Forest at the time and lived in the hotel.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ian: Pat Welton the youth team coach and ex Leyton Orient goalkeeper. The coach that had all the character was Eddie Bailey, first team coach and assistant to Bill Nicholson. Johnny Wallis was the clubs first team trainer and he had to make sure that all the kit was ready for training sessions and boots were cleaned etc. Johnny was in charge of the apprentices when not in training and it was our jobs to clean up and do jobs around the ground (White Hart Lane) etc.

Who were you favourite players at the club?

Ian: Cyril Knowles was my favourite as he always had a smile on his face and joked about a lot.

You shared a house with the likes of Graeme Souness and Noel Brotherston  in Tottenham during your time as a youth player, a far cry from the luxury that our current youth players enjoy today. What was that experience like for you?

Ian: Quite daunting! I was not a very confident person, so to share a house with established players like Graeme Souness and Chris Jones was a big deal. In total there were six of us at one point in the house, (Clive Avenue). I had the opportunity of going home once a month subject to football fixtures… My parents were living in South Wales at the time. I would travel by train ‪Saturday afternoon‬ and return ‪Sunday night‬. At 15 ½ years of age and an only child it was quite a life change. One I wouldn’t want to swap.

How did your time at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Ian: My expectations were quite high and the training regime was tough. It taught me to work hard and never expect anything. Moving from Spurs to other clubs was a shock as other clubs could not come up to the standards Spurs had given me.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

There are so many. During my Spurs career we were the most successful London youth football team around. We won every youth competition in London, plus the South East Counties League. My best moment was in the second half of extra time in the second leg of the FA youth cup final. The score was 0-0. Huddersfield had an attack. A high ball came into the penalty box and one of their players got on the end and headed it towards goal. It was in all intense purposes a goal. I was on my six yard line and the ball went over my head. I ran backwards and leapt up into the air and managed to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. Minutes later Roger Gibbins scores at the other end.
The rest is history!

Sadder story was the occasion I broke my 5th matatarsus bone in my right foot whilst playing in a tournament in Rotterdam prior to the UEFA cup final between Spurs and Ajax. Having smothered a through ball, the opposition forward decided to carry on and kick my foot. I stood up to kick the ball out and I heard the bone break. I had to travel all the way back to Tottenham in a plaster cast and then a taxi took me all the way to South Wales.

After departing the lilywhites you went onto play for teams such as Colchester United and Wealdstone. could you talk me through what prompted you to leave the club, and your career post Spurs?

Ian: I was given a free transfer from the club by Keith Burkinshaw. Spurs signed a young up and coming goalkeeper, ‪Mark Kendall‬. At the time the club had Barry Daines, Nicky Markwick and myself. One of us had to leave and it was me. After lots of rejections from lower clubs I finally ended up at Colchester United. Again like Spurs I had joined a club that had a well established goalkeeper, Micky Walker (father of Ian Walker). I signed a one year contract with a one year option. This was a standard contract format at the time. Unfortunately the one time I had to make my league debut was against Newport County away. The game got called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
After that I sustained a broken scaphoid bone in my left wrist and it needed surgery and a one inch screw inserted. I was in plaster for 15 weeks. To this day I still have the screw inside me. A cover goalkeeper from Ipswich Town came to the club on loan. He was fortunate enough to play three league games and that was the end of my career at Colchester United.

After Colchester United I held down a civvy job and played semi pro for Wealdstone in the Alliance Premier league. Notable claim to fame was Stuart Pearce being my left back and substitute goalkeeper when I was concussed during a match at Scarborough. Although not mentioned directly in Stuarts autobiography the incident is mentioned.

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

I have played against some well known forwards during my youth years and reserve games. Notable forwards: Charlie George, Frank Stapleton, Kerry Dixon, Jimmy Greaves (Barnet), Martin Chivers, Alan Gilzean during training sessions.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Without a doubt the FA Youth cup victory. If it wasn’t for a penalty save against Leyton Orient (Dean Moody) we wouldn’t have progressed. Signing professional forms as well.

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

Ian: One year I played in the London Evening Standard football five a side tournament which was televised. We got beat 5-0 by Millwall. That was my 15 minutes of fame! Our team was Glenn Hoddle, Martin Chivers, John Pratt, Jimmy Robertson and myself. We were abysmal. So the greatest has to be Glenn. He was groomed to be great.

You’re still a Spurs fan and member at the club, what does the club still mean to you now after all these years?

Ian: I have enjoyed seeing the club evolve. Money has been a big influence how clubs are run and the facilities they can provide. I wish I was born in the 90’s. The opportunities for players is much greater and the off pitch support the club can offer players. It is a shame however that having played for the club there is no contact. At the end of the day players are only a commodity.

1974 will be a year which will always be synonymous with our triumphant FA youth cup campaign. A campaign in which you played a major part in, could you talk me through your memories of that campaign?

Ian: The team had the confidence to walk onto the pitch and had the belief we would win. I can recall playing at Birmingham City (St Andrews) midweek with empty stands and the thumping of an industrial hammer pounding away constantly. As mentioned before the penalty save against Leyton Orient
the semi final, two legged against Arsenal. They had a talented team and many went on to first team glory and beyond. It was 0-0 at W.H.L. Under floodlights at Highbury was magical. We won the final 1-0 at W.H.L. It was disappointing. There wasn’t much atmosphere. Huddersfield were content to frustrate us and so it proved, 0-0. At Huddersfield in front of 14,000 home supporters the atmosphere was electric. The goals were tight up against the stands and I had coins and coke cans thrown at me, along with verbal taunts. All tactics to unsettle me and break my concentration. It didn’t work! I did come into some money! LOL. After the game in the dressing room and having photos taken with Bill Nicholson (he signed me as an apprentice professional) it was special and who would have thought I would be writing about such an occasion 46 years on?

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

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Eddie Gormley came across the water as a teenager to sign for Spurs in 1988, the young Dubliner had been scouted by a certain David Pleat but following Pleat’s dismissal during the 87-88 season, Gormley was officially signed by new boss Terry Venables. Unable to make the breakthrough to the first team, the Ireland under 21 international spent his three years at the lilywhites playing for the reserve team. A tricky winger, Gormley subsequently went onto play for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield and a plethora of Irish clubs. Gormley went onto forge a hugely successful playing career back in his native country. Since retiring from the game in 2005 Gormley has since turned his hand to coaching. First taking charge of Irish premier division side Bray Wanderers, Gormley then went onto coach Cabinteely in the second tier of Irish football, where he remains in charge today. Eddie kindly spoke to me about his time at Spurs and subsequent career in the game.

Questions:

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

Eddie: I was playing league of Ireland here, obviously Spurs came to watch me in a game against Dundalk and a week later they signed me. My earliest memories was I think my first game, I was only at the club maybe three days and we were playing Gillingham away in a reserve game. And I was taken off at halftime and it was an absolute disaster. You know I found it difficult to get with the pace of the game you know, obviously playing with players in the reserve team that would have played in the first team. So coming from the league of Ireland it took me a while to adjust to it. I got a bad ankle injury when I chipped my bone, so I was out for about eight weeks with that. So that was sort of the first year I was there.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Eddie: I really enjoyed it, obviously it was difficult to get into the first team at that time. You had Lineker playing and the likes of Paul Gascoigne but I really enjoyed it. Going training I really knuckled down and took on board the coaching I was getting, and just really tried to improve myself as a player and see where that took me, you know. I had three good years there, the final year was probably my best year where I played most of the reserve games. I scored a good few goals playing wide left, as a whole I really enjoyed the experience and when your with a club like Spurs If you don’t enjoy it then there’s something wrong with you!

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Eddie: I was a wide player so my first thoughts would be the 70’s, the likes of Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill, those sorts of players. They were wide players, they were quick and they were great crossers of the ball. And obviously I was a Man United supporter, but I also remember the 1981 cup final I think it was between Spurs and Man City. And Ricky Villa scored that incredible goal, obviously he’d gone when I got there, and Ardilles. But I can remember Ardilles playing in the 78 World Cup final, and obviously when I arrived I was a little bit in awe of him you know.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Eddie: Obviously Doug Livermore the coach when I got there and obviously Ray Clemence came on board then. So they were obviously a big influence on me. But I have to say now, who impressed me the most was probably Terry Venables, just the way he spoke to everybody the same, he treated everybody the same you know. He was the type of manager that you’d run through walls for, you know. Unfortunately I never played for the first team but given the opportunity I certainty would of, he was a gentleman. So they were my biggest influences.

Being a winger were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?

Eddie: Not really, I just really focused on myself and just trying to do the best I could. So not really, I wouldn’t say I moulded myself on anybody I would have just really got on and tried to be my own type of player.

Coming across the water to England as a teenager in the late 80’s would have been a big step for you to make. What was the toughest thing about being a professional at Spurs and what were your biggest challenges that you faced?

Eddie: It was very difficult, coming from Dublin and being dropped at London. I mean it’s like chalk and cheese, obviously the home sickness was a difficult thing. But you’d just tell yourself no listen you’ve just got to get through it, but it did take me a little while to settle down but luckily enough I was put in with an Irish family, the Moores. So that helped me really adjust, but it is difficult and being away from your own family and going out to a top club trying to produce. It gets less difficult but you just take your time. A lot of players go home with home sickness but I looked at it very simply. That I’d been given this three years and to see where it takes me, If I end up getting a career over in England or in worst case scenario I come back to Bray after three years.

How did your time as a professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Eddie: It was a huge help, I mean when you go into an environment like Spurs you have to be very professional adjusting. I was lucky enough that there were some very good players there that looked after me you know. Like Gary Stevens, Garry Mabbutt and Tony Parkes. These types of players you know they were top, top pros and they always had a word with you and had time for you. So it just makes you more professional, It makes you realise how difficult it is to get to the top and what it takes. The dedication it takes to succeed you know.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Eddie: I suppose the last season, we won the reserve league and I think I scored something like seven or eight goals in the last ten games, I just remember scoring a lot of goals towards the end. And obviously one of my last games was playing in Danny Blanchflower’s testimonial against Northern Ireland. I played some of that game, I have to say now I really enjoyed playing in front of a nearly full stadium you know. It was enjoyable to get a run in the first team against an international side.

After departing the lilywhites you went on to play for the likes of Doncaster, St Patrick’s and Bray Could you talk me through your career post Spurs?

Eddie: I was offered another year by Terry Venables at Spurs but I just felt I wasn’t going to get an opportunity in the first team, so I decided to move on. So I had a good few calls from other clubs, so when I went home for the summer I just decided I’ll go and meet them. I literally got the boat back to Holyhead and drove from the north to the south, meeting all the clubs and the one that impressed me most was Billy Bremner with Doncaster. So I signed with them and had three very good years. I won the players player of the year and player of the year in the last two years that I was there. Then unfortunately I had a little fallout over the contract. My wife had just had her first child so she wanted to move back to Ireland so it was just coincidence with me falling out with them with my contract. I eventually went on loan first because Doncaster wouldn’t release me. They let me go out on loan with Drogheda, I played there on loan for about two months and then St Patricks Athletic with Brian Kerr who was later the Ireland manager, got me to sign for St Pats. So I never looked back after that, I had seven or eight good seasons at St Pats where I won three leagues and the Irish player of the year, I had a good innings let’s say with Pats. And then when I hit 30-31 I always said I’d finish with Bray because it was the club I started out with. So I even bumped into the Bray manager who was actually my adviser when I went to Spurs in the first place, he was the Bray manager when I left.

Pat asked me if I would be interested, they’d just been promoted back to the premier division and he asked me if I’d go back. So I’d go back and play for the last couple of years and I ended up playing till I was 36. Actually the first year I went back we should have won the league, we were unlucky we had a very strong squad. We actually lost to the weaker team which really cost us dearly we should have won the league that year, which would have been nice as they’d never won it before you know. I finished up playing really with them, when I was 36 I retired. Obviously they asked me to go on the coaching staff because I had my badges, so I done that and Pat Devlin moved onto work with Steve Staunton at the Ireland team. And they basically asked me to take over as their manager (at Bray). So I managed them for four years and then I resigned after four years, things weren’t going well and the budget here was pushing the boat a bit down south you know. I finished that up and ended staying out of football for a year, and my local team Cabinteely which my eldest son was football for at the time asked me the usual. Would I do a coaching session for the team and would I look after the age group, and would I be director of coaching for when they got national league football. They asked me would I manage the team. I done it on a short term basis for two years which was meant to be for two months. That’s it really, that’s it in a nut shell.

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

Eddie: Toughest fullback… probably a lad who played here called Willie Burke. He played for Shamrock rovers and ended up signing for St Pats actually after that. He wasn’t a big lad but he was aggressive, he was quick and he read the game really well. He really knew how to give you a tough game, he was probably the toughest fullback I played against.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Eddie: Probably a couple, obviously getting my under 21 caps for Ireland, but obviously winning the league of Ireland three times, there’s so many but that would probably be the pinnacle of my career. Winning that and winning the LOI players player of the year, it was nice to get recognised by players that you played against you know.

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

Eddie: I’d have to say Gascoigne, when I played in that friendly game he was just unbelievable, unbelievable! He was a good lad as well, a gentleman you know but he was absolutely top drawer.

How quickly did you adapt to playing reserve team football for Spurs and how did it aid your development as a footballer?

Eddie: It took me a while to adapt if I was to be honest with you, probably it took me the best of six months really to adapt to it. So obviously there was an injury thrown in there as well, it’s difficult when you’re dealing with so many things and your a young Irish player going over. It’s just a totally different way of life to the life I was used to. Being laid back you know and you’re dropped into London England, and everything’s 100 miles an hour. You’re dealing with your family not being around, your’e dealing with the players, the tempo of the game. But you know it took me a good six months to adapt, it really did but I think it made me a better player obviously. The second year and then the third year I have to say now I thoroughly enjoyed it towards the third year you know.

Whilst at Doncaster Rovers you played under the legendary Billy Bremner, could you describe what it was like to be coached by such a legendary figure in the game?

Eddie: Just his knowledge of the game was just phenomenal you know. And I was lucky enough I was a central midfield player at that stage. The first season I arrived I played wide left so I think the first couple of months he just said you’re a central midfield player. There’s a good story I always tell, he used to train with us on a Friday. I remember a particular day he played for the second team, he told us the starting lineup for Saturday. He played a ball out to the right winger and he took off down the line, and I just took off to break into the box. And as the winger went to cross the ball I just remember waking up not being able to breath, he’d literally just dropped his shoulder and he’d ran right into me, and it just winded me. He said to me I’ll give you a bit of advice, always watch where you’re running! And fair enough he must have been 50 odd at that stage, being a fit lad he absolutely floored me you know. His knowledge of the game was just phenomenal.

Since retiring from the game you have since entered the world of management, first taking charge of Irish premier division club Bray and then Cabinteely who you are currently in charge of at the moment. How has that experience been for you so far and do you have any ambitions of coaching in England in the future or even back at Spurs in some capacity?

Eddie: I think my days as a coach in England now are gone, it’s just not a logical thing for me at the moment. My coaching ambitions, to be honest with you I enjoy coaching the underage sides an awful lot more and prefer to give back that way. The reason I ended up at Cabinteely for three years managing the first team was because they needed me in order to get their license. They needed someone that had a pro license, I agreed to step in on a temporary basis till they got somebody else in and that took two years. And then I resigned at the end of the two years as I just prefer being a coach then a manager. I enjoy the underage stuff an awful lot more then senior football, I’ll be totally honest with you.

Troy Parrott is a young Irishman who is touted for great things both at Spurs and on the international stage for Ireland. As somebody who was once in Parrott’s shoes what would your advice be to young Troy as he looks to work his way up the ranks at Spurs?

Eddie: To stay mentally strong and bounce back from your disappointments as you will have disappointments sometimes. You think you should get picked and you don’t, but just to basically stay mentally strong. If you can do that you’ll always have a good chance you know. I mean he has the ability but sometimes you need to have your head straight. Everybody gets disappointments in games but it’s how you bounce back from them you know. If you’re mentally strong you’ve got a great chance.

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

My interview with former Spurs man Eddie Gormley:

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Eddie Gormley came across the water as a teenager to sign for Spurs in 1988, the young Dubliner had been scouted by a certain David Pleat but following Pleat’s dismissal during the 87-88 season, Gormley was officially signed by new boss Terry Venables. Unable to make the breakthrough to the first team, the Ireland under 21 international spent his three years at the lilywhites playing for the reserve team. A tricky winger, Gormley subsequently went onto play for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield and a plethora of Irish clubs. Gormley went onto forge a hugely successful playing career back in his native country. Since retiring from the game in 2005 Gormley has since turned his hand to coaching. First taking charge of Irish premier division side Bray Wanderers, Gormley then went onto coach Cabinteely in the second tier of Irish football, where he remains in charge today. Eddie kindly spoke to me about his time at Spurs and subsequent career in the game.

Questions:

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

Eddie: I was playing league of Ireland here, obviously Spurs came to watch me in a game against Dundalk and a week later they signed me. My earliest memories was I think my first game, I was only at the club maybe three days and we were playing Gillingham away in a reserve game. And I was taken off at halftime and it was an absolute disaster. You know I found it difficult to get with the pace of the game you know, obviously playing with players in the reserve team that would have played in the first team. So coming from the league of Ireland it took me a while to adjust to it. I got a bad ankle injury when I chipped my bone, so I was out for about eight weeks with that. So that was sort of the first year I was there.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Eddie: I really enjoyed it, obviously it was difficult to get into the first team at that time. You had Lineker playing and the likes of Paul Gascoigne but I really enjoyed it. Going training I really knuckled down and took on board the coaching I was getting, and just really tried to improve myself as a player and see where that took me, you know. I had three good years there, the final year was probably my best year where I played most of the reserve games. I scored a good few goals playing wide left, as a whole I really enjoyed the experience and when your with a club like Spurs If you don’t enjoy it then there’s something wrong with you!

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Eddie: I was a wide player so my first thoughts would be the 70’s, the likes of Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill, those sorts of players. They were wide players, they were quick and they were great crossers of the ball. And obviously I was a Man United supporter, but I also remember the 1981 cup final I think it was between Spurs and Man City. And Ricky Villa scored that incredible goal, obviously he’d gone when I got there, and Ardilles. But I can remember Ardilles playing in the 78 World Cup final, and obviously when I arrived I was a little bit in awe of him you know.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Eddie: Obviously Doug Livermore the coach when I got there and obviously Ray Clemence came on board then. So they were obviously a big influence on me. But I have to say now, who impressed me the most was probably Terry Venables, just the way he spoke to everybody the same, he treated everybody the same you know. He was the type of manager that you’d run through walls for, you know. Unfortunately I never played for the first team but given the opportunity I certainty would of, he was a gentleman. So they were my biggest influences.

Being a winger were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d would model your game around?

Eddie: Not really, I just really focused on myself and just trying to do the best I could. So not really, I wouldn’t say I moulded myself on anybody I would have just really got on and tried to be my own type of player.

Coming across the water to England as a teenager in the late 80’s would have been a big step for you to make. What was the toughest thing about being a professional at Spurs and what were your biggest challenges that you faced?

Eddie: It was very difficult, coming from Dublin and being dropped at London. I mean it’s like chalk and cheese, obviously the home sickness was a difficult thing. But you’d just tell yourself no listen you’ve just got to get through it, but it did take me a little while to settle down but luckily enough I was put in with an Irish family, the Moores. So that helped me really adjust, but it is difficult and being away from your own family and going out to a top club trying to produce. It gets less difficult but you just take your time. A lot of players go home with home sickness but I looked at it very simply. That I’d been given this three years and to see where it takes me, If I end up getting a career over in England or in worst case scenario I come back to Bray after three years.

How did your time as a professional at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Eddie: It was a huge help, I mean when you go into an environment like Spurs you have to be very professional adjusting. I was lucky enough that there were some very good players there that looked after me you know. Like Gary Stevens, Garry Mabbutt and Tony Parkes. These types of players you know they were top, top pros and they always had a word with you and had time for you. So it just makes you more professional, It makes you realise how difficult it is to get to the top and what it takes. The dedication it takes to succeed you know.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Eddie: I suppose the last season, we won the reserve league and I think I scored something like seven or eight goals in the last ten games, I just remember scoring a lot of goals towards the end. And obviously one of my last games was playing in Danny Blanchflower’s testimonial against Northern Ireland. I played some of that game, I have to say now I really enjoyed playing in front of a nearly full stadium you know. It was enjoyable to get a run in the first team against an international side.

After departing the lilywhites you went on to play for the likes of Doncaster, St Patrick’s and Bray Could you talk me through your career post Spurs?

Eddie: I was offered another year by Terry Venables at Spurs but I just felt I wasn’t going to get an opportunity in the first team, so I decided to move on. So I had a good few calls from other clubs, so when I went home for the summer I just decided I’ll go and meet them. I literally got the boat back to Holyhead and drove from the north to the south, meeting all the clubs and the one that impressed me most was Billy Bremner with Doncaster. So I signed with them and had three very good years. I won the players player of the year and player of the year in the last two years that I was there. Then unfortunately I had a little fallout over the contract. My wife had just had her first child so she wanted to move back to Ireland so it was just coincidence with me falling out with them with my contract. I eventually went on loan first because Doncaster wouldn’t release me. They let me go out on loan with Drogheda, I played there on loan for about two months and then St Patricks Athletic with Brian Kerr who was later the Ireland manager, got me to sign for St Pats. So I never looked back after that, I had seven or eight good seasons at St Pats where I won three leagues and the Irish player of the year, I had a good innings let’s say with Pats. And then when I hit 30-31 I always said I’d finish with Bray because it was the club I started out with. So I even bumped into the Bray manager who was actually my adviser when I went to Spurs in the first place, he was the Bray manager when I left.

Pat asked me if I would be interested, they’d just been promoted back to the premier division and he asked me if I’d go back. So I’d go back and play for the last couple of years and I ended up playing till I was 36. Actually the first year I went back we should have won the league, we were unlucky we had a very strong squad. We actually lost to the weaker team which really cost us dearly we should have won the league that year, which would have been nice as they’d never won it before you know. I finished up playing really with them, when I was 36 I retired. Obviously they asked me to go on the coaching staff because I had my badges, so I done that and Pat Devlin moved onto work with Steve Staunton at the Ireland team. And they basically asked me to take over as their manager (at Bray). So I managed them for four years and then I resigned after four years, things weren’t going well and the budget here was pushing the boat a bit down south you know. I finished that up and ended staying out of football for a year, and my local team Cabinteely which my eldest son was football for at the time asked me the usual. Would I do a coaching session for the team and would I look after the age group, and would I be director of coaching for when they got national league football. They asked me would I manage the team. I done it on a short term basis for two years which was meant to be for two months. That’s it really, that’s it in a nut shell.

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

Eddie: Toughest fullback… probably a lad who played here called Willie Burke. He played for Shamrock rovers and ended up signing for St Pats actually after that. He wasn’t a big lad but he was aggressive, he was quick and he read the game really well. He really knew how to give you a tough game, he was probably the toughest fullback I played against.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Eddie: Probably a coupl, obviously getting my under 21 caps for Ireland, but obviously winning the league of Ireland three times, there’s so many but that would probably be the pinnacle of my career. Winning that and winning the LOI players player of the year, it was nice to get recognised by players that you played against you know.

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

Eddie: I’d have to say Gascoigne, when I played in that friendly game he was just unbelievable, unbelievable! He was a good lad as well, a gentleman you know but he was absolutely top drawer.

How quickly did you adapt to playing reserve team football for Spurs and how did it aid your development as a footballer?

Eddie: It took me a while to adapt if I was to be honest with you, probably it took me the best of six months really to adapt to it. So obviously there was an injury thrown in there as well, it’s difficult when you’re dealing with so many things and your a young Irish player going over. It’s just a totally different way of life to the life I was used to. Being laid back you know and you’re dropped into London England, and everything’s 100 miles an hour. You’re dealing with your family not being around, your’e dealing with the players, the tempo of the game. But you know it took me a good six months to adapt, it really did but I think it made me a better player obviously. The second year and then the third year I have to say now I thoroughly enjoyed it towards the third year you know.

Whilst at Doncaster Rovers you played under the legendary Billy Bremner, could you describe what it was like to be coached by such a legendary figure in the game?

Eddie: Just his knowledge of the game was just phenomenal you know. And I was lucky enough I was a central midfield player at that stage. The first season I arrived I played wide left so I think the first couple of months he just said you’re a central midfield player. There’s a good story I always tell, he used to train with us on a Friday. I remember a particular day he played for the second team, he told us the starting lineup for Saturday. He played a ball out to the right winger and he took off down the line, and I just took off to break into the box. And as the winger went to cross the ball I just remember waking up not being able to breath, he’d literally just dropped his shoulder and he’d ran right into me, and it just winded me. He said to me I’ll give you a bit of advice, always watch where you’re running! And fair enough he must have been 50 odd at that stage, being a fit lad he absolutely floored me you know. His knowledge of the game was just phenomenal.

Since retiring from the game you have since entered the world of management, first taking charge of Irish premier division club Bray and then Cabinteely who you are currently in charge of at the moment. How has that experience been for you so far and do you have any ambitions of coaching in England in the future or even back at Spurs in some capacity?

Eddie: I think my days as a coach in England now are gone, it’s just not a logical thing for me at the moment. My coaching ambitions, to be honest with you I enjoy coaching the underage sides an awful lot more and prefer to give back that way. The reason I ended up at Cabinteely for three years managing the first team was because they needed me in order to get their license. They needed someone that had a pro license, I agreed to step in on a temporary basis till they got somebody else in and that took two years. And then I resigned at the end of the two years as I just prefer being a coach then a manager. I enjoy the underage stuff an awful lot more then senior football, I’ll be totally honest with you.

Troy Parrott is a young Irishman who is touted for great things both at Spurs and on the international stage for Ireland. As somebody who was once in Parrott’s shoes what would your advice be to young Troy as he looks to work his way up the ranks at Spurs?

Eddie: To stay mentally strong and bounce back from your disappointments as you will have disappointments sometimes. You think you should get picked and you don’t, but just to basically stay mentally strong. If you can do that you’ll always have a good chance you know. I mean he has the ability but sometimes you need to have your head straight. Everybody gets disappointments in games but it’s how you bounce back from them you know. If you’re mentally strong you’ve got a great chance.

My interview with former Spurs star Ian Walker:

My interview with former Spurs star Ian Walker:

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I needn’t introduce one of our most successful academy graduates of the 20th century. Goalkeeper Ian Walker rose up the ranks at youth level before making the grade at first team level. Making 312 appearances for the lilywhites over an 11 year period. Walker was one of the finest English goalkeepers of his generation and was capped four times by the three lions. Spells at Leicester and Bolton followed for the Watford born goalkeeper before he retired from te game in 2008. Ian kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at the club, and I must say it was an absolute privilege to do so.

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

Ian: Earliest memory was going to watch an evening game with my dad when I was at Lilleshall. I remember walking through the gates and feeling the atmosphere, I knew straight away I wanted to join the club, there was something magical about it. Luckily being at Lilleshall I had quite a few clubs interested in me and as soon as I knew Spurs wanted me that was it.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Ian: I loved my time at Spurs, of course there were some ups and downs. From the beginning things went very well, we had a very successful youth team and I managed to move through pretty quickly into first team contention. Once I got into the first team I felt like I had some very good times and some which were up and down, my level dropped at some points and I felt I could and should have done better, overall I didn’t reach my expectations for my career but then I was always hyper critical of myself which probably didn’t help.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Ian: I grew up watching Ray Clemence a lot and I’d say he was my main inspiration, he was top class and I was fortunate to have him as my goalkeeping coach and coach during my time at Spurs and with England. I’m very grateful to him for his guidance and patience even if sometimes I’m sure I drove him crazy.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ian: So many good people, Clem, Terry Venables, Keith Blunt, Keith Waldron, Pat Holland, Pat Jennings, Hans Segers, Tony Parks, Erik Thordsvedt, I can’t name everyone as there were so many who helped/influenced me or tried to help me, apologies to those not mentioned above!

Being a goalkeeper were there any other players at the club or outside, who you’d model your game around?

Ian: I didn’t model myself on anyone totally but I would say that I may have been influenced by Clem more than anyone else, big Pat also, they were the ones I watched or was around a lot.

What was the toughest thing about being a professional footballer?

Ian: Missing New Years celebrations with friends and family, not having a proper Xmas other than that it’s a dream “job”. The toughest thing really was living with myself when I cost the team a goal or a game, I had a hard time letting those moments go and I’m sure it had a damaging effect on my career. Self hatred and self sabotage are not conductive to growth and fulfilling your potential!

Could you talk me through that triumphant FA youth cup campaign of 1990?

Ian: It was a special moment for all of us, we won everything that season, the FA youth cup was the best. We were confident we were one of the best teams but we had to prove it. To be the first Spurs side since 1974 to win it was amazing and something I still look back on and smile, they were great times.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Ian: Apart from making my first team debut it has to be the league cup win in 1999. Having been at the club for a long time it meant so much to everyone at the club, the players, staff and especially the fans to win a trophy. It was such a great day and an amazing feeling as a player to celebrate with the fans at the end.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Ian: Before the beginning of the 2001 season I sat down with Glenn Hoddle and we both agreed I needed to play 1st team football, the conversation was very calm. I always thought I’d stay at Spurs all my career, I’d just signed a 5 year deal the season before but the club brought in Neil Sullivan who had a fantastic season so I knew I wouldn’t start the new one. I had to make a decision to go elsewhere, it was tough to leave after so long. I ended up at Leicester City which I enjoyed, it was a good move to a solid club, unfortunately things didn’t go well for the team and we went down, then up and down again, I still managed to stay in England contention before a knee injury ruled me out for 20 games. I then moved to Bolton Wanderers as back up to Jussi Jaaskalainen, I wanted to stay in the premier league. I enjoyed it there playing in the Uefa cup and cup matches. At the end of 2008 I had a move lined up to Sporting Kansas City in the MLS starting at the end of January 2009 but unfortunately I hurt my disc putting my son in his crib and that was that.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Ian: Playing for England and playing for Spurs. I had several really good consistent spells where I was up there with the best of them (and some bad spells where I was with the worst)! I’d say the 98/99 cup runs were very special, winning the league cup and getting to the semi final of the FA cup, maybe it would have been the final had the ref spotted Dabizas hand ball but that was a great spell with a lot of clean sheets.

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

Ian: To name one is tough, I was fortunate enough to share the pitch with Lineker, Klinsmann, Sheringham, Le Tissier, Okocha and more, they all had that something special but Gazza was the number 1.

You managed to work your way up the ranks at Spurs before securing the number one goalkeeping berth at the club. What do you accredit that incredibly tough achievement to?

Ian: Early belief in myself and my ability and good coaches. From a young age I visualised playing at the top level, for Spurs and for England, I had no doubt whatsoever that it would happen. I had tunnel vision and just kept going at the target, even when it came to Erik and me I still believed I would get there. Of course hard work and some luck with injuries also helped and some great coaches, Mike Kelly, Ray Clemence, Pat Jennings, Hans Segers to name a few. The only problem was once I reached the goals I didn’t upgrade them and at times during my career I struggled with self esteem and confidence/belief in myself.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy goalkeepers, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Ian: Work hard, harder than anyone else, be the best you can be. Set goals and go after it. Believe in yourself no matter what, surround yourself with positive people who want the best for you. Don’t read social media or newspapers. Never stop learning, never give up and enjoy the ride as it goes fast.

My interview with former Spurs player Ollie Morah:

My interview with former Spurs player Ollie Morah:

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Ollie Morah was a powerful centre forward and one time starlet at Spurs during the early 1990’s. The Islington born Morah was also highly thought of within the England youth set up, and attended the old FA school of excellence at Lilleshall, and subsequently went onto win numerous caps for England at youth level. Still fondly remembered by youth watchers from that period, Ollie also played a starring role in the Spurs side which won the 1989/90 FA youth cup. Ollie was the Troy Parrott of his day, but unfortunately he was unable to break into the Tottenham senior side during his spell at the club, for one reason or another. Morah spent time out on loan with Hereford and Swindon before being released by Spurs. Ollie would go onto forge a career in the lower leagues, first at Swindon then at Sutton United. Morah also spent time at Cambridge United, Torquay and Welling. Ollie kindly spoke to me about his time at Spurs and subsequent career in the game.

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

Ollie: I was invited for a weeks trial at Tottenham’s training ground in Chestnut. Unbeknown to me I was training with the under 15’s and I was 10. Which was a bit of a surprise. But I really enjoyed the week. From that week on I was invited to train on Monday’s at White Hart Lane with my own age group and it went on from there.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Ollie: I really enjoyed my time there. It was a good experience.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d try to model your game around?

Ollie: I didn’t particularly model my game around any specific player. I watched a lot of football and just tried to pick up some good tips from any games that I watched.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Ollie: My favourite player at the time was John Barnes.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ollie: John Moncur he was the youth development officer. He was always very positive and helpful throughout my time at Spurs. Pat Holland and Keith Waldron were also very helpful too. All three were also very supportive when I left Spurs.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer and how hard was it to breakthrough into the first team during the 1990’s?

Ollie: I found the most difficult thing was making the progression from being a youth team player to a professional. As a youth team player I’d been used to playing week in, week out. As soon as I became professional, it became a lot different. I had 7-8 much more experienced players ahead of me and it was very difficult to get any game time.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Ollie: One of my favourite memories at Spurs was winning the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup. We played Arsenal over 2 legs, we lost the first leg at White Hart Lane 1-0 (it could’ve been a lot worse). We didn’t play well as a team and I didn’t have a good game myself. In training the following week, John Lyall the ex West Ham United manager was working at the club at the time and we worked all week on a new system which we hadn’t played before. We went from playing 4-4-2 to playing 4-3-3. John was very forward thinking and an excellent coach. We played the 2nd leg at Highbury. What John and the rest of the coaches had been working on all week was hitting diagonal passes. In the first 20 seconds of the match Warren Hackett hit one of these passes out to me which I managed to control and run through and score. With about a minute to go of normal time. I managed to intercept a pass from their centre back to their full back and ran through and scored. We ended up winning the match 2-1 on aggregate.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs? You played for a variety of clubs which included spells with the likes of Hereford, Swindon and Cambridge United.

Ollie: I played for a number of clubs once I left Spurs in the search for regular matches. My happiest memories were playing for Sutton United where I played in the FA Cup 3rd round.

You played a major part in Spurs’ triumphant FA youth cup winning side of 1990. Could you talk me through your memories of that campaign?

Ollie: We had a very strong youth team. Which included Ian Walker and Dave Tuttle who both went on to play for the Spurs first team and in Ian Walkers case he represented England at full level. We had a hard run and played some very good teams. The games that stick out most for me was playing away at Manchester City and winning 2-0. It was a really good team performance against the favourites to win the whole competition. We then played Manchester United in the semi final. A team which included Mark Bosnich in goal, Darren Ferguson (Alex Ferguson’s son) and a young Ryan Giggs who was a school boy at the time playing in the youth team. We managed to beat them 2-0 at White Hart Lane. However the 2nd leg at Old Trafford was very different. We were under pressure for the whole of the game. They went 1-0 up. But thankfully Anthony Potts, late in the game put in a good low cross and Lee Fulling tapped it in at the far post and we won 3-1 on aggregate. In the Final against Middlesbrough I can remember the kick off having to be delayed as fans were still entering the ground. Once the game kicked off, we played very well. Anthony Potts and Scott Houghton scored 2 really good goals and we should’ve won the game by more. However they did score a late goal. In the 2nd leg at White Hart Lane it was a much tighter game with both teams not wanting to give much away. Fortunately I managed to score from Anthony Potts cross which put us 3-1 up. They did manage to score a goal late on and the game finished 1-1. We managed to win the FA Youth Cup 3-2 on aggregate.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Ollie: Winning the FA Youth Cup and Playing at Wembley for England at school boy and youth level.

Who was the greatest player that who you shared a pitch with?

Ollie: Paul Parker ex QPR, Manchester United and England.

You coached the Spurs under 13’s side for a spell, what was that like and is coaching something that you’d like to pursue in the future?

Ollie: I coached at Spurs for 5 years. I got that opportunity through John Moncur who was head of youth development at the time. I enjoyed the coaching and you see football from a totally different perspective. I went onto work at Crystal Palace, Wycombe Wanderers and Dagenham and Redbridge.

As somebody who was a young striker at the club what would your advice be to our young centre forwards as they look to make that transition to the first team?

Ollie: My advice would be. Enjoy your time, work hard and look to work on all your weaknesses to develop your all round game.

What was the toughest moment of your career?

Ollie: The toughest moments are when you’re being released, but it’s part and parcel of the profession.

 

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:

My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:

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I caught up with former Spurs youth player Andy Theodosiou, a familiar name for those of you who followed the football league during the 1990’s. Andy who operated as both a centre half and holding midfielder is fondly remembered for his stint with the now defunct Hereford United, but also enjoyed spells with the likes of Norwich, Brighton and even Cypriot giants APOEL Nicosia. I had the great pleasure of talking to the tenacious and tough tackling Theodosiou about his time in the Tottenham Hotspur youth set up and resulting years in the game.

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

Andy: I remember my first day at Spurs training, it was on a ‪Monday evening‬. I
turned up thinking I had been invited down but was told I shouldn’t have been
there. They let me train and afterwards I asked the coach if he wanted me to
come back? He said there was a match next week (October half term) and he
only had 11 players & I could be sub. The previous season I was at Arsenal, they had released me at the end of that season when I was 13. A number of the boys in my Sunday team were training at Spurs and thats how the mistake happened (that I thought I’d been invited down to spurs). I went to the match and I was a sub… I can’t remember who we played but at half time it was 1-0. The Coach put me on centre midfield (one of the first things I learnt, if you are going to look at a player ask him where he wants to play to give him the best chance to show what he can do). We went on to win 7-1 and I scored a hat trick. The next training session I was called into an office and signed associate schoolboy forms for Spurs. That week I played in a district match at Arsenal (on the astro behind the clock end) and scored 4 in a 4-2 win. Arsenal then asked me to go back. NO WAY!

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Andy: To play at a club like Spurs was an honour. I had 3 years as a schoolboy & 2 years as an apprentice…..brilliant experience and memories.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Andy: I didn’t have any footballing heroes. I just loved to play football as much
as possible and watch at every opportunity.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Andy: My biggest influence was Keith Walden. He took us from u15s and ended up youth coach in my final season taking over from Keith Blunt. An excellent coach and I owe him a huge thank you. If I had listened to him a bit more I would have been a much better player. He was coach when they won the FA youth cup in 1990.

Were there any other players at the club or outside who you’d model your game around?

Andy: I wouldn’t model my game on anyone but I would watch and try to pick things up from other players. I found the best way to learn was playing alongside someone. So at Spurs I was very lucky in the central defensive partners that I had. In the youth team playing alongside Guy Butters. Reserves Neil Ruddock, John Polston, Brian Statham and Chris Hughton. Chris Hughton was excellent with us young players, always helping  and giving advice. I can see why/how he has become a top manager. People forget what a top player he was.

What was the toughest thing about being an academy footballer?

Andy: Toughest things to deal with: Having a bad game or training session. The
coach would tell you if you messed up in training often shouting his abuse at
us. Worse if you made a mistake on a matchday or had a poor game. You had
to deal with it and not let it affect your next training session or match. I think
it toughened me up. As I went through my career I could bounce back from a poor performance or bad defeat.

How did your time as a youth player at Spurs prepare you for your later career?

Andy: Answered a bit in previous question. Add to that, knowledge of how to play yours or any position on the pitch. In my first year I played right back,
centre back, right & centre midfield and was used on a few occassions as a
striker. I enjoyed playing different positions, I think it really helped my understanding of the game. You were expected to give a decent performance
wherever you were played in the team.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories from your time as a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur?

Andy: So many good memories on and off the pitch. Start with a bad one leading 4-0 at swindon in a youth game with 20 mins to go. We end up hanging on for a 4-4 draw & Dave Mcdonald scored one of the best own goals I’ve ever seen, it was like Dowie’s famous og for the hammers. A bullet header into bottom corner. Winning league in both seasons I was there. Scoring 2 in reserves 2-0 win over Chelsea. The highlight was winning league cup v Southampton in final over 2 legs. They had a really good side with Shearer upfront, the Wallace twins, Steve Davis [played for Burnley] plus a few others who had pro careers. We won at home 2-1.  2nd leg was a brilliant match, we went 2-0 up early 2nd half [4-1 on aggregate]. They came back 2-2 with about 15 mins to go. We hung on for a 4-3 win but last 10 mins we hardly got out of our box.

We lost a FA youth cup semi final v Doncaster which was a huge
disappointment….losing 1-2 away then after leading 1-0 and going into extra
time conceding in last minute to lose 2-3. Arsenal won the final which was a
disappointment for us because we all felt we would beat them as we had done so in the league twice that season.

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Andy: Norwich 2yrs, Hereford utd 2 yrs, 2 yrs in Cyprus playing for APOEL Nicosia & AEL limassol. Dover conference 2 yrs. After Dover I played for a number of non league clubs; Billericay, Harlow, Windsor, then player coach at Arlesey Town & Hemel Hempstead.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Andy: I wouldn’t say I had a pinnacle but highlight was playing Nottingham Forest away in the FA cup 4th round in 1992. Clough manager, Roy Keane, Des Walker, Stuart Pearce & I marked Teddy Sheringham (never got near him all day) all played. We lost 0-2.

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

Andy: From the match above Roy Keane. After he put in a nasty challenge on one of our players, our captain said to him “no need for that Roy you’re a better player than that”. I dont think he took too much notice of that comment.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Andy: To try and improve everyday, listen and take in as much as possible from your coaches. Always be willing to do extra training….don’t wait to be asked go and do the extra training yourself.

Are you still involved in the game?

Andy: I coached a few non league clubs up to a few years ago. I did enjoy it but
non league is tough and takes up a lot of time with little reward.

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

Andy: Over the years I have come across quite a few old Spurs boys. Danny Hill, Jeff Minton, Dave mcDonald plus a few others. Paul Moran when I see him we always have a chat. Trevor Wilkinson I played with at Harlow and Arlesey. Steve Smart I speak to occasionally. Continue reading “My interview with former Spurs Academy player Andy Theodosiou:”

My interview with former Spurs man Ross Darcy:

My interview with former Spurs man Ross Darcy:

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The year was 1996, Spurs had just been beaten by an illustrious Manchester United team, in a nail biting penalty shoot out in the final of the FA youth cup at Old Trafford. A player who was playing that day, was the immensely talented Irishman Ross Darcy, the young centre half was a player tipped for stardom. Since joining the club as a kid in 1994 from across the water, Darcy went on to rise up through the ranks in the Spurs academy. Representing his country all the way up to the Ireland under 21 team, Darcy seemed to be heading for a successful career with the lilywhites and for his country, Ireland. Fast forward just 8 years and Darcy’s career as a footballer was over, taken so cruelly away from him by a series of devastating injuries. I caught up with the former Spurs starlet to talk to him about his time at Spurs and career as a whole.

Questions:

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

Ross: My earliest memories were obviously the big name players you are around daily. Getting settled into my digs was also quite a big thing to get used to. I played in a tournament in Northern Ireland called the Milk Cup and was spotted there. It came down to a decision between Man Utd and Spurs who to sign for. It just felt more comfortable at Tottenham at the time.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Ross: I loved every minute of it. It is such a special club.

Could you talk me through your memories of that FA youth cup run of 1995/96, a competition you came with in touching distance of winning?

Ross: That was amazing… I remember David Pleat was commentating on the first leg live at white hart lane and had given me man of the match and as soon as he said that I made a mistake that allowed Terry Cooke to equalize for Man Utd. We lost on penalties in the second leg at Old Trafford but a special memory all the same.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Ross: Chris Houghton and Sol Campbell.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Ross: Paul McGrath

I’ve asked you a lot about your time kicking a ball at Spurs, but what was it like off the field. Adapting to a new country/culture in a big city like London?

Ross: It was tough to get used to living in a big city like London especially coming from a small village just outside Dublin. I got used to it very quick and I love London and visit it all the time now.

Do you remember your first youth game at Spurs and if so who were the opposition?

Ross: I don’t actually but I do remember playing against the reserves on my first day. That team included some well know players and future stars.

Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to, and are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?

Ross: I was very close to Stephen Clemence and Neale Fenn. Neale lives in Ireland now and manages Longford Town. We see each other as much as we can.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Ross: Sol Campbell and it’s tough to pick also between Teddy Sherrinham and Jurgen Klinnsman.

After leaving Spurs you went on to play for a couple of clubs before your retirement, including Barnet and Dundalk. What were your footballing experiences like post Spurs?

Ross: They weren’t great to be perfectly honest. I had done so much damage to my knee that I couldn’t play or do the same things on the pitch that I was used too. That was frustrating.

What was the pinnacle of your career?

Ross: Two things – winning young player of the year at Tottenham and representing my country.

Were there any members of the first team squad that you used to watch closely?

Ross: Being a defender it would always be Sol Campbell but I also loved to watch David Ginola on the training pitch, some of the skills he had were phenomenal.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs Academy players as they look to find their way in the game?

Ross: Always have something to fall back on. There are so many players from around the world now even in youth teams it can be hard to make it. If you are dedicated you will certainly give yourself a good shot.

What was it like to represent your country at youth level?

Ross: It is always an honour to represent your country. I was lucky enough to do it from under 15 level all the way up to Under 21.

 

 

 

 

My interview with former Spurs man Guy Butters:

My interview with former Spurs man Guy Butters:

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Guy Butters played over 35 times for Spurs during the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, a centre half by trade Butters was a product of Tottenham’s famous youth academy. And went on to enjoy a hugely successful career with the likes of Portsmouth and Brighton following his departure from the club in 1990. Guy kindly agreed to doing an interview with me about his time at the lilywhites, and his memories of his career are both fascinating and insightful.

What are your memories from your time at Spurs?

Guy: I’ve got great memories of my time there. Earliest memory was playing against Arsenal in a behind doors friendly as a 15 year old schoolboy. First game as a centre half (I signed Schoolboy forms as a centre mid) and I was up against Paul Mariner who was throwing a few elbows around. I managed to do ok against him and I think that cemented the position that I was to play for the rest of my career. I loved every minute of my time there and I’d be here all day if I were to write them all down.

What do you remember of your senior breakthrough in the late 80’s

Guy: I remember being drafted into the squad for the cup game v Blackburn on the Tuesday night before as there were a few injuries to the centre halves in the first team. Chris Fairclough had to come off late on so I got thrown on. A free kick ricocheted off my head into my own net but we managed to win the game. I made the bench for the next game as well.

Which players or staff members did you look up to at the club, as a young defender?

Guy: I used to love watching Mabbsy and Richard gough when I was an apprentice and was told by Keith Blunt (my youth team manager) to study those two when I watched the first team. Watch what they do when they are in and out of possession. The communication and positioning that goes on in the first team. When I was offered a pro contract, I also learnt a lot training alongside Terry Fenwick and Chris Fairclough.

Who did you make your Spurs debut against and could you describe your memories of that day?

Guy: It was against Wimbledon and I remember a couple of newspapers building me up as they thought I’d be starting the game, especially as it would have put me up against John Fashanu. I got to the ground that day and bumped into Bobby Gould (the Wimbledon manager) and he told me to “watch my teeth”!! I started the game on the bench, and came on just before halftime for Gary Stevens, following the infamous Vinny Jones tackle. I remember having a couple of tussles with Fash and held my own, seeing him subbed off in the second half. Midway through the game, I scored with a header from a corner and we went on to win 3-2. I got home after the game and my dad gave me £20 to go and have a celebratory pint with my mates. I woke up next day with the worst hangover ever, and £30 in my pocket!! Apparently I got carried home!

What was it like to be an integral part of a Spurs defence which included the legendary Gary Mabbutt?

Guy: I loved my time playing in the first team, learning my trade alongside players that had played in world cups. We picked up some good results and finished high up in the table that year. Unfortunately, the next season, I found myself in and out of the team for one reason or another and eventually went out on loan.

How did your time spent as a young up and coming Spurs player, benefit you later on in your career, when you played with the likes of Brighton and Portsmouth?

Guy: I took all the things I learnt as a youngster and tried to implement them at my other clubs throughout my career. I felt the benefit more when I neared the end of my career and relished the opportunity to nurture and assist a lot of young centre halves that I played with. One or two of them have gone on to excel in the premier league and I hope I have helped them along the way.

What for you was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Guy: think appearing for England U21’s remains an achievement that I’m very proud of. I’ve helped a few clubs get promotion as well. I’m immensely proud of being named as ‘defender of the tournament’ for two years on the trot, whilst representing Spurs youth team at the prestigious Düsseldorf youth tournament in Germany ( we beat the Russian National Youth team in the final one year) and I’m also proud of winning the south east counties youth league 3 times and the reserves combination league twice. Good times

Who was the greatest player that you ever played alongside?

Guy: I was so lucky to have been a part of that spurs team of the late 80’s. You had the likes of Eric Thorstvedt in goal, Fen, Mabbsy and Chris Hughton alongside. Chris waddle, Paul Allen, Gazza, Vinny Samways in front, with the likes of Gary Lineker, Walshy, Paul Stewart etc up top! What a squad!! Out of all of them though, I’ve never seen a player like Gazza before or since. Absolute genius, absolute lunatic! Lol

Could you describe what it was like to represent your country at youth level?

Guy: Playing for the U21’s was a good experience. We had some very good players in the team I played in. Neil Ruddock, David Batty, Russell Beardsmore, David Hurst, Paul Ince, Marco Gabbiadini etc and they were all a year or two older than me. Unfortunately, there was a massive drinking culture with some of the group, which I got involved in, and it didn’t bode well with the management at the time. Hence only the 3 caps!

As a central defender, who was the toughest centre forward that you came up against?

Guy: I remember being thrown on as a sub in a testimonial game and played against Billy Whitehurst ( I don’t think anyone else fancied it!!) and the first thing he said was “we can have it two ways lad, either nice and easy or we’ll have it rough. Up to you”
“Er, nice and easy please!!”
Did ok against him as well. I don’t recall ever being scared of anyone though. Mark Hughes was strong but the ones that gave me most problems were the little nippy ones like Paul Dickov or Terry Gibson.

After a playing career which stretched over two decades at the likes of Brighton, Southend, Gillingham and Portsmouth. What does your first club Spurs still mean to you and do you still follow their progress?

Guy: I still look for Tottenham results and hope they do well. I’ve been back as a player (for Brighton when we lost 2-1 in the fa cup) and a couple of times to watch. I’ll always hold it dear to my heart as it’s my first club and the place where I learnt my trade. I hope to get to the new stadium for a game or two as well.

My interview with former Spurs defender Don McAllister:

 

My interview with former Spurs defender Don McAllister:

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I had the privilege of being able to interview legendary former Spurs player Don McAllister. The former defender who kindly agreed to doing an interview with me, was an important figure at the lilywhites following his transfer from Bolton Wanderers in 1975. During a six year spell at the club Don made over 200 appearances for Spurs and enjoyed some memorable times (including an FA Cup win) in a Spurs side that was under going transition. Don is still remembered fondly by the Spurs faithful, especially by those that supported Spurs during the 1970’s.

Questions:

What was your time at Spurs like?

Don: I had a great time at Spurs, looking back it’s like another world moving to London playing with many of your hero’s at the top end of the game, as a kid from the back streets of Manchester dreaming of winning the FA Cup was only a dream and playing for a team like Spurs more than 200 games.

An integral part of Bolton Wanderers team during the early 1970’s, what was it like adjusting to life at Spurs and leaving the trotters? A team who you had represented so well.

Don: My time at Bolton was the foundation of my future, Bolton were financially struggling and decided to stick with there youth policy. I was introduced into the 1st team when I was 16 at LB playing behind Gordon Taylor the current head of the PFA. Bolton also had some ageing top players Rodger Hunt, Peter Thompson ex Liverpool, Tony Dunne Man Utd and Charlie Hurley. Plus some top players from Bolton who we would have some difficult games against, Paul Jones and I were the 2 central defenders who got Bolton out of the 3rd division and later Paul and Sam Allardyce did the same in the first division with us. Sam was my replacement when I moved to Spurs. Paul and I were highly regarded as a central defensive pair, winning youth trophy’s with local teams like Man Utd/City, Everton, Liverpool we had a great reputation. When I arrived at Spurs I was to partner with Mike England, with Cyril Knowles and Joe Kinnear as full backs. Unfortunately for me they all left at the end of the season and I had to work out a way of staying in the first team with more new players coming into the club I never found a playing partner like Paul jones and therefore I did not get to play in my best role.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the Lilywhites?

Don: Greatest time was the fight back to division one and of course the
FA cup win.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Don: Martin Chivers Stevie P, Glen, Jonny Pratt, Ralph Coates and Pat J.

During your six year spell with Spurs, you must have endured many highs and lows, suffering relegation to the second tier and winning the FA Cup happening all in that time. You played with some of the finest talents in world football during that time, what was it like to be a part of that Spurs team during those eventful 6 years?

Don: Yes my time was eventful I joined when the team was due for big changes, the successful team full of star players was reaching the end so with a new manager and many new players the new Spurs was being formed and yes it was a difficult time leading the first season I was signed at the last part of the year and in the last game against Leeds we avoided relegation but not for long.
The relegation year I did not play much as I had knee surgery and as part of my recovery I was sent to play in USA. But I came back to the club in division 2.
It took me a bit of time to get back into the team but I played a role in the rise back to division 1 and scored some vital goals. On promotion we then had some money to spend and on came Ossie and Ricky, the rest is history. It was a difficult time as you did not know what was coming next, during all of the drama I managed to play more than 200 games of which I am proud off.

Growing up as a kid in Lancashire, who was your footballing hero during your childhood?

Don: My heroes were many as it was the days of the World Cup winning team, I was 13, throughout my time I played with many of the players who were my heroes. I also played against Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio, George Best and I played with Jimmy Greaves in a testimonial game and sat next to him in the dressing room.

What do you remember about your Spurs debut?

Don: My debut was away against Coventry I remember it was 1-1 and I got booked on a wet muddy day.

You were a member of the famous FA cup run of 1980-81, what were your memories of that road to Wembley?

Don: The road to Wembley was long and hard but it was always my dream to win the FA Cup. It was also my first visit to Wembley so it was special times.

Who was the greatest player that you ever played with during your career?

Don: I have mentioned some of the special players I came across during my career for one off games but to play with week after week there are two players that stand out for me, Steve P and Glen H. To play 850 games at Spurs is just unbelievable the stress and strain on the body to play so many games at the top level and avoid injury, yet keep up a high level of performance deserves the highest awards for me. Glen Hoddle had the most talent I have ever seen in a player, he made all other players look average. Why the English team was not built around him many of us cannot understand.

Do you still follow/support Spurs’ progress?

Don: Yes I still follow Spurs and am in contact with the boys I spent time with, when they come to Australia and when they play golf for the legends team. When I am in the UK and make appearances for the club like requested last year, I went to NZ for the supporters club. I also still get mail/email and just last week had a pair of football boots sent to me for autographs.

Apart from your time at Spurs and Bolton, you had a fascinating career. Including spells in the US and in Portugal where you played for Vitoria Setubal. If you had to name your greatest achievement from your playing career, what would it be?

Don: I did not play in Portugal Or sign for them. Regarding Vitoria Setubal (which states on Wikipedia that Don played for them). I don’t see my career as any one thing. When I was young I wanted to be a football player I did that for more than 15 years. At Bolton the club went to division 3 so in came the young boys like me we got promoted I played 45 out of 46 games, I played a major role I was bought by a struggling Spurs team, relegation 1st year back to division 1. I played a major role, Secured our place in division 1 and went on to win the cup, again I played my role in the team. So as the years rolled on different challenges appeared and I played a significant role in the success at the clubs where I played, and played a lot of games during my career. I believe I passed the test of a young 13 year old dreamer.

 

 

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.