Looking back on my wonderful time following and watching the Spurs Academy sides, over the past seven or so seasons as a supporter:

On Wednesday I tweeted a thread on Twitter, pretty much just saying that I would no longer be able to attend the Spurs Academy matches (home and away), because of other commitments. However I’ll still be writing articles on my blog, with some being historical articles on Spurs, and others being about the Academy, but maybe just not as frequently as before. I’ve always been a very big Spurs fan. I’ve been going to Spurs matches for as long as I can remember. I absolutely love the club and it’s sides at all levels. However, following and attending all of the Spurs Academy matches in my spare time (the Spurs Under 18, Under 19 and Under 21’s matches), all really came about by chance. My father asked me one Friday evening whether I’d like to attend a match in the old Under 21 Premier League, between Spurs’ Under 21 side and Liverpool at White Hart Lane. I was interested to see the game, and so I met him at White Hart Lane, and we watched the game. There was maybe about a thousand or so fellow spectators at the ground. Spurs lost the game 3-1 to a very strong Liverpool side that evening. However, I really enjoyed the match, the experience and watching these players who had already come so far in their careers at Academy level.

From watching that game against Liverpool’s Under 21 side I really started to become interested in the Academy, and I remember the next morning I was checking the scoreline of the Spurs Under 18’s match, while on my way with my dad to the Spurs first team game. And so my interest in the Spurs Academy grew from there really. I was learning a lot about Academy football, following every result, but at that stage I was only really able to get to the occasional Academy games that used to be held at the old stadium. In time, possibly during the next season or so I started to attend more matches at Spurs Under 21 level, and then at Spurs Under 18 level. Going to watch an Under 18 league game at Spurs’ incredible Hotspur Way training ground for the first time was just amazing. It’s so very impressive, and it was without doubt the best training ground that I ever visited while reporting on the academy games. Fast forward and before I knew it I was attending and writing previews and reports on every Spurs Under 18’s and 21’s match, in my spare time. This would last around seven or so seasons, until very recently.

I quickly found out that getting permission to attend some of the away Academy matches at certain training grounds was very, very difficult. Also, getting to so many of those places where the games would take place, by public transport, was in many cases quite challenging to say the least. I’ve got to watch so, so many wonderful footballers play against Spurs at Academy level, who have gone on to achieve great things in the game, so far in their careers. And for Spurs, the Academy players who are currently at the club and who were once at the club, were and are so incredibly talented. The level of technical ability that these players have is just incredible, and you really get to appreciate that by watching the matches week in and week out. Players like goalkeeper and Spurs Academy graduate Brandon Austin, who was just brilliant, and who has got better and better by each passing season. Also, then there is the fantastic Oliver Skipp, and players who are technically unbelievable, like the Shashoua brothers – Samuel and Armando. 

Skilful and fast winger Anthony Georgiou was a player who I always really thought very highly of, and who I wrote a lot on. I thought that he was very unlucky with injuries during his time at Spurs. Without doubt my favourite season covering the Spurs Academy sides was in 2018/19. That season and under the tutelage of Under 18’s head-coach Matt Wells, Spurs’ Under 18 side played consistently outstanding football. The team consisted of players like Dilan Markanday, who is another outstanding footballer with such great potential, Harvey White, the captain Armando Shashoua, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Dennis Cirkin, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Maxwell Statham, Josh Oluwayemi, Luis Binks, J’Neil Bennett, Troy Parrott and Jubril Okedina. I could literally write piece after piece on that side, who during the leadership of Matt Wells and his time at the club during that season as head-coach of the side, were in my opinions the best Under 18 side in England. They seemed fitter than pretty much all of the sides that they faced, but the quality of the football that they played, was quite simply breathtaking. I reckon that Matt Wells will make a great manager one day.

I’ve been so lucky to build up so many wonderful memories of watching Spurs’ various academy sides, all over the country, and also in Europe at the pre-season and end of season Academy tournaments. I loved attending those tournaments, and so many of the players were so very friendly and thankful that I’d made the trip over to support them. Because at the end of the day I am a Spurs supporter first of all. Not all fellow Spurs supporters might have liked the fact that I was always positive in my reporting on the Spurs Academy matches. However, I very much appreciate the fact that these young Spurs Academy players are still at the very beginning of their footballing journey. Certainly I’ve always felt that I was never in a position to criticise players for their performances, after all I’m just a Spurs fan, not a coach or an analyst, or whatever. I would like to say a very big thank you to all of the fellow Spurs supporters who have so kindly followed my reports, updates, player articles, tweets and other writing on the Spurs Academy over the years. I would also like to say a special thank you to those Spurs Academy parents who have introduced themselves to me in the past, and who have been so kind to me. And also to the Spurs Academy players (past and present), many of whom were very kind to me and so willing to chat and introduce themselves to me. I only wish every Spurs player all the very best.

And so we come to the end of my rather long piece, in which I have reminisced rather a lot! I will greatly miss going to all of the Spurs Academy matches in person, although I will still be following every result, and also watching every game on SpursPlay. I think that I’m very lucky to have so many memories of watching so many great games of Spurs at Academy level, all over the country. Some of my favourites include 9-0 wins over Arsenal and West Ham United respectively, at Under 18 level, some big wins against top academy sides at Under 21 level, seeing some wonderful football being played, and overall just having a great time. I feel like  I’ve really got to learn so much about the game in this time. I truly think that Spurs fans should be feeling optimistic about the future of the Academy players who are on their own footballing journey. I still think that Troy Parrott will and can be a big player for Spurs’ first team in the future, and Oliver Skipp and Brandon Austin will only get better. Also, some of the younger players such as Dane Scarlett, Harvey White, Maxwell McKnight, Josh Keeley, Alfie Devine, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tyrese Hall, Will Lankshear and Rio Kyerematen, are just some of the Spurs Academy players who I personally believe can have great careers at the club.

I’ve loved every minute of going to all of the Spurs Academy games during recent years (barring of course the 2020/21 season, when no one could attend matches). I would like to wish the Spurs Academy players and Academy graduates of the club all the very best of luck for the future. I look forward to continuing to follow the progress of all of the players.

Spurs Under 19’s versus Olympique de Marseille: (match preview)

On Wednesday afternoon (the game starts at 14:00pm), a Spurs Under 19 side will face French side Olympique de Marseille, at Hotspur Way in the 2022/23 edition of the UEFA Youth League. Spurs return to the UEFA Youth League for the first time since the 2019/20 season, following the Spurs senior side qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, last season. The UEFA Youth League is a brilliant competition, and one that is great for Spurs’ Under 19 side to be involved in again. Spurs have been drawn in a difficult group (it is the same as the group that the first team have been drawn in), with Eintracht Frankfurt and Sporting Clube de Portugal the other sides in the group. Wayne Burnett’s Spurs side will want to start the competition well, and it will be a very interesting game of football against Marseille, who have a great Academy set-up. The Spurs squad for the competition will mainly consist of players from the Spurs Under 18 side, but there will also likely be some players from the Spurs Under 23 side involved for Spurs in this competition. This should be a great match and I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for their opening game of the 2022/23 UEFA Youth League.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gunter, Abbott, Dorrington, Sayers, Linton, Hall, John (c), Mundle, Donley, Bloxham, Williams.

Subs from: Hayton, Andiyapan, Chaplin, McKnight, Willhoft-King, Owen, Akhamrich. 

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Aylan Benyahia Tani (17). The talented Marseille forward has already featured on the bench for the Marseille senior side, last season. 

My commemorative piece on influential former Spurs Under 21’s and 23’s Head Coach Ugo Ehiogu:

Ugochuku ‘ Ugo ’ Ehiogu (born in 1972) grew up in Homerton, East London, and although he represented Hackney Borough in his youth (along with other youth teams), Ugo started his football career with the very well known Senrab FC youth team. However, the late former footballer and coach would move up to the Midlands to sign for West Bromwich Albion as a youth player, before later turning professional. A very determined, talented, highly skilled and commanding centre-half during his playing days, Ugo signed for Aston Villa in 1991, a club where we would endear himself to the fans during his time in Birmingham. It was at Aston Villa where Ugo won the first of two major trophies during his playing career, and he was a part of the Aston Villa side which won the 1996 Football League Cup (he was also an FA Cup runner up with Aston Villa in 2000). The Londoner would later play for Middlesbrough, where he won another League Cup in 2004. Ugo later had spells at Leeds United (loan), Glasgow Rangers, Sheffield United and non-League side Wembley, but he also won four caps for England during his playing career, scoring one goal. A very popular player wherever he went during his playing career, Ugo would continue to be so well liked when he embarked on his coaching career. Leaving a great impression on the players that he coached, the former footballer started off his coaching career with Spurs, coaching some of the various schoolboy Academy age groups, for around one to two years, prior to taking charge of the old Spurs Under 21 side.

While working with the Spurs Academy players, Ugo also worked with England, as part of his UEFA A License work. He worked with former Spurs player Peter Taylor, when Taylor was in charge of England’s Under 20 side at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. In the July of 2014 Ugo was appointed the head coach of the Spurs Under 21 side. It must have been such a proud moment for him. Ugo took charge of his first competitive game for Spurs the following month, as his side beat West Ham 2-1 at home. Ugo’s appointment as the head coach of the Spurs Under 21 side coincided with a change of approach towards the Under 21 side. In the sense that the team wasn’t so much a reserve side, where you used to have first team players regularly playing for the side, for different reasons. Instead it was now a side which contained young professionals, even more so than before. And it was incredibly rare for a first team player to get minutes at Under 21 level, for Spurs. Ugo created a great bond with the players that he coached, and he would even often join in, in training with the Spurs development side. Under his tutelage the Spurs Under 21’s and later the Under 23’s side played some nice attacking football, and they played the game the Spurs way. During Ugo’s second season in charge of the old Spurs Under 21 side, his side were involved in some very memorable games. Such as a dramatic 3-3 draw with Manchester City, in Manchester. Spurs also beat Leicester City 7-4 at Hotspur Way, as well as beating them in the reverse fixture, in a game which finished 3-0 to Spurs. 

Spurs also beat Chelsea away from home, during the 2015/16 season, a season in which Ugo helped Spurs’ Under 21 side to reach the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup. In the group stages of that competition Ugo’s Spurs lads impressively beat FC Schalke 04 3-1, and later on FC Porto, 4-0. The 2016/17 season saw the league renamed as the Premier League 2, and the teams had now changed to Under 23 sides. Spurs had also qualified for the UEFA Youth League during the following season, and Ugo was in charge of the Spurs Under 19 side which competed in the group stages of that competition (we beat a talented Bayer Leverkusen side in that tournament). However, the new Spurs Under 23 side continued to play their exciting style of attacking football, and with a team of very good young players, Spurs put in some memorable performances over the course of the season. Tragically Ugo Ehiogu passed away in the April of that season, his untimely passing shocked the footballing world. There was an outpouring of emotional tweets on social media from the players who had had the pleasure of working with him, and also from those that knew Ugo. He would have become a great manager in the future. For that I have no doubts. A highly knowledgeable coach who showed his great passion for the game from the sidelines, Ugo was more than just a coach to the young Spurs players that he helped. He was so greatly respected by the Spurs players for the knowledge that he passed on to those players at such an important stage in their career. But the hugely positive and long lasting impression that he made on the Spurs Academy players that he coached, will live with them for more than just their football careers. He meant and continues to mean so much to them. All of the Spurs lads will tell you that, if you were to ask them.

Ugo helped so many Spurs Academy players (he also would have helped some of the Spurs Academy coaches, such as his Spurs Under 23’s assistant Matt Wells) and future first team players to play Under 21/23 football at that level and beyond. Many players immediately come to mind, such as Josh Onomah, Harry Winks, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Luke Amos, Kyle Walker-Peters, Anton Walkes, Anthony Georgiou, and the list goes on and on. However, Ugo also gave a number of lads their debuts at development side football level, such as players like Oliver Skipp, Marcus Edwards, Kazaiah Sterling, TJ Eyoma, Alfie Whiteman and George Marsh, all players that have made competitive first team appearances for Spurs. There are also other players such as Samuel Shashoua, Brandon Austin, Christian Maghoma and Tom Glover, who are all players who were first given the chance to play that level of academy football by Ugo. Something that I’m sure all of those players are extremely grateful for. A true gentleman of the game who also always made time for fans, it was very fitting that this much loved and sorely missed gentleman’s final tweet on Twitter was about giving a homeless person in Dalston ten pounds. It spoke volumes about what kind of a man Ugo was. At Spurs’ Hotspur Way training ground there is a giant 15ft picture of Ugo on the wall above the academy staircase, which has been there since he passed away. Meaning that every single young Spurs player sees him every day, and is reminded of the example that he set. Rest in peace Ugo. Your legacy in football and at Spurs lives on.

Memories and words of appreciation from some former Spurs Academy players that Ugo coached:

Kodi Lyons-Foster: Ugo was someone that I as a young defender at the time learnt a lot from in a short space of time. He gave me some great advice and taught me lots in my time at the academy working with him. I remember when he first came in to the club and my dad recognised him straight away and pointed him out and made me aware of what a player he was. He was someone who you could not only learn off but also talk to on a man to man basis which is quite rare in football as usually you don’t come across many coaches that you could build that relationship with. I have nothing but words of praise to describe my time working with Ugo and I am so grateful I had the chance to work with him.

Jamie Reynolds: I think everyone that knew Ugo knew he was one of the nicest people they will ever meet. He always made time for everyone and got me to believe in myself when I thought I wasn’t able to.

Christian Maghoma: Ugo was not only a great coach, he was a great human being. His team talks, tweets and off the cuff training sessions sometimes made us laugh. But he would laugh too. I stress that last bit as that was hugely his character. Bubbly, funny, enthusiastic. He gave off a welcoming and positive aura that left us players looking forward to going in every day. Being a defender also, him and I had many 1 to 1 conversations about football. As it was him though we would also speak about life and other people things as he cared about how we were outside of football massively too. He sometimes said he saw himself in me which was a huge compliment to me and still is as his career speaks for itself. I always, always think about Ugo and always will. RIP to a legend.

Anthony Georgiou: Ugo for me was a special coach. I remember him first coming in to help Justin when I was an U16. At the time I was performing well and he really believed in me and gave me a lot of confidence to be told your a good player by someone we all highly respected even before we got to know him for his playing career. So when I got to U23 level and he took over with Matt Wells I was of course very happy. Him being a player made him relate to us all a lot more and he would always have great banter as well as some great advice and knowledge to pass down to us about football and life for footballers. For me I had a special bond with him during my time out injured where I missed a big majority of his last season with us. He took so much time out to talk to me and to be there for me when I was down and give me positive thoughts to get through it having gone through similar himself, and he always had the time for me, and always stayed out with me to do extra work. He would always be there chatting at the end of the day with Matt Wells to lift my mood after some tough days. I will always remember Ugo as someone who had a big impact on an important part of my career, giving me a lot of belief but more for the person he was off the pitch, the funny, caring, kind person who treated everyone well and always had time for everyone. You can see how much of an impact he had on us all by speaking to any player he coached. We all looked at him like a legend and he is missed by all and will always be remembered. To this day I still think about Ugo.

Spurs under 23’s versus Southampton B: (match preview)

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

Top of the Premier League 2 Division 1 Spurs will be looking to extend their unbeaten start to the 2020/21 season, when they host Southampton’s B team on Saturday afternoon at Hotspur Way (kick off is at 2pm). The Saints who are managed by David Horseman, recently revamped their under 23 set up and have since decided to call their development side a B team, in case any of you were wondering why the name of their side had changed. Southampton finished last season in 11th place in the league with 15 points from 18 games, and our one and only meeting with them last season ended in a 2-2 draw, after a real game of two halves. A team who in recent years have played with quite a bit of width at under 18 and 23 level, Southampton have one won one, drawn one and lost one of their opening three Premier League 2 games of the season, and they currently sit in eight position. Wayne Burnett’s Spurs side on the other hand have started the season in excellent form after winning two really tough matches and drawing another really tough one against Brighton. Some of David Horseman’s players that could cause Spurs some problems on Saturday afternoon include tricky Republic of Ireland youth international and winger/fullback Will Ferry, along with quick and experienced winger Josh Sims (23) who has already played a good number of Premier League games for Southampton over the years. 24 year old goalkeeper Angus Gunn played Southampton’s last game at this level and if he were to feature again on Saturday then his presence would be a real plus for the visitors. Also central midfielder Callum Slattery (21) and 24 year old winger Jake Hesketh are other players who have the potential to make a big influence on this fixture. Every game in this division is a tough one but the way that Spurs have played so far this season from what I have read on the Spurs website from the official match reports, we seem to have played really well as a team which going forward (obviously some players will likely go out on loan before the end of the transfer window) will put us in very good stead for this season.

Interestingly two trialists played in our 1-0 win over north London rivals Arsenal last Saturday, as former Chelsea fullback Marcel Lavinier and former Arsenal defender Tobi Omole played in that game, so it will be interesting to see if they feature again. Due to the current situation I will be unable to report on our game against Southampton however, Spurs usually tweet the half time and full time scores on their official Twitter account, as well as providing a match report on their website. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for this match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Omole (Tr), Okedina (c), Lyons-Foster, Lavinier (Tr), White, Thorpe, Richards, Markanday, Bennett, Sterling.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Lusala, Pedder, Pochettino, Etete.

Injured/unavailable: George Marsh (serving the second of a three game suspension).

Doubtful: Malachi Fagan-Walcott.

Previous meeting: 2-2.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: 19 year old left winger Will Ferry will provide Southampton with speed and trickery if he does play on Saturday afternoon. The wide man has greatly impressed me whenever I have seen him play for Southampton at youth level over the years, with his very direct style of play.

My piece on Spurs’ skilful and tenacious 17 year old right back Dermi Lusala

(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)

In my final in-depth piece on one of our academy players before the start of the 2020/21 academy season, I thought that I would write a piece on a player who I thought had a really good season for our under 18’s during 2019/20, Dermi Lusala. The Edmonton born right back who is also more than capable of operating as a right sided centre half or as a left back, was along with Max Robson and Marqes Muir one of our under 18’s best players last season, in my opinion. Lusala used to play for fellow London club Brentford prior to them shutting down their academy, and he would  then join up with Spurs as a schoolboy in 2016. A student at St Ignatius College, Lusala was a very talented athlete as a schoolboy, a skilful, quick, agile and tenacious player, the 17 year old is currently in his second year of scholarship at Spurs after signing scholarship terms in the summer of 2019. The following piece like I do with all of our young academy players, is about giving Spurs fans who may not have seen much of our up and coming academy players a feel for what type of players they are, i.e. attributes and style of play. Having joined Spurs as an under 14 player, Lusala has risen up the various youth ranks at the club since joining them in 2016. The versatile defender was a part of the Spurs under 17 side that won the Euro Youth Cup out in Germany while still a schoolboy, and Lusala would even step up to play for our under 18’s in a competitive league game during the same season. Giving a good account of himself in that game against London rivals Chelsea despite the fact that he was rather harshly sent off later on in the match, I was very impressed with how Dermi got up and down the right flank so effectively and efficiently. The defender who has represented England at under 16 level on five occasions, was included in The Guardian newspapers Next Generation series 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs, started pre-season of the 2019/20 campaign by travelling to Germany with a Spurs under 19 side to compete in the annual Oberndorf tournament.

After getting a good amount of game time at the Oberndorf tournament Lusala started the season with our under 18 side. He made his first competitive start for them of the season in our league opener against Fulham in August 2019, he would then go on to make a further 18 competitive appearances for our under 18’s before the season was curtailed in March 2020. The then first year scholar would also step up to play for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League on four occasions, giving a good account of himself in each of those games. Lusala was in my opinion a very consistent performer for Matt Taylor’s under 18 side throughout the season, and he really helped the defence in big games, like those against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup and then league leaders Fulham. Had the season have gone on any longer then I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to have seen the young right back feature for our under 23’s in the PL2, such was the way in which he was playing for our under 18’s prior to the curtailment of their season. Since the academy players returned to training for the pre-season of the 2020/21 campaign, Lusala has featured in two friendlies for our under 18’s and one for our under 23’s, in a 3-1 win over National League South side Dulwich Hamlet. I would imagine that Lusala will make his competitive debut for our under 23’s at some point this season, he would be competing with Jubril Okedina (19) for a place in Wayne Burnett’s side. So what type of player is Dermi Lusala? Well he is a very attack minded right back who is able to combine both his attacking duties with his defensive duties very well. He is a good athlete who is quick and he gets up and down the flanks very well and effectively, he is also a very skilful player. And he reminds me in some ways of how Kyle Walker-Peters used to play as a right back at the same age, as Lusala is just so skilful and capable of beating players with both skill and pace.

Lusala likes to go on long surging forward runs down the right flank and he also likes to overlap the Spurs winger on occasions. He loves to skip past players to evade them when he is going forward and with his strength (even though he is not the biggest of players), balance and agility he is difficult to just shrug off the ball, and that is a real strength of his game. A fullback who loves to dribble forward with the ball at his feet, Lusala is also quite creative with the ball out wide and his crosses are good ones. Although he loves to go forward down the flanks Lusala is also defensively disciplined, and he is a very good defender too. Superb at making sliding challenges, the Londoner is a reliable player who reads the game well and who maintains good positioning during games. He is a solid player who has great stamina and I really felt that he grew into the 2019/20 season as it went on, and he got stronger and stronger during the campaign. Part of a very talented 2003 England age group of which includes Jude Bellingham and Karamoko Dembele, Lusala’s inclusion in the England under 16 side as a schoolboy must speak volumes for how highly he is rated within the England youth setup. The right back who was competing with Kallum Cesay for a place in Matt Taylor’s under 18 side last season, really showed his versatility throughout the campaign, filling in with great effect at RCB, LCB and left back, this was extremely impressive that he is able to play anywhere across the back line. There are three games in which Lusala has been involved in for our under 18’s over the last couple of seasons that I would just like to focus in on as I bring this piece to a close. The first game was in fact Lusala’s debut for the under 18’s in their penultimate league game of the 2018/19 season against Chelsea. Operating at right back the then schoolboy got up and down the right flank so well during that game. Not afraid to take players on and beat them, Lusala held his own at the back and showed his strength and fine reading of the game.

Also making some good challenges throughout the match the defenders game was harshly brought to a sudden halt, when he was adjudged by the referee to have been the last man when bringing down a Chelsea forward on 79 minutes. Lusala had been covering for somebody else at left back when he was shown a rather harsh straight red card. The second game that I’m focusing in on came in an under 18 league game against Fulham last season, when he operated at left back. Again showing good anticipation, Lusala was brilliant going forward going on many a skilful and purposeful run however, the quality of his challenges against the high flying Fulham players was very good. He also made one outstanding late defensive intervention to prevent Fulham from scoring an almost certain goal. The final game came against Leicester City’s under 18’s shortly before Christmas in 2019, when Lusala played at RCB alongside Luis Binks. Reading the game really well for a player who isn’t a centre half, Dermi was really commanding and aggressive in his defending at the back, making some good blocks and he also brought the ball out well from the back as Spurs won the game 4-3. After enjoying a tremendous 2019/20 season I would like to wish the very promising Dermi who should be very proud of himself, all the very best of luck for the new 2020/21 campaign.

A profile of every player to have played for Spurs during the Second World War: (part 1)

A profile of every player to have played for Spurs during the Second World War: (part 1)


(Pictured above is war time guest Bobby Browne).

This year marks exactly 75 years since the Second World War came to an end, a period of great tumult and tragedy during the 20th century for the whole of the world. For England the country went through an awful lot however, surprisingly for some football did go on despite what was happening all around. With the LWL (London War League) and the FLS (Football League South) just some of the competitions going on throughout the war years in the absence of the Football League which was suspended. The club took part in such competitions despite the fact that many of their players had been posted all over the British isles, and in some cases across the planet. Like all the other first division clubs at the time, Spurs resorted to fielding a large number of guest players who ranged from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Some were big players and household names, others weren’t as such and therefore it was difficult to source much information about them and their footballing careers. As it is the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War I thought that I’d mark this anniversary by writing a profile of every player to have represented Spurs throughout the war from when it started in 1939. Some profiles are considerably shorter than others due to the lack of information on some players and the vast amount of guest players who played for us. 

This certain lack of information even goes as far to not knowing certain players first names. As there were a great number of players who played and guested for Spurs during this period, I thought that it would be best if I did this project/piece in several parts to make it easier for people to read. I simply would not have been able to write these articles without purchasing Bob Goodwin’s excellent and extremely informative book the Spurs Alphabet which I would highly recommend to all Spurs fans. The book provides invaluable information about players who played for Spurs during the war and it also provides important statistics and information. Such as the amount of appearances that players made for the club and where players were born. The Spurs Alphabet was an important source which helped me to write the following piece. Various historical online documents also proved very helpful in writing this series of articles. While I have tried my utmost to make these pieces as accurate and informative as possible, if anyone does spot any historical errors I do apologise and would appreciate being informed.

George Burchell: A fullback or central defender by trade, who only made one appearance for Spurs during the war. This came for George Burchell in an FLS game away at Watford in December 1939. Burchell was with Romford when he signed for Spurs as an amateur in the August of 1935. He did however, continue to play for the ‘ Boro ’ and when the war came he guested for Reading, Darlington and Middlesbrough before finishing his career off with Walthamstow Avenue who he played for after the war was over. Burchell also represented Essex and the Athenian league, and in addition to this he won 16 amateur caps for England between 1935-36 and 1946-47. Remarkably the fullback who was the captain of England Amateurs for a number of years, was one of the smallest central defenders ever to play international amateur football, but this didn’t stop him from being effective on the pitch. A tough tackling defender, Burchell also kept very good positioning on the field of play. In one of the games in which George Burchell captained England Amateurs against Wales, over 12,000 people were in attendance to watch them play at Dulwich Hamlet’s Champion Hill ground.  

Doug Hunt: Born in the Hampshire village of Shipton Bellinger in 1914, centre forward Douglas Arthur Hunt started his footballing career with Winchester City  in the Hampshire league. He took over the number nine shirt from future Arsenal legend Ted Drake who had transferred to Southampton. However, after being scouted by Spurs, Doug Hunt joined the Lilywhites in 1934, playing with Spurs’ nursery side Northfleet United to begin with before eventually making his senior debut for Tottenham in a first division game against Grimsby Town on Christmas Day of that year (Spurs lost 3-0). During the three seasons that Hunt was on the books of Spurs he always found himself behind the prolific George Hunt and also Johnny Morrison in the pecking order. However, Hunt was unlucky in a respect, as he was a very clinical finisher at reserve team level for Spurs. In total the centre forward made 19 competitive appearances for Tottenham scoring six goals during his time in north London. After transferring to second division Barnsley for a fee of £1700 in March 1938, Hunt scored 15 goals in 29 appearances for the Yorkshire club before transferring to Sheffield Wednesday after one season at Barnsley, in 1938. At Sheffield Wednesday Hunt was a consistent performer and goal scorer, and in one such league game against Norwich City he scored a remarkable total of six goals. However, the war came (Hunt scored 30 goals in 42 competitive appearances for Sheffield Wednesday) and the striker left the ‘ Owls ’ to guest for a number of clubs in the south of England, of which included Aldershot, Fulham, Brentford where he won the London War Cup in 1942 and Spurs who he returned to, to make five appearances for (he netted seven goals from those five appearances). After the war ended Hunt finished his playing career with Leyton Orient before moving into management. He took charge of Gloucester City and Tonbridge, taking the latter to the Southern League Cup finals in both 1955 and 1957.

Hunt would later move on to Yeovil Town aa a trainer/coach and he would spend more than 25 years at the Somerset based club until retiring in 1986 (he was given a testimonial by the club ten years earlier). Doug Hunt passed away three years later at the age of 75.

Sid Ottewell: Born in Horsley, Derbyshire in 1919 Sydney Ottewell captained the Derbyshire Schools Football team during his youth, before beginning his senior footballing career with Holbrook Colliery Welfare. The inside forward later joined Chesterfield in 1936 and made his competitive senior debut for the then second division outfit in a league game against Blackburn Rovers, aged 17 in 1937.  Ottewell’s career like many other English footballers was disrupted by the start of the Second World War, and during the war he served as a Physical Training Instructor in the Royal Air Force. Sid also guested for a number of clubs during that period, of which included Birmingham City, Blackpool, Fulham and Spurs. The inside forward who stood at five foot, seven inches tall, played his one and only game for Spurs in an FLS game against London rivals Chelsea in the May of 1940 (he operated as an outside left). After the war Sid had a good career in the game and he played for Birmingham City, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town, Scunthorpe United, Whitstable Town and Spalding United (player mangaer). After he finished playing Ottewell turned his hand to management, taking charge and doing well at Bourne Town and Lockheed Lemington (his long time in charge there made Ottewell the longest serving Lemington manager of the modern era). At Lockheed Lemington the former footballer won the Midland League tittle in the 1965-65 season. In later life Sid resided in Newthorpe and at one stage he was believed to be Nottingham Forest’s oldest surviving former player. He passed away at the age of 92 in 2012.

Vic Woodley: Next on the list of footballers to have played for Spurs during the Second World War is a Chelsea legend. Victor Robert Woodley was a highly talented goalkeeper who made over 250 senior competitive appearances for the ‘ blues ’ during a 13 year spell. Woodley, who was born in Cippenham, Berkshire in 1911, played for a couple of clubs including Cippenham before joining Windsor and Eton in 1930, in the the old Spartan League. However, it was playing for the Athenian League against Berks and Bucks that Woodley was scouted by Chelsea in 1931 (he was also scouted by Aldershot but he turned them down) and he joined the west London club in the same year. A goalkeeper who anticipated situations and read the game really well, Woodley made his competitive debut for Chelsea the following year. A member of the famous ‘ Blues ’ side of the 1930’s, Woodley helped to keep Chelsea in the first division and in the process he kept Scotland’s number one goalkeeper John Jackson out of the team. Woodley also won 19 caps in total for his country, England and he was a part of the side that toured Germany in 1938. The goalkeeper remained at Chelsea throughout the Second World War however, he did guest for a number of clubs during this period. Those clubs were Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion and Spurs. During his very brief time at Spurs Woodley played a single game for the Lilywhites, that came in an FLS game against Fulham in the April of 1940. Vic, who played in Chelsea’s historical friendly match against Soviet side Dynamo Moscow after the war had ended, was released by Chelsea shortly after that game. Woodley briefly linked up with Bath City before going back to the first division to play for Derby County. While there Woodley made 30 appearances for the ‘ Rams ‘ in all competitions and he was a member of the side that won the 1946 FA Cup. After finally retiring from playing professionally he rejoined Bath City who he served as player/manager until 1949. The former Chelsea legend passed away in Bradford on Avon in 1978.

W.Arnold: A player who made only a sole appearance for Spurs during the war, W.Arnold (I was unable to source his first name) was a player who operated as a winger. Interestingly however, Spurs were due to play Leicester City in an FLS game in May of 1941, but they had only turned up to the East Midlands with ten men. Leicester kindly agreed to lend one of their junior players (W.Arnold) to Spurs for the game. This was to be the only time that Arnold turned out for the Lilywhites. It is unknown who Arnold played for after leaving Leicester.

Ken Burditt: Yet another player who Leicester City agreed to let Spurs have for the FLS game at Filbert Street in May of 1941 due to having a lack of players to play the game (this was to be Burditt’s only appearance for Spurs). Ibstock born Frederick Charles Kendall Burditt was on Colchester United’s books when he turned up at Filbert Street ready to guest for the ‘ Foxes ’ against Spurs (Burditt was back in the Midlands during the war to work as a coal miner after being posted there during the war). An inside forward by trade who started his footballing career with Ibstock Penistone Rovers before going on to play for a couple of other clubs before going on to sign for Norwich City in October of 1930. Burditt spent six years at the ‘ Canaries ’ making 173 competitive appearances, before moving to London club Millwall in 1936. During his first season at the ‘ Lions ‘ the inside forward scored a fine total of 25 goals and he also played a part in Millwall making the semi-finals of the FA Cup. After leaving Millwall Ken Burditt would play for Notts County and Colchester United, before returning to Norwich City to guest during the Second World War, as well as guesting for Leicester City and Spurs. After the Second World War had finished, Burditt’s time working down the pits had taken its toll on his body and meant that he was unable to continue to play football in the Football League. He did however, play for Ibstock Colliery, Pegsons and Penistone Rovers as player-manager even when he was in his 50’s. It was at Penistone that he ended his footballing career. Ken Burditt passed away in his home town of Ibstock, Leicestershire in 1977 at the age of 70.

Doug Flack: Douglas W Flack was born in Staines in October of 1920 and attended Spring Grove Grammar School where he started his footballing journey. Recommended to west London side Fulham by teacher and former Fulham player Bernard Joy, Flack who operated as a goalkeeper joined the ‘ Cottagers ’ as a ground-staff player in 1935 to start an almost 20 year association with the club. However, Flack only really had one season where he was the number one goalkeeper for Fulham, that came in the 1948/49 season. He guested for a number of clubs during the Second World War of which included Brentford, Portsmouth, Reading and Spurs who he made five appearances for in the autumn of 1940. Doug Flack remained at Fulham after the war ended, staying there until 1953 before he went to join Walsall. After leaving the Midlands based club Flack then retired and took charge of Corinthian Casuals as a coach, and he took them to the FA Amateur Cup Final during his first season in charge. He would later manager London side Tooting and Mitcham before retiring from the game in 1970.

Les Henley: Lambeth born inside forward Leslie Donald Henley started his footballing career with non-league side Nunhead in 1938. Henley would later play for Margate before joining Arsenal as an amateur in 1939, and he made his one and an only competitive senior appearance for them in an FA Cup game in 1946 (he also played 97 times for them during the war). During the war Henley guested for Brentford, Brighton And Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Northampton Town, Queens Park Rangers, Reading, West Ham United and Spurs. For Spurs he made just two appearances, one of those incidentally (Henley’s debut) came in an FLS game against Arsenal in the October of 1940 however, it was brought to an abrupt end at the interval due to the air raid sirens sending out a warning. In his second appearance for Spurs against Aldershot, he scored one of Tottenham’s goals. In 1946 Henley joined Reading and he would go on to make close to 200 competitive senior appearances for the ‘ Royals ’. Then in 1953 he took the trip across the Irish Sea to manage Bohemians before returning to England in 1955 to manage Wimbledon who he took charge of for almost 16 years. Henley made Wimbledon flourish and they became one of the top amateur sides in the country during this period (they won four Isthmian league titles and an FA Amateur Cup as they progressed into the professional game). Les Henley passed away in May of 1996.


Taffy O’Callaghan: A Tottenham Hotspur legend who dazzled as an inside forward for the Lilywhites after joining Spurs during the mid 1920’s. Eugene O’Callaghan was born in Ebbw Vale, Wales to Irish parents in October of 1906. Taffy O’Callaghan began his footballing journey with Victoria United (Ebbw Vale’s junior side) before progressing up to Ebbw Vale’s reserve side. He divided his time playing football as well as working in the pits. O’Callaghan was scouted by Spurs and initially invited to join the ground-staff in 1925 however, he was soon farmed out to nursery clubs Barnet and Norhtfleet United who he did very well at. A bright spark during a dark time for Spurs during the late 1920’s as well as in the early 1930’s, the inside forward made his competitive senior debut in a Football League game against Everton in January of 1927. O’Callaghan was adept with both feet, had a good shot at his disposal, and he was also capable of dribbling with the ball at speed. The young footballer adapted well to life at Spurs and it didn’t take him long to make his mark on the club. An accurate passer of the ball who also had a creative side to his game, O’Callaghan also scored a lot of goals for Spurs (121 in 313 appearances). A player who was described by journalists at the time as an artist, he enjoyed many fine years at Spurs and the Welshman was a key member of manger Peter McWilliam’s Spurs side which was known as the ‘ Greyhounds ’ in the early 1930’s.  O’Callaghan, who won 12 caps for his country Wales during his footballing career, would leave Spurs as a firm fans favourite in March of 1935 to join then Second Division side Leicester City much to Tottenham fans surprise. While at Leicester O’Callaghan quickly became an important player and helped them to win the Second Division title in his second season at the club. After leaving the ‘ Foxes ’ Taffy signed for Fulham who he played for until the start of the war. 

During the war years O’Callaghan played for a number of clubs (he also served as a policeman and as an ambulance driver) including his old club Spurs who he returned to, to make a good number of appearances for in the LWL and FLS. The inside forward continued to play for Fulham in the first season after the end of the war however, he retired from playing in 1946. He went on to take up the position of assistant trainer at Fulham, right up until his untimely death in October 1956. Taffy O’Callaghan was a true Spurs legend.

Tom Paton: Thomas Gracie Paton was a footballer who lived a very interesting life. Born in Saltcoats, Ayrshire in the February of 1918, Scotsman Tom Paton started his career off with local side Ardeer Recreation in 1936, before then moving to Wolverhampton Wanderers the following year. Spells at Portsmouth, Swansea Town and Bournemouth and Boscombe followed, and Paton guested for a number of clubs during the Second World War of which included Leeds United, Manchester City and Spurs. During the war Tom Paton was in the British Army, serving first in the Hampshire Regiment and then later as an RAF officer in Bomber Command. During his time in the RAF, Paton was held as a prisoner of war for three years after the plane he was traveling in was shot down and captured near Heidelberg, Germany. All this happened shortly after the forward made his four guest appearances for Spurs during the early years of the war (he failed to score in any of the four games). Paton returned back to Bournemouth after the war had ended and he was a part of the side that won the Third Division South Cup. He would later sign for Watford in 1948 and he would interestingly play predominantly at right half for the ‘ Hornets ’ during his almost five seasons there. Paton finished off his playing career with Folkestone Town in Kent, before going on to scout for Sheffield Wednesday. Tom Paton died in Folkestone at the age of 72 in December 1991.

Wilf Saunders: A goalkeeper by trade who was on West Bromwich Albion’s books when he guested three times for Spurs in 1940, after being recommended to the Lilywhites by his RAF friend and Spur Viv Buckingham. Saunders who was from Grimsbury in Oxfordshire, started his career with Banbury Spencer before moving to West Brom (he would go on to make two senior competitive appearances for them) in 1938. He guested for Luton Town, Clapton Orient, Northampton Town, Watford and Spurs during the war before ending up back at his old club Banbury Spencer, before passing away in 1981 (I’m afraid that I wasn’t able to find much else out about Wilf Saunders during my research). 

Reg Edwards: Born in the market town of Newton-Le-Willows, Cheshire in July of 1919, Reginald Charles Edwards was a winger (he did however, fill in at other positions on occasions) who started his footballing career with Earlestown White Star. Edwards would later move to Scottish side Alloa Athletic who he was on the books of right up until the start of the war. During the war years Edwards guested for a number of clubs south of the border, of which included QPR, Luton Town, Watford and Spurs. Reg Edwards guested for Spurs on eight occasions from the years 1941 to 1944 (he scored two goals) he had made his debut for the Lilywhites in the LWL against Brentford in April 1942. These appearances for Spurs came when the winger was plying his trade as a railway electrician, while serving in the RAF. After the war had ended Edwards signed permanently for Luton Town, before going on to end his career with Accrington Stanley who he moved on to the following year. Reg passed away in his home town of Newton-Le-Willows in March of 2002.

Jack Finch: East Londoner (West Ham born) John A Finch was a former Gainsborough Road School pupil (born in 1910) who went on to play for St Margarets, Walthamstow Avenue (he had two spells with Walthamstow) and Lowestoft Town as well as going on trial with Aston Villa, before signing amateur forms with Fulham in October 1930. Starting a 16 year association with the ‘ Cottagers ’ which saw him make 295 competitive appearances, scoring over 50 goals, Finch was a winger who was adept at playing on either flank and who undoubtedly had an eye for goal. The Londoner who was a creative force in the Fulham side of the 1930’s, was a member of the sides which won the Third Division South championship during the 1931-32 season and that reached the FA cup semi-finals during the 1935-36 season. Finch guested for Brentford, Crystal Palace and Spurs during the Second World War as well as being player-manager of Sittingbourne from 1943-46. Jack Finch made one appearance for Spurs and that ironically came in a London War League fixture against Fulham in May of 1942. After the war had ended Finch had a brief stint with Colchester United who he made three competitive appearances for, before going in to the coaching side of the game. First of all the former Fulham man was the manager of Nigeria, who he took charge of in 1949 for the team which toured England. Finch met the players at Liverpool docks after they arrived on the RMSS Apapa.  During their time in England, Finch’s side who often played barefoot, played in total nine games against sides ranging from Dulwich Hamlet to South Liverpool. Nigeria won three of their nine games. During the following year and after his experiences coaching Nigeria, Jack Finch took the trip to Iceland to manage Valur who he was in charge of for two years. After finishing with the game of football he would work as a freelance reporter in east London before working as a driver in the Lowestoft area of Norfolk. In later years Finch settled down in Worthing on the south coast, the place where he passed away in November of 1993.

Alf Fitzgerald: Born in Conisborough, Yorkshire in January 1911, half-back Alfred Malcolm Fitzgerald started his career off with Denaby United. Fitzgerald later went on trial with Reading before signing professional forms with them in August of 1934, he then joined Queens Park Rangers in 1936, a club who he would play for until the war. Fitzgerald guested for a number of clubs during the war, these included Chelsea, Aldershot, Chelsea, Watford, West Ham United and Spurs. Alf Fitzgerald made his one and only appearance for the Lilywhites in a LWL fixture against Fulham in May of 1942, Spurs won 7-1. After the war had ended Fitzgerald joined Aldershot who he enjoyed two seasons with before later moving to Tonbridge in 1948. Alf Fitzgerald passed away in Brighton, Sussex in 1981.

Tom Kiernan: Thomas Kiernan was born in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland in October 1918. Kiernan started his footballing career with Viewpark Celtic in 1935 before then moving to Clydebank Juniors, and then Albion Rovers who he was on the books of when the Second World War began. The Scotsman was an inside forward by trade who was posted to London during the war as he was serving with the Royal Engineers. Tom Kiernan guested for Chelsea, Fulham, Aldershot, Brentford, Southampton and Spurs. For Spurs, he, made just two appearances, both of which came in the London War Cup in games against Charlton in the April of 1942. After the war was over Kiernan signed for one of Scotland’s biggest clubs in Glasgow Celtic. Putting in some impressive performances for the ‘ Hoops ’ during his time there, he was a regular during the 1945-46 and 1946-47 seasons, and his adeptness with both feet made him a very useful player (he also played as a centre forward for Celtic during his time there). Playing a total of 64 competitive senior games for Celtic during his time there, scoring 19 goals, Kiernan was sold to Stoke City in September 1947 (in the same year he played for the Scottish league against the Football League) leaving the supporters of Celtic dismayed, as they had been very fond of Kiernan during his time with them. After joining Stoke City he would later play for Luton Town, Gillingham, St Mirren, Barry Town (he had two spells with the Welsh club), Albion Rovers and Alloa Athletic. After retiring from playing Tom Kiernan took up a coaching position with Albion Rovers. He passed away in his home town of Coatbridge in June of 1991.

Wilf Mannion: Middlesbrough legend Wilfred John Mannion was one of the greats of English football from the period ranging from the 1940’s right through to the 1950’s. Mannion was rightly inducted in to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2000, which was a testament to his footballing career in this country. Born in South Bank, Middlesbrough to Irish parents in May of 1918, Mannion who was one of ten children, used to play football on the waste ground in South Bank as a lad before he joined local side South Bank St Peters. He played for them until he signed amateur forms with Middlesbrough in 1936 (he made his league debut for them in 1937). Standing out during his early days for Middlesbrough, the tough but ultimately very quick and skilful inside forward settled in well, and he scored a good number of goals for his team. However, the Second World War arrived and the then promising young footballers career was put on a temporary hold. Mannion served for the British Army in France where it had even been reported that he had been killed however, he had been evacuated from Dunkirk at the time of this report. He also served in Italy during his time on the continent and was part of the British force which invade Sicily in 1943 (Mannion made his four appearances for Spurs before this period. He also guested for Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic). However, after the war had ended Wilf Mannion won his first full international cap with England scoring a hat-trick in a 7-2 victory over Northern Ireland. He continued to enjoy many more very fine years with Middlesbrough and he won a lot more England caps (he won 26 in total and played at the 1950 World Cup) but after initially retiring from the game in 1954 after making 351 senior league appearances for Middlesbrough, Mannion ended up returning to the game when he signed for Hull City in the same year. Mannion would later play for Poole Town, Cambridge United where he would have played agains Spurs’ A team, King’s Lynn, Haverhill Rovers and Earlestown where he served as player-manager.

Wilf Mannion was granted a testimonial match by Middlesbrough in 1983. He passed away in Redcar, Cleveland in April 2000.

McFarlane: During my research writing this piece McFarlane was one of those players who I was able to find very little about, other than what was included in the Spurs Alphabet. An outside right by trade who used to be a fullback when he played for Edinburgh side St Bernards, McFarlane was brought to Spurs by Viv Buckingham and played his one and only game for them in a London War Cup game against Watford in the April of 1942. 

David Noble: David Simpson Noble was born in Queensferry, West Lothian, Scotland and he first started out at Blackhall Athletic. He would later play for Edinburgh side St Bernards before moving to North Lanarkshire based club Clyde in the September of 1936. During the Second World War and when Noble was on Clyde’s books he guested for Spurs during the 1941-42 season (presumably as he was posted to southern England) the outside left played six times for the Lilywhites, scoring three goals.

Tommy Pearson: A quality outside left during his time at Newcastle United and Aberdeen during the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Edinburgh born Thomas Usher Pearson (born in May 1913) started his footballing career with local side Murrayfield Athletic, before going on trial with Hearts in 1933 however, he didn’t end up signing for the Edinburgh club and instead Pearson joined Newcastle United in March of the same year for a sum of £35. While at Newcastle the highly skilful winger endeared himself to the Newcastle faithful with his entertaining and effective style of play right up until the beginning of the war. When the war did arrive Tommy Pearson ended up guesting for a number of clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers, Heart of Midlothian, Stoke City, Liverpool, Walsall and of course Tottenham Hotspur. Pearson made just two appearances for Spurs, with both of them coming in the London War League (he made his debut against Reading on January of 1942). During the war Tommy Pearson interestingly filled in for England, and he would later play twice for Scotland, making him the only player in the history of the game to play for both countries. In the February of 1948 Pearson left Newcastle United to go back up north and sign for Aberdeen for £4000. Once again he won the affection of the supporters this time through his ‘ double shuffle ’ something which he developed during the war years. Pearson ended up retiring from playing in 1953 and initially worked as a journalist for the Scottish Daily Mail, and he wrote for them up until he was appointed as a youth football coach at Aberdeen at the end of the decade. He was later to be appointed the manager of the football club but had to deal with losing a number of key players at Pittodrie to retirement. He resigned after close to six years in his post, in February 1965. However, Pearson ended up returning to another former club in later years in Newcastle United to serve as a scout for the club. He also opened a jewellery shop in Edinburgh. Pearson passed away in his home city of Edinburgh at the age of 85 in March of 1999.

Charlie Revell: Born in Belvedere, county Kent in June of 1919, Charles H Revell was scouted by Tottenham playing for his first club Callenders Athletic. The half back joined Spurs as an amateur in January of 1937 and was farmed out to Spurs’ nursery club Northfleet United who he interestingly played for as a forward. Revell signed professional forms with Spurs during the following year but ended moving across to south London to join Charlton Athletic in 1939 after not making a single senior appearance for Spurs. The man from county Kent served the ‘ Daggers ‘ with distinction, helping them to win the Football League South Cup in 1944 as well as playing in virtually every position except goalkeeper during his 12 year spell there. During the war Revell very impressively notched up 82 goals in just over 100 matches for Charlton. However, during the war years he also managed to guest for Blackpool, Bury, Birmingham City, Chelsea, Fulham, Wrexham and Spurs. For his old club Spurs Charlie Revell played once and scored once in a London War League fixture against Charlton Athletic. Upon leaving Charlton permanently in 1951 he joined Derby County before joining Eynesbury Rovers as player-manager the following year, but this was to be where Revell’s playing career would end. He later managed Edgware Town, Canterbury City and Erith and Belvedere before serving both Crystal Palace and Charlton as a coach and as a scout. In later years Revell settled back in Kent where he was a football teacher at Bexleyheath school. He passed away in Sidcup at the age of 80 in December 1999.

Joe Sibley: Southend born (born in October 1919) Albert Sibley started out at his local club Southend United and he rose up through the ranks at the ‘ Shrimpers ’ to make 226 appearances for them, scoring 44 goals. Like many other players the outside rights career was disrupted by the war, and the then young Joe Sibley guested for Arsenal, Aldershot, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers and Spurs. For Spurs, Sibley made three appearances in the LWL, scoring one goal during the 1941/42 season (Joe Sibley made his Spurs debut against Reading in January of 1942). During the war years Sibley also served in the RAF at Ruislip. However, after the war was over he continued to play for Southend before making the move to Newcastle United in February 1947. Whilst at Newcastle Sibley played with some great players such as the Robledo brothers and Tommy Walker, and he (Sibley) played a part in helping the ‘ Toon ’ to win the old Second Division during the 1947/48 season (Joe Sibley made his debut for Newcastle United in February of 1947 v Southampton). Joe Sibley spent three years at Newcastle (many of which were disrupted by injury) and the winger ended up returning to Southend United in the summer of 1950, and he would go on to spend six years there until retiring at the end of the 1955/56 season. Joe Sibley passed away in Southchurch, Essex in February 2008.

Cyril Williams: Bon in Bristol, England in November 1921, Cyril Edward Williams started his footballing career with his hometown club Bristol City after being signed by manager Bob Hewison in 1939. An outside left/inside forward who was a good dribbler of the ball, Williams had hardly signed for Bristol City when the war had broken out. During the war years he guested for Swindon Town, Reading and Spurs. For the Lilywhites the young lad from Bristol made three appearances for Spurs in the London War League, making his debut against Portsmouth in November of 1941. After the war had ended Williams ended up making 78 appearances in total for the ‘ Robins ’ scoring 27 goals, before transferring to West Bromwich Albion in June of 1948, much to the disappointment of the Bristol City supporters. In his first season at the Midlands based club he helped them to finish as runners up in the old Second Division and they were subsequently promoted to the first division for the start of the following season. Then in August 1951 Williams rejoined Bristol City for a sum of £4,500. He was a part of the side which won the Thid Division South in 1954-55 and he once again became a key player for the team as they moved in to the second division. After a successful second spell with Bristol City, Cyril Williams first joined Chippenham Town as manager in 1958 before later taking charge of Gloucester City. After retiring from football Cyril Williams ran the Greylands Hotel which was situated in Western-Super-Mare. He managed the hotel until his untimely and tragic death in a car crash in January of 1980.

Pat Beasley: Pat Beasley was a player who featured more frequently than most war time guests for Spurs during the war (like Taffy O’Callaghan). Beasley was from Stourbridge, Worcestershire (born in July of 1912) and he started off playing for local sides Cookesley and Stourbridge in Kidderminster. Beasley who operated both as a forward and as a half back, joined Arsenal in the May of 1931, starting a successful five year spell at the ‘ Gunners ’ which saw him win two First Division Championships with them in 1933-34 and 1934-35, playing with the likes of the legendary Cliff Bastin and a future Spurs manager in Joe Hulme. Sold to Huddersfield Town for £750 in 1936, Beasley enjoyed a good solid three seasons with the ‘ Terriers ‘, making over 100 appearances for them and he also helped them to reach the 1937/38 FA Cup Final which they finished runners up in after losing to Preston North End. Beasley won an international cap for England in a game against Scotland the following year (he scored in this game and became the 653rd player to play for England). The County Worcestershire man guested for a number of clubs during the war of which included Spurs who he made 98 appearances for scoring 31 goals, Arsenal, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Reading, Derby County, Fulham and York City. After the war had ended Pat Beasley spent five years with Fulham before joining Bristol City in 1950 first as a player and then two years later he became player-manager where he took the ‘ Robins ’ up to the Second Division in 1955.  He would later manage Birmingham City where had a good spell, before becoming a scout for Fulham and later managing Dover. Beasley resided in County Somerset in later years, and he passed away in Taunton at the age of 72 in March of 1986.

Charlie Briggs: Welshman Charles Edward Briggs was born in Newton, South Wales in 1910, and he joined Spurs 20 years later as an amateur. Briggs was a goalkeeper by trade and the Lilywhites farmed him out to Hayward Sports, but Spurs never ended up signing him as a professional. Spells at the likes of Guildford City, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Halifax Town followed. It was on Halifax Town’s books that Briggs returned to Spurs as one of the clubs that he guested for during the war, he made three for them over a two year spell. After the war was over he would later play for the likes of Clyde, Rochdale and Chesterfield. Briggs passed away in Broxburn, Scotland at the age of 81 in January of 1993.

Bobby Browne: Derry man Robert James ‘ Bobby ’ Browne was born in February 1912. The Northern Irishman who played for his country six times (he made his debut against England in Belfast in 1935) was a half back by trade, and a talented one too. One of ten children (his youngest brother Leonard was killed when the HMS Firedrake was sunk) he started off playing for junior clubs Maleven and Cooney Rovers however, Browne began his senior career with hometown club Derry City in the early 1930’s. He played for the ‘ Candystripes ’ until 1935 winning both the City Cup and the North-Western Cup, when English side Leeds United were impressed by Browne who was playing in the game between the Irish League team and the English League, and came calling. He joined Leeds for a fee of £1500 and despite his small frame he settled in well to life at the Yorkshire based club. Before, during and after the war Browne made in total 121 appearances for Leeds. During the war he joined the police force in England, he later resigned and would become an Army PT instructor in Colchester, Essex. In the midst of all this he also guested for a number of clubs including Derry City when he was posted back to Ulster, Aldershot, Luton Town, Swansea Town, Colchester United, Watford and Spurs. For Spurs, Browne made three appearances in total, making his debut against Queens Park Rangers in the FLS in the September of 1942. After the war had ended Bobby Browne played for York City, before becoming player-manager of Thorne Colliery and then coach and caretaker manager of his old club Halifax Town in 1954. Browne passed away in 1994 when he was in early 80’s.

To be continued…

My interview with former Spurs player Josh Cooper:

My interview with former Spurs player Josh Cooper:


Talented midfielder Josh Cooper joined Spurs as a youth player back in 1996, he would go on to spend a number of years at the Lilywhites, working his way up the ranks before leaving the club after not being offered a YTS in the mid 2000’s. Cooper would later go onto have a good career in non league football, playing for the likes of Wealdstone United, Wingate and Finchley and Chesham United. I recently caught up with Josh to look back on his time at Spurs.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Josh: I can remember going to watch Spurs play against Aston Villa when I was about four or five and that was in 1993.

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

Josh: I got scouted from Enfield Town when I was eight years old which was in 1996 and I can remember going to training (I can’t remember any of the games) which was in the ball court at the old White Hart Lane stadium. 

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

Josh: It was good and it kept me grounded at school and stuff, so yeah it did me good. 

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

Josh: David Ginola. He was a class football player.

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

Josh: I used to play in midfield and I was more of a creative player however, I wasn’t a dribbler I was more of a one, two touch pass and move type of player. I would try and create opportunities for others to score.

How difficult was it for a young Spurs player like yourself to break into the first team back in the 2000’s?

Josh: One thing I look back on now, I’ve got a baby boy as well now so I think differently. You’ve got to stand out from the rest, so I.E: be more aggressive in the way you play and be heard, because if you are heard I think that you have got more of a chance. I was quite quiet and I didn’t like to show off as such but if your good at it then you should show it. As I got older around the age of 13 or 14 I sort of played in my self, but when I was younger I used to go past people like they weren’t there, but as I got older I used to play a bit differently. So I wished that I had played without fear.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Josh: My dad was always good with me and he actually played at Tottenham as well when he was a kid and he got a bit further than me to be fair. 

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

Josh: Not my age at the time because I used to worry about myself more than anything.


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

Josh: So I got released when I was 16 going on 17, so when they did the youth team scholarships was when I got released. After that I went on trial with Port Vale for a few weeks, along with Wycombe and Northampton. They all said the same thing to me and that was that I was technically great and a fantastic player, but not what they were looking for in height and size. I then went into non league, and I signed for Wealdstone in the Ryman Premier League at the time, I then went to Chesham, then I was at Wingate and Finchley and Cheshunt, so I did the non league circle really. I am actually going training tomorrow after three years out from playing, and I’m going to sign for Cockfosters in the Essex Senior League.

What has been the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Josh: To be fair it has to be when I was at Wingate and we won the treble one season. We got promoted and won two cups, so that was a good season, and I played over 50 odd games that season (I think that it was 58). 

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

Josh: A year above me at Spurs was a player called Charlie Lee and he went onto play for Spurs’ first team before going to Stevenage. When we (the youth team) used to go abroad to Belgium and play on tours, they would always allow one extra older player to come with us so Charlie Lee played with us then. I liked him and I thought that he was a good player.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham youth team?

Josh: The tour of Belgium was one and then when I was out there the teams who we were playing played a completely different style of football. You were playing against players who had a better touch and pass than you, and they’d get in your face and boot you. We went to Belgium when I was under 15’s and I was told that I was one of our best players out there, which I did know myself so that was a good memory. However, generally being at Spurs was an honour to have been there for a long time, but looking back on it now I didn’t use that to my benefit enough and I should have been more confident in what I was doing and why I was there for a reason. 

Who was the toughest player that you have ever come up against?

Josh: There were a few who I played against in non league who were workhorses but I couldn’t tell you specific names as I can’t remember there names.

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

Josh: John Kyriacou and Luke Prosser who is now at Colchester United. It used to be me, Luke and John Kyriacou and our parents used to take it in turns each week to training. When me and Luke Prosser got released at the same time (John Kyriacou signed for the youth team at Spurs) we went to Port Vale on trial together and then Luke got signed for Port Vale but then he’s about six foot six.

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

Josh: My advice would be that it’s an honour to be at the club in the first place so you should remember that, and not everyone gets to play for Spurs so you should take advantage and play with no fear. I used to play within myself as I got older.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Josh: Yes, I support them and I’ve got a season ticket there now and go and watch them every week. When I was younger I used to hear the fans sing the songs about the players and think that it could have been me, but obviously it never was.

My interview with former Spurs player Len Worley:

My interview with former Spurs player Len Worley:


Regarded by supporters of Wycombe Wanderers as a legend of the club, winger Len Worley’s nickname during his playing days was “ the Stanley Matthews of amateur football ” for a reason. A fine dribbler and crosser of the ball, Worley was primarily a winger, whose tricky feet made life difficult for opposing defenders. The Chalfont St Peter born player first played for his local village side, before beginning his career as an amateur as a sixteen year old with Wycombe Wanderers back in 1954. Worley spent most of his career (he made 512 competitive appearances in total for the ‘ Chairboys ’) at Wycombe Wanderers over a 15 year spell. Helping Wycombe to get to the FA Amateur Cup final at Wembley, the former right winger who represented England at youth and amateur level then joined first division side Charlton Athletic as an amateur back in 1956. Worley made one competitive appearance for Charlton before returning to Wycombe. Len then joined Tottenham Hotspur as an amateur later on in the 1950’s, he spent a year there making one competitive appearance for the first team. That came in a league game against Sheffield Wednesday in October 1959. Worley filled in for Terry Medwin who was away on international duty with Wales. That same month Worley was offered a professional contract by Spurs however, he declined this offer and returned to playing amateur football with Wycombe who he spent another ten years at. Upon leaving Wycombe in 1969, Worley continued to play amateur football. He played for the likes of Chesham United, Wealdstone, Slough Town and Hayes. After retiring from playing Len went into the property business and he also owned a sports shop. Recently I had the great pleasure of catching up with Len Worley to discuss his time at the Lilywhites.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Len: I suppose the most significant thing that happened was I was playing for Chalfont St Peter youth club (under 18’s) and at the end of the season Wycombe Wanderers came to play the Chalfont St Peter senior team in a friendly. And the Chalfont St Peter’s senior side found themselves short of one player, so they rang the youth club and said have you got anybody that can sort of step in and play against Wycombe Wanderers in a friendly? And so they got in touch with me and I went on and played and the manager of Wycombe said to me how would you like to play for Wycombe next season? And I thought yeah fantastic! I was only 16 at the time and so the following season when I’d just turned 17 I went to Wycombe and after three or four reserve team games I got into the first team, and then at the end of that particular season I was off with the England youth team to play in the European youth championships. So it was all pure luck, being in the right place at the right time but it made a huge difference to my career and it sort of got me going if you were.

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

Len: Well there were a number of professional clubs that wanted to sign me and I had had a season at Charlton Athletic and they were keen to sign me as a full time professional but I didn’t really want to move to the east end of London. So I went back to Wycombe and then Tottenham came in and were very keen, and so I thought oh yeah Tottenham are a big club, so I’ll go and see how things pan out. I played a season mainly in the reserve team as I was understudy to Terry Medwin, and at the end of the season Bill Nicholson the manager said “ look Len we can’t keep paying you ten pounds a week under the counter. I want you to sign full time pro. ” And so I said I’m not sure because the main reasons that I had doubts were one because I was playing for the Great Britain Olympic team and hoping to get to to the Olympics, and I was also playing for the England amateur side. I was also studying to be a surveyor and Wycombe were keen to have me back, and in those days maximum wage was 20 quid a week, so obviously going back to Wycombe I was being paid, and equally I was being paid to be a surveyor. And of course there were was also the chance of playing in the Olympics. So that was the reason why I decided to move away from Tottenham but obviously if I had the same decision to make today then they wouldn’t be offering me 20 pounds a week, they’d be offering me something like 20 thousand pounds a week which is totally different. So very briefly that was how it all planned out. However, there was another factor and that was that Wycombe were a so called top amateur side and we were playing in front of big crowds of up to 14,000 and we’d got to the amateur cup final and played in front of 95,000. And I was also playing for the England amateur side, so it was quite a wrench to give all of that up for the gamble and the chance of playing for Tottenham. So in those days that was my decision but today I would probably make a different decision however, today I’m 83 and not 23.

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

Len: On the whole it is difficult to describe really to be honest with you because was playing in a professional club as an amateur I didn’t really sort of get to know the players very well, because I wasn’t training with them. I was just basically playing with them on a Saturday and so the only guy that I got to know well was Cliff Jones, because we were in the same national service unit together in St John’s Wood, London. So Cliff and I were there together so I got to know him for about 18 months and he was actually a Tottenham player at the time as well as playing for our unit at the same time. So he was probably one of the best players that I actually played with or against actually.

Could you talk me through your competitive debut for Spurs against Sheffield Wednesday on the 17th October 1959 and how it came about?

Len: It was simply that Terry Medwin was on international duty and Bill Nicholson called me up to take his place. I travelled up by train with the team and played the match, and then traveled back again and that was it. 1959 is an awful long time ago so it was not a really significant memory for me because I played a lot of reserve team games with people like Johnny Brooks and Terry Dyson and people like that, so obviously that was more memorable than just the one first team game.

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

Len: Well the obvious one was Stanley Matthews as he was my idol and I based my game on him, and I was funnily enough recognised as the amateur Stanley Matthews. Because I used to like to take the ball up to the fullback and dribble past him and take people on and be a little bit of a showman really, and just to have my name associated with him was an honour in itself to be honest. Not only was he somebody that I looked up to but I did actually meet him on two or three occasions as well which was great. He was a great player and a star of the time in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

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

Len: Clearly whenever you represent your country it’s special and I think to be suddenly playing for Wycombe Wanderers first team and also going to play for the England youth team in Italy in the European championships was really special. Particularly when they get in touch with you and tell you that you’ve been selected and you go up to London and get fitted out with your blazer and your trousers, and your instructions are given to you about where you meet, the plane you are going on and where you are staying in Italy, and who you are playing against is really quite special. We didn’t do very well mind you but it was just an honour to be participating really. A similar sort of thing happened with the England amateur side when we were going to play in the European championships which again happened to be in Italy, and again the same sort of thing happened. So it was just a proud moment and I’ve relished it ever since, I mean at the end of the day there are not too many people who are lucky enough to represent their country, particularly at football. I’m also still lucky enough to be able to run around a tennis court and to be able to walk up the golf course.

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

Len: Always I played as a number seven from the age of about ten until I finished playing at about 41, I never changed. I played number seven right the way through my career.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Len: No one particularly influenced me at Spurs but as I say Cliff Jones was someone who I got to know better than anybody simply because we were in the army together and I looked up to him as a player. However, because I didn’t train on a daily basis with them I really didn’t get to know anyone in particular. I did sort of speak to people like Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay but I didn’t get to know them well because they were just your teammate who you wouldn’t come across very frequently. So as I say I spent 15 years at Wycombe and played over 500 games for them and then various other clubs such as Slough and Wealdstone and Hayes and Chesham, and as I say I finished when I was 41 and so I had a good innings really. The only reason I stopped really was because when you get to that age you tend to lose your pace and your playing against players who just want to get you, and also as I was running a business I couldn’t afford to get inured, and so it was about right that I gave up and concentrated on my tennis than on football, and I was lucky enough to play for my County which is nice. So I’ve been lucky. 

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

Len: No not at all as I didn’t get to know them well enough and so it was only Cliff Jones that I did know well.

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

Len: Well as I said earlier I was prompted to leave because I had the opportunity to play in the Olympics, I was playing for the England amateur side and I was studying at the time and I wanted to complete my studies, and I was about to get married. Also Wycombe were keen to have me back and so they were the main reasons and also I felt much more comfortable playing for a team like Wycombe than I did for a team like Tottenham for some reason, because I was a different type of individual and character. However, as I say today would be a different answer to that question, but in those days 20 quid a week was quite good but it wasn’t that good. I mean I was going back to Wycombe and getting paid ten pound a week to play for them plus furthering my career. After leaving Wycombe I went to Slough and then Hayes, Wealdstone and Chesham. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Len: I suppose it would be getting my first amateur England international cap and probably playing at Wembley which is something totally different to any other experience that you get. To suddenly be playing in front of 95,000 people on a pitch that’s absolutely perfect is brilliant but unfortunately we lost the match to Bishop Auckland who were a top amateur side. Also the amateur game when I played was quite high profile as I’ve just said and can you believe 95,000 people watching an amateur cup final. When I played for my first international cap we played at Peterborough and yet there were ten thousand people there watching an amateur international match. You know things were totally different then to what they are now, I mean everything now is focused on the Premier League which is the thing and nothing else gets too much of a look in. Whereas in my day the amateur game got headlines, and the professional game was professional which was fair enough but the amateur game as I say was highly thought of.

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

Len: Probably Cliff Jones funnily enough and I shared a pitch with him on a number of occasions both in the army and in the practice matches at Tottenham. So yeah he was definitely the best player who I shared a pitch with.

What was it like to don on the famous Lilywhite shirt of Tottenham Hotspur and how did it feel to play for them at one of the highest points in their history?

Len: I guess that it was an honour at the time but as I said earlier because I didn’t really feel to be part of the team as a whole and the club as a whole, it didn’t have quite the same significance. If I had been training regularly with the players and meeting them on a day to day basis then I think that it would have been totally different, but because I was the sort of guy that just came into play as and when it wasn’t quite the same and it didn’t have the same meaning.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham reserves?

Len: I can’t even pinpoint a special time or match, I just remember playing with people like Johnny Brooks who could have been a really top class player but he didn’t quite make it. I can also remember playing with Terry Dyson and Bill Brown and one and two other players, but there was nothing that was very significant. My memories at Wycombe were far more significant because they somehow mean much more to me for some reason It was local boy came good type thing.

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

Len: That’s a difficult one but there was a guy who played for Chelsea who was a left back whose name I can’t remember, but he would sort of take the legs of you if he had the chance.

Do you have any interesting stories from your time at Spurs that you’d like to share?

Len: There’s nothing that is really very interesting, the only interesting bit was the fact that Bill Nicholson felt that he couldn’t afford to pay me ten pounds a week under the counter. It’s amazing really a club like Tottenham saying something like that. They said to me you either turn professional or not, and I decided not to.

Were you particularly close with any of your old Spurs teammates during your year there?

Len: No not all but in a way I was sort of an outsider as you could probably imagine just turning up on Saturdays to play for whatever Spurs team I was due to play for. I came and went and that was it really, and I guess that Bill Nicholson always had hope in the back of his mind that I would probably turn full time professional for Spurs. But when it came to the crunch I declined for the reasons that I’ve outlined to you.

Do you ever have any regrets about turning down the professional contract that you were offered by Spurs just a short time before they did the double?

Len: Yes I suppose on reflection I in a way I regret it because I was never quite sure whether I’d achieve my potential and I guess if I’d turned full time pro then I would have then had full time training and full time coaching. And then perhaps it would have allowed me to achieve my full potential, which I never quite know whether I did or whether I didn’t. So I guess that’s the only question mark that I’ve got.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Len: Obviously I always look to see how they get on and how their results are and I obviously watch them on television etc, etc. However, again I haven’t quite got that affinity with a club like Tottenham that I have with a club like Wycombe because there is a huge difference playing one game for Tottenham’s first team and 500 odd games for Wycombe Wanderers first team. 

My interview with former Spurs player Dennis Bond:

My interview with former Spurs player Dennis Bond:


Walthamstow born midfielder Dennis Bond made his debut for his first professional club Watford as a 16 year old. And the boyhood Spurs fan would go onto make many appearances during his first spell at the ‘ Hornets ‘ before the former England schoolboys player joined Spurs in 1967 for £30,000. A good passer of the ball, Dennis who was also a skilful player who went onto make 27 competitive first team appearances for Spurs under legendary former manager Bill Nicholson before leaving the Lilywhites in 1970 to go to Charlton who he enjoyed a good spell at. However, Bond would then move back to his first club Watford in 1972 and would go onto make a further 179 league appearances for them, scoring 21 goals. Dennis finished off his playing career with Dagenham in the Isthmian League. Even after retiring from the game Bond still kept strong links with his second club Spurs and he even used to play for the old veterans team. I had the great pleasure of catching up with Dennis Bond recently to look back on his three year spell at Tottenham Hotspur.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Dennis: I can remember playing for the England schoolboys team and I can also remember my early years at Watford, but I’ve got loads of early football memories growing up especially of Spurs, because I was a Spurs supporter. Obviously I went to Watford first because I thought that I’d have a better chance of getting on there than at Tottenham. Because at the time Tottenham never really brought a lot of youngsters through their ranks however, it all worked out fine in the end but as I say I’ve got loads and loads of memories. I was very fortunate and it was just a pleasure to play football. 

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

Dennis: Well I was first at Watford and I actually played in their first first team when I was 16 when they were in the third division. However, Spurs bought me when Bill Nicholson was manager and they had some great players there at the time such as Alan Mullery, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, Jimmy Greaves and Pat Jennings who I knew when he used to play at Watford. Pat came to Watford when he was about 18 or 19 from Newry and it was just nice to meet up with him again at Spurs. However, as I say the players at Spurs at that time were very good players in my opinion and they’ve always had good players as long as I can remember as a supporter.

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

Dennis: It was really enjoyable but I would have liked to have played more first team games, but there you go the manager picks the side.

Could you talk me through your competitive debut for Spurs against Liverpool on the first of April 1967?

Dennis: I can’t actually remember the game but I know it was against Liverpool and the thing was that I had actually played against Liverpool the same year in the cup for Watford, so when I went to Spurs I was cup tied. However, just making my debut with Spurs was a big experience for me because as I say I had supported them since I was about eight and my brother-in-law used to walk me across Tottenham marshes from Walthamstow. So yes it was a very proud moment for me but I can’t actually say that it was a boyhood dream because I don’t even think that I dreamt about being a professional, and then all of a sudden I got invited to Watford when I was playing Sunday football for a Sunday football side, and the manager of that side was actually a Watford scout. So he took me along there and I enjoyed myself there playing in the Southeastern Counties League and it just went on from there and I went onto play as a schoolboy for England and I could have went to one or two clubs. However, I got used to it and I stayed at Watford and it worked out.

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

Dennis: Well I was a big fan of Dave Mackay when he was playing in the double winning side because it was just the way that he played and the way that he was. There were many great players in the Spurs side at that time but Dave Mackay was just one of them outstanding sort of character players.

What was it like to play under legendary Spurs manager Bill Nicholson?

Dennis: It was an honour considering the time that Bill had spent at the club and winning the double and that. Bill had the respect of all of the players because he was that type of man.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Dennis: I suppose that Dave Mackay was in a way because he was still there when I went to Spurs. He set an example in training and things like that but then I could also say that for people like Alan Mullery and Terry Venables and Jimmy Greaves however, Dave Mackay was the best all round player. He was one those players who could play in goal and still have a good game. Obviously Cliff Jones was still there too and both him and Dave Mackay were my heroes in a way from being in the double winning side. So it was an honour to play for Spurs.

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

Dennis: Although it is not a conscious thing you do basically learn off of the other players, it’s silly sort of things that you learn. Such as Jimmy Greaves used to like the ball early so you got to learn things like that by playing with him and training with him. Learning things from players helps your game and also I’m not saying that it helps their game but it becomes an understanding.

What was it like to play with some of the legendary players that were around at Spurs during the late 1960’s?

Dennis: As I say it was an honour not just to play for Spurs but just to play football as I said earlier because I’m very fortunate. Nowadays parents take their kids over to the park to try and teach them this and teach them that, whereas in my day you just used to go over to the park with your mates to play and have a kick about. At that time you never really dreamed of being a professional footballer.


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

Dennis: Well I wanted to get more first team football and Charlton happened to come along so it was an opportunity to kickstart my career again. I’m not boasting but I had a good name at Watford which was why Spurs bought me and it was getting back into the limelight sort of thing if that is the right word. So after spending some time at Charlton I then went back to Watford and then from Watford I went to Dagenham who were in the old Isthmian League, it was actually quite funny because one day I bumped into Frank Saul and he actually finished off his career with Dagenham as well. 

Could you describe to me what it was like to score your first goal for Spurs in a 3-2 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park in 1970?

Dennis: Well it was actually a penalty and I think that the regular penalty taker was injured and if I can remember correctly Alan Mullery said to Bill Nicholson that Bondy could take a good penalty after Bill had asked whose going to take it. I’d taken penalties at Watford so it wasn’t as if it was anything different, and so Mullery said to me where are you going to put it and I I said that I was going to hit it to the left hand side of the goalkeeper. And fortunately I managed to do it. I think that Gordon West was in goal if I remember correctly.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Dennis: I suppose it would be signing for the Spurs because as I say I was a big fan. Even when I was at Watford the result that I would look for was always Spurs and remembering that my brother in law used to walk me across the marshes every home game, I was always a big fan. Back then the supporters used to pass you down to the front.

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

Dennis: My best all round player was Dave Mackay but there were a lot of other players such as Bobby Moore who was a great player, but he was a different type of player to Dave Mackay. It’s difficult to say who was the greatest but for an all round player I’d have to say Dave Mackay. However, the greatest goalscorer that I had ever seen was Greavsie and fortunately enough Jimmy was best man at my wedding. Another great player was Cliff Jones and the way that he used to soar up in the air behind tall defenders was incredible. I actually still see Cliff now and again. 

What was it like to don on the famous Lilywhite shirt of Tottenham Hotspur and how did it feel to represent the team that you’d supported as a boy?

Dennis: As I say it was great and an absolute honour. When it came that I was going to be an apprentice footballer at Watford then that was what you wanted to get to but as I say playing for the team that you’ve supported all your life is just an honour. 

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham first team?

Dennis: I suppose that the Everton goal would be one as well as playing at Manchester United and other such big grounds as Glasgow Rangers. The atmosphere at the grounds years ago was just terrific due to the big crowds that they had and that brought excitement, they were all genuine supporters of their own clubs in them days. I know that the stadiums have all got a bit bigger now but in them days it was all terracing.

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

Dennis: Tommy Smith I would have to say because he was hard and honest.

Do you have any interesting or funny stories from your time at Spurs that you’d like to share?

Dennis: We had some good times and while I can’t really say anything but when me and Cliff Jones have a little chat now we have a little laugh about what things happened. It was a different way of life as a professional footballer in those days and the difference was that you met the ordinary supporter, and when I first went to Spurs the players used to meet friends and the likes in the Bell and Hare. After the games you used to go to the pub and meet the ordinary supporter and had a chat whereas nowadays the players are so far adrift from the ordinary supporter which is unfortunate but yeah it was a different way of life in the football fraternity. Money wise I’d say that we earned a bit above the man in the street however, not like it is today but as I say we used to meet the man in the street. I can remember when I first got married I lived in Cheshunt so I could walk to the old Spurs training ground and when I used to go to White Hart Lane I used to get the bus. And I used to travel down with one of the young apprentices such as Les Boughey who I still see today. 

Were you particularly close with any of your old Spurs teammates?

Dennis: I suppose Cliff Jones because I used to room with Cliff when we went aboard and away. Also Jimmy Greaves was another one who I was close to as he was my best man at my wedding, and if we weren’t playing on a Saturday we used to go to Walthamstow dogs with our wives at night. And then after the dogs finished we used to go and have a beer somewhere.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Dennis: I still hold them close to my heart and I used to play for the veterans side and I used to go and watch every home game before they stopped the complementaries. I have however, been to the new stadium as one of the supporters who used to come and watch the veterans team phoned me up and asked me if I’d like to go down and see the new stadium, and so he took me down there.

My interview with former Spurs player Graham Thomson:

My interview with former Spurs player Graham Thomson:


Graham Thomson of King’s Lynn, County Norfolk was a creative, skilful and pacy inside forward during his playing days at Spurs. Making his debut for his old club King’s Lynn at the very young age of 15 years 9 months and 5 days (this still stands as a record at King’s Lynn) Thomson transferred to Spurs in 1955, when legendary manager Arthur Rowe was still in charge. Although he never played a competitive game for Spurs’ first team during his time there, Thomson played regularly first for our juniors and then for our old A team, he also played for our talented reserve side which contained a number of internationals. Thomson was also a member of the Spurs A team that impressively won the 1960/61 Eastern Counties League. I had the great pleasure of catching up with Graham recently to discuss his spell at the Lilywhites which lasted from 1955 to 1962.

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Graham: I was a young lad and like everybody else I used to kick a tennis ball in the streets. A chap from South Lynn called Jack Thorpe used to look after the A team at King’s Lynn and he invited me to go and train at the club as a young lad and so I used to go there, and the manager at that time was a chap called Paul Todd. While there I used to play for the A side with all the local lads and then I got into the reserve side, and then one night King’s Lynn were playing Bradford Park Avenue at The Walks, and I got picked to play on the right wing and I was just 15 years old. I can remember beating the fullback and going to the byline and pulling the ball back and the centre forward was called Steve Bloomer and he scored.

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

Graham: I started to get on at King’s Lynn and because I was 15 several clubs were interested in me. A chap called Percy Hooper who was a goalkeeper at King’s Lynn, came and saw my father and he wanted to take me for a trial with Spurs at Wellesley road Great Yarmouth. In them days that was in the Eastern Counties League with the likes of the Tottenham A team, and so my father and Percy Hooper took me to Wellesley road and Bill Nicholson came. He was the coach at Tottenham at the time and he came, and he played right half and I played on the right wing. So Spurs were interested in me and they wanted me to go on the ground staff, and in them days you went on the ground staff if you showed potential and you would sweep the terraces and do those sorts of jobs (there were three other lads on the ground staff with me). When I turned 17 that was the age that were you good enough to be a professional or were you going to be sent home. However, I got called into the office and Bill Nicholson signed me as a professional.

Was it difficult for you being a young lad from Kings Lynn and then moving down to the big smoke in London?

Graham: Yes it was. I was put in digs just outside White Hart Lane which was strange at first being a King’s Lynn lad however, it turned out to be alright and I was able to see all of the football matches and everything which was great.

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

Graham: It was both very good and very hard. Bill Nicholson was a very hard taskmaster but part of it was that I was a good sprinter so he wanted to make a winger of me but I wanted to be in the midfield. I can remember playing for the youth side in the FA Youth Cup in Brentford and I scored a hat-trick and when I came in the dressing room after the game I was so thrilled and all as I’d done ever so well. However, Bill Nicholson gave me the hairdryer treatment because I was running with the ball whereas the Tottenham style in them days was push and run, and because I was running with the ball they weren’t very happy. Playing with the likes of Blanchflower, Maurice Norman who was also a Norfolk lad was great and they were great memories. Also playing with Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Smith was also great. When we won the FA Cup in 1961 and me and my wife went to Wembley and then afterwards we went to the celebrations at the Savoy hotel in London, so they were all good memories that I have from my time at Spurs.

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

Graham: There were so many of them! I used to look up to Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay but there were so many of them because they were all great players. I was also very friendly with Cliff Jones.

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

Graham: Because I was quick they tried to make a winger of me but I didn’t like that because I used to like to play in midfield however, I had to do what I was told, and that’s why I got very disillusioned with the game. I used to keep coming in from the wing into the midfield and getting it wrong because I wasn’t staying out wide, and that was in the days of wingers.

How difficult was it for a young Spurs player like yourself to break into the first team back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s?

Graham: It was very difficult because in those days you had three teams. You had your first team, your reserves and the A team. The A team was for young lads who had just signed professional and our team used to be selected from 15 or 16 players every week. You did well to even get into that A team and Tottenham at that time had three full internationals in the reserves in them days, that was the talent at that club at the time so it was very difficult to get into the first team.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Graham: Cliff Jones would have been one as he used to talk to me a lot and advice me because he was also a winger. Maurice Norman was another influence because he was a Norfolk lad like I was.

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

Graham: There was a player at Spurs at the time called Johnny Brooks and he had a body swerve and I always used to look at him when he did his body swerve, because the whole crowd used to swerve with him! So Johnny Brooks was a player who I used to look at. 


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

Graham: Well I got called up for national service so I had two years to serve but luckily enough they posted me to Didcot. So every Saturday I used to ring Bill Nicholson up at ten o’clock to see where I was playing on the Saturday, so for two years I would do my national service playing for the army. I was actually married very young and my wife spent a year in London with me before I got called up for my national service and so she went home to King’s Lynn while I did my two years national service. Then when my time was up in the national service I had a meeting with Bill Nicholson again and because in them days you only used to sign yearly contracts, and so I was retained but the trouble was that my wife didn’t fancy coming back to live in London again. So with great regret I left Spurs. I came back and played a little bit with King’s Lynn when Len Richley was the manager, but in them days I played part time. I played for Spalding in the Midland league, also March Town in the Eastern Counties League and enjoyed my time there as it was very nice. However, in them days clubs would come after you and offer you a little bit more money so you could get some good money.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Graham: When I was at Spalding we had a very good cup run in the FA Cup and we beat Grantham where Terry Blyth the ex Norwich City was player manager. And we beat Grantham so we made the pot for the first round of the FA Cup and we got drawn against Newport County away and we lost 5-3, but that was one of my greatest memories.

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

Graham: That has to be Jimmy Greaves. When I was at Tottenham as a young lad I got picked to play for the FA youth eleven and playing in that team was John Lyall the West Ham player and along with him was Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Moore and Ken Shellito who I can remember being in that team. However, Jimmy Greaves was just brilliant even though he didn’t do a lot of running but he did score the goals.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time in the Tottenham A team team and reserves?

Graham: We had a very good A side and we won the Eastern Counties League one year as young lads. Then when I got into the reserves which I thought that I did very well to get into the reserves, because in them days you had Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin who were all international wingers so it was a job to break into that side.

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

Graham: Dave Mackay and in practice games you used to keep clear of him because he was very tough. 

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

Graham: Mostly it would have been Cliff Jones during my time at Tottenham. It was recently our sixtieth wedding anniversary and Cliff was going to come down but he was ill so they put a video up, and he had recorded a message on it which was very good of him. 

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

Graham: If I had my time again for a start I wouldn’t go to a big club instead I would go to a smaller club where I would have more chance to go on. And then if I was good enough then I would get on. So my advice would be to go to a smaller club. 

Do you have any regrets about leaving Spurs when you did?

Graham: Oh yes I do. My father never did forgive me for leaving Spurs.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Graham: I always look for Tottenham and I’m still very keen on them it’s just a shame that it was so difficult for me to breakthrough there with all of the great players that they had at the time.