Where are they now? Former Spurs youth player Aron Sharpe:

Aron Sharpe was with Spurs as a youth player on associate schoolboy forms with the club for a time during the early 1980s (Aron spent six months with the club as a youth player during that time). A boyhood Spurs fan from Finchley, Aron was a central midfielder, who had a lot of ability with the ball, and who was also creative with it. Although he was a midfielder, as a youngster Aron’s footballing hero was Spurs legend and former goalkeeper Pat Jennings. Despite being invited up for trials in Derby by a man called Jimmy Burton (Dave Mackay’s old business partner), Aron Sharpe eventually ended up being invited to Spurs because of Dave Mackay’s connections with the club. When I interviewed Aron about his memories of his time at Spurs in 2019, I remember him telling me just how different it was, stepping-up from one level to another, and also how different the pace and physicality of the games were. Aron wasn’t released by Spurs, instead the former schoolboy youth player left the club after he was not getting picked to start matches. After spending some time with Luton Town after leaving Spurs, Aron since went into the fashion industry. An industry which he is still very much involved with to this day.

A highly intelligent football man, with a lot of experience in coaching and football since his association with Spurs all those years ago. During the 2000’s Aron became the chairman of non-League side and current Isthmian Premier Division side Wingate & Finchley, and he is still the chairman of the club to this day. Wingate, before they merged with Finchley during the early 1990’s, had quite a lot of ex-Spurs players involved with the club, involved in playing and coaching capacities, as well as at Finchley also. Associated with Wingate was the late, former Spurs player Micky Dulin, who had a long association with the club, and it would be great if at some point in the future, a Spurs Under 21 side were to visit Wingate for a pre-season friendly. Wingate & Finchley do a lot of good work off the pitch in the community, and their stadium in Finchley (The Maurice Rebak Stadium) is a really nice stadium. I finally got to go to a Wingate & Finchley game at The Maurice Rebak Stadium last season, in an Isthmian Premier Division fixture with Enfield Town. It was a really enjoyable Saturday afternoon spent at Wingate & Finchley.

There is also a really good youth policy for young players at Wingate & Finchley, as I have noticed over the last couple of seasons. Last season the club’s men’s team finished in 16th place in the Isthmian Premier Division, finishing the season strongly to avoid the relegation zone. Aron is a nice man and a top football man, and I wish his club all the very best for the 2023/24 season.

What they achieved post football – Former Spurs Youth Team player and apprentice Martin O’Donnell:

Martin O’Donnell was incredibly unlucky in the sense that he never got to reach his full potential at Spurs. However, he bounced back really well from a terrible injury, to forge a very successful career post Spurs, as well as also doing well in non-League football. O’Donnell is from Chiswick in West London, although a versatile player, he did play mainly at left-half for Spurs at youth level. Martin was formerly of Eton Manor, prior to being scouted by Spurs scout Ronnie Clayton and assistant manager at the time, Eddie Baily (Eddie’s son Graham Baily was playing against Eton Manor, when Martin was spotted). Martin would join Spurs as a schoolboy footballer in around 1963, and he would progress well and would later be offfered apprenticeship forms in 1965, which he signed. Training with the likes of Jimmy Pearce, Ray Evans and Paul Shoemark during those days at Spurs’ old Cheshunt training ground, Martin was progressing well and he was playing regularly for the Spurs Under 17 side in the 1965/66 season. A season in which Martin helped the Spurs Under 17 side win the South-East Counties League II and Cup double.

A fast, skilful, creative and composed player, who had a real eye for goal, O’Donnell once scored a memorable hat-trick for the Spurs Under 17 side in the South-East Counties League II in a league game with Chelsea in 1965/66. He was compared to former Rangers player Jim Baxter by Spurs’ former Chief-scout Dickie Walker during his time as an apprentice. However, just days after being told that he was going to be offered a professional contract by Spurs, Martin fractured his femur (thigh bone) at Cheshunt. He would spend nine months in plaster in hospital, and he could not play football properly again for another 18 months. However, Spurs looked after Martin well during this time, and he even returned for them at youth level for a while on a short basis later on in the 1960’s. After leaving Spurs O’Donnell would play non-League football for the likes of Hayes (alongside his now very good friend Dave Bassett), Northwood, Southall and a Walthamstow Avenue side which contained a number of former Spurs youth team players. At one time in his non-League football career, Martin was meant to go to Nottingham Forest for a trial, and going back to his time at Spurs, he had ambitions of playing for the Republic of Ireland, as his parents were from there. Although he still played at a good standard of football, he was understandably not quite the same player after his thigh injury. 

After football Martin O’Donnell embarked on a highly successful career in business. He started in sales and would later go into the fragrance and cosmetics business, where he worked for Revlon and later Estée Lauder, where he became sales director for Europe. Martin was also very successful when he set-up his own fragrance and cosmetics business, later on in his career post Spurs. Although he didn’t get the chance to progress as he would have hoped to at Spurs, because of his injury, Martin O’Donnell did ever so well for himself in his professional career. Since I interviewed Martin in 2018, he has become a good friend. Now retired, he has so much to be proud of, and Spurs is still a club close to his heart. He is a really top man, and he was at my Spurs mid 1960’s youth team reunion last summer in Essex.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Youth Team graduate and player Allan Cockram:

A talented player who was clever in his all-round play, midfielder Allan Charles Cockram was born in Kensington, London, in October of 1963. Playing for Camden Schools during his youth, Allan was invited to Spurs by a scout called Fred Ricketts during the 1970’s. Allan’s association with Spurs was quite a long one, and he played for the second Spurs youth team in the South-East Counties League Division Two, before later progressing to the senior youth team, a team which he made good progress in. The Londoner was also a member of Spurs’ South-East Counties League Senior Division One that won the league in 1980/81. The Spurs man did sustain a bad injury as a youth player at the club, which could have ended his footballing career. However, Allan bounced back and he went on to later help Spurs’  very talented youth side reach the final of the 1980/81 FA Youth Cup against West Ham. He also went on to play for the very competitive Spurs reserve side in the Football Combination League in the 1980’s, before achieving what every Spurs youth player dreams of doing, and that is playing for the first team.

A central midfielder with a real eye for a forward pass, but also someone who liked to get on the ball and keep it moving in the central areas of the pitch. Allan Cockram could also play on the right of midfield, and the player who signed professional forms with Spurs in 1981, would make his debut for the Spurs first team in a league game against Watford in 1984, at White Hart Lane. He did make an additional appearance for Spurs’ first team (also in a league game), in a match against Southampton shortly before the 1984 UEFA Cup final. Allan Cockram left Spurs after the following 1984/85 season. He would go on to achieve some really good things in the game, post Spurs. At Brentford he was a part of a good Brentford side who went on a memorable FA cup run during the 1980’s, eventually setting-up a glamour tie with Liverpool. A game in which Allan also played in, and which he recalled to me in our interview in 2019, just how special a memory that was to him. In no particular order, Allan also played for San Francisco Flyers, Bristol Rovers, St Albans City and Reading, post Spurs.

During his career Allan was player-manager of St Albans City and also Chertsey Town, as well as later becoming assistant manager of Leatherhead, and then in more recent years manager of the Cambridge University side. However, the former professional footballer and at one time firefighter, has since 2017, been dedicating his time to volunteer and run the Brentford Penguins FC, which he played a big part in setting-up. They are a football programme for footballers with Down’s syndrome. Allan is helping to do absolutely wonderful work for the Brentford Penguins FC, and just recently he deservedly won (after being nominated) the Royal Voluntary Champions Award, for the recent coronation. Also, the Brentford Penguins now have charity status (Planet Penguin football foundation), and they also have an over 55 men’s mental health walking football team, and also recently an over 40’s women’s walking football team. There have also been two films made on the charity. I have had the pleasure of meeting Allan, and he is probably the nicest ex-footballer that I have ever met. He still loves Spurs, as well as his old club Brentford. And he has so much to be proud of, and he has given so much to the community of Brentford/West London in recent years. He is an absolute gentleman, and a legend!

Where are they now? Former Spurs Youth Team player Glen Alzapiedi:

A real character in the game of football, whose talent and tenacity saw him recommended to Spurs, who he later joined during the late 1970’s as a youth player on part-time forms, Glen Alzapiedi was in fact an Arsenal supporter as a youth. For this part of my where are they now, former Spurs youth/Academy players series, we’re going back a good while in time. However, still very much involved in football to this day, Glen has given a lot to non-League football in recent years alone. Brought up in Waltham Abbey, the talented, tough tackling central midfielder was highly thought of at Spurs at the time, and he was a regular for Spurs’ South-East Counties Division Two side during his time at the club, as well as making one appearance for the very talented Division One side in that time, during the 1980/81 season, when they won the league. During his time at the club, he was also selected to play for a Spurs Youth side in a friendly with Swiss side Chenois Geneva, at Cheshunt. Graham Roberts, Terry Yorath and Don McAllister all started that game, which must have been a great experience for Glen at the time. Glen’s era of Spurs Youth Team players would have had players such as Ian Crook and Allan Cockram around at the time.

Glen did however, spend basically a whole season out injured for Spurs at youth level, which didn’t help his progress at the club. Glen’s final season at Spurs was in 1980/81, and at the end of the season he sadly didn’t get an apprenticeship. However, Glen did get an apprenticeship at Birmingham City, who he spent a while with, which would have added to his footballing grounding as a youth player. Later spending some time at Stevenage later on in his footballing career, although he did unfortunately have some injury problems while he was playing for them. Glen did the knowledge to become a London taxi driver during his footballing career, and he still does that job to this day. However, still very much involved in football on the non-League scene, the former Spurs man has a great knowledge of the game, and Glen is using his knowledge to help players at non-League level, and he has so far had a really successful coaching career in the non-League. One of his finest achievements so far, was helping Concord Rangers get promoted to the National League South, alongside Danny Cowley.

In addition to his coaching achievements with Concord Rangers as an assistant manager/coach, Glen has also managed and coached at clubs such as Ware, St Albans City, Cheshunt and Brentwood Town, and he has a lot of experience at that level. And at the beginning of the Isthmian League Premier Division season that has just finished, alongside his son Dan, Glen was appointed by Aveley on to the management staff. And both Glen and Dan helped Aveley (they had only been promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the start of the 2022/23 season), to achieve a great feat, in winning last season’s Isthmian League Premier Division play-offs, to impressively win promotion to the National League South. I attended an Aveley game last season, and I was impressed by the way that they played, and also at how difficult they made it for the other side to play their game against them. Glen’s time at Spurs and days spent at their old Cheshunt training ground may have been over 40 years ago, but it would still have left an impression on Glen, and his coaching career. He is a really nice man who has a lot to be proud of, and I wish him and Aveley further success in the future.

Looking at how former Spurs Academy player Luis Binks is getting on in his footballing career (part 2):

Former Spurs Academy player Luis Binks left the club during the 2019/2020 season to sign for MLS side Montreal Impact. Binks had been in consistently outstanding form for Spurs’ two main academy sides since signing scholarship forms with the club in the summer of 2018 (he actually made his Spurs Under 18’s debut two seasons earlier in a Premier League South game, along with Noni Madueke). A tall central defender, Luis Binks has great ability on the ball and a really good sense of positioning. Having progressed up through the Spurs Academy ranks with the club, Luis had formed a very good central defensive partnership with Malachi Fagan-Walcott, who he would of course continue to team up with very well for Spurs at Under 18 and Under 21 level. After making further good progress with MLS side Montreal Impact, the Gillingham born former Spurs defender made a really good number of appearances for Montreal Impact, and it wasn’t long before Italian Serie A side Bologna signed Luis, although he was loaned back to Montreal for a short time. 

In his first full season with Bologna the former England youth international made an impressive 15 Serie A appearances, at the age of 20. However, this season he has joined Italian Serie B side Como 1907 on a season long loan, and Luis has already made 24 competitive appearances for Como during the current 2022/23 season. He has been in good form for Como this season, a Como side which includes Cesc Fàbregas. Binks has improved even more of late, and he is helping Como climb up the Serie B table, with his impressive defensive performances. Como are currently in 13th place in Serie B, with 35 points from 28 league matches played. They are just four points off the play-offs section of the league table. I always try and watch the games that Luis is involved in, and on last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend a Como match (against Modena) as he put in a really good defensive performance on the left side of a back three. Luis was defensively very solid and he made some really clever defensive decisions during the game, which Como won 1-0. 

Luis Binks also provided the winning assist (the first of his senior career), after setting-up Alberto Cerri’s goal with a cross, in the win on Sunday. It is so good to see Luis doing well this season and getting regular football for Como. He is one of my favourite former Spurs Academy players, and at Spurs he was excellent at Academy level for the club. I wish him all the very best of luck for the remainder of this season. 

Looking at how former Spurs Academy player Tarrelle Whittaker is getting on in his footballing career: 

Tarrelle Whittaker is a highly skilful and versatile forward, who can play in a variety of positions. The former Spurs Academy player who joined Spurs full-time in the summer of 2019, would feature regularly for the Spurs Under 18 side in his first season with the club, and he scored a good number of goals for the side that season. Whittaker featured for the Spurs Under 18 side on occasions during the 2018/19 season, prior to signing scholarship forms with the club at the end of that season. He would often play at centre-forward or out wide on the flanks, during the 2019/20 season, and in my opinion he did well during that season. Tarrelle is very skilful and has great ball control, as well as outstanding pace and off the ball movement. He can finish well inside the penalty area, and he is also well capable of creating good chances for his teammates. The 20 year old forward started the following 2020/21 season also with the Spurs Under 18 side, scoring two goals from 14 Premier League South appearances, and he would also make one appearance for the then Spurs Under 23 side (as a substitute) in a Premier League 2 game with Chelsea, during the same season. 

Tarrelle Whittaker didn’t really feature for Spurs at Academy level during the second half of the 2020/21 season, and at the end of that season he left Spurs at the end of his contract. Signing for Swansea City for the following 2021/22 season, Whittaker quickly started doing well for Swansea at Under 23 level, in the Professional Development League. He impressed for the Swansea City Under 23 side during his first season with the club, scoring seven competitive goals for them. And during the first part of the current 2022/23 season, Tarrelle was in really good form for Swansea’s Under 21 side, impressively scoring 11 competitive goals for them. This was made even more impressive by the fact that he was often not playing at centre-forward. I attended a Professional Development League fixture between Charlton Athletic and Swansea City Under 21’s, in January of this year, to watch Tarrelle Whittaker.

In the game against Charlton, the former Spurs Academy player was excellent. He scored a really good free-kick goal in the 1-1 draw, but it was his superb skill on the ball, dribbling ability and link-up play which impressed me the most. Tarrelle also showed his great pace, and his ability to bring the ball forward really well from wide positions as well as his movement off the ball, made him in my opinion the best player on the pitch during that game. His fine progress with Swansea was clearly noticed by other clubs, and he recently signed for National League side Wealdstone on a loan move. So far Tarrelle has made five appearances for Wealdstone, scoring one goal. His most recent appearance for Wealdstone came in a league fixture against FC Halifax on the 28th February. I would like to wish Tarrelle all the very best for the remainder of this season.

Looking at how former Spurs Academy player Elliot Thorpe is getting on in his footballing career:

22 year old former Spurs Academy player Elliot Thorpe is a player who plays the game with great heart, skill and determination. At Spurs as an Academy player for many years, having joined them from Cambridge United. Elliot, who is a former Wales Under 21 international and Victory Shield winner, had to wait a little while before making his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side, after signing scholarship forms with them in the summer of 2017. The Hinchingbrooke born midfielder had at times been unlucky with injuries during his time at Spurs, but he would have some really good games for the Spurs Under 18 side during his two seasons of scholarship. He would also impress for the then Spurs Under 23 side when he featured for them during the following 2019/20 season, and he would also impress greatly during that pre-season for them. However, it was during the 2020/21 season that Elliot really enjoyed a really good consistent run of games in. He really impressed during that season, and he had some really fine games for the then Spurs Under 23 side.

Scoring a fine brace against Liverpool’s Under 21 side at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during that 2020/21 season, would have been a really memorable moment for Elliot. A versatile midfield player who is capable of playing in central midfield, as a CAM or out wide on the flanks as a winger, he is a player with good pace, a lot of skill and excellent movement off the ball. His ability to glide past players with skill and pace, make intelligent runs into space to receive the ball and also score goals, makes him a very difficult player to defend against, especially when playing as a CAM. He is also a really hard worker off the ball and someone who gives his all for his team, while playing the game with real creativity, and a smile on his face. Elliot left Spurs officially during the beginning of the 2021/22 season to join Championship side Luton Town a permanent basis. He made his competitive debut for Luton’s first team in an FA Cup fourth round tie with Cambridge United, providing an assist and impressing during his 69 minutes on the pitch, in a 3-0 win for Luton.

Elliot made three competitive appearances for Luton’s first team (this included his Championship debut) during the early stages of the current 2022/23 season, before joining League One side Burton Albion on a loan move. The former Spurs man would make seven appearances for Burton Albion before returning to Luton Town, and since returning to Luton he made one appearance for Luton, with that coming in an FA Cup fourth round tie with Grimsby Town, a game that Elliot started. Elliot is a player who I believe still has tremendous potential. His ability on the ball is excellent, while his work off the ball is similarly excellent, and with some luck and a really good run of games I’m confident that he would do really well. I’d like to wish Elliot all the very best of luck for the remainder of this season with Luton Town. He’s a player who I’ve always thought very highly of, and he is without doubt one of the friendliest footballers in the game, who always makes time for the fans. He is a top man and footballer!

Looking at how former Spurs Academy player Michael Craig is getting on in his footballing career:

19 year old central midfielder Michael Craig left Spurs just after the halfway point of last season (2021/22). The Barnet born professional footballer, who is the twin brother of current Spurs Under 21’s player Matthew Craig, is a Scotland Under 21 international. Formerly of Watford and Arsenal’s Academy, prior to joining the Spurs Academy set-up, Michael made his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 18 side in the 2018/19 season. He would sign scholarship forms with the club at the end of that season, and although he started the 2019/20 season well for the Spurs Under 18 side, he would pick up an injury early on in that season which would unfortunately rule him out for a year. He returned for Spurs’ Under 18 side as a second year scholar during the following season (2020/21), and Michael did well during that season, getting plenty of game time, and also debuting for the Spurs Under 23 side during that same season. 

Michael Craig made 11 competitive appearances for the then Spurs Under 23 side during his time at the club during the 2021/22 season. Always a player who I have thought highly of, and who is more than capable of influencing the game from central midfield, Michael mostly used to play slightly higher up the pitch in midfield, than his twin brother Matthew, at Spurs. Michael is a strong and assured midfield player, with good pace and great passing ability. He likes to push forward with the ball from midfield. After leaving Spurs early on in 2022, Michael Craig spent some time without a club, but he did trial with Southampton for a while, and would feature for them at B team level, in a Premier League 2 fixture. Later on in the season he featured for Reading’s Under 23 side, in the Premier League 2. And just last summer he signed for Reading on a permanent transfer. 

Making good progress with Reading during the current 2022/23 season, the former Spurs Academy player who appeared on the bench twice for Spurs’ first team during his time at the club, has featured again for the Reading Under 21 side on occasions this season. However, he has also impressively made five competitive appearances for the Reading first team this season. Michael made his competitive debut for the Reading first team as a late substitute in a first round Carabao Cup tie with Stevenage last August. Michael’s most recent first team appearance for Reading came at Old Trafford, in an FA Cup fourth round tie with Manchester United last month, as a second half substitute, in what must have been a memorable day for him. I would like to wish Michael all the very best of luck for the remainder of this season, and for his future in the game.

Looking at how former Spurs Academy player Jack Roles is getting on in his footballing career:

Versatile midfielder Jack Roles was at Spurs as an Academy player for many years, and was an important part of a very talented age group in the Spurs Academy set-up. A local lad from Enfield, and a boyhood Spurs supporter, who would have grown up watching the club. After signing scholarship forms with Spurs in the summer of 2015, Roles featured a lot for the Spurs Under 18 side over the course of his two seasons as a scholar with the club, and I thought that he did very well at that level, scoring some really important goals for them. He would make his competitive debut for the then Spurs Under 23 side fairly early on in the 2017/18 season, and although he wasn’t always a regular for the side during that season, Jack did score four goals in four games at one point during that season. As a CAM Jack Roles is a player whose excellent movement off the ball makes him very difficult to defend against. Equally as skilful and clever on the ball, Jack is capable of ghosting into the penalty area and scoring goals.

Jack Roles is capable of successfully scoring spectacular goals, and that is something that he has done throughout his career so far. The 23 year old is literally capable of scoring goals from pretty much anywhere on the pitch. It was the 2018/19 season that would have been a very memorable one for the former Spurs player, as he was consistently outstanding for the Spurs Under 23 side and the Under 19 side in the UEFA Youth League. He scored lots of goals that season and was without doubt one of the very best players in the Spurs Under 23 side. The player who has represented Cyprus up until Under 21 level in the past, would join then League Two side Cambridge United on loan for the 2019/20 season, after featuring for the Spurs first team in pre-season. Although he did have some trouble with injuries during that season, Jack still became a fans favourite during his time at the Abbey Stadium. Scoring five goals (some of those goals were finished with such outstanding technique) from 25 competitive appearances for Cambridge United, Jack would return to Spurs for the following 2020/21 season. 

Jack Roles would spend some time out on loan with Burton Albion and Stevenage during that 2020/21 season. Unfortunately however, he would leave Spurs at the end of his contract with the club at the end of the 2020/21 season, after spending 16 years with the club. Jack would then sign for Crystal Palace at the beginning of the following season, and would score a memorable goal for their Under 23 side against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, during his time there. He would later sign for National League side Woking, during that same season, after leaving Crystal Palace. He would make 24 competitive appearances for Woking, scoring two goals for them. And only very recently Jack Roles returned to the Football League, when he signed for Crawley Town. He made his debut for Crawley as a substitute in a League Two fixture against Gillingham at the weekend.

 I believe that this is a fantastic opportunity for Jack in the Football League. I also believe that he will be very important for Crawley, from now until the end of the season, as they battle to avoid relegation. Jack is a tremendous player who still has a lot to give to the game. He is also a great lad, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him rise through the leagues over the next couple of seasons.

Looking at how former Spurs Academy player Zenon Stylianides is getting on in his footballing career:

Zenon Stylianides signed scholarship forms with Spurs in the summer of 2014, and would go on to feature for the Spurs Under 18 side and Under 21 side over the next couple of seasons. A local lad to Spurs, Zenon Stylianides was a skilful, tenacious and very hardworking midfield player, and someone who was also versatile on the pitch, during his time with Spurs. Zenon also likes to score goals, and in recent seasons he has scored plenty of goals. Zenon would cover a good amount of positions for Spurs at Academy level, during his time at the club. Positions as varied as left-back, as a winger and in central midfield. Able to take players on for skill, tenacious off the ball and positive with it. Zenon Stylianides featured a lot for Spurs at Under 18 level, and was part of a very good side for Spurs at that level. He would of course also make the step up to the then Spurs Under 23 side, making a good number of appearances for them in his final season with the club (2016/17).

I particularly remember from that 2016/17 season, Zenon having some excellent games against Chelsea Under 23’s and Sunderland Under 23’s respectively. In the game against a Chelsea Under 23 side which included Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount, Stylianides performed his central midfield duties really well. Helping Spurs to record a 2-2 draw. In the other game against Sunderland (at home), Zenon again started the match in central midfield, and would put in a man of the match performance as Spurs won 1-0. That Sunderland game was to be one of Zenon’s last games for the Spurs Under 23 side, as he left the club at the end of that season. That summer he would join QPR’s Under 23 side. He would spend one season with the West London club, before signing for Cypriot side Omonia Aradippou (Zenon is eligible to represent Cyprus at international level). 

Omonia Aradippou, in the second tier of Cypriot football when Zenon joined them, were a club that he would spend one season with, before returning to England. Upon his return to England the former Spurs man spent a little bit of time without a club, but he has since played for a number of non-League sides. Sides that include East Thurrock, FC Romania, Cheshunt, New Salamis and currently Hertford Town. In one season with FC Romania, Zenon impressively scored 22 league goals for them. I actually fairly recently saw Zenon play for New Salamis. The team who play in the eighth tier of English football and who are based near to Spurs’ stadium, also recently had former Spurs Academy player Rayan Clarke playing for them for a short time. Zenon really stood out on a technical level in the game that I saw him play for New Salamis. Impressing with his skill and desire to go forward with the ball (he was playing in a more forward position in this particular game). I would like to wish Zenon all the very best of luck for the remainder of this season with Hertford Town.