Spurs Under 18’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18’s final competitive game of the 2020/21 season will see them face Leicester City at their new training ground in Seagrave, on Friday (the game starts at 13:00pm). Matt Taylor’s Spurs side who are currently in sixth place in the Premier League South, can still achieve a fourth place finish if they beat Leicester today. Spurs recorded a 1-1 draw against Leicester in the reverse league fixture earlier in the season, but they have beaten the club from the English Midlands away from home during the two previous seasons. Leicester City have picked up 15 points from their 23 league games this season, and currently occupy 12th spot in the league, going into their final competitive game of the season. Leicester’s top scorer at this level – Will Russ, will definitely be a player that the Spurs defence will be aware of going into this game, while Terell Pennant is a player who has impressed against us at this level in recent seasons. A good 2020/21 season for the Spurs Under 18 side comes to an end today. It will be interesting to see whether some of the players from the level below, will step up to play for Matt Taylor’s side against Leicester. Jamie Donley has already played a good number of games for Spurs at this level this season. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for today’s match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Hayton, Cesay, Dorrington, Muir (c), Hackett, Michael Craig, Cassanova, Mathurin, Mundle, Santiago, Scarlett.

Subs from: Maguire, Kyezu, Haysman, Torraj, Donley.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: 1-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-1.

My one to watch: Leicester City forward Will Russ (18), who has scored seven Under 18 league goals from 16 appearances this season.

Spurs Under 23’s 1-6 Manchester City: (match report)

In Spurs’ Under 23’s final competitive game of the 2020/21 season, Wayne Burnett’s side came up against the champions Manchester City, for the second time in a week. However, unfortunately Spurs lost 6-1, which was a real shame as Spurs have had a very good season at this level and finish in third place in Division One of the Premier League 2. Wayne Burnett’s side started with Thimothee Lo-Tutala in goal (his competitive Under 23 debut), whilst a back four consisting of Marcel Lavinier, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tobi Omole and Dennis Cirkin, started in defence. Nile John and captain Jamie Bowden were in central midfield, whilst Elliot Thorpe and Dilan Markanday started out wide, either side of CAM Alfie Devine (Devine did often play out on the left flank). Dane Scarlett started up front for Spurs, in the absence of Kion Etete and Rodel Richards. Spurs got the game underway on a nice evening at Hotspur Way, and defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to intercept Cole Palmer’s early and promising forward pass towards Liam Delap. Not long afterwards and at the other end of the pitch, Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford’s attempted pass to Tommy Doyle was intercepted by Jamie Bowden inside the visitors box. However, Bowden’s low side-footed effort was saved by the foot of James Trafford, in what was a glorious early chance for Spurs. Marcel Lavinier did well to block Ben Knight’s effort, before Tobi Omole gave the ball to Ben Knight on the edge of the Spurs box, but his goal attempt went wide. After receiving the ball out on the right flank, Marcel Lavinier went forward with it at some pace, he evaded the challenge of Romeo Lavia well, before passing the ball to Devine. The Warrington born midfielder cleverly worked his way into the Manchester City box before curling his effort wide of the Spurs goal.

After Bowden gave the ball away to Cole Palmer, the Manchester City winger passed the ball to Tommy Doyle on the edge of the Spurs box, but Omole did well to block his effort. Lavinier then blocked Liam Delap’s effort on goal, before Thimothee Lo-Tutala saved Cole Palmer’s attempt. At the other end of the pitch Alfie Devine had an effort deflected behind for a corner kick, and from that corner kick which was taken by Dilan Markanday, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster nodded the ball over the bar. After Liam Delap latched onto Cole Palmer’s pass, the skilful centre-forward ran into the Spurs penalty area, before calmly slotting the ball past Lo-Tutala to make it 1-0 to Manchester City. A matter of minutes later Liam Delap received the ball into his feet before running down the left side of the Spurs box and holding off Lyons-Foster, before curling the ball into the far corner of Lo-Tutala’s goal, 0-2. And Manchester City’s excellent start to the game got even better in the 28th minute, after Cole Palmer received the ball on the edge of the Spurs box before calmly curling the ball in off the right hand post of the goal and into the net, 0-3. Manchester City continued to play their exciting brand of attacking football, and a good block from Lyons-Foster was needed to stop James McAtee’s effort on goal, before Tobi Omole did really well to make a fine challenge on Cole Palmer in the Spurs box, to prevent a certain goal for the away team. Dane Scarlett ambitiously attempted to catch out Trafford from distance, but his effort went wide of the Manchester City goal.

A misplaced pass went straight to Elliot Thorpe inside the Manchester City box, but his effort was saved well by the feet of James Trafford. After receiving Lyons-Foster’s fine long pass out on the right flank, Dilan Markanday came inside and into the visitors box, before hitting the ball across the face of their goal, and then after the play was recycled Elliot Thorpe hit an effort wide of the goal. Tobi Omole received a yellow card from the referee for a foul on James McAtee, in what was the last piece of action from the first half. Manchester City got the game restarted after the break and it was the perfect start to the second half for them. After Cole Palmer  finished well past Lo-Tutala from close range, after latching onto Tobi Omole’s pass out from defence, 0-4. A couple of moments later Lo-Tutala saved well low down, to prevent Ben Knight’s effort on goal, before Markanday did well to come forward with the ball. He then played a good pass into Alfie Devine down the left side of the Manchester City box, but James Trafford turned behind his effort, before Omole headed over Markanday’s resulting corner kick. Tobi Omole then did well to clear Ben Knight’s cross, before Liam Delap headed over another cross from the same player a couple of moments later. Lyons-Foster cleared away the ball from James McAtee’s cross, but Spurs could do nothing to prevent Manchester City’s fifth goal of the game shortly afterwards. After the visitors broke forward at pace through Cole Palmer, the winger then threaded the ball into the feet of Delap, who then continued into the Spurs box before firing the ball past Lo-Tutala and into the back of the net, despite the Spurs goalkeeper managing to get a hand on the ball, 0-5.

Second year scholar Romaine Mundle came on to replace Elliot Thorpe out on the right flank, in what was Spurs’ first change of the game. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s well weighted through-ball pass, Dane Scarlett continued into the Manchester City box before confidently sending the ball past James Trafford and into the back of the Manchester City goal, 1-5. After receiving teammate Cole Palmer’s pass down the right side of the Spurs box, Liam Delap’s fierce strike went just wide of the Spurs goal. Nile John blocked Cole Palmer’s shot, before Tommy Doyle fired an effort over Lo-Tutala’s goal, after Tobi Omole had blocked Cole Palmer’s effort behind for a corner kick. J’Neil Bennett came on to replace Dane Scarlett up front, for Wayne Burnett’s second change of the game. The very talented Cole Palmer hit an effort wide before Dilan Markanday whipped over a free-kick in a decent position, at the other end of the pitch. J’Neil Bennett did well to block Cole Palmer’s shot inside the Spurs box, before Cirkin had an effort on goal blocked at the opposite end of the pitch. Rafferty Pedder came on to replace Jamie Bowden in midfield late on in the game, before Ben Knight hit the ball over from the left side of the Spurs penalty area. After travelling forward towards the Spurs box, Manchester City player Romeo Lavia managed to find the bottom left hand corner of Lo-Tutala’s goal with a fine effort, after receiving Ben Knight’s pass, 1-6. After playing a good one-two with Markanday on the edge of the Manchester City box, Rafferty Pedder forced a save out of James Trafford. 

After receiving the ball J’Neil Bennett hit the ball over James Trafford’s goal, before Lo-Tutala saved Tommy Doyle’s effort at the other end of the pitch, before the referee blew his whistle for full-time. It would be very easy to say that Spurs weren’t good, or focus on what they could have done to stop Manchester City scoring six goals, but sometimes you’ve just got to appreciate the brilliance of the opposition, and Manchester City were brilliant throughout yesterday’s game. It’s been a really good season for Spurs at Under 23 level, and that is a credit to the players and the coaches, who should all be very proud of helping the team to achieve their highest ever finish in the Premier League 2.

Player reviews: 

  • Thimothee Lo-Tutala: On his competitive Spurs Under 23 debut, goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala made a decent number of saves to stop Manchester City from scoring more goals than they did. He was visibly frustrated that he unfortunately couldn’t keep out Romeo Lavia’s late goal, but any young goalkeeper would have found it difficult against Manchester City in Friday evenings game.
  • Marcel Lavinier: I was impressed with some of the forward runs that Lavinier made from deep, and also some of his blocks inside the Spurs box. Yesterday’s  competitive appearance was number 22 of the seasons for Lavinier, the most of any Spurs Under 23 player during the 2020/21 season.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Despite the fact that Spurs defence conceded six goals to Manchester City, I don’t think that the scoreline tells the story of how Lyons-Foster played at RCB. The defender who once again supported the attack well after making runs from deep, did make some good and important defensive contributions. The versatile 20 year old also kept some good defensive positioning, and his distribution out from defence was good, in my opinion.
  • Tobi Omole: Obviously Tobi Omole would have been disappointed to have unfortunately given the ball to Cole Palmer, who as a result scored his second  goal of the game. However, apart from that and some of his other passing out from defence, Omole impressed by making some really good defensive interventions during the game. And the 21 year old former Arsenal player has been consistently very good throughout the 2020/21 season, ever since he joined the club last autumn. 
  • Dennis Cirkin: Going forward I thought that the left-back made some powerful and purposeful runs from deep, showing good skill on the ball.
  • Nile John: Playing as the deepest of the two central midfielders, second year scholar Nile John showed some fine skill on the ball in the middle of the pitch.
  • Jamie Bowden: The Republic of Ireland youth international played the game as a number eight, and the Spurs captain got forward more than he would on other occasions this season, during his 77 minutes on the pitch. It has been really good to see him get a really good run of games this season, after missing some time with injury.
  • Elliot Thorpe: Showing some good skill on the ball out on the right flank and going on some good forward runs, Thorpe also worked well and moved well off the ball, despite playing out of position. He came very close to scoring a goal during the first half, only to be denied by a fine save from James Trafford.
  • Alfie Devine: Despite wearing the number ten shirt, Alfie Devine’s starting position was often out on the left flank, where I thought that he had a solid game. And during the first half he caused some problems for the Manchester City defence. He also worked tirelessly off the ball.
  • Dilan Markanday: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dane Scarlett: The scorer of our only goal of the match, centre-forward Dane Scarlett worked really hard off the ball, and he showed good composure to score from his only really chance of the game.
  • Romaine Mundle: The second half substitute replaced Elliot Thorpe out on the the right flank for the final 62 minutes of the game.
  • J’Neil Bennett: Showing some good skill on the ball after replacing Dane Scarlett up front during some of the second half, J’Neil Bennett looked good going forward during part of his time on the pitch.
  • Rafferty Pedder: The energetic late substitute played a clever one-two with Dilan Markanday, before forcing a save out of James Trafford.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday was superb against Manchester City on Friday, in my opinion. Although his starting number was 11, the 19 year old often started from a central position, and the player who threaded a nice forward pass into Dane Scarlett, to set the centre- forward up for his goal (fourth assist of the season), was really creative for Spurs throughout yesterday’s match. Drifting into good advanced positions and also going on some really clever and skilful forward runs, I thought that Markanday created more chances than any other Spurs player on the pitch. And the consistent and hardworking player also was good from set-pieces throughout the game, and also very difficult to get the ball off.

Spurs: Lo-Tutala, Lavinier, Cirkin, John, Lyons-Foster, Omole, Thorpe (Mundle 58), Bowden (c) (Pedder 77), Scarlett (Bennett 65), Devine, Markanday. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Paskotsi.

Manchester City: Trafford, Gomes, Sandler, Burns, Bernarbe (Robinson 65), Lavia, Palmer, Doyle (c), Delap, McAtee (Smith 86), Knight (Breckin 86). Substitute (not used): Slicker.

Spurs under 18’s versus Chelsea: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side welcome Chelsea to Hotspur Way on Saturday morning (the game starts at 11:00am), for their penultimate league game of the season. Matt Taylor’s side can still finish in fourth place in the league (they are currently in fourth place). Spurs beat Norwich City 5-2 in the week, having come from two goals down to win that game. Seventh place Chelsea lost 6-1 when these sides met in the league in March in Cobham, so they will be looking to make up for that result on Saturday. Spurs were excellent during that game and Chelsea couldn’t deal with them going forwards, but Chelsea were missing their top scorer in the league this season on that day, Jude Soonsup-Bell, who could play against Spurs on Saturday. This will be a very competitive game of football, but it will be interesting to see whether Spurs start with Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine, as the Spurs Under 23 side have a game against Manchester City the day before. I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for this London derby.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Muir, Dorrington, Paskotsi, Hackett, Michael Craig, Devine, Mathurin, Mundle, Santiago, Scarlett.

Subs from: Maguire, Cassanova, Matthew Craig, Davies, Donley.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 6-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Chelsea forward Jude Soonsup-Bell (17), who has scored 14 goals from 14 league appearances for Chelsea at Under 18 level this season. 

Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester City: (match preview)

After a long season which started back in September of last year, Spurs’ under 23 side will end their Premier League 2 season with a home game against champions Manchester City, at Hotspur Way on Friday (the game starts at 17:00pm). Still looking to finish as runners up to Manchester City in the league, Wayne Burnett’s side will finish in their highest ever position in the Premier League 2 regardless of what the result is tomorrow evening. Of course Spurs met Manchester City up in Manchester in their last game, last weekend. And Spurs played well in that game, even though they lost 4-1. Manchester City’s forwards were excellent last Friday, and top scorer Liam Delap (he has scored 21 league goals this season) had a very good game and his off the ball movement, as well as his skill on the ball impressed me throughout the game. Midfielder Tommy Doyle and also forwards Cole Palmer and James McAtee had very good games as well. Manchester City love to have the ball and they will look to frustrate the Spurs players with their passing game, but particularly during the second half of the reverse fixture, Spurs took the game to Manchester City more. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster scored a good goal from a set-piece, while Spurs also had a goal disallowed with the score at 3-1 to Manchester City last week. Stopping Manchester City from controlling the game will be the key to Spurs getting a result tomorrow, but on their day Spurs can beat any team at this level. This has been an excellent season for Spurs and whatever the result is tomorrow, the team can be proud of what they have achieved this season. I would like to wish them all the very best of luck for tomorrow’s game.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Lavinier, Lyons-Foster, Omole, Cirkin, Thorpe, Bowden (c), Bennett, Pedder, Markanday, Etete.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Paskotsi, Devine, Richards, Scarlett.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Josh Oluwayemi.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-4.

My score prediction: 3-3.

My one to watch: Manchester City centre-forward Liam Delap (18), who has scored 21 goals from 19 Premier League 2 appearances this season. Delap is an excellent young centre-forward.

Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

Having not won a competitive game in their last four, Matt Taylor’s Spurs Under 18 side welcome Norwich City to Hotspur Way on Tuesday, in their latest league game (the game starts at 12:00pm). Spurs recently lost 3-1 away to West Brom last weekend, whilst Norwich lost 3-2 at home to Reading. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Spurs beat Norwich 2-0, but with victories over league leaders Crystal Palace and also Arsenal this year for Norwich, returning to winning ways today won’t be easy. I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Solberg, Muir, Dorrington, Paskotsi (c), Hackett, Matthew Craig, Michael Craig, Mathurin, Mundle, Santiago, Scarlett.

Subs from: Maguire, Torraj, Cassanova, Davies, Haysman.

Injured/unavailable: N/A.

Doubtful: Thimothee Lo-Tutala.

Previous meeting: Spurs 2-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Norwich’s top scorer at this level this season – Thomas Dickson-Peters, who has scored nine league goals so far this season.

Spurs under 23’s 1-4 Manchester City: (match report)

In their penultimate Premier League 2 game of the season, Wayne Burnett’s Spurs under 23 side travelled to Manchester City’s Academy stadium on Friday, to face the Premier League Division One champions. Spurs were beaten 4-1 by the champions, but despite the scoreline I thought that Spurs played well, particularly during the second half and against such a good team. Defender Tobi Omole had a goal disallowed when the score was 3-1, and if that had been allowed then Spurs could have got something out of the game. Spurs lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as Kacper Kurylowicz started in goal for the first time in a competitive game at this level. A back four consisting of Marcel Lavinier, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tobi Omole and Dennis Cirkin started in front of him. Elliot Thorpe and captain Jamie Bowden started in central midfield, while J’Neil Bennett and Alfie Devine started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dilan Markanday. Rodel Richards started up front for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway and an important early interception from Tobi Omole stopped James McAtee’s through-ball from reaching Liam Delap, who would have been through on goal. A Dilan Markanday free-kick from the left flank into the Manchester City box was challenged by Rodel Richards and Philippe Sandler, and the Man City defender managed to head the ball behind for a corner kick. Dennis Cirkin tried his luck from range but his effort went wide, after eventually receiving the ball from Alfie Devine’s corner kick. After Jamie Bowden conceded a free kick, Tommy Doyle stepped up to take it for the home side. The talented midfielders powerful curling effort from long range beat Kurylowicz at his near post, and nestled into his goal, 0-1.

Kurylowicz gathered Ben Knight’s cross from the right, before at the other end of the pitch Alfie Devine received J’Neil Bennett’s pass down the right flank, before pulling the ball back for Markanday inside the oppositions box. However, Markanday’s effort was deflected off of Finley Burns and over for a corner kick. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had a low effort from distance go wide, before Elliot Thorpe had an effort blocked from range. After Liam Delap had received James McAtee’s pass inside the Spurs box he tried his luck on goal, but his powerful effort was well blocked by Lyons-Foster. Marcel Lavinier then blocked Cole Palmer’s effort as Manchester City continued to see a lot of the ball. After Claudio Gomes passed the ball to Cole Palmer down the right side of the Spurs box, Palmer attempted to score but Kurlyowicz saved well at his near post. Kurylowicz then saved Cole Palmer’s effort from the edge of the Spurs box. At the other end of the pitch Markanday saw his free-kick from the right flank gathered by James Trafford. After James McAtee had passed the ball to Ben Knight down the left side of the Spurs box, Knight powerfully hit the ball past Kurylowicz and into the top right corner of his goal to finish off a great move, 0-2. James Trafford punched clear a free-kick from Markanday before Kurylowicz did well to come out of his goal and get to the ball before Liam Delap could get to it inside the Spurs box, in what was the final piece of action from the first half. The champions got the game back underway for the second half and there was a change, as Kion Etete came on to replace Rodel Richards up front. After Liam Delap received James McAtee’s pass he skilfully worked his way into the Spurs box before getting past Omole and forcing a save out of Kurylowicz low down.

Philippe Sandler curled just wide of the goal from inside the Spurs box, before Etete managed to win the ball off of Claudio Gomes on the edge of the Spurs box, he gave the ball to Markanday, who then gave the ball to Bennett on the edge of the box, but his effort was pushed away by James Trafford. After receiving the ball Elliot Thorpe went on a good surging run through the middle before attempting to beat James Trafford from the edge of the Manchester City box, but his low effort went narrowly wide of the goal. Omole blocked Cole Palmer’s shot from inside the Spurs box, before Jamie Bowden received a yellow card. After coming inside from the right flank James McAtee saw his effort on goal go just wide. And shortly afterwards a great move from the home side resulted in Cole Palmer passing the ball to James McAtee on the left, and he then passed it to Claudio Gomes down the left side of the Spurs box and he then squared the ball for Liam Delap to tap home, 0-3. However, Spurs responded well, and Lyons-Forced a good reaction save from a header from Trafford, after meeting Markanday’s corner kick. James Trafford then managed to turn behind Tobi Omole’s header. Spurs managed to pull a goal back from the following corner kick, as Lyons-Foster once again met Markanday’s ball into the box, and his glancing header was headed in off the bar by a Manchester City player, 1-3. James Trafford saved Dilan Markanday’s shot on goal, before Etete forced a save from the goalkeeper, from a header, after meeting J’Neil Bennett’s cross.

The alert Elliot Thorpe did well to intercept Liam Delap’s pass inside the Spurs penalty area, before Jamie Bowden blocked the same players shot inside the box moments later. Cole Palmer came very close to scoring with an effort from distance, before Rafferty Pedder came on to replace Elliot Thorpe in midfield. After getting on the ball just outside of the Manchester City box, Kion Etete gave the ball to J’Neil Bennett, whose effort was turned behind by Trafford. Spurs then had a goal disallowed after Etete was adjudged by the referee to have fouled James Trafford, just before Tobi Omole scored. After going on a good forward run Bowden saw his effort on goal go over the bar, before he received J’Neil Bennett’s pass inside the Manchester City box not long afterwards. Bowden chipped the ball forward for Dilan Markanday, who skilfully worked his way past James Trafford, but then lost his balance and shot wide of the goal. After meeting Jamie Bowden’s corner kick, Dennis Cirkin had a header blocked, before Manchester City scored their fourth goal of the game. James McAtee latched onto Cole Palmer’s pass before running into the Spurs box and calmly curling the ball past Kacper Kurylowicz and into the left corner of the goal, 1-4. That was to be the last action of the game.

Player reviews:

  • Kacper Kurylowicz: Making his first ever competitive start at this level, goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz had a good game, I thought. Tommy Doyle’s opening free-kick goal was an excellent one, and I don’t think that you could criticise him for not keeping that out. In addition the 19 year old made some good saves, including a fine one at his near post. He distribution was also good throughout the game.
  • Marcel Lavinier: The right-back liked to get forward, but he also did well in defence. And the former Chelsea player came inside quite often to help out the two Spurs central defenders.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: After making an impressive early block, Lyons-Foster impressed with his positioning in defence. He brought the ball out well from the back along with Tobi Omole, and he liked to step forward out of the defence and join his teammates when they went forward on occasions. The 20 year old defender also scored a good headed goal, his second goal of the season.
  • Tobi Omole: Starting the game at LCB, defender Tobi Omole like Lyons-Foster did all that he could possibly do to try and stop the talented Manchester City forwards from scoring. Omole has had a very good season for Spurs.
  • Dennis Cirkin: I thought that this was a solid defensive performance front the 19 year old left-back, and he also went on some good forward runs down the left.
  • Elliot Thorpe: My man of the match, see below.
  • Jamie Bowden: The Spurs captain showed good skill on the ball and tried to influence the game with his impressive passing. Bowden was involved in some nice pieces of play going forward for Spurs, and the 19 year old went one particularly impressive forward run during the second half, as well as creating a good opportunity for Dilan Markanday to score from.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The winger tried on a good number of occasions to test Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford. And J’Neil Bennett tried to take on the opposing teams defenders when he had the ball out on the right flank.
  • Dilan Markanday: Often drifting out to the left flank, Dilan Markanday impressed with his set-pieces (he assisted Brooklyn Lyons-Foster’s goal). Markanday also made some clever runs off the ball, and he worked very hard off it as well.
  • Alfie Devine: Although he was wearing the number 11 shirt, midfielder Alfie Devine had more of a free role, and he would often come into more central positions to try and influence the game.
  • Rodel Richards: The forward pressed the Manchester City goalkeeper and defence really well during his time on the pitch, but he didn’t have great service into his feet, and was therefore unable to make much of an impact on the game during the first half.
  • Kion Etete: The second half substitute allowed Spurs to whip more crosses into the Spurs box, because of Kion’s height. He asked questions of the Manchester City defenders.
  • Rafferty Pedder: The late substitute brought plenty of energy to the game from midfield, and he was always looking to receive the ball in good areas of the pitch.

My man of the match: Elliot Thorpe. A lot of Spurs players played well on Friday evening, and I could have given this man of the match award to many players. But playing as the deepest midfielder, Elliot Thorpe made a good impression on the game from that position, as he came forward from deep to try and create, and was in my opinion our most influential player going forward. The 20 year old looked to go on surging forward runs from deep when receiving the ball into his feet, and he tried to take players on and look to create chances. His work rate off the ball was also impressive, along with his powerful forward running. The Wales youth international also came very close to scoring with a low effort from distance.

Manchester City: Trafford, Gomes, Sandler, Burns, Egan-Riley, Lavia (Robertson 74), Palmer, Doyle (c), Delap, McAtee, Knight (F Nmecha 67). Substitutes (not used): Slicker, Robinson, Gbadebo.

Spurs: Kurylowicz, Lavinier, Cirkin, Thorpe (Pedder 82), Lyons-Foster, Omole, Bennett, Bowden (c), Richards (Etete 46), Markanday, Devine. Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Paskotsi.

Spurs under 18’s versus West Bromwich Albion: (match preview)

Yet to beat West Brom in their two competitive games against them this season at this level, Spurs’ under 18 side recently lost 5-0 to West Brom in the FA Youth Cup. Saturday mornings game (it starts at 11:30am at West Brom’s training ground) gives Matt Taylor’s side a chance to beat West Brom before the end of the season. West Brom are seven points behind Spurs in the league table having played two games more than them, while Spurs sit in fifth place in the table. An encouraging statistic for Spurs is that West Brom have only picked up eight league points from 11 home league fixtures this season. However, this will be a tough game for Spurs, especially as they have not beaten West Brom in a competitive game this season, but I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the game. With the under 23 side playing Manchester City on Friday night, it will be interesting to see what the team is to face West Brom on Saturday.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Muir, Dorrington, Paskotsi, Hackett, Michael Craig, Matthew Craig, Mathurin, Mundle, Santiago, Donley.

Subs from: Maguire, Kyezu, Torraj, Haysman.

Injured/unavailable: Dane Scarlett.

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-5.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: Reyes Cleary, who has scored an impressive seven goals from 14 Premier League South appearances this season.

Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester City: (match preview)

On Friday evening Spurs’ under 23 side play Premier League 2 Division One champions Manchester City at their Academy Stadium in Manchester (the game starts at 19:00pm). It’s first versus second in the league, as league winners Manchester City, who are 12 points above Spurs, will be looking to extend their remarkable unbeaten run in the league, which started all the way back in early November of last year. It has also been a great season for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs side, and they will want to stay in second place in the league during the last two matches of the season (both of which are against Manchester City). Having scored an incredible 69 goals from their 22 league games this season, Manchester City’s talent going forward and also in midfield and defence, is very, very good. Clinical top scorer Liam Delap, has 20 goals from 18 appearances this season, while Cole Palmer has 11 goals and Felix Nmecha has scored 10. Manchester City play really good football, and going forward they will be difficult to defend against. Spurs impressively recorded a 4-1 victory over Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last Friday, and that win will give them confidence going into this Fridays game, regardless of how difficult it will be to get a result. George Marsh’s three suspension has come to an end and he will be available to face Manchester City tomorrow, but regular goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi could miss out, as he came off with an injury in last Fridays game against Liverpool. I would like to wish the Spurs team all the very best of luck for what should be a very good game, involving two very good sides.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Lavinier, Lyons-Foster, Omole, Cirkin, Bowden (c), Devine, Bennett, Thorpe, Markanday, Richards.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, Marsh, John, Pedder, Mundle.

Injured/unavailable: Dane Scarlett, Malachi Fagan-Walcott.

Doubtful: Josh Oluwayemi.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-2.

My score prediction: 2-2.

My one to watch: Centre-forward Liam Delap (18), who has scored 20 goals from 18 Premier League 2 appearances this season.

My interview with former Spurs player Tony Hazard:

A Spurs schoolboy youth player from under 9’s level to under 16’s level, Tony Hazard played for Spurs at youth level during the 1990s and 2000s. The son of Spurs legend Micky Hazard, midfielder Tony Hazard unfortunately wasn’t offered a scholarship by Spurs, and he left the club at under 16 level. Hazard would later play for Sevenoaks Town in the non-League, after having been on trial with some other clubs. I recently had the great pleasure and privilege of talking to Tony about his time at Spurs. 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Tony: One that stands out was when my dad was on TV, and we were watching and he went to charge down the goalkeeper. He thought that the goalkeeper was going to kick the ball but he basically did a trick on him, and so watching football that always sticks out in my mind. But playing football it was with a lot of the players who went to Spurs with me in our team, and we were beating teams like 8-0 and 9-0, and playing good football for Somerset Amberry. So I really enjoyed playing when I was younger.

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

Tony: There was a guy called Robbie Stepney, and I think that he watched my club team. And I think that about eight of us actually signed for Spurs and stayed there until we were about 16. At first there was no competitions or playing against other teams, as it was just all training until about a year later when we would play other teams. I always remember that Watford would be a good game but one that really stands out to me was playing Crystal Palace, and I actually had a really good game. Although I scored an own goal, missed a penalty and gave away a penalty but I did have a really good game, and so that game will always stick out in my mind.

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

Tony: There were two people that I would always watch or certainly try to play like. One was Paul Scholes, and my dad would always say to watch him as he always had a picture in his head before he received the ball. I don’t think that he was one of the best players ever, but David Beckham was somebody that I always used to try and use his technique to try and kick a ball. He had a very unique technique and I sort of tried to copy that technique. So Scholes and Beckham were always the two players that I watched as a youngster, particularly Scholes as he was my favourite footballer throughout, and I was sad when he retired. So those two players were the ones who I used to watch, and with Beckham I always wanted to have that same technique that he had.

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

Tony: I was mainly a central-midfielder, but I think that I was mainly a centre-back when I first went to Spurs. I always respected my dads views because he was always truthful in what he said, and he said that I reminded him of Glenn Hoddle on the ball, and I could make a pass even though I wasn’t the dribbling type of player. But like Scholes I had a picture in my head of what I wanted to do with the ball before I received the ball, and so when I received the ball I just wanted to be more creative. In terms of playing those through balls and moving the ball quickly, so I would basically say that I was more of a defensive midfielder who liked to create from a deep lying position. 

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Tony: David Ginola was always one and I’ll never forget watching Ginola, and I never had the movement that he did because of my height as I was very tall. So I wish I was more flexible and could drop a shoulder kind of thing, but growing up at Spurs there weren’t many players to really choose from. Another one was Steffen Freund, as his mentality and attitude to football was what I thought that you needed as a footballer. If you have that attitude then the fans will love you no matter what, and they loved him. He wasn’t a fantastic footballer but he never gave up, and I think that should be everyone’s attitude. So I would say Freund for his attitude but Ginola as a footballer at Spurs. 

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

Tony: I had a spell at centre-back at Spurs and I think that Ledley King was definitely a player who I thought that if he didn’t have his injuries then he could have been one of the best, and so he was a player that I would definitely watch. But we were never a good team when I was growing up, so there wasn’t many great players. But I was trying to be a midfielder and so there weren’t many great players at Spurs in my time that I would watch closely. I think that’s why I decided to watch Paul Scholes.

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

Tony: It was probably the best time of my life. Even if my dad hadn’t have played for Spurs, my mums side of the family are all Spurs fans and season ticket holders, and so I would have been Spurs no matter what. Just having the opportunity to put on that shirt and play for them and also play against teams which even at a young age that you know you dislike, such as Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham, you treated it as though the games meant a lot. Even though there were no leagues or anything it still meant to me that I don’t want to lose to this team, but I would say that it was definitely the best time of my life. If I could go back and do it all again then I would.

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

Tony: I was there for eight years and throughout most of it I would always say that I was a starter for at least six years of it. At about 13/14 I had a massive growth spurt which really affected my running, and I became tall and really not agile enough. So I was going in an hour before training three times a week to do fitness work but when I was 16 it was still affecting my running, and so I ended up being on the bench a lot. But I was quite unlucky as well because we had a manager who I did eventually win over as he had put me on the bench, and I would come on with ten minutes to go in games, before it went up to 20 minutes and then 30 minutes. So I started to win him over and start matches but then he left, and then the next manager came in and it was straight back to square one and I was on the bench again, and I wasn’t really playing. So I would say that it was a bit of both, as maybe I could have done a bit more when I wasn’t training, to work on my running, but also it was a bit frustrating to win a manager over and then after he left you were back on the bench again. So I would say that I was partly unlucky but also there was a part of me not doing enough. So Spurs eventually let me go at 16, and as Spurs was all that I sort of dreamed of I sort of stayed out of football for two years as Spurs was just me. Once I was released I had a few letters come through the door from teams like Barnet, Bristol Rovers and Plymouth. But I chose not to and I stayed out of football for a couple of years, but I played for Broxbourne Borough’s Under 18 side when I was 18, before I went on trial with Dagenham & Redbridge. But I couldn’t stand it as their motto was give it to the full-back and just hit the ball down to the line.

I think that I was at Dagenham & Redbridge for about a month when I left, and then I went to Maidenhead on trial for their reserves. I really enjoyed it at Maidenhead as they sort of preached the same style of football that I’ve always been brought up to, which is the passing game and keeping the ball on the floor. As a midfielder that is what you want and you want to be involved and pass the ball around, and that is what they did. They wanted to sign me but they just couldn’t give me any money, and so travelling to Maidenhead from where I lived was like an hour and a half drive everyday. So with training and match days it just made it not really practical for me and I actually didn’t even have a car at the time either. I then just helped my dad out at Sevenoaks Town as their Under 18 team had been promoted to the first team, and so me and Ricky just wanted to give them some more experience. And so that was where my footballing career stopped.  

Having to leave Spurs must have been very difficult for you. How did you find that?

Tony: Even though I knew that it was coming because I was on the bench and that also the club only keep on eight players at the most, then I knew that I was going to be released. But it was still a massive disappointment and I remember that when I got told that I still got watery eyes, and it’s weird that I knew that it was going to happen but I was still devastated by it. As a kid all I had known was playing for Spurs, and today I still think about it and how things could have been different. But I wouldn’t have changed anything about my time at Spurs, as it was the best time of my life.

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Tony: There’s two that stick out for me. One is scoring against Arsenal when I scored a really good goal, and I had the ball played into me and I just lobbed the keeper. Then when I was 16 there was a tournament which I think was called the Nike Cup, and all of the Premier League teams and a few Championship teams were involved. So you obviously got to play teams that you wouldn’t normally play, but we got to the quarter-finals against Newcastle and we were 2-0 down and then we got it back to 2-1. Then in the last minute of the game we had a free-kick. The player didn’t hit the free-kick properly but it went along the floor and came straight to me and I sort of pretended to shoot and let it go through my legs, and it sort of fooled the keeper and went in, and we managed to pull it back to 2-2. Because that tournament had a bit of an incentive to go out and win and that you knew that if you lost then you were out as it was always just friendly matches sort of, as a youngster. So to play in that tournament and have that incentive to go out and win and then have the feeling of winning or getting knocked out, that really inspired you to not let the team down. So that tournament was definitely my favourite of my playing career.

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

Tony: I actually managed to share a pitch with Gareth Bale when he was at Southampton as a left-back, but our right-midfielder always managed to get the better of him. I always remember him as he had a lovely left foot, but our right-midfielder always sort of got the better of him, and when he signed for Spurs our right midfielder got kept on and they had a conversation where he said that he really didn’t like playing against him. I also played against Theo Walcott at Southampton, and I don’t think that he ever made it but there was a player for Fulham called Billy. And he was an aggressive player who I used to love playing against as I loved the aggressiveness and the tackles. Jake Livermore was a year younger than me and he made it and was in my team at Spurs, but Spurs rated him so much that they put him into our year.

How big an influence was your dad – Micky Hazard. On your footballing career? 

Tony: Massive! Without him I don’t think that I would have been anywhere near being a footballer. When I looked at the other coaches at Spurs it looked like the main thing that mattered was winning the games rather than improving young footballers. At that age my dad never cared about the result, he just wanted everyone to play well and to play the right style of football. My dad had a massive impact and I don’t think that anyone would have been able to train me the way that he trained me, although it was easy for me to answer him back and I was a nightmare sometimes. But I would never have been the player that I was without him, and the one thing that he says that he regrets was working on my running more, but again that was down to me. And I could have done that by myself and in my own time, but in terms of the footballer that I was I would have been nothing without my dad. I always thought that I was a step ahead of other players on the pitch and that was down to him and his training sessions, and what he would do. Whatever team that he managed whether he was at Spurs or Crystal Palace, they would normally go unbeaten throughout the season. That was all down to him and his style, and how he would help you in each individual position and where you needed to be. He always liked diamonds on the pitch and so if you had the ball then there would always be somewhere for you to pass, because there would be diamonds and triangles all over the pitch. So if anyone got managed under him then they would probably say the same, because he was an unbelievable coach. And so I would not have been the player that I was without him.

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

Tony: Definitely the Nike Cup which we spoke about, but there was another time when we went to Italy on tour and we played against AC Milan and Chievo Verona, and that was like a massive bonding session between everyone. As we went with the group below us as two teams, and there was more incentive to go out and win matches and it felt real. There was also a time that we beat Arsenal 5-1 and I was on the bench, but it was 0-0 when I came on. I played probably the best match that I’ve ever played and I used to love playing against Arsenal, and I miss it so much be honest. When I watch those games on TV now I just want to be out there playing against them, and it infuriates me when you see the players just strolling around in those games. Another memory was getting to play at White Hart Lane with about 200 people watching us play. 

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

Tony: Definitely the player for Fulham called Billy, who I played against. Because of the way that he was as he was like a Scott Brown type player who would do everything to frustrate you, but you’d enjoy the battle and you’d shake hands afterwards, and it would all stay on the pitch. I must say that when Theo Walcott was playing as a striker at Southampton, he was really good. Because of his pace he got in behind everyone and would always cause us a lot of problems. I also really enjoyed playing against Aston Villa. 

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

Tony: Before joining Spurs I played with a lot of the players at Somerset Amberry such as Cian Hughton who I was really close with, and also there was Matt Wells who I went to secondary school with, and also Nick Chrysanthou, and we still play golf together. I felt that I was close with everyone and that we were all sort of good mates. 

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

Tony: Don’t get distracted by anything outside of football and if you’re not training then train at home. The only way to get good at things is to practice, practice, practice. Just because you’re at Spurs it doesn’t mean that that’s it, and I don’t think that that was my attitude but when I wasn’t training then I was just sat at home doing nothing. Use that time by being in the garden and doing one touch passes against the wall, as anything helps. Anything that you’re not good at or could get better at, you need to work at. Don’t get distracted by silly things and just work and work, as your work will eventually pay off. I’d love to go to a professional club and try and teach young players, and try to guide them in the right way.

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?

Tony: Massively. I’ve got a season ticket and I’ll never not stop supporting Spurs even though I was released by the club. I still went to the games and supported them and I go to away games as much as I can afford, and even European away games. I would say that part of my problem as a youngster was that I preferred going to the games rather than playing football. Spurs are never going to go from my heart, and I was lucky enough to have my dad play for them, but I’ve also got four or five generations on my mums side of the family, so supporting Spurs is not just because of my dad. But Spurs are here to stay throughout my life and nothing will change that. 

My piece on Spurs goalkeeping legend and influential coach – the great Pat Jennings:

An exceptionally agile goalkeeper for a big guy, Patrick Anthony Jennings’ (O.B.E.) outstanding all round ability as a goalkeeper made him a hero to so very many fans of football, and a hero he continues to be to so many, regardless of the team which they support. Born in Newry, Northern Ireland, in 1945, Pat Jennings grew up in the Chapel Street area of Newry and was a talented GAA (Gaelic football) player and basketball player during his youth. Not to mention the fact that he was also a very talented goalkeeper in the sport of football, Jennings played for his local teams Under 19 side as an 11 year old! For a man who never dreamt of playing football for a job because he never thought that it was possible, Jennings would enjoy a very long career in the game, and one which very many goalkeepers would have loved to have had. Having played for local clubs Newry United and Newry Town during his youth, the Northern Irishman was spotted by a number of clubs playing for a Northern Irish youth team in England. Among those interested were Watford and Coventry City, but Pat opted to sign for Spurs legend Ron Burgess’ Watford in the May of 1963. He played just over a season for the then Third Division side, and in his only full season at the club he played every competitive game during that season. Spurs came calling in 1964 and young Pat signed for Bill Nicholson’s side in the June of that year. Bearing in mind that the furthest away from home that Pat had been was Derry, prior to coming to England for that first time, it was totally understandable that he took a little bit of time to adapt to Spurs (he made his competitive debut against Sheffield United in the August of 1964) at the beginning, having jumped two divisions in the process.

Success soon followed though, and the man who would replace double winning great Bill Brown in goal, was soon a hugely important member of the Spurs first team. His many outstanding saves wowed and endeared him to the Tottenham faithful, and during an over 13 year association with Spurs as a player in his first spell with the club, the Ulsterman helped to contribute to the many successes which Spurs enjoyed during that period. Starting with the 1967 FA Cup final against Chelsea, where Pat made some important saves as Spurs won the game 2-1. He also scored a goal against Manchester United from long range, as Spurs won the 1967 FA Charity Shield. Additionally, Pat was also a member of the Spurs sides which won the 1971 and 1973 League Cup’s, and also the 1972 UEFA Cup, as well as playing a massive part in helping the club to avoid relegation to the Second Division on one occasion during the mid 1970s. Pat stayed at the club until the summer of 1977, when he was sadly no longer wanted by the club at the time, despite his many years of phenomenal service to Spurs. A move to Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town came very close to happening, but ended up breaking down. So Pat decided to cross footballing rivalries in north London and join Arsenal in the August of 1977. And the man who would win 119 international caps for Northern Ireland (he played in two World Cup finals for his country) helped Arsenal to win the 1979 FA Cup final. He is also somebody who despite playing for both Spurs and Arsenal is so greatly appreciated to this day, by both sets of supporters. Pat Jennings was awarded an MBE in 1976, which was later upgraded to an OBE ten years later.

After a very good spell with Arsenal, Pat returned to Spurs in the August of 1985, where he was one of the backup goalkeepers to the great Ray Clemence, although he would play a number of games for the Spurs reserve side. He finished off his club career with a short loan move to Everton towards the end of the 1985/86 season, as backup to Bobby Mimms, after Neville Southall was injured, as Pat was preparing for the 1986 World Cup with Northern Ireland (he signed non-contract forms with Spurs for that tournament, to be able to play). Just like in all of his footballing career, Pat performed with class, and he represented his country so well in Mexico. It brought to an end a wonderful playing career, but this would open another door for Pat, one as a goalkeeping coach, something that he never had in his footballing career. Jennings was Spurs’ first team goalkeeping coach when Ossie Ardiles was manager of the club in the 1990s, and he would later become a goalkeeping consultant for the club during the same decade. Goalkeeping coaching roles at Northern Ireland and also Oxford United followed, before Pat returned to his beloved Spurs in a coaching capacity. And at the age of 75 he still works for the club on a part-time basis, as Academy goalkeeping consultant, and he is a familiar face at Hotspur Way. So greatly respected by the young goalkeepers that he coaches and has coached in the past, Pat is also greatly respected by the outfield members of the Spurs youth teams. I remember once that Pat arrived to watch an under 18’s match at Hotspur Way and he was standing a little further back than the rest of the spectators. The Spurs under 23 side were making their way across to another pitch for their afternoon training. Each member of the squad came up to greet Pat, and their genuine respect for a true great of the game was clear to see.

As a goalkeeper Pat Jennings was one of the very best. He was a big, well built and physical goalkeeper, who was confident and very vocal on the pitch, despite being softly spoken off it. His positional sense was unrivalled, while the composure which he showed in challenging situations was remarkable. Dominant and very good from crosses and corner kicks, Jennings could command his box very well, and he would often come out with ease and gather the ball with one hand! A determined and very competitive footballer, Jennings could read and anticipate situations like Spurs legend Steve Perryman would as an outfield player. In addition, he was also a fine kicker of the ball and as John Pratt mentions below, he also had good control with the ball at his feet. He was so fast on his feet and former Spurs man Wayne Cegielski recently told me that Pat used to win all of the sprinting races at Spurs. But Pat’s reflexes were absolutely sensational and perhaps his greatest attribute, as old video footage will prove. Jennings literally had no faults to his game whatsoever as a goalkeeper, and like all goalkeeping legends he is respected and admired by supporters of all clubs. As a youngster I never got to see Pat play live, but for a very long time I’ve always been aware of Pat, and the legend that he is in the game, especially as my dad is also Northern Irish, and Pat is his footballing hero! As I’ve got older and when I was at school I really used to study old videos of Pat as a goalkeeper. I used to think to myself how did he make that save? And how did he anticipate where the ball was going to go? As it was moving at such pace. Two of my Spurs heroes are two players from Northern Ireland who I never got to see play live, but who I have grown up watching old videos and reading books on – Pat Jennings and Danny Blanchflower.

To this day Pat Jennings still loves Spurs and the fact that he is still working fo the club to help their promising young goalkeepers, just proves that. He has been associated with the club as a player and as a coach, for over 40 years. And the supporters of this great club still adore him to this very day. 

Some memories/thoughts on Pat Jennings from former Spurs players and staff members that I’ve recently talked to:

Peter Corder (former Spurs youth and reserve goalkeeper during the 1980’s): My time at Tottenham as a youth and reserve team goalkeeper was between 1983-86. During this period, I was very fortunate to have the great Ray Clemence to watch in the first team. In my last season at the club, Pat Jennings returned to train and play in reserve games in preparation for the 1986 World Cup Finals. I can remember when Ray introduced me to Pat and we shook hands, it suddenly dawned on me that stood before me were arguably two of the best goalkeepers to have played the game of football and both were Tottenham goalkeepers. Whilst Pat’s return actually did me no favours as I was unable to play any further games in the reserves as these were shared between Tony Parks and Pat, the experience of watching Pat in training and in reserve games was an opportunity to try and learn more about the art of goalkeeping. Pat was always willing to talk and pass on advice.

Charlie Freeman (former Spurs youth goalkeeper, who was at Spurs as recently as 2019): Friday’s were always one to look forward to, the main reason being Pat would take us goalkeepers for a session, always filling us boys with nothing but confidence and advice from his personal experiences, Pat is an all round legend to sum him up! The training sessions he put on were always tough and he had us all working hard! But equally fun and it was great to be taking shots from him!

Roy Brown (Playing once for the Spurs first team in a competitive game, Roy Brown was at Spurs during the 1960’s): I realised that he was special and I would never take his (Pat Jennings) place, so after eight years at Spurs from a 15 year old Brighton schoolboy to Spurs reserves, I asked to leave to get first team football.

Steve Outram (a Spurs youth player during the late 1960s and early 1970s): I was in awe of Pat, he had a real presence about him. We would be cleaning the boots in the boot room and Pat alway came through with a friendly “ good morning lads ”. He was a true proffessional and always encouraged us younger players. A true gentleman, and I never understood why Spurs let him go. A true great!

Thomas Dudfield (former Spurs youth player during the early 1970s): The man with the big hands, and a heart even bigger. Big Pat is a legend!

Robert Walker (Spurs’ former Northern Ireland scout): As a young boy Pat played mostly Gaelic football until local side Newry Town FC asked him to sign on the dotted line, to begin what has been an incredible career. Pat spent two years at Newry before arriving in N17 (via Watford) where the big man became a genuine Spurs legend. The best thing of all about Pat is that he never lost his humility or forgot where he came from. Always had time to talk to the fans and who else could have played for Spurs and then sign for Arsenal, and get a standing ovation from the Spurs crowd when he came back to play at the Lane. A true legend and in my humble opinion Northern Ireland’s greatest ever sporting ambassador.

Martin O’Donnell (former Spurs youth player during the 1960’s): I first came across Pat Jennings in 1963. I went to the Little World Cup Final, which was held at Wembley Stadium. It was a mini World Cup competition for Under 18 teams, and Pat was in goal for the Northern Ireland team that had reached the final and were playing the England team, and the score I think was 4-0 to England. I think it could have been a lot more but for Pat Jennings the Northern Ireland keeper. He was at the time on the Watford books having joined them as a youth from his local club in Newry, Northern Ireland, I was an apprentice at Tottenham Hotspur when he signed for the club in 1964/65. He was an amiable guy who always had time for you, and he used to call me “ Big Fella ”. He had enormous hands and once he had settled in it wasn’t very long before he made his debut in the first team, and would come out for corners and pluck the ball out of the air with one hand. It was breathtaking! He was an outstanding goalkeeper who shone throughout the early/mid sixties, and he went onto become in my view the best goalkeeper in the world. His move to Arsenal was sad because I believe there was an issue with regards to giving him a wage increase and a longer contract. 

I have bumped into Pat on occasions at Spurs home games as he does the hospitality with the older players, and he is good friends with Phil Beal, who is a long standing friend of mine. Pat plays golf regularly and is a member of the Variety Golf Club of Great Britain, who meet up once a month and do a tremendous amount of charity work.

Gerry McKee (Spurs’ former Northern Ireland scout): Friday afternoons and running out of school to travel to Newry with a family friend (Paddy McCarthy). Paddy drove a coal lorry for a local distributor and each Friday collected the coal from Fisher’s in Newry. I would stand on the back of the lorry and just stare up at Pat’s family home wondering was he there. That was in the late 60’s. Later in the mid seventies he was credited almost single handed as he kept us in the first division. In 1987 Pat was an ambassador for International Youth Year and the YTP scheme I was managing had raised some funds for charity, we invited Pat to make the presentation on our behalf, he accepted, that was the first time I met him face to face. The presentation was to the local Hospital Mother & Baby Unit and unknown to us Pat, I believe was Honorary President of that Charity. I remember driving him home to Newry that night in thick dense fog and rather than jumping out of the car in relief he asked me to hold on while he got some autographed photographs. Later on during the period I was scouting I was fortunate to meet him on several occasions and latterly in my role with the Irish Football Association I have been to several presentations where he has been in attendance. I have seen him at McDonald’s events where children by the 100s line up for autographs and he patiently and diligently treats every child the same from first to last and I am sure that has been the case throughout his career. 

As a goalkeeper for me Pat has no equal he has gone from Newry to Watford to Tottenham and then missing in action for a few years!! Acknowledged in his prime as the best in the world by his peers. I was privileged to live in the era that he played and got to meet my hero and was never disappointed.

Paul O’Donoghue (former Spurs youth player and professional during the early 2000s): Pat Jennings was as an absolute legend around the place. He worked with the goalkeepers, and all our lads who worked with him used to say how down to earth he was. He had a sort of iconic feel to him. Tall, longish hair with sideburns and a deep voice that when he said something to you, you were mesmerised. I remember in a training game we were up against the first team and I done okay, and he came up to me after to let me know I done well. I felt ten foot tall after that.

John Pratt: Pat joined Spurs as a pro from Watford in 1964, and I joined in 1964 as an amateur. For someone who didn’t have a particularly good time when he first came to the club he later on proved what a shrewd buy he was from Bill Nicholson, and he’s a great lad but someone who could always look after themselves in situations in a quite dignified manner. As a goalkeeper in my opinion there’s no one better. Ray Clemence was a big mate of mine, and he was unfortunate that the England manager at the time used to pick Peter Shilton, and Peter Shilton was a great shot stopper but Ray would come and catch the ball and come for crosses. Whereas Peter hugged his line a bit more, but if you combine the pair of them together then Pat is the personification of all those in one, and those two players had about 200 international caps between them! Pat was just fantastic, and any ball that went over your head as a defender you knew that he was going to come and catch it. One of the unjust things is that two of the best players to have ever played the game i.e. Pat Jennings and George Best never got the opportunity to play on the big stage much. I think that Pat played at a World Cup twice and I don’t think that George played in a World Cup, and that’s what people judge people by which is ridiculous! Older people talk about Lev Yashin and Ron Springett and Peter Bonetti, and all of those are fine goalkeepers, but when you’re talking about the cream of the cream that was Pat. 

If we were defending a corner at Tottenham I would stand by the near post just out on the six yard line, and if the ball would go over my head then Pat would catch it and throw it to Alan Gilzean, and then Alan would lay it off to me and I’d mess it up and we’d start all over again! But there was one occasion where the ball went over my head and I don’t know what possessed me but I shouted “ keepers ”, and the next thing I knew after I had started to run there was Pat lifting me up with his hands around my throat and with the ball underneath his arm. He said “ I’ll tell you when it’s the keepers. You don’t need to shout. ” And when people say was Pat quick? Well he was electrifying, and we had Jimmy Greaves, Martin Chivers and also Jimmy Neighbour who was also very quick, but Pat was one of the quickest. There’s a board on the wall which was called a Sargent’s jump and it went up to ten foot, and Pat went about two foot over that! People say to me would he manage in this day and age? Well he had good enough control with the ball at his feet to be able to do that and that would have solved that problem, plus the fact that he wouldn’t give you the ball in dodgy situations. I couldn’t speak any highly of the man and I’m fortunate to have him as a friend.

Micky Hazard: He was simply the best. My everlasting memory of Pat at Spurs is as a 16 year old apprentice and virtually weeks after I’d joined the club full-time, and Peter Shreeves was taking a training session. Pat came across after the first team had finished training to ask for some extra goalkeeping work, so about ten of us who had been training with Peter put on this training session with Pat. Obviously the shooting practice became very tiring for Pat, as he had to dive and either save it or let it in, or whatever. With ten of us getting ready to take shots it became very tiring, and so he let some in as once you had scored you could go in to lunch. I was one of about three of us left out there and he’d let about five or six go in so they could go in and have their food, but then he just kept the rest of us out there all day! We were just hitting shots at him, into the top corner, bottom corner and you name it he was just making save after save after save. Until in the end he could save no more as he was just so tired! He was simply the best and also one of the most unorthodox goalkeepers that I’ve ever seen. I mean I’ve never seen a keeper come out to catch a ball with one hand but he did, and he was just simply the best and in my opinion one of the best two keepers that I’ve ever seen along with Gordon Banks. They were both just sensational keepers who were worth a lot of points during the course of the season.

Pat really was a special, special, special goalkeeper. And more importantly he is just a really wonderful human being, and a gentleman.

Eddie Clayton: I played with Ted Ditchburn, and my debut (against Everton in 1958) was his last game I think. Spurs then bought Bill Brown but before that Johnny Hollowbread also played. With Bill Brown and also Pat Jennings you just felt so comfortable with them in goal, and you knew that you were in safe hands and they were both goalkeepers who you could rely on. Pat Jennings was probably just as good as Gordon Banks, but I thought that Pat was just a terrific goalkeeper. I think that he was 18 when he came to us, and he was a very quiet and shy guy, but like Gilzean, Blanchflower and Mackay, Pat Jennings is a great.

Steve Perryman: Pat Jennings was the classiest man I’ve ever met in my 50+ years in football, in training, matches, travelling, in hotels, with supporters, charity events or socially in person or our phone calls to discuss latest events he’s been totally professional in all his actions + deeds. A calm thinker with a huge amount of common sense but an intense competitor and performer on the field of play where he was most comfortable. Pat never put his self forward first or to the front, unless for a good cause, someone else’s good, that he’s regularly involved with. I’ve heard experts on TV re football opinions and Pat has more knowledge backed up with experience, tinged with a large amount of humility in his (large) little finger than all those pundits put together. I’m extremely proud to know that I eventually passed his appearance record at THFC but, not stupid enough to know also that I wouldn’t have got anywhere near his eventual career total in terms of League + International matches. A truly wonderful family man + professional footballer with class in every action or step he takes. He eats, breathes + acts with pure class.