John Pratt was a hard-working midfielder in the Tottenham midfield in the glory years of the early 1970s and into the tough times of relegation and then back to the First Division. Never the most silky skilled of players, it was his job to do the dirty work, which rarely earned him the adulation of his team-mates and he was often the butt of the fans wrath when things went wrong. But Pratt served as a loyal and dedicated Spurs man, going on to coach and manage Tottenham sides at various levels.
Born in Hackney, Pratt attended St. John the Baptist School in Hoxton and later Clark's College, Enfield. Although John supported Orient as a youngster, he was playing with Brentford's junior side for a year, where he was seen in action by Terry Medwin, who coached him at Clark's College in Enfield, where he went to school. Pratt had played for London Schools and spent a year with Brentford's youth team, as a centre half, although his size was against him making a success in that position. On signing for Tottenham he was moved to midfield, where he went on to play a significant number of games for the club.
He worked for three months as an import/export clerk before embarking in a career in football, initially joining Spurs as an amateur, being put straight into the Reserves, before signing professional at 17½ in November 1965.
John was thrust into the spotlight, when he made his debut v Arsenal on 24th March 1969 at Highbury, as Spurs were hit with injuries and played a young defence, which also featured Ray Evans, also playing his first Spurs match. Bill Nicholson stuck with Pratt until the end of the season, but in 1969-70, he was sidelined until the shock FA Cup defeat by Crystal Palace, when some more senior players were dropped and Pratt was one of those given a chance to show what they could do. However, when Nicholson made the shock move of letting Jimmy Greaves leave the club and swapping him for Martin Peters, John was the one to make way for the England international.
John got married on June 26th 1971 with team-mate Tony Want as his best man.
This had coincided with a re-introduction to first team football, as he took the place of Spurs captain Alan Mullery, who had moved back to Fulham and his good run saw Spurs reach the League Cup Final of 1973 v Norwich City. Unfortunately for Pratt, he sustained an ankle injury in the early stages of the game and was replaced by match-winner Ralph Coates.
His determined approach to the game saw him form an effective partnership with Steve Perryman in midfield, where they were responsible for breaking down opposition's attacks and winning the ball to feed onto the more traditionally flamboyant Spurs players. However, it should be remembered that without the likes of Pratt, there would have been no supply line to the forwards. Because of his no-nonsense style, he rarely won praise from the Tottenham crowd, who failed to see his performances as essential to the team. It should not be forgotten that he scored a fair number of goals for Spurs, many cracking long-range efforts like the one in an evening League Cup replay at the Lane in the rain in December 1972, when he beat Ray Clemence in the Scousers goal from fully 35 yards with a rasping drive.
1972-73 was John's first season as a regular in the first team and he was part of the team that played both legs of the UEFA Cup final of 1974, which ended in crowd trouble and defeat in Holland at Feyenoord. He was one of the players who took the defeat very hard.
However, he was soon back in the heart of the action covering every blade of grass to get Spurs back to where they belonged. However, the late 1970's saw Tottenham tail off and following the departure of Bill Nicholson as manager, relegation to Division Two saw the team scrapping to regain their top flight position. It was here that John Pratt's attributes came to the fore, as against many sides, it was the players who could roll up their sleeves who ensured Tottenham got the results they needed against more prosaic opposition. Pratt's experience was useful to athe side and he played every game, scoring seven goals as Spurs managed to go up ... on goal difference.
The promotion back to the First Division, Pratt once more found himself out of the side; this time a victim of the signing of the Argentinian Ricardo Villa. However, the big defeat at Anfield saw him restored to the team and he continued to be a regular until he was let go at the end of the 1979-80 season, joining Portland Timbers for three years in the NASL and the Indoor League in America.
When his time was over in the US, Pratt returned to the club as youth team manager, then reserve team boss before first team manager Peter Shreeve appointed him his assistant, where he served the club until they were both sacked in May 1986.
Still a regular face at the club, Pratt moved into the office cleaning business, where he made a very good living having a lot of business in the City of London.
John is father to a son born in 1975 and a daughter born in March 1978.
His son David was a trainee at West Ham, before playing
for Leyton Pennant and Dagenham & Redbridge from 1976,
playing 50 games in his first season, scoring four goals
in one match against Heybridge Swifts, although, in his
second season, he was not as effective at Victoria Road.