lost on the way to
submitting the teamsheet
have always been bemused by Spurs Youth Policy and the selling of
potentially good players, a youth system is not just there to generate
income for example Crewe, it is there to produce cheap effective
first-team players or at least players to pressure the first-team for
their places. If Spurs produced and kept 25% of the number of players
and (quality) that Manchester United and Liverpool produce then there
would be no perceived problem
that in mind, I have compiled a list from the 90ís of wasted talent
seemed to be a free-scoring midfielder in the Spurs Reserve and youth
teams, great things were expected, but during the Sugar-Venables saga he
disappeared then re-appeared at Atletico Madrid before joining United.
Obviously a great talent and another Barmby who has never quite reached
is potential, though Barmby did make our first-team.
not exactly setting the world alight since he has left the Lane, I
remember him coming on for us as a substitute against Manchester United
who could not cope with his pace and skill. He was at Peterborough last
time I looked, but that is my memory of Fenn seeing the United defence
have a friend who is a Norwich fan who rates McVeigh above Bellamy and
Keith OíNeill, neither player hated at Carrow Road as the fans still
have fond memories of them but I was always impressed when I saw him
play at wither Premier or Nationwide Levels.
has always confused me. Ray Parlour who plays for some team who
got kicked out of Woolwich came through roughly at the same time as
Caskey. As a result they were often compared. He was captain of
the successful England youth or under twenty sides (cannot actually
remember), I think he played quite a high number of games in his first
season as there was an injury crisis (which puts it at one of the last
fourteen seasons then - injury cynical Ed). I do remember him
getting booked quite often and having injury problems often.
had though shown his talents in the Nationwide Second division at
Reading scoring about twenty goals in one season with some Beckham-like
free kicks. He was the Reading captain and was bought by the Biscuitmen
for no small amount after a loan spell with Watford. There were
obviously problems between Caskey and Alan Pardew - either he did not
fit into plans tactically or there were other problems and he left on
Bosman or swap deal, Iím not sure, with the less able Andy Hughes
going in the opposite direction from Notts County.
in my opinion was a great talent that has passed the club by and if you
look what followed with Dozzell, Saib, Sherwood and Toda it was a big
was once a player who has probably worn a Spurs shirt when he was at the
clubs school of excellence at the age of around 14, does anyone know
what happened to him since? Last seen playing at Hackney Marshes said
a time when Walker was nervous he used to start playing with his hair
(with shouts of get your hair cut from the stands) but with the benefit
of hindsight he doesnít look that bad a player at all. Our two present
goalkeepers only seem to maintain their reputation by being picked at
international level by second world football nations every so often. One
of those players is over-weight and had a damaged elbow which he has
been playing with this season (explains a bit). I think Walker has many
years still left in him and was picked in an England squad recently. He
seems to have the problem that he can think a bit like David James and
starts to panic.
starting his career at such a young age he never had the chance to study
geography at A-Level and I think that he will never get the chance
again, stating that he wanted to move up north for family reasons or
some usual rubbish had since moved further and further south,
Middlesbrough, Everton/Liverpool and now Dirty Leeds a move to
Birmingham, then Northampton and Luton may result in him returning to
the Lane by his injury-prone peak at the age of 36 on a free and a
replica of the Angel of the North (to make him feel at home). He has
done OK, but nothing compared to what was expected of him in the early
hard-man of Spanish football once of Bethnal Green always did like
getting the yellow card but no-one would ever call him a hard-man. I
think everyone can remember how he got his nickname and the loud groans
from the crowd with it, a forward would be making a run and Vinny
decided that David Tuttle was a much better ball player and would pass
it to him. Samways was undoubtedly in my opinion a skilful player even
though he had his fans, he would never become a favourite and some fans
got on his back.
has done well for himself are a good few seasons at Las Palmas (spelt
wrong) he joined Sevilla which did not work out for him and he spent a
few games playing for Walsall last season before trying to sort out his
career in Spain for this season.
remember staring at the newspaper looking at a the results it said Spurs
4 Luton 2 (at least I think it was Luton) with Lineker scoring two I
thought fair enough but who is the Houghton? He has got two as well, at
that age I think I must have decided he was a good as Lineker. Shoot or
Match produced a double page poster of him too, so I thought he must be
good and the poster went up along side Mabbutt and
Lineker. The new Bobby Charlton was someone he was probably
likened to and with that he has fizzled out to playing lower-league and
Irish Ryan Giggs (I think I remember Alan Moore at Middlesbrough was
named this as well) was always spoken about highly and everyone was
talking about him but he never seemed to make his breakthrough. There
must have a lot of potential talent there (there was so much talk) but
it never managed to show itself in the first-team there is no smoke
without fire. I think he went to Pompey and has gone off elsewhere but
didnít do a Rory Allen and is still playing.
know a Watford fan who was still undecided about Espen, at Spurs he
looked good a times according to some but I only really saw him play one
full game in a friendly which he did well.
think he joined from Dundee, he seemed to score every time he played the
Spurs team at the time often played 4-5-1 but I could never understand
why they could not have both him and Lineker in the same side.
him play he seemed to look like Ronaldo but didnít quite have the same
skill. He looked quite good when I watched him play against Wimbledon at
Selhurst Park (a game that saw a Ruel Fox Header) . He left for QPR when
they were in decline which cannot be good for a young player trying to
find his niche and faded and went into higher non-league.
this situation going to improve with Ben Bowditch , Dean Marney , Ronnie
Henry, Jonathan Blondel, Jamie Slabber, Stephen Kelly and Jonnie Jackson all players who have been lauded in parts disappearing. Is it
going to be worth either investing in youth either via the David Pleat
technique or even fielding a youth team.
watched the reserves play couple of times a Stevenage this season it
nice the way Calderwood and Hoddle have an agreement as to how they will
approach the game ... Ineptly.
players have only caught the eye one was Galbraith who was being played
on the left wing, but only seemed a bit player (a bit like Etherington)
and Jonnie Jackson, who, with Ziege with all his problems, this season
looked the best replacement for him at the club. He had skill,
determination, can tackle (unlike Ziege at times). I still to this
day donít know why he was not being picked. Jonnie was playing well
for Swindon on loan and I think he went out to Colchester as well (who
could not stop winning at the time).
King is the only player who has come through the youth system, but has
not been consistent in recent seasons, any other young players to come
through have been bought - Davies, Gardner, Etherington, Blondel with
his nine mins last season.
it worth the club keeping with youth system waiting for another Hoddle
A riposte to David's article
comes from someone who doesn't believe that there
has been a stream of talented youngsters coming off the Spurs Youth conveyor
they really that good ??
feel compelled to argue the case for the defence with regards to
Tottenhamís youth policy over the years having read Mr. Mastersí
recent article. While I agree that perhaps the youth system should
be producing better players, to suggest that the ones that have been let
go have been sorely missed, save a few obvious examples, is not entirely
true. The majority of the fringe players on the list have not gone
on to be anything like a success.
players like Andy Turner and Scott Houghton are mentioned, I canít
help but think that if theyíre not good enough for Dagenham and
Redbridge or Rotherham, what use are they going to be to Spurs ?
The difference in quality between the lower divisions and the
Premiership is vast, and if they donít shine lower down the leagues,
they wouldnít have a chance at Tottenham. Quinton Fortune is the
only player on the list I would honestly say we let go and would
possibly have reason to regret it. Ian Walker left, but we got ten
years out of him and a decent price from Leicester, and I donít
remember him being held with such affection when he was between the
sticks at White Hart Lane. You can say the same of Vinny
Samways. £2 million from Everton was an absolute bargain, bearing
in mind we all knew he was rubbish ! And as for Nick Barmby, he
wanted to go, and we got a very high price for a player who, like you
say, has never really fulfilled his potential. Thinking of players
who really slipped through our net, Graeme Souness and Des Walker spring
to mind, although there were probably decent reasons behind their
departures which we will never know.
also feel itís unfair to compare our youth system with that of
Manchester Unitedís. Firstly, they are recognised as being ten
years ahead of the rest of the country with regards to their academy and
youth coaching systems. Secondly, they have been incredibly lucky
Ė thereís no way you can expect five internationals to come through
from one youth team. Itís pretty fortunate if you get one.
And thirdly, theyíre Manchester United, and like it or loath it,
everyone wants to play for them.
do think the Spurs youth system should be producing more, but I think
David Pleat is getting it right. Topping up what we already have
by buying young talent from the Nationwide will only increase
competition in the reserves and the youth team. This is the
essence of my point. While I like to think I really know my
football and can see talent in a kid, I have to admit Iím no
expert. Yes, I pay my money and watch every week, but I donít
see the players every day, in training or off the pitch. So I feel
you just have to trust the judgement of whoever is in charge at the
time, someone who probably has had a lifetime surrounded by professional
footballers and knows his stuff (apart from Christian Gross,
obviously). If they donít rate a player, and they feel they can
get a good price from someone willing to pay for potential that may not
exist, I canít argue with them for selling. If we had let
S.Cumball or Steve Carr go at 19 for £500,000 apiece, then you really
would have reason to grumble. I honestly believe that if weíve
got a really good player, we
will hold onto him for as long as possible, and that has and always will
be the case. The ones we let go were just not that good
Nicholson, Park Lane
There are problems with
young players that go back a long way, in my experience. Some look
like world beaters at a young age, but then something happens, with them
going off the straight and narrow, losing their focus on the way.
Picking players who will
go on to be big stars is a difficult thing. I know from a very low
level of experience that you can't always pick a winner in the youth
players, but that is what makes youth staff worth their weight in
gold. As John says above, letting players go at an early age can
be pounds foolish. Finding a gem can make you look penny wise.
There will be more and
more of players being bought in ... especially at youth level. We
have done it already with Owen Price and Michael Malcolm and they are
both developing well within the youth set-up at the club. The
youngster Scott Thyer, who has impressed in Wales Schoolboy matched is
the next to be brought in at 15. The club has a good reputation
for developing young players and this can only benefit the upper
echelons of the senior sides. Ledley King is the main example of
someone who has come through the ranks, with Gardner and Davies, of
players bought in just below the first XI.
The next tier of players
to come through will probably include Rohan Ricketts, Jonathan Blondel,
Johnnie Jackson, Stephen Kelly and Dean Marney. Hoddle intimated
today that there might be more openings for them in the first team this
season. Below that Ben Bowditch, Philip Ifil, Rob Burch, Jamie
Slabber and Mark Yeates.
We have seen this close
season that Hoddle has moved Alton Thelwell out of the club.
Unlucky with injuries, he was never really convincing on the ball and
had a few nightmares when he first got in the first team, but the fact
that he has ended up at Hull City begs the question, why weren't
Premiership or even Division One or Two teams in for him ? Hull
are not over-endowed with cash, so he can't be going for the
money. The only positive link is with Peter Taylor, his former
England Under-21 international. It is necessary to move players
out if they are not going to make it at Tottenham, as they will only
clog up the reserves/Under-19s for others coming up behind them.
It is a constantly evolving thing and you hope that those early
decisions don't come back to bite you.
If you look at some
players released in recent years, then Peter Crouch looked like one we
had dropped the ball on. QPR, Portsmouth and then Aston Villa all
paid money for him in increasing amounts, but his failure to make an
impact on the Premiership shows that Spurs might have done right.
John Sutton was another young forward who was released and has struggled
to get a club, being on trial all over the country. Many have
ended up at the likes of Barnet, Southend United and Norwich City, but
the ones who make a name for themselves are the exception rather than
Matthew Etherington might
go the same way. His explosion at the end of the last home game
aimed at the fans probably smacked of frustration, but he was the one
who was saying he should be playing first team football. When he
did, did he really do enough to lodge a case for being kept in the
starting line-up ? If Hoddle gets Qu Bo, then Etherington might be
There are a thousand
players out there who could have been contenders, but are now playing in
the lower reaches of non-league football and there are a thousand
reasons why that has happened. Injury, lack of dedication,
egotism, greed, some might never have been up to it, but whatever
reason, they might have been in with a chance. That is more than
most get and when the chance presents itself, then they should make the
most of everything they have got. You wouldn't say that Kevin
Keegan or Gary Mabbutt were the most naturally gifted players in the
history of the game, but their dedication to do well at their chosen
profession made them the players they were.
Some of those mentioned
in David Masters' list were talented, but didn't make the most of what
they had. Some believed the publicity about themselves and got too
big for their boots. Some thought they didn't have to put the
effort in. Some wanted the money. Some wanted to have peace
of mind by moving back to their roots. Some had a combination of
one or more.
But one good player
coming through can save a club big money and fund the Academy to bring
through others. That is the idea of the set-up and why it is so
important to the future and present for the club. The players have
to do their bit too and they are the ones who will benefit most from
what they learn in their early football development at a professional
Marco van Hip