john pratt - fact file

1969 - 1980            midfielder
1984 - 1986            assistant manager


Born on 26th June 1948 in Hackney, East London, England.

Height : -  .m  (5' 8")

Weight : -  - kgs  (10 st 3 lbs)


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.



Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (amateur) 1965 - - - -
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (professional) November 1965 - 24th March 1969 v Arsenal (First Division) (Away)  Lost 0-1 381 (+ 34 as a sub) 49
Portland Timbers (USA) May 1980 Free   119 8

Career Record

Tottenham Hotspur
307 (24) League appearances; 39 goals
23 (5) FA Cup appearances; 2 goals
27 (4) League Cup appearances; 7 goals
24 (1) European appearances; 1 goal
81 (11) Other appearances; 15 goals
Portland Timbers (USA)
17 League appearances; 39 goals
23 (5) FA Cup appearances; 2 goals
27 (4) League Cup appearances; 7 goals
24 (1) European appearances; 1 goal
81 (11) Other appearances; 15 goals

UEFA Cup winners medal 1971-1972
League Cup winners medal 1972-1973
UEFA Cup runners-up medal 1973-1974



Lived at Hackney, but moved to Ongar in June 1971 after he marries Marie Hamer – a secretary from Brixton – on 26th June. Tony Want will be best man.  

Drove a Triumph 1300.

Played cricket for the Crown and Manor club and played table tennis.

Likes travel and appreciates football has allowed him to do so, naming Niagara Falls and the Acropolis as the most impressive sights he has seen.


Lived in Ongar with his wife Marie.

Started a newsagents and confectionery business in Felton Street, Hoxton with Tony Want.


Sunday Times 11.04.2010


Best career moment ?
Walking up the steps at the old Wembley to collect a winners medal in the League Cup final of 1973.


Worst moment ?
Relegation was the most horrible feeling and we went down in 1977 when we were rock bottom of the table.  But I think the most disappointing moment came a few years earlier with the realisation that the great Spurs team including Pat Jennings, Mike England, Martin Peters and Martin Chivers wasn't going to win the First Division title.


Best thing about being a player in your era ?
If you had something about you, you had a chance of making it at your local club.  I was a Hackney boy and Tottenham were always my club.


Who was the best coach/manager you had and why ?
I had the good fortune to play under two great combinations – Bill Nicholson and Eddie Baily, then Keith Burkinshaw and Peter Shreeves.

I regularly got it in the neck from the Spurs fans and remember having a nightmare against Wolves at home and five minutes from half time caused the loudest cheer when I was substituted.

Before playing my first game at Old Trafford I asked what it would be like.  Bill said it would be just like playing at White Hart Lane except up there 55,000 people would hate me, whereas at Spurs it was only 45,000.


Who was your best opponent ?
George Best without a doubt.  The man quite simply had it all on the pitch.  He could do absolutely everything.


What was your best venue ?
There was always something special about playing at Anfield.  There was the noise from the Kop and the intimidating This Is Anfield sign above the tunnel when you run out.  Bill Shankly used to stand there in his red tie having a word with all the away players as they walked past.  He often got me and Steve Perryman mixed up.


Who is the best player today ?
Some of the performances by Lionel Messi have been stunning, but you have to say that there is something about Wayne Rooney this season.


What is the worst thing about the game today ?
The infuriating habit of good players trying to get their fellow professionals sent off by acting.  I think the attitude towards opponents and I get really angry at the sight of Didier Drogba falling all over the place and making out he is badly hurt. 


What was the best advice given to you ?
My father always said always give absolutely everything because you never know if this game is going to be your last.


25 years I have had a window cleaning business.  For a couple of years I went back to Tottenham as assistant manager to Peter Shreeves but I kept the business going.  I have gone into partnership in a cleaning and asbestos clearing concern in Hertfordshire, as a supervisor alongside Mark Falco, who averaged nearly a goal every other game.  I work on the hospitality side at all our home matches and after playing for many years in the Old Boys XI, a dodgy knee and ankle mean I'm now on the touchline as an unofficial team coach.


Born in Hackney and attended Clark's College in Enfield.

Played for London FA Boys and spent a year with Brentford Youth.

Terry Medwin (now scouting for Fulham) recommended Pratt as he was coaching at Clark's College at the time.

Signed as an amateur, then full professional in November 1965, before debut in March 1969 away to Arsenal, coming in at No. 5 for Mike England. Lost 0-1.

Favourite game was 3-1 home win over Liverpool in League Cup 5th round replay in December 1972.

John lives in Marden Ash in Ongar, with an addition to the family this week, as Marie gave birth to David John, their first child born at St. Bartholemew's Hospital.

Has business interests in a newsagents and confectioners in Felton Street, Hoxton run by his mother, which he regards as “an insurance for the future.”

Keen cricketer and enjoys golf.


What they said about John Pratt
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What John Pratt said about ...
... his debut ...  24.04.1971 (THFC programme)

"I didn't know I was playing until 7 o'clock. It was certainly a big moment for me to get my first chance in a match like that."

... playing in the 1973 League Cup Final ...  21.12.1974 (THFC programme)

"It was a great thrill for me to find myself in the Wembley team for that final with Norwich. There's nothing like stepping out on to that pitch at Wembley.
I can tell you that it feels a bit different when you have to limp off after only 24 minutes. A groin injury did it. I tried my hardest to stay on, but I realised I was only a liability to the team in that condition. Still, it was better to have that share in our Cup win than nothing at all.

... on the Spurs performance in the League Cup 5th Round replay in December 1972 at WHL ...  21.12.1974 (THFC programme)

"Our display in the first half hour of that game was the finest by any Spurs team I have played in."

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Season League FA Cup League Cup UEFA Cup
1968-69 8 (+ 1 as a sub) - - -
1969-70 12 - (1 sub) -
1970-71 4 (+ 2 as a sub) 2 1 -
1971-72 15 (+ 8 as a sub) 2 4 5 (+ 1 as a sub)
1972-73 37 (+ 1 as a sub) 3 10 7


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