The FA Youth Cup reaches the last 32 this week, so a timely look back at the clubs history in this competition. Having won it three times and finished runners up twice, only three teams have won the competition more often than Spurs. Our wins coming in 1970, 74 and 1990. We also look at players who featured in the tournament over the years.
Tottenham first reached the final in 1970, meeting Coventry City. All finals have been held over two legs. A Tottenham team containing Steve Perryman and Grahame Soulness won the trophy 4-3 on aggregate.
I have been unable to track down much information re this success other than being fairly sure that Soulness (1) was sent off in the Final. 1974 saw our second success when we beat Huddersfield. Drawing the first leg 1-1 and winning the second by the only goal. I’ve listed our team and any notes of interest. Whilst some players went on to bigger things a large percentage failed to progress.
Our team included Ian Smith, A England Youth player who made two first team appearances before moving on to Rotherham. Micky Stead played 15 games and moved to Souuthend. Andy Keeley, 6 games then transferred to Sheffield United. Wayne Cegielski was a Welsh under 21 player but never played for us. Noel Brotherston who only made one appearance for us before joining Blackburn but when on to play for Northern Ireland in the 1982 World Cup (2). He also scored the goal to win the British Championship in 1980. He died of a heart attack aged 38. His midfield partner was Neil McNab. Neil became Tottenham’s youngest professional when he signed and the youngest first team player at 16. He made 72 appearances for the team scoring three goals and was a Scottish Under 21 international. Chris Jones won one England Under 21 cap. Played 185 games for Spurs and scored 42 goals. He moved to Manchester City for one hundred thousand pounds. Born in the Channel Islands he now runs a soccer school there. Other players were,Roger Gibbins, John Margerriso, Ian Cranstone and Gary Anderson,
A number of future Spurs players featured in the Youth Cup final before joining Spurs. These include Mike England, Terry Venables, Terry Fenwick, Paul Gascoigne, Jonathan Woodgate, Michael Carrick, Paul Robinson and Gareth Bale. Jimmy Greaves also played in the 1958 Final with Chelsea. I have picked that final out as Chelsea won the first leg 5-1 only for Wolves to win the return 6-1.
Our next appearance in the final came in 1981 when we lost to West Ham. Our team that year was Tony Parks. He made only 37 appearances for spurs but will always be remembered for the penalty shootout when we won the 1984 UEFA Cup. He is now on the coaching staff at Norwich. Mark Cockram was at right back in the second leg and played two games. The left back was Pat Corbett. He made his league debut at Southampton in 1981 and scored the winning goal. He made only five appearances for the club. He later played in Finland. Simon Webster played only three games for us and moved to Huddersfield and after he finished playing became a physio. Ian Crook won three England B caps before moving to Norwich. Where he spent most of his career and is in their Hall of Fame. Terry Gibson scored four goals in 18 games for us. He later won the FA Cup with Wimbledon and now works for Sky Sports. Mark Bowan, a Welsh international, he scored twice for us in 17 games. He was an unused sub in the 1984 UEFA cup final and is now coaching at Stoke. Other players were, Jimmy Bolton, Kenny Dixon, John Cooper, Steve Cox and Mark Entwhistle. The West Ham side including future Tottenham player of the year Paul Allen.
The competition is open to players between 15 and 18 on the 31st August of the current season. Over 450 teams entered this years competition. The competition was the brainchild of Sir Joe Richards, President of the Football League. At first the clubs were not keen on the idea. The Football Association however embraced the idea and the first competition took place in 1952/53. This is the 63rd season the cup has been competed for.
Our last success in the final was in 1990. That season not only did we win the FA Youth Cup, but also the SE Counties League for the 5th season in a row. We also won the Southern Floodlight Cup. We lost the first leg at Highbury but overturned Arsenal in the second leg to win the trophy on aggregate.
In the Youth Cup our opponents were Middlesbrough. We won the first leg away 2-1 with goals from Potts and Houghton. In the second leg captain Morah scored in a 1-1 draw to give us the trophy. The team was Ian Walker, Ian played 260 games for us and was an England international, He is now coaching in China. Ian Hendon was an England Under21 and had 4 games for us. He is now coaching at West Ham. Warren Hackett never played for the first team, but won 21 international caps for St Luica. Neil Smith also never played for us. He moved to Gillingham and later on Fulham where he once scored against us. David Tuttle played 13 games and moved to Sheffield United. Scorer of that winning goal Olisa Morah was an England schoolboy but never played for us. Scott Houghton scored two goals in ten games. Both his goals came in the famous ‘Floodlight turnaround’ (3). He is now a policeman and is featured on a TV reality show following real life police on Sky TV in the UK. Stuart Nethercott was a sub in both legs of the final. Other players were Victor Hardwicke, Gregory Howell, Kevin Smith, L Fulling, Tony Potts and Neil Smith.
The actual trophy had been purchased by the Football League some years earlier during World War 2 but had never been used. The League presented it to the FA to use in this competition.
Our last appearance in the final was in 1995 where we met Manchester United. Spurs won the first leg at home 2-1 with goals from Wormull and Allen. United pulling one back five minutes from time. We were a few minutes away from victory when United scored to take the tie to extra time. Which ended goalless. We lost the shootout, when Fenn, Brady and Mahler all scored but Spencer and Carr missed. United missed one penalty from Phil Nerville.
Our team was Simon Brown, he never played for us but did later win the Scottish League Cup with Hibs. Steve Carr was right back the Irish international played over 270 games for us. He was a firm favourite with the fans until he moved to Newcastle and then said he had moved to a bigger club. Kevin Maher a Republic of Ireland Under 21 who never played for us. Simon Wormull whose only first team game was in the Intertto cup. Simon Spencer another England school boy laid on the first goal for us but never played in the first team. Stephen Clemence scored twice in nearly 100 games for Spurs, one England Under 21 cap and is now coaching at Hull. Peter Gain a Republic of Ireland under 21 who never featured for Spurs. Neale Fenn another ROI under 21 player, he played 11 times and scored once in the League Cup. Rory Allen scored four times in 23 games. When we sold him to Portsmouth he was their first million pound signing, He retired soon after through injury. I did read he now works at the Foreign Office in London. In the second leg a sub was Gerry Brady, a Scottish under 21 player who had 9 games for us. Others were, Ross Darcy, South Africian Mark Arber, Mark Janney and Aaron Shave.
In the last round Ismael Azzaoui,( top image) our under 17 Belgium international hit a hat trick as we beat Blackburn. Whatever the outcome of this years competition the future is looking Lilywhite.
Notes – 1 - Grahame Soulness, made his name by running away form the club several times saying he was homesick. Even his MP complained about how badly he was treated. A large body of opinion at the time felt it was more bad behaviour as he had came through the ranks with Steve Perryman and was upset he did not break into the first team with him. He is on record as telling Bill Nicholson that he was the best player at the club, several times. He was successful elsewhere and featured in Scotland's World Cup campaigns, see the ‘ Flying Down to Rio’ series.
2 – Flying Down to Rio 17.
3- We have mentioned this game before, Spurs home to Luton 1991, We were a goal down with half an hour to play when the floodights failed. Scott came on after a 15 minute break and Scored twice as we won 4-1.
Thank you – THFC, Hotspur HQ, The Cockerel Crows, FA, Andy Greaves,
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
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