A blast from the past!
This year, as regular readers know, Spurs Odyssey is harking back 10 years to the 2009-10 season, at the end of which we qualified for the Champions League for the very first time. Now we are playing in our fifth such campaign, and for a fourth consecutive year.
Spurs Odyssey was established 20 years ago this year and has added two earlier seasons of archived reports. One of the benefits of our archives is the fact we also carry Youth and Reserve match reports, for most of our 22 seasons. Most of the reports have been written by Ray Lo, who has always admired the football played at these junior levels. Ray has often travelled across Europe, and even over the Atlantic Ocean to see our young players competing in various tournaments. The most notable of these events has been the UEFA Champions Youth League, and of course we will play our part in this seasonís tournament.
Under head coach Harry Redknapp (he was never granted the title of being a manager at Spurs Ė unlike Mauricio Pochettino), Spurs did not field a formal reserve side in the 2009-10 season. We did however have an under-18 side which competed in the Premier Academy League.
10 years is an interesting period in which to observe and comment upon the development of some of the players who featured not only in our under-18 side, but those of opponents.
I thought the game played on 29th August 2009 was of particular interest. Our opponents were Manchester United, who historically have often field strong sides at Youth and Reserve level. This game was no exception and United ran out 3-1 winners in a game played at the old Spurs Lodge at Chigwell.
The Spurs side was captained by 16-year-old Harry Kane, who had featured in a few games at the end of the 2008-09 season but became a regular starter in 2009-10. Harry wore number 10, as he does now, and generally played in the Youth team as an attacking midfielder, rather than as an out and out striker. Harry did score a good number of goals and was a penalty taker even then.
Spurs' U-18 captain Harry Kane pictured in 2009
Other players in the Spurs side that day will be familiar to many, others less so, and some completely unknown by most fans. The same applies to those in the United squad, although it is a fact that more of that United team (and bench) are playing today at the highest level in England.
This article will focus on some of those individuals on both sides. Spurs goalkeeper Oscar Jansson was born in Sweden and has been playing back home for Orebro for 7 years now. Jansson was on Spursí books for 5 years but never appeared for the first team. He did have spells on loan with Exeter, Northampton, Bradford City and spent the Irish 2012 season with Shamrock Rovers, playing 31 games.
Right back Sam Cox has a post within the Spurs Academy, but this year was proud to Captain the Guyana National team who qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time. Now 28, Sam spent time on loan at Cheltenham, Histon and Torquay whilst on our books, before being signed by Barnet. He also had a spell on loan with Borehamwood before spending three seasons at the Hertfordshire club, and latterly three seasons with Wealdstone.
Left back Zaine Francis-Angol spent three seasons at Motherwell (2012-15) before a transfer to Kidderminster Harriers and latterly AFC Fylde. Zaine has this summer been signed by League One side Accrington Stanley.
Dean Parrett will be one of the names familiar to most Spurs fans. Dean will be 28 this November and was an England under-19 International in 2008-09, with whom he scored 4 goals in 5 games. Dean had already been given first team exposure by Harry Redknapp in UEFA Cup games against Shakhtar Donetsk in February 2009. Dean also made substitute appearances for Spurs in the early part of the 2011-12 season against PAOK and Rubin Kazan in the Europa League. Dean was strongly fancied to make the grade at Spurs, but it didnít work out and he has been playing his football in the lower divisions of the Football League with Stevenage, Wimbledon and Gillingham. Dean has just re-joined Stevenage from the ďGillsĒ this summer.
Centre-back Scott Olumide Durojaiye has not played in the Football League, having played in Scotland for Falkirk and Brechin (on loan), before non-league spells with Enfield, Haringey Borough, Welling United, Braintree, Maidstone, and most recently Woking.
I have not found any record of Anton Blackwoodís football activities after leaving Tottenham.
Nathan Byrne is now 27 and is currently a very popular member of the Wigan side, where he has spent the last two full seasons and part of the 2016-17 season. Nathan is an attacking full back and had a successful time at Swindon, before being snapped up by Wolves where he did not truly break through.
Paul-Jose MíPoku has also forged a successful football career, but not in England. An attacking wing player, Paul-Jose spent three seasons in Belgium with Standard Liege, followed by two loan spells with Cagliari and Chievo in Italy. MíPoku was signed by Chievo, but then loaned to Panathinaikos, before returning to Standard Liege over the last two seasons. Paul-Jose is a full International for DR Congo and featured in this yearís Africa Cup of Nations.
Another former Spurs Academy player Jacques Maghoma (currently with Birmingham) was in the same International side.
Kudus Oyenuga was a prolific goalscorer for Spurs U-18 side 10 years ago, but he is another player who hasnít "made it" at League level. Now 26, Kudus had loans with Mypa (Finland), Bury and St Johnstone, before signing for Hayes & Yeading. Oyenuga has been up and down the UK playing for clubs in England and Scotland, but most recently has been seen at Dartford, Welling and now Margate.
Spursí number 11 in that Manchester United game was Paul McBride, who is one of those I cannot find in my football records. On the bench we had goalkeeper Jamie Butler, who is currently with Sutton United. Coskun Ekim was born in Turkey and was on the books of Trabzonspor in 2010-11 but returned to England and non-league clubs in 2013.
Midfielder Jake Nicholson also had a brief period on loan at Mypa in Finland, and had brief spells with Morton and Wimbledon, before falling to non-league status. Chace OíNeill is another player whose further career is a mystery to me, but the last name on the Spurs 16 is a familiar one. Ryan Fredericks excited Spurs fans with a 45-minute Europa League appearance against Anzhi in December 2013, but of course we are less enamoured with him now he plays for West Ham!
I do not propose to mention every member of the United squad, but I will focus on some familiar names:-
Left back Zeki Fryers would become a Spurs player in a deal which upset Sir Alex Ferguson in his last season in charge of United. Fryers left United for Standard Liege for a small compensation fee after Spurs declined to sign for a fee of £6 million. Spurs snapped up the 20-year-old for half that money in January 2013. Fryers didnít make the impact we hoped for, and eventually transferred to Crystal Palace, before having two seasons with Barnsley before signing this year for Swindon.
Josh King scored two of Unitedís goals against Spurs in this game in August 2009 and having been born in Oslo is a seasoned Norwegian International. King has been a regular at Bournemouth for the last four seasons. Robbie Brady is a republic of Ireland International and currently at Burnley having previously played at Hull and Norwich after leaving United.
Substitutes against that Spurs U-18 side Michael Keane and Jesse Lingard need no introduction. Keane spent the best part of three seasons at Burnley, before his transfer two years ago to Everton. Lingard, now 26, remains a United regular, and is also a full England International.
Other members of the United U-18 team of 10 years ago have had Football League careers such as Reece Brown, Nicky Ajose (currently Exeter) and Ryan Tunnicliffe (currently Luton).
Look out for future occasional articles reporting the progress of young players of yesteryear.
Top of page | Index to 2019-20 Matches & Reports