Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tottenham's 1990 FA Youth Cup Winning Team

Tottenham Hotspur have won the FA Youth Cup on three occasions, the last time being in 1990 when Spurs had one of their most successful youth teams, winning three trophies that season.  However, being a member of a winning team in the country's most prestigious youth tournament is no guarantee to having a successful career in football.

May, 1990  FA Youth Cup Final (1st Leg) v Middlesbrough (a) Won 2 - 1 Potts, Houghton
                                                   (2nd Leg) v Middlesbrough (h) Drew 1 - 1 Morah
Tottenham Won 3 - 2 on agg.

Team: (1st Leg) Walker; Smith, N., Hendon, Tuttle, Hackett; Hardwicke, Howell (Nethercott), Smith, K., Houghton (Fulling); Morah, Potts.

(for the 2nd Leg Fulling started in place of Howell who replaced him during the game.  Nethercott replaced Morah) 

Tottenham's youth team of season 1989 - 90 retained the South East Counties League Division for a fifth successive season, won the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 1974 and only the third time in Tottenham's history and defeated Arsenal in the Final of the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup, coming from a goal down after losing the first leg at Highbury to win 2 - 1 on aggregate.

This was the club's most successful youth team, in terms of winning competitions, since 1970 when the youth team included Steve Perryman and Graeme Souness.  The team was managed by Keith Waldon who regarded the team's win over Manchester City at Maine Road in the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup as their best performance of the season.  Spurs won 2 -  and in Waldon's words, "The scoreline really flattered City. I thought we were far superior on the day.  To beat City on their own ground and to do it so convincingly, was magnificent."

The manager was also very complimentary to the players while adding a word of caution that it was up to the individual players to continue to improve in order to fulfil their potential.  He regarded Ian Walker and David Tuttle as the most outstanding players throughout the whole season for the fact that they rarely made mistakes and were very solid, holding the team together when things got difficult.

What Happened to the 1990 FA Youth Cup Winners?
Ian Walker, Tottenham
Ian Walker was the most successful of the group, having been regarded by Waldon as 'one of the most outstanding youth team goalkeepers that he had ever seen'.  He went on the make 260 League appearances for Tottenham and won 4 England caps.  he made his first team debut in season 1992 - 93 but it was 1995 - 96 season before he made the goalkeeping position his one.  For the following five seasons he was first choice and played in the 1999 Worthington Cup win over Leicester City.  It was a difficult period for Spurs and Ian Walker irritated many fans due to what they regarded as his carefree attitude when things weren't going well for the team.  The arrival of Neil Sullivan from Wimbledon in 2002 saw Walker lose his place in the team and he moved to Leicester City for £2.5 million the following summer.  He spent three years with Leicester before going to Bolton as understudy.

Neil Smith was the most versatile player in the youth team, having played the previous season as a striker and being the team's leading goalscorer.  He moved into defence but could also play in midfield.  He left Spurs in 1991, signing for Gillingham after a period on loan.   After six years he moved to Fulham and played against Spurs in the FA Cup, scoring Fulham's goal, past former youth team colleague, Walker, at White Hart Lane in a 3 - 1 defeat in 1998.  In 1999 he joined Reading and after three seasons he moved into non-League football.  Smith helped each of his three League clubs achieve promotion.

Warren Hackett played at full back in the successful youth team but was released at the end of that season.  He went to Leyton Orient and in four seasons made 76 League appearances.  after a year at Doncaster, he spent four season with Mansfield Town, making 117 appearances.  He had two years at Barnet before retiring due to injury.  He made 21 international appearances for Saint Lucia.

Ian Hendon was captain of the youth team and the England youth side.  Waldon viewed him as quite an accomplished player who had a lot of work to do to prove he wasn't just a good youth team footballer, but was capable of going all the way to play in senior football.  He progressed to the Tottenham senior team, making 4 substitute League appearances for Spurs and also playing for the England Under-21 team.  He was a member of the FA Cup winning squad and the squad for the Charity Shield at the start of the next season.He went out on loan and was transferred to Leyton Orient in 1993 for £50,000.  After four seasons he went to Notts County and two years later moved on to Northampton Town.  He joined Sheffield Wednesday in 2000 and had a short time with Peterborough before joining non-League Barnet.  he helped them win promotion to th eFootball League and spent six seasons there, including time as manager.

David Tuttle had started as a centre forward in youth football but was moved in to central defence the previous season and in the words of his manager, 'showed a lot of promise.'  That promise was fulfilled as he made it into the League team at Spurs, making 14 appearances before being transferred to Sheffield United in 2003.  He also signed for Crystal Palace, Barnsley and Millwall.  He became assistant to Colin Lee at Millwall and in 2005 was appointed manager.  He left the following summer having failed to avoid relegation.  He is at MK Dons as chief scout and manages on non-league football.

Vic Hardwicke played in midfield but was released by Spurs at the end of his successful youth team season.

Greg Howell played in midfield in the first leg of the Final and was substitute for the second game.  He left Spurs on a free transfer in the summer of 1993 without progressing beyond the reserves.  He was at Enfield Town for three years from 2005.

 Kevin Smith was a physically strong midfield player for the youth team.  He made a few reserve team appearances the following season but was then released by Spurs.

Scott Houghton was a speedy winger who could use both feet.  He scored a goal in the 1st Leg of the Final at Middlesbrough.  He made his Spurs debut in September, 1991 as a substitute against Manchester United.  In his next game, he came on as  a substitute against Luton Town and scored twice as Spurs won 4 - 1 at White Hart Lane.  it was a memorable match as Luton had gone ahead just before the interval.  The second half was interrupted for fifteen minutes when the light failed but on their return Spurs came alight and scored four, Gary Lineker scored twice as well.  (see the goals here)  Houghton made 10 League appearances, all as a substitute before joining Luton in 1993.  He played for a number of lower League clubs, having his best spells at Peterborough, Walsall, Southend United and Leyton Orient.

Ollie Morah was a first year apprentice in the Cup winning team who scored 28 goals that year, including the goal in the 2nd leg of the Final.  He remained with Spurs until August, 1992 when he signed for Swindon Town.  He failed to make any League appearances there and after two years dropped into non-League football with Sutton United.  He later played for Cambridge United and Torquay United.  He is became a coach at Tottenham in 2005 with the Academy Under-13 players.  

Andrew Potts was another first year apprentice when wining the FA Youth Cup.  He was leading scorer that season with 30 goals, including a goal in the Final.  He was released in the summer of 1993.

Lee Fulling was released by Tottenham a few weeks after the Final.

Stuart Nethercott was a first year trainee when he made his substitute appearances in the FA Youth Cup Final.  He made it to the Tottenham first team and made hid debut in 1993 in a 1 - 1 draw at Chelsea.  He made a number of appearances over the next eighteen months but at the start of the 1994 - 95 season, Ossie Ardiles selected him to partner Sol Campbell at the heart of the Tottenham defence, ahead of Gary Mabbutt.  It was in the attacking, care-free days of Jurgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham and the defence was left over exposed, leading to Ardiles removal as manager.  Nethercott had a further three seasons at the club playing when others were injured.  one such occasion was the FA Cup semi-final against Everton and unfortunately for Nethercott he had a poor game at full back as Spurs lost 1 - 4 and their Cup winning dream was shattered.  He went to Millwall in 1997 and made over 200 appearances in seven seasons, helping them to promotion to the Premier league and an FA Cup Final although he missed it as he had been loaned out to Wycombe for whom he signed in the summer of 2004.

Only Ian Walker made himself a regular team member with Tottenham and only a small number of the players managed to have a career in lower League football.  As with the 1995 FA Youth Cup team, being part of a successful youth team gives no assurance of making a career in League football.  Tottenham continue to spend vast sums of money on their Academy in the search for quality young players but even with all the expert coaching provided there is no certainty that any of those young players will progress to the first team, never mind make themselves a regular and vital member of the team.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:21 pm

    He went to Millwall in 1997 and made over 200 appearances in seven seasons, helping them to promotion to the Premier league and an FA Cup Final.

    Millwall? In the Premier League? Man, I've never been that wasted...