A product of our youth set-up, Allan Cockram emerged onto the first team stage at White Hart Lane during our successful 1983-84 campaign – and learned to appreciate the smaller things in life in the process.
A Spurs supporter as a boy, the confident winger made his senior debut in a First Division clash with Watford at the beginning of January, 1984, and worked with our squad as we went on to taste UEFA Cup glory at the end of that season.
He also featured in a league defeat at Southampton just days before the first leg of the European final against Anderlecht as manager Keith Burkinshaw deployed a fringe side to protect the big-hitters for the forthcoming showpiece.
They were understandably memorable times for the now 52-year-old (pictured, right) but, looking back on his spell with us, he says events off the field influenced him just as much as those on it in ahead of his later career as a footballer-turned-fire fighter-turned-businessman.
“Growing up, I was at Spurs for 10 years from schoolboy level all the way through and what you don’t always realise is that you go from a boy to a man without realising it,” reflected Allan.
“Tottenham were the team I supported as a lad so to play with the greats like Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle and Steve Archibald was a dream come true.
“I remember vividly when I used to clean Steve’s boots as a youngster. He used to have a go at me when I first started, saying I hadn’t cleaned them well enough because I hadn’t got a toothpick and cleaned out the lace and stud holes!
“But one day he took me out for the warm-up and I remember his studs clinking on the concrete of the tunnel leading out to the pitch. He said to me: ‘I’d like to thank you for cleaning my boots the way you do because you help me feel good on a Saturday.’
“That’s one of the biggest life lessons I’ve ever had – it was all about attention to detail, what that meant to him and what it taught me going into later life. I linked up with Steve again at Reading a few years later and he remembered it when we spoke about it. To me that was an honour.”
Indeed, similar attention to detail was required by the whole squad during that successful era – and Allan can fully appreciate how talented a side we had because of it.
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