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Hammer time for U17s

Posted on 4 May 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

<P class=MsoNormal>Following the first team&rsquo&#59;s victory over Liverpool in November, George Graham offered an insight into the club&rsquo&#59;s vision for the future &mdash&#59; and much of what he said centred on our youth academy.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>The ex-boss did not attempt to take any credit himself, but he did single out one crop of youngsters for special praise &mdash&#59; Jimmy Neighbour&rsquo&#59;s under-17 group.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;Outstanding,&rdquo&#59; George enthused. &ldquo&#59;The under-17s really are superb.&rdquo&#59;<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>Rich praise indeed. But the side in question are on the verge of making quite an impact on youth football. Jimmy&rsquo&#59;s team finished second in their league and progressed to the FA Premier Academy League play-off group stage, which they won by beating Bristol City and Southampton while securing a draw with Charlton.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>Now comes the big test. The competition now moves on to the knockout stages and the under-17s travel to Chadwell Heath to take on Jimmy&rsquo&#59;s former club West Ham on Saturday morning.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoBodyText>Jimmy, who took over the under-17 reigns from Ricky Hill in July, is naturally delighted with the way the season has developed but, like most academy coaches, is always reluctant to overplay achievement. <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;I&rsquo&#59;m pleased for the boys,&rdquo&#59; said Jimmy. &ldquo&#59;They&rsquo&#59;ve played ever so well in the last six weeks. They&rsquo&#59;ve looked a really good side and I&rsquo&#59;m pleased with their development at the moment.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;They&rsquo&#59;ve had their ups and downs, we&rsquo&#59;ve had some bad times - don&rsquo&#59;t worry about that. The good thing about this lot is that they&rsquo&#59;ve come through them and looked stronger for it.&rdquo&#59;<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>West Ham are highly thought of in youth football, and many observers believe them to be favourites for academy honours. They do have a victory to their name over our under-17s, but it was back in October and could be described as a blip when you look at the season as a whole.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;We&rsquo&#59;ve played them before, they beat us 4-1 and are a very, very good side,&rdquo&#59; recalled Jimmy. &ldquo&#59;Obviously they&rsquo&#59;ve got to be to get where there have this season.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;I&rsquo&#59;m sure that if we play to our ability we&rsquo&#59;ll give them a good game, if we play the way we have recently it will certainly be very close.&rdquo&#59;<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>Such has been the impact of this crop within the club, many have graduated to the reserve side in recent weeks and have made quite an impression, and their boss very proud.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;It&rsquo&#59;s very satisfying to see the boys push on. Whether they would have got those opportunities without the injuries we&rsquo&#59;ve had we don&rsquo&#59;t know. But, because the club has had them, some of the boys have gone on to play in the reserves and they&rsquo&#59;ve not let anyone down.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;You&rsquo&#59;ve got to remember that they&rsquo&#59;ve only been out of school a year and they&rsquo&#59;ve still got another two years playing youth football, and yet a lot of them are pushing up and playing senior games.<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;So I&rsquo&#59;m pleased for the kids and, obviously for the club as well, and hopefully the future with the kids is good.&rdquo&#59;<o:p></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal>Should you not be travelling to Leicester on Saturday, how giving the boys a cheer at Chadwell Heath? The quarter-final against West Ham at kicks off at 11am and will be settled on the day. Should the scores be level after normal time, extra-time and penalties will come into play.</SPAN><I>By Richard Hubbard</I>