Two Essex teenagers walked away from White Hart Lane last week each with a six-month contract as Football Freestylers with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
Alex Palmer (above left) of Loughton and Ben Hart (above right) of Waltham Abbey, both 17, battled it out pitchside at our famous stadium in the Grand Final of the Epping Forest Freestyle Competition for the chance of follow in the footsteps of world-renowned trickster Billy Wingrove (above centre).
Billy, who has worked alongside some of the world's greatest footballers and performed on stages such as Wembley stadium and the Lane itself, judged the competition - knowing the winner would get the unique chance to work alongside him engaging, inspiring and educating young people throughout our local community using their skills.
But although Alex was the outstanding performer on the day, picking up the trophy and the contract, such was the performance of runner-up Ben in the tough wet conditions in N17 that Billy could not overlook his potential.
As a result, he too was awarded a contract, and the pair will get the chance to enhance their skills over the coming months within the Foundation's wide-ranging community programme.
"The standard was fantastic - they've taught me a thing or two! When you want to win a prize as big as a contract at the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation then you have to be at your best, as both of these guys were today - that's why it was so hard to choose between them.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for these young people to be involved at such a big club, being able to take what they've learnt practising on the streets to actually becoming performers in front of audiences."
Outright winner Alex said:
"It was a challenge performing in front of an audience, especially in the wet conditions which made the ball slippery, but the performance itself is a bit of a blur and now I can hardly believe what has happened! It's an incredible feeling."
And the equally impressive Ben added:
"It was a great experience performing in front of friends and family at a venue like White Hart Lane, and now I'm really looking forward to the next six months and continuing to perform my skills in front of audiences."
There were also finals held for ages 11 and under and ages 12-15, with the results as follows:
Ages 11 and Under
Winner: Cameron Hockley, age 9, Waltham Abbey
Tommy Daltrey, age 11, Waltham Abbey
Ollie Tozer, age 11, Chigwell
Winner: Kayne Cranfield, age 12, Loughton
George Reynolds, age 15, Chigwell
Densel Mlambo, age 13, Waltham Abbey
The Epping Forest Freestyle Competition was run in partnership with the District Council's Sports and Health Development Team.
Heats took place during late January/early February at four different venues across the Borough, the winners from each advancing to the Grand Final.
The winners of the younger age categories received a trophy and four match tickets to a Spurs first team game at White Hart Lane.