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Steve's pride

Posted on 15 July 2009  - 12:00

Spurs legend Steve Perryman takes a great deal of pride from playing host to the club he played a record 854 games for in his role as Exeter City's Director of Football.

Steve's pride

Spurs legend Steve Perryman takes a great deal of pride from playing host to the club he played a record 854 games for in his role as Exeter City's Director of Football.

We begin our pre-season friendly schedule against the Grecians at St James' Park tonight (Wednesday, July 15). Kick-off is 7.45pm.

The match is a sell-out and Steve, who lifted the FA Cup at Wembley in 1981 and 1982, is delighted.

"That is huge respect to the name of Tottenham Hotspur," he said. "Okay, that's obvious, but you could still go to a pre-season game and it not be sold out.

"It also marks our first game back at St James' Park since we won an epic game at Rotherham on the final day of last season to gain automatic promotion, so it's respect to that as well.

"It also brings credibility to the club to pull in a crowd like this for a pre-season game."

Steve's long and glorious playing career at the Lane ended in 1986. He returned as assistant manager to Ossie Ardiles between 1993 and 1994 but in all the time since then - time that included successful years in Japan - he's only faced Spurs once and never competitively.

He recalled: "When I was manager of Brentford in the late 1980s and Terry Venables took over, Spurs were out of the FA Cup, so were we, Terry wanted a quick look at his team so we fixed up a game on fourth round day.

"We drew 0-0 and it gave Terry a chance to look at his squad. That was the first time I vied against Tottenham, but not competitively and as this is a friendly as well, that still stands."

As Steve mentioned, Exeter achieved back-to-back promotions with a nerve-wrenching last-day success at Rotherham last season.

He took his current role up in 2004. "A lot of it has been frustrating because you can't always do the things you want to do because of lack of finance," he said.

"It does put under question how much you can coach and improve the players you've got, because we can't just go out and buy players.

"So there is frustration but actually there is a bit of joy as well because when you do spend time with players and help them, it's hugely satisfying when you see them improve and results improve and therefore the club improve."

As for his title, he smiled: "I don't know what it means but from my point of view, I help the manager.

"I help with the success and the failure of the club, the manager makes the decisions and I'm there almost every day to help in those decisions when he can't quite decide this way or that.

"He'll ask for my opinion and if I give an opinion one way or the other, arguably we'll go with it.

"If you can keep your manager fresh to go and inspire those players at the training ground every day and I can help that by taking a bit of pressure of him, with his agreement, then he will able to inspire those players a bit better."

Finally, as for Spurs, he sees a bright future for Harry Redknapp's men. "The team looks more competitive and the clue is the improved results against the top-four teams. If they can win the games they are entitled to win and maintain that then the club has a chance of moving up."