Updated: May 10
Talking to Garry Brooke in an American-themed restaurant in Enfield Town provided one of the most revealing, funny and moving interviews of the book. Brooke was doubly unlucky with Spurs, a talented midfielder who just happened to break through at a time when Spurs had some of the best midfielders not only in the First Division but in the world on their books, he was then involved in a car crash at the age of 23 that effectively ended his career. But Brooke, perhaps the most regular of all the regular guys we interviewed, does not feel sorry for himself and spoke at length and with enthusiasm about his time at Spurs.
His account of the car crash and its aftermath manages to be both intensely moving and, thanks to Brooke’s trademark London wit, features some moments of dark humour. But I particularly liked the way Brooke, who is still involved in coaching, talked about the laying of the game. He was the first of the players we spoke to who really made us realise just how crucial a figure Peter Shreeve was, and it’s clear Brooke idolised the man.
And one comment Brooke made really stood out, one which provides yet another example of changes in the game that have not necessarily been for the better. “Coaching is great but it’s difficult now compared to when i started in 1993,” he said. “Kids get very short lessons. The standard is poor because they don’t play enough. When I was a kid, on a bad day I’d have got four hours of football in; kids now are lucky if they get four hours a week.”
• The Boys from White Hart Lane is available direct from Vision Sports Publishing in paperback for £6.99 or ebook on Kindle for £5.97.