In part two of The Football Interviews, Matt Jarvis talks with former Tottenham Hotspur star Micky Hazard about his career, his thoughts on the current Spurs squad and what makes Spurs so special to former players. Welcome to Part Two of Last Word on Football’s series, The Football Interviews.
The Football Interviews: Micky Hazard
Matt Jarvis spoke with Micky Hazard for The Football Interviews on Tuesday September 4th 2018.
Q: For Yourself, what would you say it is that creates such a strong connection with Tottenham Hotspur for ex-players?
MH: I joined as a 12-year-old schoolboy. You come down to a big club like Spurs, get scouted at the age of 12, signed at 14 and by 16 you are on the YTS (Youth Training Scheme), so you spend all of your early life learning the Tottenham way. Learning the Tottenham tradition, the philosophy, the Tottenham style. It just gets into your blood.
Having spent the first ten/eleven years of my professional career being successful, winning trophies and playing with some of the best players in the world, my education was nothing but Tottenham. I was lucky I suppose, in that everything that Spurs stood for and stands for, the motto (Audere Est Facere), the belief in the way the game should be played, was exactly the way I saw the game. It was the way I believed the game should be played and the way I wanted to play the game.
Spurs are good at involving ex-players and I think it is the way things should be done. I love to see football clubs welcoming back ex-players and giving them a role to play. There is no one better at talking up the history, the style and philosophy of the club than ex-players. They have all had that Tottenham education. Once you have played for Tottenham Hotspur you don’t want to leave. You see it with the likes of Ricky and Ossie coming back to support the club in everything they do.
Q: Under Mauricio Pochettino, do you think we are starting to again see that connection between players, the fans and the club?
MH: I think what we have seen over the last three or four years is more homegrown talent coming through. If you look back at the history of football, look back at my era at Spurs; the team was made up of predominantly homegrown players supplemented by big name signings. If you look at United [Manchester] and their glory years under Ferguson, again it was predominantly homegrown players with some big name signings. I believe that the basis for long-term success is to continually produce homegrown players because they become the heart and soul of the club. Add to that big name signings and you get an education working on both sides. The homegrown players teach the bigger names about the history, philosophy and tradition of the club and the homegrown players learn how to play the game better. For me, it is the perfect recipe for success. The likes of Kane and Ryan Mason can instill everything about Tottenham into others.
The Fans’ Love of the Club is ‘Unconditional’
Micky went on to talk about how fans’ love of football clubs is unconditional.
MH: I am asked why I love Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. For me, I have had the fans sing my name, cheer when I scored goals, win trophies. So there are great reasons for me to love this football club. But fans love the club unconditionally, often without that inside knowledge and education that I have had. For me, there is no greater love than a football fan’s love of their football club.
Q: What do you think that Spurs fans should see as success?
MH: You have to look at where you start from. Before Pochettino, we weren’t in the healthiest of positions. There was some gradual improvement but it was taking quite a while. Poch has brought this team and this club a long way. My opinion of the Champions League for instance, whilst I love the games, the incredible atmospheres and I can’t wait for the games against Barcelona, PSV, Inter Milan, is that with the money it brings in has created certain clubs and players that are content to not win trophies. If you gave most chairmen the choice of top four or the FA Cup, most would choose fourth because of the income. But I would always choose the FA Cup. It’s a trophy. Football is about glory and winning a trophy will always be glorious. It might be seen as glorious to come on the blind side and finish second in the league but in twenty years time, no one will be talking about who finished second, third or fourth.
Spurs Building for Long Term Success
Last Word on Football asked Micky about Spurs’ future and what he feels the club are aiming for.
MH: We are building a team that are going to win lots of trophies. We have it right in the way that we are going about things. I think we have it the most right since Alex Ferguson. We have a new stadium which will be excellent, have training facilities that are excellent, a team not far from being one of the best and we are geared for long term success. The club are in a great financial position. I don’t want that player that costs £200 million. I don’t want my club to be in masses of debt. The way we are building will reap its rewards in the not too distant future. We have built our house on a good foundation and it wil stand us in good stead for evermore.
Q: Do you think there is extra pressure on Spurs to win a trophy?
MH: There is pressure on everything in football. Radio show pundits, TV pundits keep saying that Spurs ‘must’ win a trophy. There are 92 clubs in England. There are only three major domestic trophies. So only three teams can win a major domestic trophy. Of course, there is pressure to win a trophy but there a lot of good teams, a lot of financial clout. Manchester City are owned by a country! There is nothing more that I want to see than Spurs winning things. But I want to see us win doing it the right way. To be able to say that this is how you do it without getting into ridiculous debt.
In the final question in this edition of the Football Interviews, LWOF asked Micky:
Q: Who was the best player that you played with over your two spells with Spurs?
MH: There are two. Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles. Both played the game the way that I like to see it played. One was the most gifted footballer I have seen in my lifetime – Glenn Hoddle – who was so gifted it was incredible. The other had the best football brain I have seen in my lifetime – Ossie Ardiles. I was honoured and privileged to play with two such geniuses. Even though they were very different, there is more than one way to be a genius, it was a pleasure. Even now I look back and I was blessed to play alongside two unbelievable footballers.
Micky Hazard was talking to Matt Jarvis for Last Word on Football who would like to thank Micky for his time in taking part in The Football Interviews.
Part three of the series will be coming up in the next few weeks. Keep looking out for our next guest!