John Pratt – A Tottenham Legend?

IMG_0232John Pratt made over 400 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions over eleven seasons in the first team. A loyal servant to the club, can he be regarded as a Spurs Legend?

John Pratt was a loyal servant to Tottenham for whom he signed as an amateur, before signing as a professional in 1965. He made over 300 League appearances and scored 39 goals. His debut was against Arsenal at Highbury in March,1969. Although the team lost 0 – 1, Pratt kept his place and started eight of the last ten games of the season.

Pratt’s Stats:

League: App. 307 (24)  Goals: 39
FA Cup: App. 23 (5)  Goals: 2
League Cup: App. 27 (4)  Goals: 7
Europe: App. 24 (1)  Goals: 1

For the next three seasons Pratt made infrequent appearances in the team although his first goal was in a 3 – 2 victory at Arsenal in September, 1969. In the 1971-72 season when Alan Mullery was out for a lengthy period due to injury Pratt had a prolonged run in the team and on returning to fitness Mullery was unable to regain his place and went on loan to Fulham. It was an injury to Pratt which saw the Tottenham captain recalled and the rest is history as he led the team to success in the latter rounds of the UEFA Cup.

At the start of season 1972-73 following the departure of Mullery, Pratt was given his opportunity in midfield. He was part of the successful League Cup winning team that season but his appearance in the Final lasted only 20 minutes. Pratt started the game ahead of Ralph Coates but was injured early on and Coates who replaced him duly took his moment and scored the goal which won the trophy

Pratt was part of the UEFA Cup team which reached the Final in 1974 and continued to be a regular and important member of the team until 1980 scoring many cracking goals. He was part of the team which was relegated in 1976-77 but like captain Steve Perryman was determined that the club would regain their place in the top flight and was an ever present in the promotion season. In the first season back in the 1st Division he initially lost his place with the arrival of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa. But after a few poor results he was restored to the team as Keith Burkinshaw looked to use his experience and fighting qualities.

A totally committed player, he worked tirelessly for Tottenham over the years but at times his work-rate and industry weren’t enough for Tottenham supporters. Pratt tells this story of his difficulties and is quoted on Wikipedia.

I had been getting it in the neck a bit from some of the sections of the crowd at Spurs but Bill expected his players to be men, and he said that the crowd paid our wages and were entitled to have their opinions. So one day, before I was due to play my first game at Old Trafford, I asked him what I could expect. He replied that it would just be like playing at Spurs, except that up there 55,000 people would hate me, whereas at Spurs it was only 45,000.

John Pratt went to America to play for Portland Timbers in 1980 but later returned to Tottenham as a coach and was Assistant manager under Peter Shreeves for two season from 1984.

Is John Pratt a Tottenham Legend?

For me, John Pratt isn’t a Tottenham Legend. He played in a very good team with outstanding players and was prepared to work hard in every game and give 100% effort all the time. He demonstrated loyalty to the club and was Tottenham through and through and possibly a ‘cult-hero’ of the time.

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Is John Pratt a Tottenham Legend?

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A conversation with @myfootballfacts brought these interesting comments:

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Topics: Alan Mullery, John Pratt, Legend, Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur

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  • matt

    John Pratt was as honest a pro as you could ever wish to see. Always gave 100% for the shirt, never shirked a challenge and even chipped in with a few goals. However the juxtaposition of the words legend and John Pratt, as in ‘the legendary John Pratt’, whilst it might make an interesting Hollywood film title, is surely an oxymoron!

    In the early ’70′s, when he was trying to establish himself, Pratt was an artisan in a team of artists, a prosaic figure of limited skill, a poor man’s Steve Perryman. Subsequently, in the mid ’70′s, when he established himself in the team, it was a side that was in decline and was in fact relegated.

    Perhaps, in the eyes of the crowd, his presence in the team symbolised everything that Spurs had lost in that era. The great midfield generals of the calibre of Mackay, Mullery and Peters had gone, Souness had been lost to homesickness and history and with Perryman himself, occupying an echelon slightly below the aforementioned greats, Pratt represented the nadir in terms of artistry and creativity.

    Pratt was indeed the butt of quite a lot of ribald Cockney wit from the terraces and possibly, due to longevity, in time he did even become something of a minor ‘cult hero’. However, any honest assessment of John’s career, could not ascribe legendary status to it!

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