Tottenham Hotspur at the NI Milk Cup


Tottenham are competing in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup for the third successive year. This is the thirtieth anniversary for NI Milk Cup 2012 and Tottenham are past winners of the prestigious youth competition, having won it in 1990 and in 1996.

The Northern Ireland Milk Cup is a premier international youth tournament which is centred on the town of Coleraine but is played at grounds around the area.  To avoid a clash with the opening of the Olympic Games in London, the tournament commences on Saturday, 21st July rather than its traditional Monday start.  The official parade around Coleraine will be on the Sunday evening.  The Finals night will be on Thursday, 26th July.  Matches will be played at venues in towns around the North Antrim coast – Coleraine, Portrush where the Irish Open Golf Championship was played last month, Portstewart, Ballymoney, Limavady and Ballymena. This year to mark the tournament’s 30th anniversary, the local County teams will play their opening match on the Saturday afternoon in their home County, so Spurs’ first match this year will be in Portadown, County Armagh.

The team will be competing in the Premier Section for players born on or before 1st January, 1995 with a squad of eighteen players who will play five matches over the course of the tournament. Each match will be two halves of 35 minutes.

Partial History of Tottenham in the NI Milk Cup


The Tottenham team contained a young player who would go on to make 89 League appearances for the club, scoring 21 goals and win 23 England caps. Nicky Barmby finished the competition in 1990 with the Golden Boot as top goal scorer and joint winner of the Player of the Tournament trophy. Spurs won the Milk Cup with Nicky Barmby scoring twice in the Final. The team was also awarded the trophy for the ‘Most Sporting Team’. Barmby was transferred to Middlesbrough a she wanted to move nearer his home in the north of England for a fee of £5.25 million. He also played for Liverpool, Everton, Leeds united and Hull City where he was manager for part of last season.


Spurs’ 1996 winning squad may have included Ledley King and Peter Crouch. They won the Final with a single goal from John Piercy who was the ‘star’ of the team being compared in local newspaper reports with Nicky Barmby.

Results: Spurs v Hearts Won 2 – 0 David Twinell, Luke Baulkham

v Middlesbrough Won 2 – 0 John Piercy, Wayne Vaughan.

v Co. Tyrone (Result unknown – but Spurs needed only a draw to qualify for quarter-finals)

Q/F v Bromby Draw 0 – 0 (Spurs won 4 – 2 on penalties)

S/F v Crewe Alexandra Draw 1 – 1 James Dormer (Spurs won 5 – 4 on penalties)

Final: v Blackburn Rovers Won 1 – 0 Piercy

John Piercy was the ‘star’ of the Final in a low-key match but his goal when it came late on was a bullet-like shot right out of the blue. Wayne Vaughan was another name to attract attention against a Blackburn squad containing David Dunn.

In the Tottenham handbook, the Coach,Bob Arber, wrote at the time, “We had a terrific start to the season when we took the first year Trainees over to Ireland for the annual Milk Cup Tournament. It was a great experience for the youngsters, playing against their counterparts from high Premier League and European opposition, and it was fantastic to beat a much older Blackburn Rovers side 1 – 0 in the final.”

What happened to Piercy? He had 1 League start for Spurs (+ 7 subs) and a League Cup appearance and in 2002 moved to Brighton where he made their League team and remained for two years.


Spurs returned the following year with King and Crouch in their squad. The opening match was against Co. Armagh and ended scoreless – Crouch having the best chance but the goalkeeper made a great save. Cairan Toner from Armagh was in the Spurs team, having been included in the previous year’s victorious squad.

I believe that Tottenham did play in the Milk Cup on other occasions but records are limited. There was, however, a long period when they didn’t participate until Harry Redknapp gave his commitment to the organisers that Spurs would send a team for the 2010 tournament. This is the club’s third successive year in the Milk Cup.


Results: v Co. Londonderry Won 4 – 0 Dombaxe, Hawkins, Angol, Yeboah

v Tottenham Hotspur 1 KV Mechelen 0 Dombaxe (pen)

Q/f: v Co.Donegal Schools Lost 1 – 2 Dombaxe

4th – 8th Play-off: V Porto Draw 0 – 0 (Lost on penalties)

7th – 8th Play-off: v Belvedere (Dublin) Won 5 – 0 [Finished 7th]

The Tottenham squad included: Kevin Stewart who has just been awarded a first year professional contract and was a regular in last season’s NextGen series team and the Spurs XI. The ‘star’ of the team was Laste Dombaxe who was only fifteen and still with the Spurs Academy.


Results: v Otago Won 4 – 0 Ball (2) (1 pen), Oduwa, Opp. o.g.

v Co. Fermanagh Won 2 – 1 McEvoy (2)

v South Coast Strikers Lost 1 – 2 Lamerias (pen)

7th – 8th Play-off: v Cherry Orchard Won 4 – 3 Lamerias, Gardiner, Akindayini, Opp. o.g.

5th – 6th Play-off: v South Coast Strikers Draw 1 – 1 Ball (Won 4 – 2 on penalties) [Spurs finished 5th]

Spurs return to the Milk Cup this year and will face two of their opponents from  last year, South Coast Strikers (Monday 7pm at Limavady) and Otago (Tuesday 7pm at Coleraine). The opening match is against Co.Armagh at Shamrock Park, Portadown at 5pm tomorrow.

Bob Arber’s comment from 1996 is still relevant – the Northern Ireland Milk Cup is a great experience for all the young players.