He’s fought ev­ery step of the way to make it

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Chris Dunlavy

HOW good a coach is Chris Ram­sey? A swift glance at the next Tot­ten­ham team sheet should tell you ev­ery- thing.

When the 53-year-old ar­rived at White Hart Lane as as­sis­tant to academy chief John McDer­mott in 2005, the last youth prod­uct to truly make the grade was Led­ley King, by then nudg­ing 26.

A decade on, you can barely move for home­grown tal­ent; Harry Kane and Ryan Ma­son, Danny Rose, Na­bil Ben­taleb and An­dros Townsend. Steven Caulker is on loan at Southamp­ton, Jake Liver­more a reg­u­lar at Hull.

Most in the Premier League. Many of them in­ter­na­tion­als. All guided by the nur­tur­ing hand of Ram­sey.

“He was mas­sive for all of us,” says French midfielder Ben­taleb, now 20. “He be­lieved in us, he en­cour­aged us. He told the man­ager we were ready when ev­ery­one else be­lieved we were not. He was not shy or scared of any­body and he knew ex­actly what he wanted.” These days, those sen­ti­ments are echoed across the game. With an MSc, ten diplo­mas and myr­iad other qual­i­fi­ca­tions, Ram­sey is so highly ed­u­cated that he ac­tu­ally sets the test for pro li­cence can­di­dates.

Yet his en­try into coach­ing was largely ac­ci­den­tal and his route to the top lit­tered with soul-sap­ping ob­sta­cles.

A de­cent, hard-tack­ling full-back nick­named Rambo, Ram­sey played for Charl­ton as a school­boy and com­pleted his ap­pren­tice­ship at Bristol City be­fore join­ing a Brighton side on the rise un­der Alan Mullery.

“He was quite a shy lad back then but he had ev­ery­thing you want in a full-back,” said team-mate Andy Ritchie. “Ag­gres­sion, pace, agility – and he could tackle like a de­mon.”

Ram­sey played in the 1983 FA Cup fi­nal de­feat to Man United –“a spe­cial mo­ment”, he said – but it would prove the zenith of his play­ing days.

Though a Di­vi­sion Four cham­pion with Swin­don un­der Lou Macari in 1986, nig­gling back in­juries grad­u­ally robbed him of mo­bil­ity and, by 1989, he was forced to re­tire at the age of 26.


“I thought I would be OK be­cause I had a few lit­tle busi­nesses go­ing,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately, I soon re­alised I’d over­es­ti­mated my acu­men. In the end, I had to get the boots out again within two years.”

Broke and di­rec­tion­less, Ram­sey played for Mal­tese side Naxxar Lions, then Co­coa Ex­pos, an am­a­teur out­fit in the United States. “I had to change some­thing,” he said. “So I started study­ing.”

And how. Ram­sey worked as a per­sonal trainer in a gym, learned re­hab tech­niques, put him­self through cour­ses on phys­i­ol­ogy and anatomy. He even hired a tu­tor to teach him maths so he could ap­ply for univer­sity.

Next came a re­turn to Lon­don and that Master’s course in Health, Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Recre­ation, fol­lowed later by his UEFA badges and a stint in charge of Ley­ton Ori­ent Ladies.

“If I didn’t get a job be­cause there was some­one bet­ter, fine,” he said. “But there was no way I was go­ing to al­low any­one to tell me I was not qual--

SOM­BRE: Ram­sey is con­soled af­ter Brighton’s de­feat in the 1983 FA Cup fi­nal

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