I got an assist for Spurs on debut and then switched to painting and decorating
TOTTENHAM’S forgotten man Jamie Slabber has revealed how he went from assisting on his Spurs debut to working as a painter and decorator.
The Enfield-born striker came through the Lilywhites’ youth set-up and finally got his chance in a blockbuster clash against Liverpool in March 2003.
Slabber replaced Gary Doherty in the 79th minute and laid on Teddy Sheringham to score late in the game.
Unfortunately, it proved to be merely a consolation as Spurs lost 3-2 at White Hart Lane.
But Slabber has fond memories of that day as he was handed a taste of Premier League football by then-manager Glenn Hoddle.
Speaking to Planet Football, he said: “I never thought I was close to getting a chance because we had Rebrov, Iversen, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and Sheringham.
“I thought I was close but didn’t think I’d get the nod. But a few were injured and others suspended and luckily Hoddle threw me in for the last 10 minutes. It was decent, a boy’s dream.
“I wasn’t nervous on the team coach, but I started to get nervous when I was warming up, as you could hear the crowd and people wishing me good luck.
“But when I did get on I couldn’t hear the crowd as I was so concentrated on the game, I was in my own little bubble. We lost the game 3-2 – all the lads said I did alright but that it was time to kick on.
“The manager gave me a special mention, but I had mixed feelings as we’d lost but I’d had my debut for Spurs so I was buzzing.”
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Slabber went back to the reserves after being named as an unused sub in Hoddle’s squads for their games against Bolton and Birmingham.
He was then ruled out for six to eight weeks after rolling his ankle and damaging his ligaments.
And while Hoddle promised him more opportunities in the following campaign, the Spurs head coach ended up being sacked in the summer.
After that, Slabber failed to return to the first team as he was made to play with the Under-19s, before Martin Jol eventually told him his contract would not be renewed.
He left in 2005 and ended up at non-league Aldershot, spending more than a decade playing in the lower divisions for the likes of Grays, Stevenage, Woking, Eastleigh, Sutton and Bromley.
He eventually hung up his boots in 2018, revealing he was forced to go back to work shortly after departing Tottenham.
He added: “You get to an age where you need to give up on the dream and come back to reality; you’re never going to get where you were and you need to do something to get by. I had a mortgage and a young family.
“I got released at 20 or 21, gave it a few more years in the Conference, then at 24 or 25 I knew I wasn’t getting back into league football, so I had to grow up.
“I went to college to do a painting and decorating course, I did an electrician’s course as well.
“Now I’ve got my own business and I’ve got people working for me, so I’ve not done too bad.”
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