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Who Remembers Scott Spencer?

By Dick Anderson :  10/02/2010 :  Comments (37) :
I was at the recent Essex derby, Colchester vs Southend. I don't get to Goodison very often due to the long journey so I watch quite a bit of Essex football teams.

Anyway, when I took my seat inside Colchester's brand new stadium and when the teams were announced, I was surprised to see that Southend had a striker called Scott Spencer playing.

A bit of history on Scott Spencer:-

David Moyes signed him from Oldham in May 2006. At the time he was 17 and very highly rated.

Moyes paid around £200,000 to secure him and actually saw off a late bid by Spurs.

Spencer had never played for Oldham's first team but he had scored 29 goals for their youth side.

Oldham's manager Ronnie Moore had this to say of the lad "He is quick and he has a good eye for a goal. Over 20 yards he is lightning quick and when he gets a chance he finishes it."

At the time it seemed like David Moyes had secured a very useful player for the future.

Unfortunately it didn't happen for Spencer at Everton. He spent most of his time around the youth and reserve teams.

In 2008, Spencer was loaned out to League One side Yeovil but failed to break into their side and didn't make a single appearnce for them.

He returned to Everton and then a couple of months later was again loaned out. This time to League Two side Macclesfield where he made three uneventful substitute appearances before returning to Everton.

A year later, Spencer was the forgotten man at Everton having been overtaken by young strikers like Agard, Baxter and Jutkiewicz.

Spencer was released from Everton and appeared to be in the football wilderness. Then, during the summer, he signed for League Two side Rochdale and made 5 substitute appearances for them.

At the start of 2010, he signed on a free for Southend, where he scored on his debut and has been a regular for the past month. He even scored a second goal a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, he played up front for Southend in this game against Colchester and I was very interested to view his performance.

Spencer is 21 years old now but to be fair he doesn't look like a young player. His movement was very lumbered and any pace he once had was not evident during this game.

In the 73 minutes of football he played, I can't remember a single problem he caused Colchester. In fact, his performance was completely forgettable. He looks set for a career in lower league and it's hard to see what David Moyes ever saw in him.

The point of this post isn't to complain about the money Everton wasted on him because all promising kids are a bit of a punt. Rather I wanted to draw attention to how difficult it is for young players to make it at the highest level.

Lukas Jutkiewicz is currently doing well at Motherwell (10 goals now) but he soon could find himself released by Everton. Poached starlets Luke Garbutt and Femi Orenuga have big futures predicted for them but do they really stand a chance at Everton? More likely they may find themselves playing lower league football... like Scott Spencer.

Reader Comments

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Ciarán McGlone
1   Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:35:44

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Our promising youths never really seem to materialise...the ones we’ve actually spent money on seem particularly bad...

It seems we’ve a poor youth scouting set-up...
Larry Boner
2   Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:38:49

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Rodwell, Rooney, Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan, Baxter...
John Holmes
3   Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:53:46

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I don’t think that’s really fair, Ciaran, Agard looks promising and he was brought into the club, he’s not a local lad. Same goes for Vaughan who is a Brummie I believe. Gosling is coming along nicely after being brought in from Plymouth and we’re all excited about Coleman who was brought in from Sligo Rovers in Ireland.

There have definitely been some disappointments: Vidarsson, Turner, Spencer, Jutkiewicz for example, but as the original author says, it’s always a bit of a punt when it comes to youngsters.

As a further point, I believe the academy has its own transfer budget and none of these players were bought for money that could have been spent on the first team and Moyes may well have had only a limited input in comparison to the intense scouting he’s reputed to personally undertake when a first-team target is identified.
Andy Mack
4   Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:52:26

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I had expected a few more youngsters to break through to be honest, but I suppose there is hardly a full reserve team fixture list in the league anymore, games are sporadic and clubs are cutting back. And our last couple of managers haven’t exactly been open to giving youth a chance in the first team, unless forced. I remember Jevons almost making it here and then moving to the lower leagues and becoming something of a hot-shot.

Cadamateri too to some extent. Ruddy and Lukas are doing well up in Motherwell. But what of the young could-have-beens... like:

Peter Clarke, Milligan, Carney, O’Kane, Kissock, Vidarsson, Rodrigo(l).

Hopefully Anichebe and/or Vaughan can get it together after their injuries along with Coleman and fly the flag for the youngsters.
Ciarán McGlone
5   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:26:22

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Agard looks average to me...I’ll not be holding my breath..

Vidarsson, Lukas, Spencer are the three we’ve noticeably spent money on recently...

All useless....
Ciarán McGlone
6   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:28:13

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Sorry, I forgot about Gosling....

Never going to make it here....
Geoff Edwards
7   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:21:00

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Dick, I don’t think it’s just at Everton where it’s tough for kids to break through. The kids who actually make it through at any Premier League club are in the minority in comparison to those who end up on the scrap heap.
Jay Harris
8   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:28:02

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We have to bear in mind the fame and fortune of professional football now and for some of these lads to think they have made it already.

Also, on the other side of the coin, they need more motivation to get to the high levels that the Prem demands and some aren't up to punishing their bodies that much.
Jay Harris
9   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:33:26

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Also didn't we sign a Scott Spencer from Chelsea years ago?
Nick Entwistle
10   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:33:09

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Thing is, 15 year ago there wasn’t a foreign influx of players, now the kids coming through have to compete with a world pool of talent spotting.

The cream always rises, so they say...

Though bit harsh on Gosling there Ciaran, only 19 and plenty to offer in years to come...
Christopher Arellano
11   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:44:28

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Thanks for this update on one of yesterday’s once-promising "can’t miss" youngsters.
I remember the hype surrounding this player when Everton signed him. Then they disappear and having only time to follow the first team, I tend to lose track of this sort of "can’t miss" player. Hope you do this again with others - Peter Clarke, Danny Cadamatieri, Jamie Milligan, etc.
Where are they now?
Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:43:53

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At Everton Nick?

He might be a late blossom - but I honestly can’t see it...

Defensively he’s shaky and offensively he’s average... He’ll have a career no doubt — I don’t think it will be anywhere near the top of the Premier League — and maybe not even in it.

Harsh? Maybe... but it’ll probably be accurate.
Mark Stone
13   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:02:50

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Christopher, Peter Clarke has had, and continues to have a pretty succesful career outside the top flight. He’s currently captain at Huddersfield Town and was previosuly captain of Blackpool. He bagged against Chelsea for Southend in the FA Cup last year.
Jay Harris
14   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:08:19

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Whatever happened to "Martin Murray" the "New George Best"?
Tommy Coleman
15   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:13:15

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I think it’s a general problem with scouting in Britain. We tend to look for pace and power in a kid before technique and football intelligence. Hence, a kid who physically matures a little quicker than the rest of his age range gets noticed more as his performances stand out. Once everyone else has caught up they’re not as good as everyone first thought.
Steve Higham
16   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:22:32

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What about another blast from the past — whatever happened to David Smallman?
Ciarán McGlone
17   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:24:05

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Jay,

I think you may be getting him mixed up with Scott Sinclair....who we didn’t buy.

Maybe the same thing happened to our scouts -- a dodgy phone line and two blokes with similar names......fork handles.
Peter McHugh
18   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:33:14

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Local talent, we’ve done well over the last 10 years but when we’ve paid a fee for a youth, I can’t remember us being successful. Arsenal’s youth team seems light years ahead... as does Man Utd's.
Trevor Lynes
19   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:30:54

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EFC regularly let more or less all the academy kids go and in some cases, eg: Baines and Jagielka, we buy them back after they have been developed by other sides (poor economy)...

Richard Dunne is another who misbehaved at EFC and was let go, but since then he has had a very good career....

Rodwell seems to have come through very well and may fullfil all the good things that he is promising to do, but really, we do not develop too many through our youth system (Rooney apart). Perhaps it's a lot to do with our dithering manager who tends to rely on the regulars and only brings the kids in when he has to through suspensions or injuries.

In the old days, players were dropped into the reserves when they lost form and were not sat on benches having no match practice... now it seems most of the lads get paid for bench warming and some play about the length of one game every two months, spending an average of about 15 minutes actual playing time per game.

It's no wonder that they prefer to go out on loan. It's a pretty poor situation when a Premier League side has its young goalkeepers out on loan and an ageing Carlo Nash as back up for Howard.

Ray Roche
20   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:39:44

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Ciarán, I think the Martin Murray Jay may be referring to signed in the mid 70’s but suffered a couple of bad injuries and never made a first team appearance although he WAS called the New George Best when he signed. I wonder wat happened to Neil Moore who made his debut at Old Trafford some years ago (mid 90’s?) and looked a good prospect but faede from the scene.
Ray Roche
21   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:47:32

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Ciarán... I’ve just re-read your comments, wires crossed indeed! I got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Apologies.
Paul Martin
22   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:50:40

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Ciarán, Jay sort your heads out his name was John Spencer from Chelsea not Scott Spencer or Scott Sinclair. You muppets sound like a pair of Kopites not having a clue about the clubs history. I may be a bit harsh but it does my head in stop talking shit!
Jay Harris
23   Posted 10/02/2010 at 17:00:00

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Ciaran and Paul thank you for your correction.

Old timers must be kicking in.

Paul while I object to being called a muppet please dont ever compare me to a Kopite.
Dan Brierley
24   Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:51:39

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Trevor, Jagielka and Baines were not good enough when they were academy players. And had we kept them on, they would not have developed into the players they are today. They both learnt their trade in the lower leagues. They would not have got that experience playing in our youth team or reserves.

And whats your point about Dunne? We got him as a school boy, and then sold him on for 3 million! He was not ’let go’. He was sold. There is a huge difference.

I personally do not watch youth games, so I couldnt really comment on our policy. Obviously other people must watch them, or is it again people with the ’I reckon so it must be true...’ mentality commenting on things that they know absolutely nothing about? I suspect the latter...
David O'Keefe
25   Posted 10/02/2010 at 17:54:41

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I think your wrong on that score Dan, the club made a few cutbacks in the academy and Baines and Jags were the in one of the teams that were let go, It wasn’t all bad as Joey Barton was in the same team.

I could be wrong, but I’m talking about cutbacks made during the end of Peter Johnson’s chairmanship. Baines, Barton and Jage would have been 14-15 at the time so my case is based purely on arithmetic and not much else.
David K Shaw
26   Posted 10/02/2010 at 22:17:48

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We may even see Daniel Fox added to the Baines and Jagielka list at some point in the future? Seems to have had a reasonable start at Burnley having moved down from Celtic.
Tony Carney
27   Posted 10/02/2010 at 23:54:51

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At least we have an academy and give youth a chance unlike the muppets across the park.
James Stewart
28   Posted 11/02/2010 at 00:45:50

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I will go one step further than Ciaran! Gosling is one of the worst Everton players I have ever seen. He is complete garbage. No pace, no skill, no awareness and can't pass.
Matt Traynor
29   Posted 11/02/2010 at 02:40:44

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We’ve had a few down the years that were hotly tipped.

John Ebbrell - remember reading a full-page article at Uni in The Independent (it was a housemate's), tipping him to be an England regular / even captain, for a decade. Injury saw to him.

Billy Kenny - mentioned recently on here.

Michael Branch was another one who faded into obscurity quickly after leaving. Phil Jevons... the list goes on. But loads of clubs have the same thing.

Occasionally you get the odd one who has the mindset / attitude to "prove you wrong", but generally all clubs get it about right.

Having lots of youth players on the fringe of the 1st team is something bitter-sweet. It shows we’ve got talent potentially emerging, but is symptomatic of our injury situation / squad depth due to finances etc.
Mark McDonald
30   Posted 11/02/2010 at 06:18:35

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Does anyone know whatever happened to Nick Chadwick? He too, showed early promise. Did he not score on his debut vs Man U? I think he went to somewhere like Plymouth? Must still be playing somewhere?
James Elworthy
31   Posted 11/02/2010 at 10:24:31

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Nick Chadwick now plays for Barrow.
James Elworthy
32   Posted 11/02/2010 at 10:48:05

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I sent the comment without finishing.
Who Remembers Scott Spencer? Why should we remember him? He made zero first team appearances, sat on the bench zero times and from what I gather, struggled to get a start in the Reserve team.
Matthew Mackey
33   Posted 11/02/2010 at 10:39:21

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Dick, a nice piece and very infomative.

I hope Scott Spencer may be able to turn his footballing career around before the opportunity completely passes him by.

Why am I so interested in this piece? Because the way you describe the young Scott is almost a mirror image of my own son. Half British, half Ghanaian, he’s like grease lightening out wide on the left. A deadly left foot and a good right foot too. 23 goal from 18 games this season and most of those are from tanking down the left like a steam train and burying it past the keeper. Good vision, always passes when he has too, but always scores when he can. A good temprement, always polite, always listens and is always willing to learn (first touch could do with improving though).

He appears to have all the right credentials to make a good career in football but I’m still not 100% certain. Why? because he’s only 8 years old and there’s a long long way to go (but we love him to bits whatever happens!!!)

ps: If he ever played for Everton one day I would die a happy man!

John Green
34   Posted 11/02/2010 at 12:34:06

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I remember David Smallman - he only played 20 odd games but I remember his goal against Sheffield United on his debut - check out this link http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/columnists/2007/11/03/the-man-who-was-deserted-by-luck-100252-20052779/

The Spencer we signed from Chelsea was John Spencer aka ’The first catholic signed by Rangers’ who was front page news in Scotland when he signed for Rangers at the age of 9 (I think).>
Ciarán McGlone
35   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:08:16

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Er...Mr Paul Martin..

Wind yer neck in.
Tony O'Rourke
36   Posted 11/02/2010 at 21:09:37

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Paul Martin, well said. Muppets.
Brendan O'Doherty
37   Posted 12/02/2010 at 01:26:15

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Whatever happened to Scott Phelan? Youth Team player of the year in 2005-06 I think. Saw him once against Bohemians in Dublin and he was excellent. (A 17-year-old Victor Anichebe was playing upfront and was awful.)

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