A seven-year-old boy whose mother hails from Cunningsburgh has taken the first steps towards hopefully becoming a professional footballer.
Dawson White has just signed schoolboy terms with famous London club Tottenham Hotspur, witnessed by club ambassador Ledley King, the former Spurs and England defender.
He hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Tottenham greats such as Dave McKay, Jimmy Greaves, Ossie Ardiles, Glen Hoddle, Paul Gascoigne and Gareth Bale.
Dawson is the youngest son of Emma Johnston, a former Young Fiddler of the Year in Shetland, and her partner Darren White. Emma now teaches at a primary school in Walthamstow while Darren works for the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Although his father is a huge Tottenham fan, football ability can definitely be found on Dawson’s mother’s side. His grandfather, retired teacher Gordon Johnston, was a talented player in his day, as were his great uncles Alastair and Jim, while his cousin James is a member of the current Shetland senior side.
There is no doubt that Dawson’s school, Larkswood Primary in Chingford, has a reputation for unearthing talent. Current Spurs and England striker Harry Kane is a former pupil there, while a certain fellow called Beckham also emerged from Chingford in the 1980s!
When the school heard of Dawson’s achievement it decided to do something to mark the occasion and he has now been invited to design his own boots via the Nike website. An assembly was held in his honour and he will be visiting the younger school years so the pupils can ask him questions about Spurs.
Darren described the day his son signed on for the club as “something special”.
He said: “At 9am we went to White Hart Lane, parking in the players’ car park before going for coffee and an opening address in the main banquet suite. They then showed a video of the boys’ skills/goals etc from the last few weeks and a compilation video of Spurs’ greatest moments. I’ve seen it about 10 times and it still brings a tear to my eye.
“To say that the boys were excited is an understatement.
“We all then went on a stadium tour. Dawson was last seeing Ledley King as they did it in alphabetical order. We all went in, shared a few jokes then he signed the contract.”
Dawson’s contract is a standard one-year FA one, and he gets free kit, training, matches, trips abroad, tournaments, match tickets, etc.
An attacking midfielder, Dawson trained with lots of clubs, most notably Chelsea, West Ham, Reading and Leyton Orient before deciding on Spurs.
He was “very excited” at getting to sign for his favourite club and said: “I got a bag which is bigger than me, training gear, training shoes and a training track suit, a polo shirt and a big coat. It’s the same training kit as the first team.
“Today I just played on the pitch at White Hart Lane.”
He said his favourite players at the club were Kane and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris while at world level they were Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Excited grandfather Gordon said it was a “marvellous achievement” and a “great opportunity” for the youngster.
He said: “Heavens knows how it will develop. He certainly loves his football, and his coaches think highly of him. He just has that ‘something special’. It’s hard to put the finger on.
“Everyone round here is delighted, and amused, with Dawson’s achievement. And I’ve told him that if Spurs don’t renew his contract next year he can come north and play for the village team instead.”
Dawson’s granny Linda suggested that he might take some of his football skills from her side of the family – the Jamiesons from Central in Sandwick – but Gordon was having none of it.
“Na, na,” he said. “Da music maybe comes fae da Central but da fitba comes fae Bremmer!”