Republic of Ireland: Ex-Tottenham and England scout Ted Buxton recalls brilliant Eire call-up error

How often do you look at a person’s surname and assume their heritage? It turns out that was once the source of much amusement in international football selection.

Ted Buxton, the former assistant and chief scout to Terry Venables at Tottenham and England, recalls a humorous incident while at Spurs, involving the Republic of Ireland selecting one of the club’s young players for the under-18 side, Chris Kinnear.

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Kinnear was a first year professional at Tottenham, and Maurice Setters, Jack Charlton’s number two for the Republic, asked Buxton if he could do the honours and inform the youngster he’d been picked to represent Eire.

But when told he’d been selected for the under-18 team, Kinnear queried, "Where’s Eire?"

"That’s Ireland. You must have Irish blood if you’ve been picked for Ireland," said Buxton.

"I didn’t know that," a confused Kinnear responded.

After being told by Buxton to check out his family history – in the hope of finding a grandparent or long lost family member from Ireland – a couple of days later Kinnear returned to his office with an update.

"My mum’s gone back to the 1800s and we can’t find any Irish heritage."

Eventually, Buxton phoned Setters to find out exactly why Kinnear had been chosen when it was clear there was no Irish blood running through his veins.

Setters' response on the phone, after telling Charlton next to him that "the boy’s not Irish", was simple: "With a name like Kinnear he must be".

This story, and many more, can be read in Ted Buxton: My Life in Football.

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