The newest ex-Tottenham manager, Tim ‘gilet‘ Sherwood was asked to jog on today after taking Andre Villas-Boas’s eye-wateringly expensive squad to sixth in the league.
Tottenham fans can be certain of a few things – our best players will be sold to United or Real Madrid and our managers will be sacked in a seemingly counter-intuitive fashion. Chairman Daniel ‘Step into my office’ Levy has binned no less than TEN managers since 2001. Admittedly the Premier League is hardly the bastion of managerial job security, but students of the game will note that during this period Arsenal had just Eagle look-alike Arsene Wenger, and Man U had just Sir Alex Fergusson (and Fergie Lite for just under one season) and have a shedload more trophies through that period than our two League Cups.
But, because you don’t have enough pointless run-throughs of other people’s misery in your life, here’s a run through Tottenham’s managerial hanging gallery under Levy.
New dawn, same as the old one
George Graham (1 Oct 1998 to 16 March 2001) belonged in Nick Hornby books, not at Tottenham. There were rumours that the Wembley crowd sang his name when we beat Leicester City one-nil in a depressing final, thanks to an Alan Neilsen scrambled-in-with-his-head goal, but I reckon that was bullshit. Graham’s era was all Alan Sugar scowling, ugly Pony kits and Ruel Fox. When Levy’s group brought Sugar out, sacking George Graham it was classic pandering to the fans by getting the boring football, one-nil, hoof-it-up merchant from Arsenal out of the dugout. Little did we know it was the start of a depressingly familiar pattern.
Glen Hoddle (2 April 2001 to 21 Sept 2003) as a player is everything Tottenham is about. The unexpected and the sublime. No-one could stand around the centre circle spraying passes with their shirt out and socks around their ankles looking as cool as Goddle. His dedication to football’s aesthetics and un-willingness to tackle made him a hero at the Lane, and a misunderstood nearly-man for his country.
His nasty shooting oneself in the foot habit stopped him being great as a manager. With England, his fine team was knocked out by dastardly Argentina in a fantastic match, but then became embroiled in faith healer and unforgivably crass-comment controversies. At Tottenham there was euphoria and hope that finally we had a smart young manager that would lead us to attractive-passing-glory, etc etc etc. The reality was more mundane and Glenda was moved on six games into the 2003 season with Spurs in the relegation zone.
Harry Redknapp (25 Oct 2008 to 15 June 2012) – I never really wanted him, but I was wrong. ‘Arry seemed a knee-jerk ‘let’s get a good-old-English-geezer-in’ appointment and too *West Ham* for us, but he soon showed he could match the best tactically and build a fantastic team. In his first season he sealed fourth spot with a squeaky-bum win at Man City. We had a decent run at the Champions League and WASTED Inter Milan along the way with Luka Modric, an emerging Gareth Bale and, erm, Peter Crouch. Then there was the court case, the rumours he was off to his (probable) dream job with England and that whole missing out on the Champions League because of stupid Chelsea unpleasantness before Harry too was told to sling his hook.
Andre Villas-Boas (3 July 2012 to 16 Dec 2013) may yet become one of the best managers in the game, just not at Tottenham. His intense, academic, player-alienating moneyball approach had early success, but after spending an un-Tottenham SHITLOAD of cash on players with no Premier League experience between them and seeing them struggle, he was given the support of the board and time needed to put his managerial plan into action, despite the initial hiccups*.
*Just jokes, he was sacked.
If Harry Redknapp felt like a knee-jerk-ingly English appointment, Martin Jol (5 Nov 2004 to 26 Oct 2007), Jaques Santini (3 June 2003 to 5 Nov 2004) and Juande Ramos (29 Oct 2007 to 25 Oct 2008) felt like knee jerk ‘let’s get one of them Europeans in’ efforts. Santini was a mystery, hardly there really before resigning of his own accord. Ramos won a trophy (the good old League Cup), but was woeful in his first actual season, while Jol managed over 150 games in charge, almost making the Champions League early on (if it wasn’t for a dodgy lasagne). He certainly raised the bar, getting us into the top six or thereabouts consistently. Jol was certainly affable and had a decent amount of time, but was ultimately not the answer we were looking for.
The good old Tottenham boys
David Pleat, Clive Allen and Tim Sherwood are cannon-fodder. Men with Spurs in their blood lured to the White Hart Lane bench on a hiding to nothing, then binned as soon as something better happens along. Expect to see Steffen Freund in this role in the near future.
And so, we enter another summer, a World Cup one at that with no idea who’ll be in the cockerel blazer at the start of the next season. sportreview.net.nz’s dream appointment remains Jurgen Klinsmann, but as he’s taking the USA to the World Cup, that seems unlikely.
Arsenal are a handy club to compare ourselves with, and even though their fans may grumble about lack of investment etc etc etc, with Wenger their team has out-Tottenham-ed us at the pretty football, they’ve been in the Champions League every year and have many more trophies that count. Maybe all this swap and change is part of the culture. Notoriously fickle Tottenham fans are quick to get on a manager’s back when things aren’t going swimmingly and Levy, apparently a local lad and fan, is generally quick to give the fans what they want. As he looks for his 11th Tottenham manger, he may reflect on his own role in overseeing this shambles. Hopefully some out-of-the-box advisor advises picking someone decent and sticking with him. We’ve given everything else a go – why not have a crack at stability?