You won’t believe the number of ex-Tottenham managers in this post!

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.

The in-betweeners


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.’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?

Highs so high, lows so low

Harry’s Tottenham has a lot to like about it. Modric, with his geometrically perfect passing and Bale, with runs that make defenders turn into office chairs are the jewels in the crown. Van Der Vaat (his wife is awesome on Twitter) though, is my favourite, all running, giving everything for the cause – he just looks like he loves Tottenham and would do anything for us. There’s old pros (King, Friedal, erm Nelsen), young kids (Walker etc) and about 37 quality midfielders to choose from.

At one stage, we were playing sublime football, all wingers, full backs, overlapping runs, tasty balls through the middle (ooo-er) and goals going in all over the place. We were also genuinely challenging for the league. Or so we told ourselves. And anyway – the beauty of being in the top three for the first  three quarters of the season was that surely, surely, if we messed up, at least we could fall back on Champions League qualification for next year.


Um, this is Tottenham, haven’t you been paying attention? The two Big Distractions came mid season. First came the ‘is Harry Redknapp a dodgy geezer?’ court case, to apparently no effect. The players rallied around and continued winning. But then, on the day Harry was found not guilty, Fabio Capello flounced out (if you can flounce out in a car) of the England job. All of a sudden the newly-not-dodgy ‘Arry was the popular choice for England. And Spurs began crapping themselves.

The slide was painful. Whenever Tottenham start doing well, I’m bracing myself for the inevitable failure. THIS SEASON, for the FIRST TIME, I’d finally come to terms with us being a Proper Team, a team that wouldn’t just inexplicably fold in a Tottenham-like matter when it really counted. But slide we did. Second. Third. Fourth. FIFTH. Jesus wept.

Somehow, we kind of turned it around toward the end, and clung on to fourth. If it wasn’t for WBA’s second choice keeper throwing the ball into the net three times against Arsenal, we would have wrapped up third and a definite champions league spot on the last day, but we should have wrapped up third (at least) months ago. We only had ourselves to blame.

And so, our fate was in Chelsea’s hands. The veterans Terry, Lampard, Drogba, all tackles, dirty tackles, painful OTT goal celebrations, referee abuse and loathsomeness beyond reasonable levels had one last chance to get that European trophy their owner has been so desperate to buy. But against Bayern? In Munich? Surely they’d have no chance.


Again, this is Tottenham.


I worked myself into an epic frenzy on the Twitter but sadly, it had no effect on the outcome. Chelsea, with their football-free style took it, in the most painful fashion you can imagine if their success was the difference between your team making the Champions League next year. It was awful.

And so, we’re out of (proper) Europe, and I expect it’ll be a very long off season. Some Spurs fans have turned on Harry after his flirtation with England. Modric and Bale will no doubt be linked with every top Italian or Spanish club, and may well go. I don’t have a clever way to finish this, it’s been a harrowing, frankly. As Ali G said, there is a high, but there is also a low. I’d love to be optimistic that we’ll build on what we have now, but you know, this is Tottenham. Let’s see who’s still there next season.

Back, in a fashion

Australian Open
I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Australian Open. The January evening matches are perfect for us Kiwis to loll around in front of with a beer and full stomach, in the heat. The top four men making the semi finals meant the ‘epic-ometer’ was going off, and the cringe-inducing Aussie commentry team had to draw even deeper from the hyperbole well than ever.

Andy Murray must be kicking himself very hard indeed – Djokovic looked like he was going cold turkey on a 3 year heroin habit midway through their semi final, but still managed to deny the Scot. Murray must be slowly coming to terms with the prospect that nothing good is likely to happen for him, tennis-wise, ever. Federer had moments in his semi final when he looked like he’d ballet-step all the way to collect the trophy, but he just can’t sustain it over a whole match these days. He’s still obviously the best at hitting a tennis ball in the game, but he’s no longer the best at winning tennis matches.

The final, however, was more gripping and harrowing (not to mention longer) than a ‘watch the Downton Abbey box set and Christmas special’ party. Nadal is still a class act, but Djokovic is my favourite. From his wild eyes, to his stumbling exhaustion, to his scarily-competitive-looking girlfriend and the guy in his entourage who wears sunglasses at night, he has it all. The Serb is a champion I can get behind.

Links: here’s an incredible ball boy catch and the fantastic In Focus photo blog covering the tournament.

Nelsen to Spurs
Somehow, we have the All Whites’ captain now, making Tottenham the most popular club in New Zealand right now, and the most likely to be turned on when ‘Arry plays international window injury funny business. To celebrate, and amuse NZ’s most popular spurs fans on Twitter @sportzfreak and @Chris_Brain, I got Ryan into some famous Spurs moments.

Update – there’s more on this transfer window genius at Sportsfreak, along with some really crappy Photo shop work.


Choking and berserkers – how’s your world cup so far?

The Black Caps’ win over Pakistan has catapulted us from tournament also rans to the tournament’s Toxic Avengers. Ross ‘Rose’ Taylor celebrated his birthday by spending 30 overs looking more lost than Tony Grieg at a ‘knowing what the fuck you’re going on about’ conference, before launching into the Pakistan attack like it was his laptop during a heavy ‘tweeting’ session, and celebrating in the traditional manner.

In fact, if we grasp at straws hard enough and link Taylor’s innings and Irish legend Kevin O’Brien’s knock against England, we can call this the ‘berserker’ tactic. The equivalent of rugby’s ’99’ call, berserker use in cricket is a huge opportunity, and we could see soon teams sending their 12th man sprinting on with a bat in each hand to threaten the fielding side, in a move sure to be labelled the ‘Bracewell’.

The berserker – the future of cricket, or Graeme Smith relaxing in his hotel post-match?
Of course, after Pakistan’s Akmal let a golden Taylor chance go gleefully between himself and first slip, before clearing up any lingering doubt about his suitability to be an international ‘keeper by dropping Taylor all by himself, Some People On The Internet claimed ‘match fixing’. can exclusively reveal the only ‘fixing’ of the tournament so far occurred when the Black Caps played Zimbabwe and everyone had their bollocks chopped off.
But these are early days in this 18 month long tournament, and we’re yet to see a clear favorite emerge. England have been the entertainers so far, losing to Ireland, tying with India, and facilitating a South African choke. You know that when you’re among Englishmen behaving weirdly and South Africans choking, you’re not in a Brixton nightclub but a cricket world cup, team.
Predictions at this stage: Vettori to struggle on manfully despite losing one or more limbs in the Sri Lanka match; Kyle Mills to put his hand up for berserker role, claiming he’s been doing it for years already; England to default match against West Indies, missing the toss and circling the ground in a double decker bus instead while blasting the Benny Hill show theme; and to start watching a cricket world cup match and managing to stay up past the tenth over, in the prediction least likely to occur.

Of course, in other sporting news:

Links on Friday

There’s something deeply, deeply compelling about seeing Tottenham’s winning goal at Milan complete with a GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL! complete with a commentator sounding as excited as if someone released a load of mousetraps into the commentary booth

Virals are hard. Exhibit A: The Warratah’s clever, real and most importantly, FUNNY summer skills video takes our pointless effort and runs to the tryline like it’s a World Cup semi. Ahem

If NFL teams wore football jerseys

If existed, I’d probably end up watching it all day


So you take the ‘other’ North London team, stick them in the Champions League after a few (lasagne-induced. ahem) near misses, play Inter at the San Siro and they produce a fairly business as usual Tottenham result. You know, three nil down after quarter of an hour, man sent off, a breezy hat-trick and almost getting a result in the hardest match of the round. Typical.

Bale’s hat-trick was marvelous, he strolled through the aged Inter defence like Justin Beiber wowing ’em at a New Zealand First rally. We’ll know we’re a proper Champions League team when the first thought isn’t ‘hope we can hang on to Gareth Bale’, but ‘fuck you, we’ve got Gareth Bale’.

Bloody good on us. We’ve played everyone now and we should be used to the air up here. We’re a respectable second in the group and the aim now is beating Inter at home and getting out of the group. And a cheeky Rooney bid in January.

Championes (league), Championes (league), ole, ole, ole

We are fourth. It seems all those old Spurs records like never finishing top four, never beating Chelsea, never beating Arsenal, records that usually go “the last time Tottenham did X, Gary Linneker was playing…” are starting to tumble. Finally.

This run of nine wins in eleven games, including taking three points off Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City in the last month to seal fourth and the Champions League spot is totally unexpected. After 2006’s Lasagne, I thought  we’d never make it, and spend eternity battling Villa and Everton for sixth spot in a not-quite-good-enough Premier League purgatory, changing managers every  18 months in a sadistic, perpetual false-dawn cycle of rebuilding, then being shit.

And honestly, Harry Redknapp was not my ideal managerial candidate. A right Del-Boy wide boy that swooped for half a dozen eastern Europeans every time  the transfer window, before selling all his decent players to, well, us, I wasn’t holding out much hope. I was wrong, he has achieved more than any Tottenham manager in years, actually DOING SOMETHING IN THE LEAGUE is the true test of a club, not just nicking a League Cup every decade. I haven’t been as happy as a Tottenham fan as seeing us not just go one nil up, but keep on attacking City in the final minutes. That’s my Tottenham. This means a lot. I may have gone a bit mad on the Twitter.

It will be quite a summer, with a World Cup on, and Harry with a bulging checkbook. God only knows who we’ll get in, we have a very strong side, with Modric, Bale, Huddlestone and Dawson the stand outs for me. Maybe we could use one more big centre half, and one striker of true international class. And some shirts that haven’t been vomited on. Anyway – come on you Spurs.

Danny Rose’s volley

Shamefully, I texted a colleague today to acertain if the office Gooner was hurting more, less, or the same as when they lost to Barcelona. Every Tottenham fan gets funnier on days we beat Arsenal.

As Fergie says, it’s squeaky bum time, and even though our own squeaky bum involves finishing fourth, not first, I’ll take the win, especially if it’s kicked off with a strike like this. Not bad for Rose’s first premiership start.

VIDEO: The embedded goal video keeps getting taken down – you’re going to have to go search youtube yourself.

Links on Friday: Spurs songs

Because Spurs Are On Their Way To Wembley, we feature Super Tottenham’s greatest musical moments eva.

Ossie’s Dream features a bewildered Argentinian trying to say Tottenham and failing at 1’55”

Glen n Chris channel Crockett n Tubbs. Badly.

Paul Gasgoine puts on the world’s dodgiest shell suit, rides about on a boat and winds up in the Bigg Market. All to sing a truely appalling song. These guys must be gutted.

Bonus – Gazza gives the best post match interview ever, not long after he did this.