“Tottenham Sack Manager AVB” was the headline this time last week. After a humiliating 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool, André Villas-Boas was given the boot by Daniel Levy. However, there was a split between the fans throughout the tenure of the Portuguese manager, with many fans still in disbelief over the sacking of Harry Redknapp in 2012. Villas-Boas’ spell in charge lasted a mere 18 months, yet his departure has left the club in what seems to be a sorry state.
Since his arrival at Spurs in 2001, Daniel Levy has sacked 9 managers. This has added to his reputation of a hard man to please. However, is this consistency – or lack of it – going to scupper any chances we had of becoming title contenders? With Tim Sherwood in charge for the time being, we have a manager who lacks experience and pedigree in world football. He has done a superb job with the U21 side but has never managed a top side and at the age of 44, is not the man to take us forward. As an interim, he will suffice and should be backed by the fans but he is not the long term solution.
Who is? There are many managers in the running according to bookies. Van Gaal, Hiddink, Benitez, Capello, Sherwood, Hoddle, Klinsmann, Laudrup and Pochettino – to name a few. However, since the departure of André, there has been no real statement from anyone at the club as to the reason of the sacking or the plans to go forward. And I don’t mean the next few weeks, I mean the next five years. But does Daniel Levy himself know where he sees the club in five years? Will he even be the chairman in five years? All this leads to the question most fans are asking, “Does that Levy bloke know anything about football?”
Quite frankly, not as much as he should. He hasn’t mastered the art of hiring and firing at the right time, he rarely gives a manager time and when he does allow money to be spent, he either haggles over it or tries to find a profit. This is never a bad thing nor is it a good thing. Choosing a manager is a very important decision in football and the way Levy goes about it, it can be a detrimental decision. Fans can argue that Villas-Boas was not winning games but by sacking him, are we automatically going to win again? Clearly not as we lost to West Ham 48 hours later.
When you embed seven new players into a squad, losing eight, it is always going to take time to get used to the manager and the style of play. Now that André has gone, the style changes again. So just as the players started scoring and began to look as if they were understanding the system, it’s over and they wait for the next manager to throw another system at them, it can be confusing.
Despite the agenda against AVB, from some in the media as well as an increasing number of Spurs fans, the club was building. We had a young, ambitious manager who was tactically astute and methodical. His training sessions involved pure tactics and he required adaptability and flexibility from his players. We had (have) a very young squad including players who have the potential to become world class; Eriksen, Holtby, Lamela and Sandro to name a few. We have players who are reportedly being watched by Barcelona and Real Madrid; Lloris and Vertonghen, to add to the list of Bale and Modric who have already made their moves to Sunny Spain after proving their world class quality in N17. So why the knee jerk?
Quite frankly, results. You may be the most tactically gifted man but if that isn’t transferred across to the team then it is wasted. 3-0 and 5-0 at home to West Ham and Liverpool respectively added to the mauling at the Eithad were the results that cost us our dream man. He was sexy, he was cool and he knew his football but he wasn’t winning games. A very stubborn and controversial man, he often refused to listen to public opinion and stuck to his ways. This all brought about his demise. However, should he continue in football, leaving his Dakar Rally ambitions behind for a few more years, he will find success on the continent as there is emphasis on the tactical side in some countries.
After yesterday’s win at Southampton, the general view was that Tim Sherwood had been bold with his team selection and it paid off. Southampton do have their own injury issues but with Adebayor scoring his 3rd goal in 2 games, it looks like Sherwood is bringing the best out of him in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1. Is the already existing Interim manager the man to take us forward? Yet again, there is a split between the fans. Many dislike him due to his Arsenal connections – his father still supports them – whilst other fans feel that if he gets us results, who cares? He also lacks experience at the top level and isn’t really the type of manager that world class players would join the club to play under. Saying that; he knows he club, the players know him, he’s already accustomed to life at Spurs and has been a good man manager of the U21 side for many years.
However it pans out, we move on as a club. There were managers and players before the current lot and we’ll have others after. However, Levy’s next appointment could shape the next 10 years of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. If he appoints a young man with potential, we may be handed our very own Alex Ferguson. All going well, we need a manager to stick around for at least five years, if not ten. If this fails, again, we are in trouble. However, if Levy chooses experience, he will have a manager to steady the ship but this again may only last two to three years. Either way, it’s a tough decision for him to make. Does he go with young and ambitious or olden and golden? Or does he take the middle ground?
Over to you Daniel…