Where did it go wrong for Tottenham Hotspur, again?
Written by Roberto Kusabbi – @RKtweets
Another season, another manager to be found. For any Spurs fan it’s something we’ve become accustomed to.
Nine Managers since 2001, Tottenham fans are well versed in how this goes. Will it be different this time? I don’t know. If the rumours that Tim Sherwood will be the interim manager (how very last year) and indeed is fancied for the full time job are true, I fear it won’t be. A season in flux awaits, only for us to be back here in 12 months time.
Where did it go wrong for Andre?
It’s hard to pinpoint how it came to this, or whether this was always going to happen. The road to hell is paved with many good intentions. Last season was our best ever return in the Premier League but we were rarely fluid. There were tactical tweaks here and there but I felt that we were building a platform for this season and the next. But with Gareth going we had to make wholesale changes in our team. It reminds me of when we bought Bentley, Bent, Modric et al and it was too much change at one time. But the Club could argue that what else could they do, force Gareth to stay or not replenish the squad? They were stuck between a rock and a hard place. But even more reason to allow time to take course and see where we were at the end of the season.
Andre was a good problem solver and a much more likable character than he seems in the press at times. You could see every day in coaching that solutions were being found last season. Lots of late goals being conceded? No problem, at the end of training the players did complex drills to stimulate their tired minds to increase concentration during the last moments of a match and it worked. Gareth being marked by two players and stifled on the wings? Move him centrally behind Adebayor (Swansea away, WBA) and let him play up front. Andre found solutions. Did he stop doing that?
I don’t want to make excuses for him, but I am not sure that Andre ever had the real players he wanted. Missing out on Moutinho in his first window still hangs heavy. We’ll never know how that may have worked, but imagine Bale and Moutinho linking up and being bedded in slowly, like Hugo, it’s not hard to see it could have worked. Were Dempsey and Demebele his players? We know that Sigurdsson and Vertonghen were bought before he was appointed, indeed Jan was at the last game of Redknapp’s season. The last window is harder to see who was Andre’s and who were opportunistic buys. Certainly Baldini bought in players who filed a profile. I still believe in time most of them will come good, Lamela, Capoue, Soldado and Chriches especially. Indeed, Chriches has been fantastic already. The team have shown flashes of potential here and there (Everton, Newcastle (oddly), United) but it always felt as if we were missing something, a Moutinho or an Adebayor of 2 years ago.
Then the issue of his relationship with Levy. I’m unsure what anyone’s relationship with him is like, which tells a story. Chelsea apart, most successful clubs have a chairman and manager who have a mutual respect, a partnership, a relationship that works. Has any manager had that with Levy? I don’t know. Did Andre want Baldini so badly just so he didn’t need to go through to Levy? We must be fair to Levy, he has turned Spurs around from a business and playing point of view under his chairmanship.
This season was always going to be difficult. When has a club in a top division bedded in 6 or more players for the first team in one summer and then been successful immediately? It takes a long time to build a team of the right personalities as well as the right skill sets on the pitch. To try to integrate while other Clubs like Arsenal, City and even Liverpool have added in smaller quantities rather than the wholesale way was always going to be difficult. Football is not just about putting 11 players on a pitch and hoping they click. Some people say good players know how to play with each other, I don’t think it’s that simple.
Like with anything in life, there are many points along the road that lead us to where we are now. The sacking and indeed, from what is reported, the mutual nature of the departure seems to suggest that there was a feeling on both sides that things had come to an end. Did the PSG offer turn his head or make him think what could be in the Champions League with unlimited funds? Did the Napoli rumours pre-Benitez do the same? Did he think Gareth would stay? Did he want David Villa and Hulk and found that things were never going to change at Spurs, having experienced the same the summer before with Moutinho?
We won’t know the answers unless Andre releases a statement which I doubt he will be allowed to, certainly not for awhile, but we do know he is an ambitious man who wants to reach the very top of the game.
Do I think that it was premature? Yes. I don’t understand how Sherwood or any interim move will do better than Andre would have with the run of games ahead there was a chance to bounce back, which we did time and time against last season. Why hire a man with a point to prove and a vision in mind if you don’t give him time? Why hire him if you can’t buy his players? It seems churlish to have given up so quickly on a project. It does however feel very Tottenham Hotspur.
I certainly wish him well, I imagine we’ll see him in Italy or Spain. He is a young man who makes mistakes but he learns and I only have respect for him as a manager. I wish things had worked out differently. In Italy there is a saying that a bad season doesn’t make a bad manager. As long as you learn and develop you can still rise to the top. I believe he can. He is obsessed with football, I hope it works out for him. He learnt from his Chelsea mistakes, I’m sure he will from his Tottenham mistakes.
If the rumours of Sherwood’s appointment are to be believed it certainly is an underwhelming step in my view. He has got good press for his style and job with the U-21’s but I’m unsure about how much of an indicator that is. Does he know the players? Did he ever have time with the first team? I certainly saw very little of that, Andros and Zeki apart, who played with the U-21s . It worries me. I’ve seen him mentioned as having a similar style to Pep. I cannot even begin to see how that is even remotely true.
I hope that he does well for the Club, because we still have a big opportunity to be a success this season. The Europa League and the Champions League spots are still open. But I fear the worst. I’ve seen this too many times.
One thing is for sure, we are Tottenham and this is a very Tottenham situation. We do have the incredible talent of shooting ourselves in the foot. Time. And. Time. Again.