View From
The Shelf

27.10.2007

It looks like I was wrong, as after just two games and two defeats Daniel Levy and his mates were on a trip to sunny Sevilla, when who should they hump into but Juande Ramos. 

When I said in the last editorial ... "Jol has the backing of the board and the majority of the fans" I got the first bit very wrong.  Stories about his lack of support from Donna Cullen, Kemsley and Comolli meant that he was living on borrowed time, but whereas we all knew he was going to be ousted from his post, nobody could have dreamed in their worst nightmares that the Spurs board would make such a PR disaster of it all.  The fact that the Independent today is running a story saying that Tottenham are having an internal inquiry into who sent Jol a text during the game to tell him he had been sacked before the board told him speaks volumes.  It is trying to shut the door after Jol has been shafted.

When I thought that, "Daniel Levy takes the long view.  We are building for the future, as well as the here and now" I was obviously mistaken and forgot that this is not about the game or the fans.  It is about money.

Just taking a look around the number of empty seats in the ground on Thursday and the fact that there were turnstiles open taking cash on the night, this indicates that the financial demands of THFC plc were pushing Jol towards the exit door.  But with this one coming in the middle of school half term and being followed by a Premier League game on Sunday and a League Cup tie on Wednesday, is it surprising that the game was not a sell-out ?  There are so many games coming up and the club are doing their best to fleece us of all the available cash we have, as the half time advert for the 125th anniversary match programme, the 125th anniversary match DVD, the 125 great Goals DVD, the "Spurs at 125" DVD ... oh, and don't forget to buy the T-Shirt too ... is it any surprise that the pockets are emptying quicker than they can get our Head Coach out the door and therefore, fans are becoming a bit more discerning about which games they go to.  Many of the regular season ticket holders around where I sit were missing from their seats against Getafe and with the game being on TV, they didn't miss an awful lot.  They probably learned a lot more about what was going on off the field a darned sight quicker than the majority of the fans at the ground.

With Levy no doubt looking at the club as a saleable commodity, the need for a bigger ground is being undermined if blue plastic seats are visible and the loss from those seats no doubts causes a second thought about having a whacking great ground if we can't fill our own for UEFA Cup matches.  I thought it was a disgrace when Middlesbrough and Bolton (who only had 10,000 for their game against Braga) has wide-open spaces on their terraces, but they are starting to appear at the Lane.  That was something I thought would never happen for European nights.

The other thing that probably pops into his mind in the middle of the night is the situation if Berbatov or Defoe leave the club.

I expect Dimitar to depart at the end of the season if Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League and his reported comment to Jol that, "we both need bigger clubs" when the Head Coach announced he was leaving after the Getafe game hints that it won't be a long term stay at Tottenham.  The whole point of buying Darren Bent, I thought, was in the event of Berbatov being off, that we would have a replacement to play up front.

The other sticking point in Levy's master-plan to sell up, would be losing the valuable asset of Jermain Defoe for nothing if he let his contract run down and left on a Bosman.  Levy has said he did not want to be the man in charge of "another Sol Campbell."  Well, with Jol's relationship with Defoe getting no better, it would have meant selling him soon or removing the manager.  With Berbatov's likely departure, it was Jol who was the weaker link in the chairman's chain.

The other aspect of the whole farrago is the presence of Damien Comolli.  The whole debate around the Director of Football/Sporting Director post has resulted in the view that some managers would not welcome working with such a person in the structure, while it was expected that continental managers would be OK with it as the system is common in Europe.  It appears from the outside that Jol struggled with the notion that he gave Comolli players he wanted and the DoF went out to buy players who roughly fitted the position that needed filling, but also fitted into the template of young, re-saleable players that the board demanded.  This left holes that needed filling and with a predominantly young side, the requirement for  some experienced recruits might have helped them cope with some of the situations they have found themselves in (2-0 up against Arsenal in the League Cup semi-final first leg; 3-1 up against Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final).  Old heads and a winning mentality go a long way.

The arrival of Ramos might change things, but with the proposal that Gus Poyet joins him as his assistant looks only to help out with the language.  Gus was a popular player at the Lane, but so far his experience on the bench consists of a successful short spell at Swindon, before he moved to Leeds United, who got relegated last season.  Admittedly they have done extremely well this season, but they should do in League One.

It has been said that Juande Ramos is a sergeant major type manager who relies heavily on players giving their utmost commitment and toeing the disciplinary line, while he likes to play attacking football.  The Sun today rated him as a mix of Alex Ferguson, Wenger and  Mourinho.  That is some reputation to live up to.  The big story repeated in many places is that as manager of Rayo Vallecano, his side were winning a match 2-0, but he felt they were not trying hard enough.  He took a man off, leaving the team with ten men so that they put more effort in !!  Such a move might lead to a lot of disgruntlement at the Lane, as we always play poorly with ten men and a 2-0 lead would not be enough to protect for us !!

His four year reign might make or break Spurs.  If the board think he is the man who can take Martin Jol's work forward to the next step, then we can expect Tottenham to be a regular in the Champions League by the end of his term in office at the end of the 2010-2011 season.  There is no doubt he has worked a minor miracle to make Sevilla the team they are today, but the Premier League is a more unforgiving atmosphere to build a team and the fierce nature of the competition might mean he has to learn fast.  Poyet can help him with the language and what he can expect from the Press and the opposition, but the strength of the man might be judged by how he handles the pressure from above him inside the club.

Why anyone would want to sign up as manager of Tottenham Hotspur after what Martin Jol has gone through, but the money might help sway any decision I suppose.  What happened to Jol will happen to Ramos and to many a manager after him.

It took something out of the ordinary to surprise me, as the club went to great lengths to surpass their crass handling of anything they come into contact with.

You just wonder what they will come up with next !!

...

Keep the faith.


MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
AND THE SPURS GO MARCHING ON.

BRUCE CASTLE

 

Previous Views
12.08.07 31.08.05 26.12.03 05.10.02 06.10.01 23.02.01 14.07.00 09.10.99 27.10.98
03.06.07 30.05.05 08.09.03 06.05.02 17.08.01 21.01.01 26.04.00 02.09.99 15.08.98
07.05.07 23.03.05 13.07.03 12.03.02 15.07.01 22.12.00 07.03.00 11.04.99 20.05.98
23.06.06 21.11.04 05.05.03 27.02.02 16.06.01 13.11.00 06.02.00 07.03.99 26.04.98
18.04.06 13.08.04 01.02.03 30.12.01 25.04.01 29.09.00 14.12.99 05.02.99 07.03.98
11.03.06 02.05.04 30.12.02 12.11.01 17.03.01 31.07.00 06.11.99 01.01.99 19.02.98

 

Back to homepage