The question of who is the best Tottenham manager will come up with the one obvious answer, Bill Nicholson. Younger fans did not have the pleasure of watching any of Nicholson’s teams so for this week’s Team Selection, the question is: Who is the best Tottenham manager in the years that you’ve supported Spurs?Over the past six weeks you’ve voted for the best Spurs players since the 1950s who you’ve been fortunate enough to see playing for the club. The team is complete and now requires a manager. From the 8 Tottenham managers listed below, please select the best one whom you have seen managing Tottenham.
The manger who helped bring Tottenham to prominence after the 2nd World War. A former player, injury to centre-half Rowe had been one of the reasons why Tottenham suffered relegation in 1935 and when he was appointed manager in 1949, Spurs were still in the 2nd Division. In his first season in charge Spurs won promotion as Champions and the following season his ‘Push and Run’ team won the 1st Division for the first time. A thinking man, he produced a team which moved the ball about constantly, always looking to play football.
A player in Rowe’s team, he learned from his manger and when he took over in 1958 set about developing Rowe’s methods further and produced Tottenham’s greatest ever team which had such success in the early 1960s. He produced a new team which won the 1967 FA Cup and then with refinement it had further success in the early 1970s. In all Spurs won 8 trophies in the 16 years that Bill Nicholson was Spurs manger. Bill Nicholson is Tottenham Hotspur.
Appointed in 1976, Spurs were relegated in his first season in charge. They returned immediately to the 1st Division and after a few difficult seasons, won the FA Cup in successive seasons in 1981 and 1982. They also won the 1984 UEFA Cup which was a leaving present as Burkinshaw had indicated his decision the resign at the end of the season, disillusioned by the changes which were occurring at the club. He famously said, on his departure,
“There used to be a football club over there.”
Pleat was at the club for only eighteen months but produced one of the best Tottenham teams which in 1986-87 was striving for success on three fronts but missed out on all three. His ‘nearly’ team finished 3rd in the League, lost the FA Cup Final to Coventry and were defeated by Arsenal in a semi-final replay of the League Cup, having never been behind in he tie until the final minutes. His numerous periods as a caretaker manger were less memorable.
Venables arrived from Barcelona at a difficult time for the club both financially and on the pitch. Initially, he brought the team together to finish 3rd in 1989-90 and signed quality players like Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker. The thrill of seeing the two England players, plus Chris Waddle, in the white shirt of Spurs never materialised as Waddle left for Marseille in 1989, the same summer as Lineker arrived. The 1991 FA Cup win was achieved to the back cloth of the possibility of the club folding. Venables and Alan Sugar combined to devised a rescue plan but their falling out, brought further stress to the club.
Assistant to Jacques Santini, Jol took over on the manager’s departure in November, 2004. He took Spurs back into Europe with two fifth place finishes and missed out on Champions League football on the last day of the 2006 season when his sickly ‘Lasagnegate’ team lost at Upton Park. He developed an affinity with the club and understood its history and traditions. He eventually lost his position in unfortunate circumstances – the news of his sacking circulating around White Hart Lane during a UEFA Cup match in 2007.
An unexpected appointment in October, 2008 to replace Juande Ramos as the team sat bottom of the Premier League with ‘2 points from 8 games’. Harry Redknapp ensured the team avoided relegation and took them into the Champions League by finishing fourth in 2010. A memorable experience, they finished 5th that season and in 2012 they finished fourth having been 3rd for most of the season. Having looked as if they could mount a title challenge, a late season slump saw them miss out on the Champions League due to Chelsea winning the trophy. He was replaced that summer.
In his one season at White Hart Lane, AVB has revived his career after the difficulties he experienced at Stamford Bridge. His appointment was a risky strategy by Daniel Levy but such is his standing now that he has been mentioned when top posts have become vacant this summer. Spurs finished 5th and again missed out on Champions League on the final day of the season but AVB is gathering around him a team of quality players who are responding to his methods. His connection with the players may be one of the reasons why Gareth Bale could stay at White Hart Lane for another season.
My selection has to go to Bill Nicholson as I started supporting Spurs back in 1964-65 season. I missed the successes of the early 1960s but had the enjoyable experience of seeing his successful team of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
From the managers listed, please select the one who has been the best manager of Spurs during your time of supporting Tottenham.
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