Bl**y Arsenal Do It Again, Where Now For Tottenham?
Tottenham have again missed out on a top-4 and Champions League finish so where now for Spurs and where can they find a manager to solve the problems at the club?
I deliberately sent my last diary for publishing before Arsenal kicked off against Norwich, so that I could finish on the optimistic but unlikely prospect that we could still pip them to 4th place if results went our way. I didn’t believe it but you have to dare to dream. It’s what being a football supporter is all about. Those dreams came true for me in 1981, 1982, 1991 and the Harry Redknapp years (beating Arsenal, Champions League).
Last night Arsenal trampled over that pipe dream, sweeping Newcastle to their 7th consecutive defeat with a 3 – 0 victory in which Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey starred. I can just picture the smile on Theo Walcott’s face.
It seems that season after season they go on a run after Christmas to not only qualify for the Champions League but to snatch it from under our noses. Their players rub it in with their comments in the press and on social media and us Spurs fans are force fed humble pie again and again.
It hurts to say so but Arsene Wenger has proved himself yet again as he sees off another two Spurs managers this season. He has had to do it despite strong criticism from his own fans after being clear at the top at Christmas. It was so severe, I thought he might walk at the end of this season but his board have shown him the sort of support that Spurs managers must dream of. It’s pretty obvious that If Arsenal had not had to go a couple of months without three of their best players, Walcott, Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Ozil for a few weeks they would have won the league and we would not have the most exciting end to a title race that I can remember.Where Now for Spurs?
It has been made clear already that whatever we think about it, Tim Sherwood will be out of a job at the end of the season. Failing to qualify for the Champions League despite a recent winning run against teams that should be cannon fodder, will just guarantee that.
So where to now? The new manager (latest press favourite Mauricio Pochettino, who after a season of relative success at Southampton in which he can’t be bothered to speak English in interviews) will be faced with a dilemma over unhappy squad members purchased with the Bale fortune and the fact that yet again only 2nd string players will sign for us because we are not in the Champions League.
Spurs need a manager capable of:
- Keeping our best players. By best, I mean not only those with ability but that have also performed and shown character this season. That really narrows it down. Lloris, Eriksen, Paulinho (just).
- He may also be stuck with some of the disappointing Bale 7. So, he will need to have the experience and talent to make something out of those that stay. Those that we cannot sell on because they have destroyed their own reputation, or because they are happy to sit back and take the money. It is possible that in a second season that they could come good but it will take a special manager to get it out of them. Soldado and Lamela spring to mind.
- Continue to play and develop our best youngsters. Pochettino has achieved that at Southampton. Tim Sherwood has shown the value of that during his brief tenure. Bentaleb, Townsend, Rose, Kane, I also include Llewis Holtby in that.
- Release even the most talented if they remain not prepared to graft when the chips are down. Vertonghen springs to mind.
- Sort out the problems with the defence; in particular establish an effective first choice centre half pairing with reliable injury cover.
- Sort out the striker situation. There are a number of options there. Adebayor or no Adebayor? Soldado or no Soldado? New signings up front? Just as with the defence a strike partnership would be ideal, again with capable back-up.
- Reappraise our loanees and consider recalling some. Assou-Ekotto for example.
- Play attractive, entertaining, exciting football and score goals.
If (and it’s a big if)
If (and it’s a big if) we can find a manager capable of doing all that we could still surprise people next season. Qualification for the Champions League or a Cup win might follow. That’s me dreaming again. If I was Daniel Levy, I would not demand that as a target in the contract offer, simply because history has shown making it a requirement and then sacking the manager that fails to deliver does us no good at all.
Let’s go for long term development and stick to it and the new manager unless he is such a failure that the prospect of relegation looms.