Tottenham Fans Starting To Ask: What Is Happening At White Hart Lane?


[Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]What a week it’s been at Tottenham. Qualification in the European games with a 100 per cent record, humiliated at home by Liverpool, the manager sacked, Tim Sherwood put in temporary charge of team affairs and defeat to West Ham in the Cup when conceding two goals in the last ten minutes. Not a good week for supporters at White Hart Lane.

A week ago, things looked to be on the up at White Hart Lane. Andre Villas-Boas’ team had regrouped after the embarrassing 6-goal defeat at Manchester City with a draw at home to United and successive away wins at Fulham and Sunderland. They had won their final two Europa League matches as they qualified for the knock-out rounds to be played early in 2014. There had been a report of a breakdown in the relations between the manager and the Chairman, Daniel Levy, and earlier suggestions of unrest among some players but on the surface things looked more settled at White Hart Lane as Spurs prepared to resume their challenge for a top-4 finish against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

The illusion of order and calm at Tottenham was shattered by a Liverpool performance which left Tottenham with 10-men and another 5 goals conceded. As good as the victors were, Tottenham were equally poor – they were overwhelmed by the movement, pace and attacking intent of the team from Merseyside.

In 90 minutes, Tottenham’s season was in crisis. The manager came in for criticism, the players had to take their share of the responsibility for another heavy and humbling defeat and questions were asked about AVB’s chances of survival.

The answer came swiftly – within less than 18 hours the decision had been taken, Tottenham had sacked another manager, his immediate coaching staff left the club and Tim Sherwood stepped up from Technical Director as Caretaker manager for the next two matches. Sherwood talked positively about the team’s prospects against West Ham and his long-term ambitions and sent out the sort of team that many supporters had been calling for during the past months.

The 4-4-2 formation with two wingers and Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe as recalled strikers was a return to older, tried and trusted methods. The team set out with a will and early enthusiasm to take the game to West Ham but the result was the same. Chances created, missed and late goals conceded as Spurs lost to their relegation-threatened visitors. Not the sort of result anyone connected with the club had wanted.

What is Happening At Tottenham?

The manger’s gone, the transfer funds raised through the sale of Gareth Bale have been spent but the men at the top remain in post.

The sale of Bale saw the departure of the latest quality, match-winning ‘star’ from White Hart Lane after Luka Modric in 2011, following the departure of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane in 2008 who went after Michael Carrick and Teddy Sheringham had made earlier exits. Unfortunately, it’s an indication of the way things are at Spurs.

  • Daniel Levy is now scouring Europe for his 12th manager in twelve years at Tottenham. Who would leave their secure managerial post for a club where you’ll be fortunate if you get 18 months in post? If the report of a breakdown in relations between Chairman and manager are accurate, then questions must be asked of Mr Levy and his part in the situation. It’s not the first time that has happened – reported problems with Harry Redknapp being the most obvious example. Is there any manager that Mr Levy could work with?
  • Franco Baldini was brought in during the summer, with AVB’s approval, to assist the manager and with transfers negotiations. He oversaw the signing of seven players from across Europe and South America with over £100m invested but now it would appear that not all the players signed were on the manager’s wishlist. Newspaper reports suggest the Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli were players who AVB didn’t want to sign. Baldini knew Lamela from Roma but AVB had wanted players he knew from working with them at Porto but those transfers were never completed. The signs weren’t good for AVB when attempts to sign Joao Moutinho in 2012, his first summer in charge, failed dramatically on the last day of the transfer window. If Baldini brought in his choice of players rather than one’s preferred by the manager, whose agenda was he working to? The old Director of Football post still causing problems, whatever name it goes under.

The manager’s gone, without Tottenham having a Plan ‘B’ as there’s no indication of who will replace him. Suggestions of Sherwood continuing as caretaker until the end of the season when more candidates will become available is not encouraging. The last time that happened after the sacking of Glenn Hoddle with David Pleat in charge was an unmitigated disaster. Little wonder fans are asking what’s happening to our club.

In truth, there’s a feeling that Tottenham have managed to step back into the bad old days of the early 2000s, pre-Martin Jol. We’ve knocked and kicked at the top-4/Champions League door for almost ten years and only gone through it once. For all ENIC’s and Daniel Levy’s talk of ambition for the club we’ve got ourselves into another crisis and nobody seems to know the way out of it.

Tottenham missed the boat when the Premier League arrived and spent years playing catch-up. Now, just as they appeared to be in a position to make a challenge to move forward again, they are actually slipping backwards while other clubs have regrouped to become challengers once again.

Some will say this is an over-reaction to the events of the past week, with Spurs in 7th place in the league, but it’s how I feel at the moment.