Juande Ramos – It Wasn’t My Fault At Tottenham


Juande Ramos has given his thoughts on his time at Tottenham in an interview reported in the Guardian. It is very much a case of nothing was my fault as he pointed the finger of blame at the players, the club, the Director of Football Daniel Comolli and the Chairman Daniel Levy.

Juande Ramos and Martin Jol [Photo: Logan Holmes]Next week, Tottenham renew their Europa League campaign against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of Ukraine who are managed by their former boss, Juande Ramos. Many of us will agree with the points that Ramos made in his interview but he seems to be absolving himself of any blame or responsibility for the fact that when he was sacked, Tottenham had ‘2 points from 8 games’ and were bottom of the league, 3 points adrift of the next club.

Ramos feels that his time in England was reported unfairly and as the Daily Mail put it, he was the ‘bumbling boss who was dismissed after a year’ and Ramos thinks that he is regarded as,

"The stupid Spaniard who hadn’t a clue."

This is what I wrote about Juande Ramos’ time at Tottenham in July, 2012 when Spurs appointed another foreign manager, Andre Villas-Boas.

Juande Ramos (October, 2007 – October, 2008)

Ramos brought a greater organisation to the team and initially the players responded, especially in the Carling Cup ties taking the team to the Wembley Final. The Cup run saw Spurs defeat Blackpool in Ramos’ first match in charge, then win at Manchester City with ten men and defeat Arsenal in the semi-final with a memorable 5 – 1 success in the second leg at White Hart Lane. The Final was equally memorable as Spurs defeated Chelsea in extra time having been a goal down at half-time. Dimitar Berbatov equalised with a penalty and then Jonathan Woodgate headed the winner from a free-kick four minutes in to extra time.

Cue massive Tottenham celebrations and the players going through the motions for the rest of the season, winning only three of their final twelve League matches. The departure of Berbatov and Robbie Keane didn’t help the manager but when the team had only two points from eight matches and were bottom of the League, Daniel Levy struck again and without any warning Harry Redknapp was installed as manager.

Juande Ramos had impressed as a successful manager with Sevilla, winning 5 trophies including two UEFA Cup successes which saw them knock out Tottenham in the quarter-finals in 2007. His arrival at White Hart Lane the following October was surrounded in controversy as the club had courted him during the summer only to retain Martin Jol. the Dutchman was sacked four months later with the news breaking around White Hart Lane during a European game. Ramos’ own departure was equally rapid but at the time, speed was of the essence as Spurs were staring down the barrel of relegation even at that early stage of the season.

Ramos’ Criticisms

  • In spite of being the last manager to bring silverware to the club, the 2008 Carling Cup, his time at Tottenham is viewed negatively.
  • The players’ diet was not appropriate for top class sportsmen. He complained of the unsuitable food available to the players at the club and of finding players eating at a McDonald’s near the club’s training ground.
  • The club preferred to sell talented players for the financial gain rather than retain them in an attempt to win trophies. He cites the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid as an example.
  • After the end of August departure of Dimitar Berbatov, he was left with Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko as his strikers, having asked for Samuel Eto’o and David Villa.
  • The players who came into the club were signed by Daniel Comolli.

On most of those points I would agree with the former manager. As I said in the earlier paragraph, the transfer dealings in 2008 didn’t help the manager with both Berbatov and Robbie Keane leaving from the team which only months earlier had won at Wembley and had every Spurs supporter dreaming of a new era of success at the club. As Ramos said in his interview, when a player wants to leave a club and refuses to play, what could he do?

Daniel Levy [Photo: Alan Hill]On the club’s policy of selling players, we have all thought that over recent times and can list the players we didn’t want to leave the club. The recurring fear is that if Tottenham fail to make the Champions League at the end of the current season, there’ll be players on their way out of White Hart Lane to a club who can provide them with the opportunity to play in Europe’s top club competition.

Ramos was aware of the role of the Director of Football when he came to the club and would presumably have worked under such a system in Spain. He now reflects that it would have been better not to have worked with him but takes some consolation from the fact that Daniel Levy also dismissed Comolli in October, 2008.

Ramos Ignores

Ramos deserves recognition for the Cup success but like so many other teams who have won that trophy, their season fell away completely. The manager was unable to arrest that slump and it was no better at the start of the new season.

Ramos doesn’t accept any responsibility for the fact that the team had not won a game in their opening 8 matches in the Premier League and didn’t look like winning any. Their only success had been a win at Newcastle in the League Cup, against the team immediately above them in the league. Spurs had also reached the 2nd Round in the UEFA Cup but their defeat at Udinese was his last as Tottenham manager.

The team was in complete disarray through those opening two months of the season and there was no indication that Ramos was capable of turning it around.

He acknowledged the talented central defenders he had in Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King, but for their injury problems. He, however, overlooks his strange decision to manage King’s fitness problems by playing him in the Cup matches rather than in league games.

Europa League

On leaving Tottenham, Ramos was appointed at Real Madrid but left at the end of the season and his managerial career has failed to reach the heights achieved at Sevilla, prior to arriving in north London. he has been at Dnipro since 2010 and is preparing his team for the Europa league matches against Spurs at a winter training camp in Spain. Ramos told the Guardian of the difference between his current club and Tottenham.

"The reality is that we’re light years away from Spurs right now."