Jurgen Klinsmann – Not The Manager For Tottenham Hotspur


Jurgen Klinsmann is one of many managers being linked with the managerial position at Tottenham Hotspur. For me Klinsmann’s not the manager for Spurs.

Jurgen Klinsmann is one of the names being put forward to replace Tim Sherwood at White Hart Lane but the club has already been down that road. Ossie Ardiles and Glenn Hoddle, former star players returned to the club as manager but with little success.

White Hart Lane is NOT the place for Jurgen Klinsmann. Spurs have tried that before and with disastrous results. They’ve brought in former players to manage the club to please the fans and it hasn’t worked. Indeed, it all ended in tears.

Klinsmann at the Lane

Alan Sugar brought Ossie Ardiles from West Bromwich Albion in the aftermath of his fall-out with Terry Venables. He knew that he had to find someone whom the fans would accept and Ardiles fitted the bill. Ardiles’ first season was a disaster with the club only avoiding relegation with a game to spare.

The following summer looked brighter at Spurs with the arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann, Ilie Dumitrescu and Gica Popescu. In spite of starting the season with a points deduction, Spurs began with a flourish of exciting, attacking football. As autumn turned to winter, however, the attacking flair envisaged by Ardiles couldn’t outscore the deficiencies of the defence, so club and manager parted company after 18 months. Ardiles as a player was a hero to all Spurs supporters, but as a manager he failed in the Premiership.

Move forward six years and the club’s new owners were looking to impress the supporters and get them on their side. They removed the unpopular George Graham and replaced him with every Spurs fans’ favourite – Glenn Hoddle. An encouraging start was followed by twelve months of misery before the Board admitted their mistake and removed Hoddle – it simply hadn’t worked.

Everyone at Tottenham Hotspur wanted Hoddle to succeed as manager but he failed to take the club forward. Similarly to Ardiles, Hoddle had little more than two seasons as manager. Both Ardiles and Hoddle were worshipped by the supporters and such was their standing as players that the fans still remember them favourably, overlooking their management shortcomings.

Klinsmann falls into the same category. He was a great favourite as a player, although he was only at White Hart Lane for a short time in comparison to either Ardiles or Hoddle. But he could so easily fall short as a manager.

Jurgen Klinsmann – the Manager

Jurgan Klinsmann signed for Tottenham on 29th July, 1994. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Klinsmann’s reputation in management was high following his handling of the German team in the 2006 World Cup when they reached the semi-finals. After two years in the post he declined to renew his contract.

Two years on he took over a manager at Bayern Munich and while taking Bayern to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and into a challenging position in the Bundesliga, he was replaced with five games to play after a disagreement.

Quoting from a 2009 report in The Guardian on Klinsmann’s departure from Bayern, Raphael Honigstein wrote,

‘With his reformist agenda dead, an embarrassing over-dependence on Frank Ribéry and a public falling-out with key players, Klinsmann leaves with his credibility irreparably damaged……

The faithful supporters …….. were …. too busy shouting “Klinsmann raus!” – Klinsmann out. Less than 48 hours after the 1–0 home defeat ………….. the fans were granted their wish.’

Is this what Tottenham need after reports of both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood having experienced difficulties with players this season and rumours that they had ‘lost the dressing room’?

Move forward another two years and in July, 2011 Klinsmann took over as manager of the US National team and has taken them to the World Cup Finals in Brazil. He seems to enjoy the American lifestyle of California but would he be tempted to return to the grey skies of Tottenham? It would appear to be unlikely.

Klinsmann achieved a great deal with Germany and was rightly praised for his innovation and the style with which his country played throughout the 2006 tournament. That, however, was for a short period and it is similar to his current position with the US.

As a manager or coach at club level the demands of day to day involvement with the players and officials are great. Would he have the desire to cope with all the demands of the players on a daily basis?  His man-management skills would be sorely tested. Would he be able to continually motivate players through a long season and would his natural enthusiasm extend to a wet November night at Grimsby for a Cup game?

Jurgen Klinsmann – the Player

As a player, Klinsmann enjoyed new challenges – he played in different countries and then moved on in search of something new. As coach to the German team he has shown the same ideology, resigning at the end of the tournament and looking for a fresh challenge. His time in club management in Germany was brief but after three years absence he returned to take charge of the US team, another new challenge.

As manager or coach of a club side, there has to be that longer-term commitment and it’s uncertain whether Klinsmann would be prepared to make it.

In the short-term, it would be a tremendous coup for Tottenham to recruit Jurgen as manager/coach. The move would be surrounded with fantastic media hype but it is uncertain that he would be a long-term solution to the club’s managerial problems.

Many international managers complain that they they miss the day-to-day involvement with the players which is part and parcel of club management. Klinsmann, on the other hand, seems ideally suited to that international management role as it allows him greater freedom to be involved in other projects. Spurs’ supporters wouldn’t want to see Klinsmann come to Tottenham and suffer as both Ardiles and Hoddle did before him. Spurs supporters want to remember him as the player he was and not as a manager who has failed to achieve what he and the fans have been hoping for.

Klinsmann has an affinity with Tottenham but has strong opinions and views which might bring him into conflict with the hierarchy at the club, something other managers have experienced at White Hart Lane. His reputation at White Hart Lane is based on 18 months as a player. As a manager, he mightn’t even last that long.

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