Story by Ben Steele
Let me take you back to 2pm on the 26th of February 2012. Harry Redknapp has just seen Emmanuel Adebayor put his Tottenham Hotspur side 2-0 up in the North London derby at the Emirates which will give them a 13 point lead over Arsenal and all but guarantee Spurs a champions league place. He is also the heavy favourite to take the newly vacant England managers job and lead his country into Euro 2012. Then it all went wrong. Arsenal snapped, they’d simply had enough, and unleashed about 2 months’ worth of frustration and won the game 5-2 and the Tottenham bubble seemed to burst.
That loss sparked a horrific end of season run which saw Spurs finish 4th and their Champions league spot given to Chelsea. Roy Hodgson was given the England job and a few weeks later Redknapp was sacked.
So who replaces him? Many names have been bandied around; David Moyes, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Martinez are the ones that seem to have the most weight. So those are the 3 men I’ll take a look at; although inevitably that means none of them will get the job.
The longest serving premier league manager, outside of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, Moyes has been an incredible servant to Everton. His 10 year reign has seen Goodison Park become one of the toughest away days in the league and Everton compete with teams who have a budget that Moyes could only dream of.
Money is arguably the major factor that could tempt the Scotsman to White Hart Lane, he has made no secret of his desire to spend, and spend big, but given the financial situation surrounding his current club it is simply not possible. Spurs on the other hand have a seemingly endless stream of cash and sometimes seem to make signings because they can, Ryan Nelsen in January is a prime example of this, and would undoubtedly provide their new manager with the funds needed to make another advance on the Champions League. Moyes has shown what he can do on a limited budget and could now be given the opportunity to showcase his abilities with some real monetary clout behind him.
Why not him?
While Moyes is a very well respected manager he is not exactly the “sexy” pick. Whoever takes over will have to come in and immediately impress his ethos onto the bigger egos at the club. Gareth Bale has developed a messiah complex; Luka Modric is a target for Manchester United and Rafael Van der Vaart has spent a summer with a Dutch squad that included Arjen Robben. If Daniel Levy and the rest of the board at Tottenham don’t think Moyes can win those guys over then offering him the job would be a massive error.
A precocious managerial talent, who saw his meteoric rise hit a wall in his half a season at Chelsea which I will come onto later. That aside AVB has been very successful, for starters he’s won the Europa league which is a competition that Spurs seem to have become quite acquainted with over recent years. It is difficult to argue with the potential that Villas-Boas has to become a top quality manager and while the problems he had a Chelsea were well documented the Spurs squad have a different make up to that Chelsea side. The players are younger, less experienced and by association less set in their ways. The cliques that AVB struggled to deal with at Stamford Bridge simply don’t seem to be there at Spurs.
Why not him?
Chelsea. During his tenure their AVB never managed to gain the trust of the dressing room. If his man management skills are as poor as that time seemed to suggest then Spurs would be in real trouble. One of the problems at the end of the season seemed to be that following successive losses to Arsenal and Manchester United the Redknapp aura was gone and he struggled to get it back and if AVB were to have a similar issue the press would jump all over him. After his previous job in England every move he made at his next appointment would be second guessed, especially by a media group who were so infatuated with Redknapp they were criticising Roy Hodgson before he even had his first interview as England boss. Personally I see the Portuguese’s career beginning again on the continent.
The fact that Wigan routinely escape relegation, despite only picking up points in the last 10 games shows that Martinez is nothing short of a miracle worker. The main reason for Martinez’s appointment is the system he plays. The wingback formation he employed at Wigan Athletic seems tailor made for Tottenham. Kyle Walker and Gareth Bale would be perfect at the wingback position and with Scott Parker providing the defensive cover it would leave the side fantastically balanced.
It also can only be a matter of time before Wigan succumb and go down to the Championship, Martinez is too good of a manager to have a relegation on his CV. Like Villas-Boas he’s got the potential, and unlike AVB he seems to have a definite plan for how he wants to play his football. These are all in his favour when the big men at Tottenham meet to pick their new man.
Why not him?
Martinez is, much like David Moyes, possibly not a pick that will turn heads across Europe. But if we’re honest Tottenham are not going to be the team to tempt Pep Guardiola away from the beaches so they could do a lot worse than Martinez.
Personally I think the race is between Moyes and Martinez. Both have their merits, Martinez has the system while Moyes has the experience. But whoever is offered the job next needs to be wary of one thing. Expectations have been raised, mediocrity is no longer an option at White Hart Lane.