Tuesday, August 21, 2007

chaos at spurs

Disbelieving though I'm inclined to be of the sort of scurrilous gossip that so often swirls around my football club, Tottenham Hotspur, it really does look as if the Spurs board are planning on sacking Martin Jol, perhaps the most successful Tottenham coach of the last twenty years, in order to replace him with Sevilla's Juande Ramos. This is an absolutely extraordinary act, unprecedented in the club's history. Jol took over at Spurs three years ago and inherited a side containing a few promising players and an awful lot of underachievers. In the last two years he has steered the club to two fifth placed finishes, given us several cup runs, and brought us a proper, thoroughly enjoyable run in Europe, something that many Spurs fans were beginning to feel they might never see again. He nurtured a team of young players, brought in more promising talents, and ended up with a team that played bright, entertaining football with a forceful English spine. Incredibly, our oldest player is often the England goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, who is 27.

Far more importantly than anything else, however, Jol forged a real, no-nonsense relationship with the club's supporters. More than any manager since Terry Venables, Jol earned the respect of the fans through straight talking, honesty and a real sense of humour. For a club which has often been driven with rifts, he showed exceptional man-management skills in juggling three and sometimes four top-notch strikers, and having been forced to sell Michael Carrick a little over a year ago, showed enviable resolve in holding on to both Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov this summer. That both wanted to stay belies any rumour that the dressing room is split.

And yet despite all this the Spurs board seek to dislodge him. There are some legitimate criticisms of Jol. With a large transfer kitty this summer he neglected to shore up a weak midfield, instead concentrating on attack. His teams have yet to show true character against the big four. And his substitutions often suggest naivity and an over-reliance on defensiveness. But the positives massively out-weigh these flaws.

In wanting him out, the board are showing exceptional and malign fickleness and if Juande Ramos is indeed close to agreeing a deal before Jol has been sacked, I question his morality. If I were his agent, I would tell him to regard the prospect of working with the Tottenham board with extreme caution, and think again. I hope that when Spurs play Manchester United at the weekend, only two chants are sung, and that they are both sung lustily throughout. The first is one we're used to hearing at White Hart Lane - "Martin Jol's blue and white army". The second is one we've not heard for a while. It's time to bring back 'Sack the board'.

1 comment:

Will said...

It beggars belief that we have again found ourselves in what can only be called a mess. This was supposed (and may still be) a season of pushing forward and maybe even breaking into the top 4. I certainly agree that Jol should have spent on the midfield. The fact we have brought in Darren Bent for 16.5M is questionable even more so when you consider the partnership of Keane/Berbatov last season. "Why fix what aint broke" springs to mind. Since you wrote this of course the board have denied offering the job to anyone and have stated Jol's job is safe for now. But I get the feeling Ramos was sounded out. Also I think he will go at the end of the season even if we manage 4th. Im sure the supporters will give him all the support we can and I hope this is enough to keep Jol at Spurs.