Ghosts of White Hart Lane

Newspaper headlines
Former Spurs employees should show decorum and refrain from commenting on Tottenham’s next managerial appointment at the drop of a hat.

After yesterday’s developments it seems every former Spurs player and manager has come out of the woodwork to be so generous to share their gold nuggets of wisdom. Because we all know former players know everything about football, we should take their word as the gospel. It’s a no brainer. You don’t have to look any further than the various pundit panels. Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Niall Quinn, Stan Collymore, Clarke Carlisle, the list goes on and on. The consciousness of football is in good hands with these people, they know their stuff, honestly.

There was no shortage of quotes by people who were once associated with Tottenham Hotspur in one way or another yesterday, ranging from the respected Spurs legend Clive Allen to mere passer-bys like John Scales. Some were very balanced and measured in their assessment, others unsurprisingly weren’t. The usual suspects, like former Spurs chairman Alan Sugar for example, went completely overboard to justify their personal dislike of Villas-Boas. This didn’t come as any surprise, but to hear such vocal opinions on who should be the next manager (or head coach?) at Spurs was surprising and somewhat embarrassing.

Gary Lineker, undoubtedly a man with a soft spot for Spurs and one of Tottenham’s best ever strikers, was quick to push his old pal Glenn Hoddle to the fore.

Really, Gary? A man who hasn’t managed a professional football club since 2006 should be the next Spurs manager? I guess we’re in luck cause he’s readily available. Let’s not dwell on why that is the case, just seize the opportunity. What could go wrong, right? How stupid are all these other clubs who have passed up on this golden opportunity. To think even Blackburn Rovers didn’t consider him at any point. Crystal Palace must have been mad to appoint Tony Pulis. What a bunch of fools. You are such a visionary, Gary. Here’s another one of his many wisdoms:

This is where he goes completely off the rails. Not a player? Is that really still an argument? I’m pretty sure some of the worst managers in history were actually former players. Not a player. José Mourinho, one of the most successful managers of the current century, hardly had a playing career to speak of. I’ve never seen his pedigree questioned because he has never played football on a respectable level.

I like Lineker. He is a witty character. I think he does an excellent job of breaking Hansen and Lawrenson’s balls on Match of the Day. He likes to take the mickey out of Hansen and Lawrenson’s age, but his own age is showing too. Lineker’s opinions on football are often nostalgic and ancient. Surely there must be valid reasons why no one has taken a gamble on Hoddle over the past 8 years. Granted, Hoddle has dedicated much of his time to his own Glenn Hoddle Academy, but I am sure he would seriously consider any offer to manage a Premier League club. The fact this opportunity hasn’t arisen for so long speaks volumes though.

Then it was time for the Redknapps. A football dynasty about as talented as the Kardashian family, with roughly the same level of unrelenting media exposure. Although he didn’t advocate a certain person to get the Spurs job, yesterday’s events were an ideal opportunity for Jamie to put his bitterness and blind hatred for the people at Spurs who wielded the axe on his father on display. Although a very few of his points were valid, his comments on anything Spurs related hold little credibility given these kind of vindictive digs:

“I’m not surprised. Having worked at Tottenham and knowing previous managers have been sacked for having a lot of success there…”

“Last year he [Villas-Boas] did well with the previous manager’s team, but now he’s had his chance to do it, it hasn’t worked out for him.”

The audacity to claim credit on his father’s behalf for Tottenham’s performance last season is stunning. First of all, it wasn’t the previous manager’s team anymore. The club lost three of its most influential players in Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Ledley King prior to the start of the season, yet Villas-Boas still managed to get a better points return out of his squad than Redknapp ever managed during his time at Spurs. Jamie can’t argue the squad his father had at his disposal was weaker than the one Villas-Boas had, since later in the the same TV segment he argues: “They [the club] have decided, for one reason or the other, to dismantle one of the best teams Tottenham have had over the last couple of years.”

Jamie Redknapp

Field day.
Jamie Redknapp didn’t hold back criticising Spurs for past sackings.

On to Redknapp Senior. In his column in today’s issue of The Sun he voiced his unequivocal support for the newly appointed interim manager Tim Sherwood. Why is not entirely clear. Sherwood was a part of Redknapp’s backroom staff at Spurs, but has also been accused of being one of Redknapp’s biggest detractors at the time when Spurs sacked England’s most entertaining manager. Nevertheless, Redknapp seems to speak highly of Sherwood despite the fact the former Spurs and Blackburn midfielder has never held a senior management position in English football.

Lord Sugar had to top all of yesterday’s hyperbole and once again showed he has no clue about what’s going on at Spurs, or in the world of football for that matter.

“With the greatest respect to the chairman I think it was the wrong move to appoint him. I think the guy showed he was unprofessional in spending that amount of money.”

“The writing was on the wall as far as I was concerned when he went out and spent like a a kid in a sweet shop, I mean you just can’t do that. It doesn’t stack up, you just can’t go out and buy seven brand new players or whatever it was, stick them in and hope for them to play.”

Could someone please explain the dynamics of the transfer policy at Spurs to Lord Sugar? And also what the difference is between a manager and a head coach who works under a technical director? I don’t take Lord Sugar for a complete fool, but who is he trying to fool into thinking that it was Villas-Boas, and Villas-Boas only, who called the shots on this summer’s spending spree? Exactly, not a single soul.

Lord Sugar tweet after AVB sacking

Lord Sugar didn’t hide his feelings regarding the sacking of AVB.

It’s a shame our club has to put up with celebrity ‘supporters’ that match the moronic levels of other celebrity football fans such as Piers Morgan. The fact that this man once was in charge of our club is simply terrifying, not in the least case illustrated by his decision to once appoint Christian Gross Spurs manager.

To top off all the nonsensical reporting on yet another managerial sacking at Tottenham, Zapsortz, a website which offers “sportz newz with attitude”, carried several stories which were very unambiguously pushing an agenda for the appointment of Glenn Hoddle as the new Spurs manager. Today it came to light that Zapsportz was co-founded by, you’d never guess, Glenn Hoddle.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but sometimes it is timing that is lacking. Wouldn’t it be better for former Spurs players and managers to reserve judgement on who should be appointed the next manager until it is actually clear who are in contention? The endorsement of certain alleged candidates is cringeworthy to say the least, especially given the fact it is unclear if Tim Sherwood will get a shot at the job beyond the next couple of games. Spurs could well opt to let Sherwood & Co see out the season and then reassess options, which will certainly be greater in number once the current season has finished.


Dutch Spurs fan, football connoisseur and ambassador of free-flowing attacking football.

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2 comments on “Ghosts of White Hart Lane
  1. Todeski says:

    Stephan, you know Dutch football — what are your thoughts on Cocu for gaffer? He does seem to have a brilliant football mind, loves to build up from the youth system.

    • Stephan says:

      PSV are having their worst season in decades. He’s not convinced anyone of the fact he actually is a head coach. Many experts question if he has the character to be one in the first place. They say he’s too timid, doesn’t have the traits of a leader. I’m afraid I have to agree with them.