DML: Editorial - The circus is always in town
We've tried just about everything. The anti-Christ (Graham), ex-legend (Hoddle), international manager (Santini), low-key in-house appointment (Jol) and the continental (Ramos). And they have all failed because the one constant survived every single appointment: The Director of Football. A suggestion made once upon a time by David Pleat, and then implemented by Daniel Levy.
Pleat, Arnesen, Comolli. And now finally......nothing. No more is the DoF. Levy has embraced the truth and the demands of the fans and has rid the club of this clandestine position which has no doubt directly or indirectly affected every manager who has attempted to work under it. Apart from one purple patch where Frank and Martin got on famously.
So Damien Comolli and his offbeat signings are no more. Levy did say DC would be accountable for Ramos. And that's the gist of the trouble White Hart Lane is in. I wont go into any detail about Levy's letter to the fan at this precise moment as that needs to be a blog post of it's own. But what I will need to touch upon here is the fact that Levy is apparently hiring people for the football side of the business and entrusting them. Which basically means, Levy allowed both Comolli and Kemsley to influence him and sanction the tapping up of Juande Ramos. Accountability is passed onto the DoF, protecting his chairman status at all times. As we've seen, Ramos has flopped - so Comolli gets the sack. And Teflon Levy survives another day.
Comolli and the eternal trouble-maker Kemsley believed that Jol had ran out of steam and couldn't take us any further. So basically, Levy is a bit of a jellyfish here. Deciding that if he's forking out 200K (or whatever) per year for DC, then DC gets to decide what's going on. Which means the DoF has an agenda that supersedes the one the chairman might think he has. What the DoF wants the DoF gets.
And that right there is the problem that drags Spurs back so often. Our over-ambitious streak. The fans, you can forgive for getting excited and aspiring to want Champions League and other Glory moments. And regardless of the laughter and abuse that's usually aimed at us from West Ham fans, who are disinterested in their own little club, Spurs have had players in the past few seasons that if (I hate that word)....if they had remained then we could have been contenders. But such is life in the two-tier Premiership that if you're bloody decent (Carrick, Keane, Berbatov) then why stay at Spurs when you can sign for a Top 4 club? It's pretty much impossible to build to challenge the Top 4. So self-preservation is the all important priority, or at least should be. In our case, it should have been about preserving 5th spot.
What Comolli and Kemsley did was assume that we were very close to cracking that Top 4. And Levy (I don't care how daft he wants to play this) also believed this to be the case.
Of course, we weren't. Probably still the best club for 5th, but miles off 4th. But the DoF meant that in-between the Chairman and the manager this entity created unnecessary confusion when it came to transfer targets and (as Levy has informed us) the Berbatov saga. Jol wanted him out straight away. Yet the player didn't leave until the summer just gone.
That word undermined is used often by myself and other fans and some of the hacks in the press. But it's the perfect word for the situation. With Ramos in, the belief is that we had a world-class manager. But what did Jol do wrong exactly? Yeah sure, there was always that element of choking in the big big games. But who knows, that might have been ironed out had he been left to get on with another season, uninterrupted by politics. We were all guilty of believing that Jol being sacked was 'for the good of the club'. Hindsight is deeply ironic.
We'll never know, but the point here - and it's an important one especially with recent events - is with 15 years of musical chairs and no consistency, why the rush to break the into the Top 4 after just two consistent seasons (2 x 5th spots)? We have no God given right. We all know the Top 4 is beyond most clubs reach. Every other club below 5th spot just gets on with it. With us, we should have been content with Jol and given him at least 2 more seasons. Because the past 15 seasons have not been much to write about, so what difference would it make waiting for another two years?
But what's done is done. In came Ramos. And off he goes now. For a cool £26M (£11M for signing him, £15M for sacking him). No doubt, the most costly flop in our recent history. But at least we can remember the Carling Cup with fond memories.
And in comes the media whore that is Harry Redknapp. A manager with little integrity. Sorry 'arry, but it's true. His Pompey/Soton merry-go round will tell you all you need to know. Levy claims that he's had conversations with Harry in the past, suggesting that 'he almost got here' before. Shudder.
Yeah, he saved Pompey from almost certain relegation. But couldn't save Soton and also relegated West Ham. What exactly is so great about his CV? Have we now lowered our ambitions? Have we accepted a place alongside the likes of Blackburn and co?
Well firstly, scrap ambitions and comparisons, because that's what has got us into this mess in the first place - believing the hype.
We are now behind the likes of Villa and City. As they develop and progress, our work has to begin again. Maybe not quite from ground zero, but we are limping at the minute. Although in modern day football 5th - 8th spot tends to shift about every season so all we need to do is regain a bit of pride and form. And no matter the progression you make (that goes for Villa and City at the minute) - you still need to depend on one of the Top 4 having an off season if you. Which is rare. And even if it does happen, you might find hotel food conspire against you. So we are not that far behind if you go on recent Prem records.
The simple fact of the matter is - at present - we are bottom. The players were not playing for Ramos. Levy had to do something drastic. Sacking Ramos and co was the first part. Appointing Redknapp was the second. Because for the moment, the only thing that's important is remaining in the Prem.
Survival. That's it. That should be the mission statement for this season. And having tried every type of manager, we've now gone for the 'not really done anything, loves his money a bit, Sky and the tabloids love him a lot' type of appointment.
We've stopped acting like the 'big club' and just taken stock of our current predicament.
So, am I happy? Nope, unsurprisingly, I'm not.
Levy, for all his little boy lost innocence, is knee-deep in damage limitation and blame deflection. The players, having performed today well enough to claim 3 points are questionable commitment wise if you look at some of our prior performances (although, I'm happy to agree that Ramos wasn't helping himself with selection and tactics). New manager usually gets a reaction from the players, but I still can't get rid of this feeling that Spurs will never push on until they get rid of the vanity at the club. £15M+ for Bentleys hair is proving to be a hard pill to swallow.
Harry himself paid money for Kaboul and does select players out of position. Sometimes has three DM's in his team and still gets bullied by the opposition and generally isn't the most astute tactically. So, I would guess, it's down to his man-management to get things going again.
It's worked one game in. And come Jan, we might see the return of Defoe and one or two other players - including some very un-Tottenham like signings that might have some of us question wtf is going on (BRING BACK THE DOF!!!!!1111) but that's what we want isn't it? Players we NEED - and not superfluous signings. So, there is a positive, one hopes in his appointment. Although getting rid of the DoF and letting Jol sign his own players would have worked fine too.
So, is Harry an interim manager for the club? I hope so. Am I know being a hypocrite for suggesting we are too big for Harry? Call me that if you want. What I'm saying is, Harry isn't a great manager and has limits which will become apparent in a couple of seasons. But this all serves a purpose. A recovery period, washing off any remaining residue of the DoF era. It's the consequence, not of Comolli but of Levy. The buck does stop with him, and this I feel is the final sorry chapter of mis-management. He's admitted it hasn't worked, so he has gained a final encore. And this is it. Harry will take us so far, and then Levy (if he's still around) will no doubt appoint someone knew. Maybe a promotion for whoever his number two is? We'll see how it all pans out. No point dwelling on this at the minute. If Levy suggests that Harry is the one to reclaim GLORY - then Daniel will be leaving us in the very close future.
If (there's that magic word again) Harry performs a miracle and is still knocking around with us in 4 years time then Levy will be deemed a genius and I'll have to eat a hat (preferably made of bagel).
In the mean time, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt (that's Harry). And do what any fan would do: Support the team with all my heart......and cry uncontrollably when it goes tits up. Again.