The Messiah Complex
Review part V
Director of football and future coach
The DoF system. What is it? What does the system aim for and what is the responsibility of the director? Does Franco Baldini scout and present feasible targets to the coach with the chairman having the final say? Does he work as a support mechanism for new signings with the coach retaining control on who comes in? Is he meant to uphold the clubs footballing ethos with continuity by signing certain types of players so that any given manager can continue the work without any lengthy transition?
Ian Broomfield is back at the club in a scouting capacity, although he might focus more on British youth players. I'm guessing that, I don't know. Unless he's in to fulfil a more traditional role for all first team and youth targets with the DoF once more scrapped or perhaps reshaped in the summer. Daniel Levy enjoys the comfort of a cushion between himself and the coach, so I'd be surprised if it was completely removed.
The DoF system was supposedly there to ease the pressure and commitments placed on Levy working on all the prospective deals but there hasn't been any transparency from the start. Not that I desire the details, I just want to know that it doesn't conflict and splinter the relationship between the board and the football manager.
I tend to lean towards the fact that no matter the guise it can once more be blamed for the detrimental impact it has had on our season starting with the rise and fall of Andre Villas-Boas. It seems its influence always causes problems, always undermines. It's the ready made excuse that all can latch onto if it goes pear-shaped.
The irony of a DoF upholding a clubs footballing ethos is a joke mainly because at this present time we have no outstanding ethos. Are we aiming to achieve success in the short or long term? What is our ambition other than signing young talented players with the potential to sell them for profit at a later date?
A new coach should have the onus on them to start something that births a new methodology or principle to build on - although with Spurs our footballing ethos was cemented back in the 60s with Bill Nicholson. Forever in his shadow. There is no patience for five year plans these-days.
What we need in these modern times is to simply sustain momentum. To do so we need to repair and mould the clubs conciousness to be one of hardened mental strength. We've done that under ENIC's reign (from mid-table to Champions League) but have allowed reoccurring fragility to hold us back from full growth. The repair is because of self-inflicted pain. We keep repeating the same mistakes. When you're running on rooftops and you need to make a jump, you make the jump. You don't slow down, turn back, walk down the stairs, leave the building, walk into the next building and take the lift to the roof to continue on your way.
Louis van Gaal has history in setting foundations at his former clubs. We need something long-lasting even if it only requires two or three seasons for a single coach to implement. We're not aiming for long term ambition with the single man at the helm. Gone are the days where a manager could mould a club in his image over a ten year period. The short term can still influence the long term. It only takes a season of success to change the course of history.
If you take a look at Anfield and Brendan Rodgers, you wonder how long he'd have lasted at WHL with us (the fans) and the board and our impossible expectations. Would we have catered for him in quite the same way? Maybe that's why he went to Liverpool instead of choosing us. If you believe we spoke to Rodger before he made his decision. Still, at least we've avoided retweets of images of the ghost of Nicholson whispering encouragement to a Lilywhite Rodgers in the dugout.
Liverpool have a handle on letting the football side breathe a little where we prefer to facilitate the financial side as the main priority. Our ethos is one of a fatalistic nature. Do or die every other season then scrap it and start again. Melodrama runs through our blood more than composed calculated planning.
We wanted Andre Villas-Boas to succeed because of what the appointment stood for; longevity with transfers and a scientific progressive approach compared to the very short termism of Redknapp's tenure and signings and his disagreements with Levy when it came to said signings (a case of cheap, experienced players versus expensive ones with sell-on value). AVB was meant to be the next stage of the evolution, giving us that extra astuteness tactically and fitting into the blueprint that is meant to work in tangent with the fabled DoF system.
Style over substance, it failed to work. Redknapp had plenty of substance but the style suffered in the end because he wasn't progressive enough. We got found out and hit the brick wall. We then spent the next season and a half trying to levitate via meditation over the wall inside of using a ladder. Catch 22?
We're not happy with what we've got because our expectations are so high because of what we got. When we reach out and fail we then wonder if we should have been content with what we had. That isn't very Spurs is it? Echo of glory tells you we should always aim high. The higher the better. The more improbable the better. Progressive, scientific approaches might be overly complex when all we truly desire is shirts tucked out and socks rolled down swagger and the occasional cup run and adventure. Sadly this particular ethos doesn't fit into the modern game, hence our obsessive behaviour for tangible success. Hence why a winning mentality is so vital - in all areas of the club.
We're going to replace Sherwood, that is one certainty. An interim appointment that (thankfully) won't be allowed the time to prove his worth because of the damage it might cause. It's all perfectly summed up by the disdain for AVB and the initial love-in for Sherwood until they worked out he was nothing more than a chancer. He's hardly blessed be it in press conferences or in the dugout and as stupid and naive as some of his remarks are, they can be damaging for the club.
He might still fall on his feet and find himself replacing Baldini (although you wonder about the logic of this when you take note of the players Sherwood passed on whilst scouting for Spurs under Redknapp). Whatever happens, I can't help but think we suffer from a messiah complex by proxy when it comes to the next man in.
There is no middle ground. It's everything or nothing. Which is a good attitude to have with a measure of control but we always execute it without mercy, sometimes forgetting that if you sacrifice a little you might end up with a lot more.
All eyes on ENIC to break the cycle, prove that chaos isn't the only path to progression (Jol, Redknapp) and that the same mistakes are not repeated. It's all well and good having good accountancy, state of the art training facilities and a talented squad if there is nothing to bring it together to be more than just a snazzy photo on the cover of a calender.
On Tuesday night, we recorded this weeks The Fighting Cock podcast and one of the discussions concerned whether we had secured our next manager now (provisionally or otherwise) or we're still waiting until post-World Cup to do so which might prove to be the final nail in the coffin of our lost momentum. If we haven't or don't intend to do so quickly the moment the summer is upon us, then we might be treated to another buy/sale inspired DoF special in prep for the late appointment of a coach. Which will lead to steady back-stepping as we move further away from the top tier will continue.
Yet another doomsday scenario.
To cite Liverpool again, they might win the league and placing aside the jealously (based on the fact it could have been us), it proves that even with the fiscal clout of City and Chelsea - it's possible to do the supposedly impossible. Might be that it's a one hit wonder and they're unable to repeat the feat. They have to win it first for us to find out next season how tricky it is to build on such an achievement with the bigger clubs (money again) seeking redemption. Winning it a single time is more than not winning it; live for the moment and the glory it bestows.
When I say it could have been us, I'm referencing the fallacy that we as a club - due to those financial constraints - are over-achieving and therefore should be content with flirting for a Champions League place. That's the straight-laced stats based ideology. Alas, good football and a genuine world class striker can do wonders for making a mockery of said ideology.
Momentum has not been lost. It's frozen but a repeat of this season's wasteful effort is not an option. Unless ENIC want those two holding up 'Levy Out' banners to multiple to two thousand.
previous parts -
Part I - The other magnificent seven
Part II - The expendables
Part III - Bring me the head of Erik Lamela
Part IV - Escaping to Victory