Days of future past


Mauricio Pochettino. Manager of the month. That's all we need, the dreaded curse playing a one two with the UK's footballing media as both lust for a Jurgen Klopp début win. That's right, Spurs are playing this weekend, just in case you failed to read the small print in amongst all the fanfare and worship for Liverpool's newly appointed next messiah. 

I don't mind Klopp. This is not just hipster talk, he's a ridiculously likeable coach and someone that crafted a footballing philosophy for Dortmund and created a genuine legacy, be it one that suffered towards the end of his tenure. Perhaps he never had a plan b but his eye for talent and the success he gave them was what any fan lives for. An awakening, history making title victories and moments and players to cherish forever. He also gave them something to reclaim in the future, a benchmark. A struggle we've often flirted with since the 1960s and again since the 1980s and one that the Merseyside club are currently experiencing.

I'm not too sure how he'll fit into Liverpool considering the club are fuelled by the memories of the past. They had complete and utter dominance at one point. That particular football cycle has never recovered from its puncture. As much as the Anfield club and those that believe they have a God given right to reclaim what's rightfully theirs are more of an irritant on my daily footballing digestion, I can't help but burp a stink in the direction of those watching from afar in punditry corners, begging and willing fate and destiny to crown them with a new lick of paint. Personally, would prefer to see this Phoenix burn in the flames, never to take flight again.

I do like Klopp, so perversely, I'm interested to see if it's possible to influence the internal structure there and thus lead them to more than just moderate success. Moderate these days is quantified as a Top 4 place, which soon might be left as a Top 3 thanks to the coefficient inducing chaos of English clubs in the Champions League.

You look over to the swamp and the perpetual stench of Arsene Wenger continues to linger for what will soon be twenty years. Gone are the days of this sickening longevity. Career managers jump from club to club, sometimes attempting to reboot but mostly slotting into a comfort zone surrounded by top tier world class players. Klopp, unlike like Wenger back in 1994, doesn't have a blank canvas. The money in football today also places emphasis on how it's spent, with due consideration of the City's and Chelseas's of this world. Spend more (especially on wages) and you'll compete. Fail and someone else will slot into your place.

The clubs that sit below the untouchables also like to reboot regularly when perhaps patience and fighting spirit through the tough times can muster up gritty and tenacious mental strength. Togetherness rather than disconnections.  Yet the same pressure is applied regardless if you're 1st or 6th. Every top club aspires to be the best but only three are likely to share the spoils.

It took us £100M to fall flat on our face. Brendan Rodgers almost trebled that amount to find himself pushed out. The fact is, you sometimes end up relying on your competition (the ones where the pressure is high because of the financial outlay and its accompanying expectancy, i.e. City, Chelsea) to falter in order to make a challenge. An element of luck and momentum and the flux of others. Rodgers had Luis Suarez and company on point with majesty and pace for that single season, elevating their own ambitions to one off levels that perhaps some at board level wished to see effortlessly repeated.

They slipped up. We've done it ourselves, granted only for the quest for another CL adventure. Liverpool should have long shaken off the unnecessary shadow of their illustrious history. Instead they're influenced equally as much as dear old Tottenham are when it comes to constructing their Trojan Horse. No doubting both clubs have built one. We've just struggled to get it into Troy. The wheels always fall off when we get close.

There's no harm in aiming high but the playing field is a different universe to the more simplistic times of the 70s and 80s. Still, Rodgers arguably lost his way and the transfer committee botched up the post-Suarez windows of opportunity much like we did with the Gareth Bale windfall. You might look the part but that isn't enough.

Klopp is actually the type of coach Daniel Levy would have fancied. Especially as we seek to consolidate the whole Hotspur Way, scientific approach to football by finding a successful appointment to breed an ethos from the academy and sign starlets for less than stellar fees. More so in these pre-Stadium days where the club will embrace net spend margins as we tighten up more than ever before.

Pochettino is the man we have and all things taken under consideration, this season might be the one where Spurs finally claw back their identity. The further away we are from the mess under Franco Baldini and Andre Villas-Boas (sigh) the closer we get to finding out if the youthful and functional (Paul Mitchell) approach is strong enough to mould a side that can be more than just fifth place fodder for the Premier League.

We have spirit, fitness, youthful exuberance, the unity of academy breeding, an incomplete pressing system and the necessity for further depth in key areas.

What has me positive is the fact that I feel so connected to so many of our players. I actually like them and rate their potential. My own expectation is an acceptance that between the time before Harry Redknapp left Spurs and AVB imploded, we had something that we didn't quite make the most of. We'll never know 'what if?' and it's no longer relevant. It can't influence the present. I'd cite 'lessons learnt' but it's rare we seek to correct our managerial mannerisms when it comes to appointing and dismissing. So I'm left knowing that we shouldn't really be able to compete at the very top and yet that flux, that common occurrence of those that are expected to compete yet crack under the strain leaves the less pressured to pursue that dream.

It's not fair right?

This footballing template we have today is because of Sky Sports, the injection of TV money and Champions League. But both us and Liverpool have proven that it's possible to knock at the door. But just how impossible is it to kick a hole through it?