Black box blue screen of death


Paul Mitchell and Rob Mackenzie are gone. What does it mean? It could mean anything. Disillusionment, disagreements, devaluation of role(s), ambition for new challenges...pick one. The go-to story arc is to suggest that Mitchell has fallen out with Levy. 

The chairman has always been actively involved with transfer negotiations. Is there a breakdown between what Mitchell scouts and what we offer? Unless you're inside the club and involved, there's no way of knowing. Mitchell has been at the club for two years. I was excited when he signed, more so because Spurs were looking at having a solid workable structure for recruitment and player acquisitions. Players that fit into the teams ethos along with evaluating existing squad players to streamline and avoid collecting deadwood (although there will always be the occasional failure).

Poch wasn't particularly vocal with the appointment at the time, he wasn't discouraged either but made no big deal out of it. He's always appeared to be supportive of what is fundamentally a supporting mechanism that's there to facilitate. The structure wont disappear but there's no doubt Mitchell's expertise is a loss.

We might suddenly feel the need to rationalise and bemoan that Mitchell hasn't produced the end product expected. Maybe his black box is better suited for clubs that want to pluck unknowns (like at Southampton). Maybe it doesn't quite fit into Hotspur Way. We're caught in-between the space occupied by teams that are below the clubs with huge financial clout. We want the mega players but we can't afford them, looking instead for cheaper alternatives that have the capacity to be great.

Maybe Mitchell feels he has lost power or has none or is an unnecessary cog with Poch 'promoted' to the role of manager. Our academy appears to be providing a richness of potential too. Maybe Levy, makes the administrative responsibilities of others redundant - as we know, he likes to be deeply involved and if we're not signing the players Mitchell is highlighting, then there's the potential to fester in frustration.

Mitchell is however a scout, be it one that has taken the role of the Oracle (sees everything without having to get off park bench). That's not something our chairman can do - scout players. It's something David Pleat appears to still do. Mitchell was never a Damien Comolli. His role isn't comparable to Frank Arnesen either. I was never certain of Franco Baldini's position other than to throw money at anything that moved. Perhaps, much like other managers, Poch knows what he wants and doesn't need to be helped or advised to the point of complete dependency. Especially if someone else can come in and take over what Mitchell has built. Poch might still rely and require the advice given (like I said, it's a supporting mechanism and someone has to do the donkey work).

It will still be of huge interest where he goes. How we go about managing personnel is hardly on top of my concern list but the ideology implemented by those soon to be parting, was never a bad thing. It's interestingly the first little bump we've experienced in this new journey in Pochettino's tenure. 

Poch says he's disappointed. Is that in Mitchell for wanting to leave or Spurs for allowing a situation to force his departure? What else can he possibly say when asked for a soundbite?

The truth is, we don't really know enough about the behind closed doors success he's had to formulate a convincing argument either way for how it will impact the ongoing work for recruitment. 


Extra: Having seen Poch's quotes in greater detail, it sounds like Mitchell has decided to take a job elsewhere, rather than some deep rooted fall out that has seen him throw a chair and smash his way through a window, running away barefooted. Much like you and me deciding to move on form an existing current job to a new challenge (for a better position/more control/more money).

Continuity shouldn't be effected thanks to the two years he's had at the club and the team that's in place - regardless of the lack of the black box system (a super-charged You Tube knowledge base of footballers, footage, data and stats). The methodology is still in place for all we know. Mitchell might have already identified several players that we plan to sign over the next season or two. That's if he doesn't sign them for the club he ends up working for. It all seems very amicable from all sides (Levy, Mitchell, Poch) conflicting with what the likes of the Evening Standard wish to report. Some are only ever comfortable if there's a conspiracy in there to bite into and spit out.