have spurs progressed ?

17.11.2004

I have had some time to gather my thoughts on the recent farcical events at my beloved club.

Even by Tottenham measures, I feel we have reached new lows at boardroom level with the whole Jacques Santini affair.  For a man who says he wants to bring long-term success to White Hart Lane, and I believe he does.  Why then does Levi always get it wrong, not just run of the mill wrong but overwhelmingly wrong.  Public gaffes so embarrassing in the great name of Tottenham, you'd almost wish your were Ron Atkinson instead.

His biggest errors of judgment are listed like a 'lets all laugh at Tottenham' slur:

1.      Not Sacking Hoddle in May 2003.

2.      Giving Hoddle 12/15 million to spend that summer.

3.      Appointing Pleat for remainder of last season.

4.      Confirming (through Pleat) in February that a new manager had been found.

5.      Appointing Santini after already having appointing Arnesen & Jol. 

6.      Claiming Santini left for personal reasons.

I understand how points 1 to 3 can be put down to errors of judgment and the beauty of hindsight.  However they are undeniably serious mistakes made in a short period of time.  If I showed such levels of ineptness (or was so accident prone) in my job I wouldn't hang around long enough for the predictable bullet.  This type of thing never seems to happen at other high profile clubs (with the obvious exception of Leeds).  Why is it always us, we don't deserve it.

He should of walked in the summer or been shown the door, but he inexplicably lived to fight again.  Frank Arnesen was appointed, who on face value has a great CV, and is too early to be judged yet.  Frank doesn't dilly-dally too long and is straight into the job bringing in his mate Martin Jol over from Holland as first team coach.  Still looking for a high profile name Levy pulls rank on Arnesen and brings in Santini as HIS first team coach.  Now we have three men for two jobs, the phrases 'too many cooks' & 'round pegs and square holes' spring to mind.  Only Levy knows why he couldn't leave the structure alone after Jol joined the staff, this was his biggest mistake. Another poor judgment call (they're adding up now).

After a promising start on the pitch in 04/05, murmurs of discontent began to surface that all was not well in the THFC camp.  At the time I passed them off as rubbish, I thought it was a case of the press string it up, looking for trouble, picking on Spurs again etc ?  Suspected internal rifts within the new structure over authority, job description and signings became common topics of conversation among the faithful.

The resignation of Santini was a shock to me at the time, I can't say I was gutted, I liked the fella, I liked the way he spoke about his 'young team' with limited English.  I was disappointed that we lost him as a man but deep down I knew it was for the betterment of the club, he did not have what it takes to reverse 11 years of mismanagement, and that in essence is the only thing that matters in the manager's job description.

But could Santini's exit be dealt with quietly, a quiet in-house affair ??  Of course not, this is Levy's Tottenham we're talking about here.

After an initial week of silence and a Levy/Arnesen lie about Santini's reasons for leaving,  the muck slinging started and hasn't stopped since. 

So here we are again, Tottenham Hotspur dodging the fleet street bullets and getting so much news space for non-football related matters.  Correct me here, is it 1993 or 2004 ??  Have we moved an inch forward in 11 years ??

On the pitch things are not as bad as they may seem, although our league position is too low for comfort, and I don't think my heart is able for another end of season dog fight like 92, 94 and 98.  I like many observers think the Arnesen/Jol combo could be the one to turn things around.  A couple of sensible buys in January coupled with the retention of Defoe (**** OFF CHELSEA) would see us in good stead for 2005.  There's also the quarter finals of the League Cup shortly. We beat Liverpool on the way in 99, so the omens are good.

Finally I'd like to give a special mention to Michael Brown, okay so he's no Roy Keane, but on Saturday (which I'm still hurting from) he rose to the occasion and brought Vieira down to his level and bullied him off the park.  In his face, scraping, biting and snarling at him all game.  Doubters may say, 'well Vieira scored', but that was no fault of Brown, it was a blatant Naybet mistake.  If we had 11 Micky Browns we wouldn't be in trouble for long.  I hope Micky Brown keeps his place against Villa.  God knows he deserves it.  He's our modern day Paul Allen and every team needs one.  Keep up the good work Micky, prove to the doubters that your not a stop gap signing.

Shane O'Sullivan

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