Brought in from his post as the French national team manager, Jacques Santini was an appointment that just didn't work at Tottenham.
As a player, he was a
midfielder and a St.
Etienne stalwart and played in the 0-1 European Cup
final defeat to Real Madrid in 1976 at Hampden Park,
when he hit the bar with a header. Made over 300
appearances for the "Green Devils" from 1969 to 1981,
winning four league titles and two French Cups. He
moved on to Montpelier in 1981 and then, two years
later, moving on to Third Division Lisieux, where he
started his management career. From there he took
over at Toulouse, Lille and returned to be manager at
St. Etienne. He had a season as the boss at
Sochaux, but his greatest club success was during his
time at Olympique Lyonnais, where he spent three years
as Technical Director and two years as manager.
His presence at the club helped establish them as the
top team in France, where they won seven straight
championships from 2002, which was the club's first
title win. Their style was as impressive as their
trophy haul and it was this that saw him move to
Clairefontaine to take over the French national team in
He announced at the start of the Euro 2004 finals that he would be leaving as manager when France were eliminated. He joined at the same time as Sporting Director Frank Arnesen with a project to re-shape the club. After France were shocked in the quarter-final of the tournament by Greece, he left to begin his work at White Hart Lane. This involved getting Daniel Levy busy with chequebook and pen, as he signed a raft of new players to bulk up the squad. Seven players made their debut in the opening game of the 2004-05 season - a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool. The side were certainly tighter at the back under Santini, but were not as free-scoring as in previous years, although in the League Cup their two games brought Tottenham 10 goals.
He left this post at Spurs just four months and 13 games into the season on 5th November 2004, citing the need to spend more time with his sick wife back in France. Rumours and comments he made on French TV indicated that his relationship with Arnesen was at the root of his departure. There were some odd comments attributed to Santini, claiming that he thought Tottenham was near the sea, but his departure left the way open for Arnesen to appoint the Frenchman's assistant Martin Jol as the new manager.
Santini did have a break of a year from football, before resurfacing at Auxerre for one season in charge before finally retiring when he was sacked following disagreements with the club's Vice-President Guy Roux.