Sunday, June 17, 2012

Can the Prospective Managers Do Better than Redknapp?

The removal of Harry Redknapp from Tottenham has resulted in the immediate drawing up of a list of potential managers to fill the vacancy.  Do their credentials suggest that any one of them is capable of doing better than the departing Redknapp and taking Spurs to the 'next' level?

Is this the next Tottenham manager? Andre Villas-Boas
The immediate favourite among the 'bookies' was the Everton manager, David Moyes, with Wigan's Roberto Martinez also highly regarded.  Other names which were prominent on the list were former Spurs player, Jurgen Klinsmann, Fabio Capello, Sven-Goran Eriksson and the man who is  looking increasingly like the next Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas.  Other names to be mentioned in dispatches included Alan Pardew, Glenn Hoddle, Laurent Blanc, Didier Deschamps, Pep Guardiola and Slavin Bilic among others.

David Moyes
As I've blogged previously, Why David Moyes?  He has done a good job during ten years at Everton with a limited budget but has never won a trophy and on the one occasion that Everton did qualify for the Champions League, they failed to reach the Group stages and were then knocked out of the UEFA Cup prior to the group stages.

Moyes' teams are hard-working and have always been well-drilled and organised defensively but there has been a lack of the style of football that a Spurs' manager is expected to produce.  As Irving Scholar stated in his book, 'Behind Closed Doors', when considering a replacement for Keith Burkinshaw, the requirements for a Tottenham manager were 'winning and entertaining' football.

Roberto Martinez
Martinez has worked miracles to keep Wigan Athletic in the Premier League over the past three seasons when they have finished fifteenth, sixteenth and fifteenth.  In the past two seasons Wigan have been among the favourites for relegation until a late revival has saved them.  Only at the death have his teams produced the results.  They are capable of playing good football but have also suffered heavy losses.  As well as the 1 - 9 defeat at White Hart Lane in November, 2009 their final match of that season ended in an eight goal defeat at Chelsea.  The following season started with Wigan conceding ten goals in their opening two games at home to Blackpool and Chelsea.  They did turn it around with a single goal victory at Spurs in their next game.  Their survival in the Premier League was due to taking eight points from their final four matches of that season.  Hardly, impelling credentials for a Tottenham manager.

Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann impressed in international management with Germany but only remained for two years.  His time with Bayern Munich was ended in less than a year due to a difference of opinion with the Board of Directors.  He has been manager of the American national team since last August.

Klinsmann has been mentioned before when Spurs have been looking for a new manager but the arguments against him then are still applicable.  He is always looking for new challenges as he did as a player, sampling football in different Leagues around Europe.  There would never be any certainty that he would see the job through and then his problem with the Bayern Board doesn't bode well for establishing a good working relationship with Daniel Levy and co.

Fabio Capello
He has an excellent record in club football with nine League titles in Italy and Spain.  However, he has never managed in Premier League and his time with England raised the problem of his communication skills due to his lack of fluency in English.  It would be a rather ironic appointment if the man Redknapp had expected to replace as England manager were to be his successor at White Hart Lane.

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson is another foreign manager with an exceptional record in club football across Europe.  He could have had the position at White Hart Lane in 1997 if Alan Sugar had known anything about him.  Harry Harris writes in his book, 'Hold the Front Page' that he received word that Sven-Goran Eriksson was interested in coming to England.
'I received a call from Bryan King on  my mobile.....He wondered how Spurs were getting on in their search for a new coach, and I told him, that they couldn't find the right candidate.
"How about Sven-Goran Eriksson?" ventured Bryan.
What a great idea, as he had a growing reputation built on steady progress through a number of European countries, such as Sweden, Portugal and Italy.......
Immediately I contacted Alan Sugar.  Naturally enough, the Spurs chairman hadn't heard of him, and really I didn't expect that he would have.  Alan suggested he would make some inquiries.....
The next day Alan called back and told me that he had consulted with people and Eriksson was not for Spurs."
Sugar went on to appoint Christian Gross.  Since his time as England team coach, Eriksson's dalliance with club football has been less impressive.  His time has passed.

Rafa Benitez
Benitez is another manager with vast experience and success in Spain taking Valencia to the title twice as well as winning the UEFA Cup.  In six years with Liverpool they were runners-up in the Premier League, won the FA Cup and took the ultimate prize in 2005 - winning the Champions League.

His teams are well prepared and were capable of playing attractive football.  He seemed to be at his best when preparing for the European competitions, especially when with Liverpool taking them to another Champions League Final in 2007.  The pressure of the rivalry with Manchester United seemed to get to him while at Anfield.

His time with Inter Milan was less fruitful where he stayed for only a season.  He took over from Jose Mourinho and was manager of Inter when they faced Spurs in two memorable games in the Champions League.  The master-tactician when faced with the pace of Gareth Bale seemed at a loss as to how to stop him.  Having been given fair warning of Bale's ability in the first game at the San Siro as Bale scored a hat-trick, Benitez failed to implement ant special arrangements to curtail his effectiveness in the second match at White Hart Lane.  Bale again reigned supreme as chants of 'Taxi for Maicon' rang around the ground during Spurs emphatic and well deserved 3 - 1 victory.

Alan Pardew, Frank de Boer and Glenn Hoddle and many others have also been mentioned along with Andre Villas-Boas who left Stamford Bridge in March after  a difficult time at Chelsea.

Andre Villas-Boas
After only a couple of days, rumours suggest that Villas-Boas has moved to the head of the vacancy list, to work along with Tim Sherwood as Director of Football.  Sherwood, the former Spurs player who was responsible for the Development squad at Spurs under Redknapp is the only member of the senior backroom staff to survive the cull.  Kevin Bond, Joe Jordan, Clive Allen and Les Ferdinand have all gone, leaving room for a new team to be appointed.

Villas-Boas had an excellent reputation for his work with Porto where his team won the League, Cup and Europa League in his one season in charge.  Porto went through the season undefeated and won the title by a twenty point margin.  This success attracted Chelsea to the young manager but his time at Stamford Bridge was problematic, where he had difficulties with the players, the owner and the media, eventually losing his post in March.

When Juande Ramos came to Tottenham he had an excellent reputation with Seville but it didn't work out in the Premier League.  Appointing Villas-Boas would be a huge gamble for Tottenham who are looking to get into the Champions League on a regular basis as well as win trophies.  Will he be given the time at White Hart Lane to get his new ideas across, that wasn't afforded to him at Stamford Bridge?  The press, opposing fans and supporters will be waiting for any signs of weakness as they did with a previous manager, Christian Gross, and Villas-Boas could find it difficult if he doesn't make an immediate impression as comparisons will be made with his predecessor.

Tottenham fans must also be willing to show patience if Villas-Boas were to be the chosen one.

Appointing a new manager is one of the most difficult tasks facing any Chairman.  The sudden departure of a successful manager makes it even more precarious a task that Daniel Levy has set for himself.


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