If nobody saw the car crash performance against Liverpool coming, most people saw the dismissal of Tottenham’s head coach a mile off. While the heads of some die hard AVB fans remained in the sand, it’s been an open secret for weeks that the board had gone off him and history shows us that once that happens Daniel Levy, the toughest nut in football, wields the axe with a clinical insouciance as soon as the opportunity arises.
Now what? There’s a good quality set of players at White Hart Lane and they are well within striking distance of the top four in a season where all the top sides have proved themselves capable of losing unexpectedly. In other words, it’s a great job.
As I write, Fabio Capello is the bookies favourite presumably because he was at the game yesterday and has spent a large part of his career working with Tottenham’s director of football Franco Baldini. But Capello is currently the manager of Russia and is due to take them to Brazil for the world cup in June. It seems unlikely that he’d forego that opportunity.
Second favourite is Michael Laudrup who has appeal, but prizing him away from Swansea mid-season would be messy. Then there are three men who are actually available. First Gus Hiddink who is due to take charge of Holland again after the World Cup. That makes him ideal for a caretaker role until the end of the season - precisely the role he performed so succesfully for Chelsea after they sacked Phil Scolari, but he isn’t a long term prospect. Then there’s Tim Sherwood, already on the staff at White Hart Lane and supposedly well thought of in its upper echelons but he is completely untried as a boss.
And then there’s Glenn Hoddle.
One of the greatest names in Tottenham’s history, Hoddle has achieved a kind of rehabilitation among football’s opinion formers since Levy fired him from the Spurs job ten years ago. With hindsight, many observers now see that he was the last England manager who got the team playing anything like sophisticated football. He’d be popular with the fans, he’d probably accept the job on a trial basis for the rest of the season and he would come fresh from a period out of management raring to go.
Parallells will be suggested with Kenny Dalglish’s return to Liverpool which ended badly. But while Glenn and Kenny were the best English and Scottish players of their generation, they are dissimilar coaches. Dalglish was always a prosaic tactician whereas Hoddle’s is a subtle, technical approach born out of his time playing under Arsene Wenger at Monaco.
Questions were raised over his man management skills in his early days but many of the players he took charge of for England remain great friends and supporters and in any case he’s now older and wiser.
Gary Lineker tweeted earlier ‘AVB has been sacked by Spurs. Would love to see Glenn Hoddle given another chance at this level. Has a brilliant football mind’.