Spurs: Things Can Only Get Better From Here
Has it come to this? Another summer of uncertainty. Another pursuit of a new manager. Another truckload players reportedly wanting to leave. Another summer spent debating who to purchase.
The irony of it all is that this season was supposed to be one where we progressed. The Gareth Bale money was supposed to propel the squad forward further than his presence would have. It was supposed to be so easy; at least it sounded so on paper. Levy, perhaps blinded by the lights of pulling off the biggest sale in football history, set about selling one world class player and replacing him with seven international players. In theory it sounded like a sound idea and Levy and Baldini were hailed as kings of the transfer market by fans and the media alike. In practice it transpired very differently.
Nine months later, and there are few still praising Levynomics and Daniel’s ability to make prudent signings. ‘What is he thinking spending £26 million on Soldado? He’s obviously not suited to the Premier League,’ said many, their 20/20 hindsight working perfectly. The choices of purchases last summer looks at best questionable, and at worst a complete and utter mess.
‘How have we ended up with Sherwood? He’s such a twat,’ said many over a pint (or a tweet). Sherwood’s time at Spurs ended with one of our highest win percentages, but nobody bar a few of his media pals is sad to see the back of him, which speaks volumes about his stint in charge. Tactically naive and awful at handling the players, the media and the fans, Sherwood’s time was duly up.
As we turn the page on Sherwood’s brief but eventful reign, the question becomes what’s next? The future looks both bleak and bright. The chaos that currently embodies White Hart Lane is apparent from boardroom to pitch. That is not to say that Levy and Lewis are accountable for each individual error that cost another goal, but that the climate at Spurs is not one currently conducive to happiness and achievement.
On the other hand, maybe we should just try and stay positive. In many ways, things can only improve with this squad. The new manager, whether it is Maurico Pochettino, Frank de Boer or Rafa Benitez, does not need to be a miracle worker. The squad consists of numerous talented players capable of excellent displays. If kept together then Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Sandro, Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor form a spine as strong as any in the league bar Manchester City’s. The squad needs organisation and motivation, not a fundamental overhaul.
The new manager will bring a new attitude too. Whilst the old maxim is ‘Who dares wins,’ Sherwood embraced this to the point of absurdity. The result was that Sherwood produced performances as cohesive and convincing as Flubber. He did however produce significantly more entertainment than Villas-Boas. The Portuguese veered too far towards caution and was far too rigid in his ideology to succeed. The incumbent manager will need to capture elements of Villas-Boas’ structure and Sherwood’s attacking philosophy, but needs to strike a balance between the two.
The new manager will no doubt be aided by a number of the first team missing out on the World Cup through minor injuries or failure to qualify. The timeframe is uncertain on Erik Lamela and Kyle Walker’s battle to be fully fit, but you know it will be before the start of the season at least. Alongside that duo Vlad Chiriches, Christian Eriksen, Emmanuel Adebayor, Sandro, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Soldado will have a full pre-season alongside the new coach to build their fitness levels and familiarity with the new coaching staff and methods.
It’s time to push things forward for Tottenham Hotspur. The next appointment needs to be progressive and supported by the board. Simply put, if Hugo Lloris or Jan Vertonghen do throw a strop and try to leave then Levy must dig in and refuse – regardless of any offers. The new manager should be backed in the transfer market as far as feasibly possible. Villas-Boas was let down by the haggling over João Moutinho, who would surely have solved many of our issues in breaking down teams that we’ve had in the past 2 seasons. The new manager must be given the tools to successfully implement their vision of Spurs next season and into the future.
Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMacfarlane