but barge through.
After all the recent rumours that Mauricio Pochettino didn’t have long left at Spurs, Daniel Levy went and ended the five and a half year bromance and with that the man who brought so much joy was gone, replaced in a trice.
I had questioned Poch many times in posts this season, along with the back end of last season, along probably many times through the previous five years – 60th minute substitutions – but even though things weren’t right I wasn’t one of the #PochOut brigade. So it came as a bit of a shock when someone told me last night the club had sacked him.
It’s worse than when Big Martin Jol got the boot midway through that UEFA Cup more, as many have said, along the lines of when Keith Burkinsahw walked away after delivering that very trophy. I was of course disappointed when AVB was shown the door.
We’d all bought the book. We’d all sung “he’s magic, you know”.
Poch, like BMJ, didn’t deliver a trophy but unlike BMJ he brought success in the form of regular top four finishes, a challenging for both the title and last season for the Champions league crown. He brought a tougher mentality that had been lacking for some time at the club. The end of ‘St Totteringham’s Day’ . Doing over Real Madrid at Wembley. That first defeat for Pep in English football, that 5-3 victory against the then league leaders Chelsea. Led by a certain someone.
That run in the Champions League, the victory over Pep again, followed by that last second drama against Ajax.
That run of course coming during the start of the Premier League downturn, that has seen them pick up very few points in the calendar year, what with not having an away league victory since January.
The thing is I can’t help but think Pochettino started it all off. As soon as he started talking about walking away if Spurs won the CL and then saying he might walk if they lose it gave others an opportunity to do what they do worst.
It gave Levy that chance he needed to not back the manager during the summer. When Poch wanted the clear-out of dead wood and contract holdouts to go with quite a bit of new blood to reinvigorate everything, Levy was thinking “why should I bother backing him, if he might leave?”. And Levy doesn’t need much of an excuse.
So while Poch wanted Eriksen, Rose, Aurier, Wanyama, possibly Toby and Jan gone, only Tripper left. With just three new signings. Now one was a big money signing, another could be – if they follow through on the Lo Celso deal – it wasn’t what Poch wanted and so his summer talk of being “the head coach not the manager”.
Pochettino said the CL final was the end for this group but they ended up still all there.
Though Pochettino should have been used to disappointing transfer windows. He may have put a brave face on it but did he really want between January 2018 – when they signed Moura – to go through two transfer windows, into the third before signing another player?
Players are also ones quick to turn and if they think the manager is walking away. Why play for him? And it looked at times during this season that some weren’t. It was no coincidence that the team looked better the fewer players it contained whose contracts are running out.
Now if we’d just got rid of the rats what chance the ship wouldn’t be sinking? Danny Rose thinks he’s worth big money but when put up for sale at just £20m no one was interested. Toby, some say one of the best centre-backs in the PL yet no one bothered to ask when his buyout clause was just £25m and as for Eriksen, well he’s still in a huff because no big club wanted a player who when he bothers turning up can’t even be arsed missing the first defender from a set piece.
But why did Poch play them? As said the team looked better when they weren’t starting. Was it just to make a point to Levy? Cutting noses to spite faces?
This final few months really shouldn’t cloud what went before though. Highest league finish we’d seen in some time. Those couple of seasons of being tough to beat, the best goals against record the club had had for decades. That final season at White Hart Lane, going unbeaten.
Making Harry Kane into the best number 9 about. Making Dele a goal scoring menace – that cracker against palace – Dier one of the best holding midfielders. He got Pep to pay £50m for Kyle Walker, I don’t think Pep has seen the joke yet. Hell he even got Sissoko to look like a player.
Kane, Dele and Son have all posted messages of gratitude for their former manager, someone they also see as a good friend. What effect will Poch’s departure have on those that were close to him?
Of course that all depends on the team perform under Jose. Spurs turn up, start winning, maybe pick up the FA Cup and Poch is, well not forgotten but. Mourinho meltdown and Poch should have been given more time.
I posted at the time of the announcement of Pochettino’s arrival that…
If he’s there in five years time, something half decent will have been achieved by the club both on and off the park. You wouldn’t put money on it though would you?
It was nearly five and half years, something half decent was achieved, to think some didn’t want him because he didn’t speak English in post match interviews…
Adiós y gracias Mauricio…
THANK YOU MAURICIOpic.twitter.com/2Dy09dE0xe— HotspurMemories (@HotspurMemories) November 20, 2019