oh no Pochettino
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
I'm a fan of Tottenham Hotspur, the English club based in North London. I picked them when I first began aware of the Premier League in the mid 90s, mostly as they had a guy named Jurgen Klinsmann on their squad at the time, a German player who later had a rather ill fated spell as the US Men's National Team coach. When games became more available for viewing in the US (later part of the previous decade), i stuck to that initial choice, and started growing into being a fan on the level of my rooting interest in DEtroit sports team and the University of Michigan, which I came about through an accident of birth - I was born in Ann Arbor, MI, in the viewing region of those Detroit teams. I also did end up going to the University of Michigan. Other than a short lived interest in University of Wisconsin sports, while I was a grad student there, my Spurs fandom is really the one team I have truly supported outside of them one I grew up with.
The first few years, there were the normal ups and downs of a club that wasn't in the top tier, but had some talented players, with the likes of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale rocking the lillywhite uniforms with the cockerel emblem. Those first few years I was paying attention, a guy named Harry Redknapp led the team, but after he was cheated out of Champions League play in 2012, he was fired over a contract dispute, concurrent with Gareth Bale leaving for the big money over in Spain. The next couple of years were an unsettled mess, as the money Spurs got for Bale's transfer fee was largely squandered on ineffective players and subpar coaches.
Then came Mauricio Pochettino, an Argentinian manager who advocated a "high press", where players, if they lost the ball, were to attack the opposite players, hound them, harass them, to try and regain the ball quickly, so as to generate turnovers and scoring opportunities.
It worked, getting Spurs into the top 4 in the league 4 years in a row, one of the better spells in club history. But it didn't bring any trophies. Pochettino got them to a League Cup final, and a Champions League final, but didn't win either, sadly. And though the champions sleague final only took place in June, the league form has been almost shocking since last January, with the squad picking up points at a level usually experience by relegation threatened teams.
That was the reason stated for his firing on Tuesday. Whether it was truly that, or his dissatisfaction at how club chairman Daniel Levy allocated funds for player transfers, or something else (rumored blowup between manager and chairman, perhaps), a fantastic 5 year era has just come to a crashing end.
And now the new manager has been announced as Jose Maurinho, a guy who gets results, but who has worn out his welcome in short order at a series of big name club. With debt on a new stadium to pay down, Mourinho, a guy who is usually associated with big money clubs with deep pockets to go out and buy the types of players he wants, might not get any money to sign folks in January.
It's a bold move by Levy, to ditch the stability of a Pochettino for the volatility of a Mourinho. As a spurs fan I'm concerned that it will lead to a resumption in the merry go round of managers. I hoping that Mourinho overcomes the issues that saw his previous job at Manchester United come crashing down, as well as shaking off whatever ennui the team has been struggling with this year, and fights its way back into some semblance of competition, and soon at that.