Don’t make any life-changing decisions they say after a traumatic event, so anyone out there considering switching to being vegan, buying a Smart car or thinking suddenly that that Boris Johnson seems like a decent bloke, might want to shelve those thoughts for a while.
Those writing or commenting on what events have led us to this shocking situation has to caveat everything by saying that they do not know what has happened behind the scenes and that, of course, includes me.
The list of reasons for our poor domestic form last season is long and well rehearsed, but here they are again anyway.
- The lack of incoming players in the two transfer windows of last season either through transfers or the academy meant that there was no ‘organic’ rotation/replacement of the players.
- The large proportion of our players in the England and Belgian squads for the 2018 World Cup meant that we started last season unfit and unready and arguably never recovered, just ask Dele. We spent the season patching the side up.
- Poch has known for a while that there were players at the end of their useful life as far as Spurs were concerned. Rose, Aurier, Wanyama and Eriksen (now that we’ve seen him in action) at least should have been sold but have ended up starting games on a regular basis. There are also the key players whose contracts all came to an end at the same time. Why weren’t they replaced? We don’t know.
- The injury curse that followed us through last season has continued in to this. Dele, Dier, KWP, Vertonghen, Lloris. Ndombele, Lo Celso, Sessegnon were all hired to be the future, it’s only in the last fortnight that they’ve been on the field together.
How much Poch could have done to solve these issues, we don’t know. We don’t know how much money was available for transfers, we don’t know what players were available, we don’t know what Poch thought of these players, we don’t know what efforts were made to sell Aurier, Wanyama etc. We know nothing.
‘But he hasn’t won any trophies’.
Oh but he has. He’s won our hearts.
He’s made us a force. He’s broken hoodoos, he’s made us shout, scream, laugh and celebrate. He’s made supporting Tottenham fun. He gave us a club to be proud of.
He’s made us the club everyone wanted to emulate; our players coveted all over Europe. We became the most hated club in London, a sure sign of success if ever there was one, we became fun to watch and follow. We became a tough, hard team that no-one wanted to play and one that fought to the last.
Perhaps beginning with the 5-3 battering of Mourinho’s Chelsea on New Year’s Day 2015, Poch gave us so many memorable days. A couple of months later we lost 2-0 in the League Cup Final where we witnessed a classic Mourinho tactically led team display of controlling the game by shutting down our best players, Eriksen and Kane, and ending up with the trophy. Exactly what Levy employed him for.
He held sway over Wenger’s moody and unloved, even by their own fans, Gooners. There were so many Kane-inspired batterings of them. He gave us that absolute belter of a last season at White Hart Lane, 17 wins out of 19. The victories at Wembley over Real Madrid, Chelsea again, Dortmund twice, the countless away triumphs all over the country. My favourites are the win at the Etihad with Eriksen’s late goal, the ending of the Stamford Bridge hoodoo and the last few minutes when we scored three at Swansea.
He gave us two title challenges. They weren’t the best of challenges but blimey, Spurs – Title Challengers!!
And there is of course the against all odds victories that got us to Madrid. The draw in Barcelona, the swatting aside of Dortmund, the epic games against City and the absolutely extraordinary night in Amsterdam.
These latter triumphs were played out against a backdrop of a series of worsening performances at home. If we’d won in Madrid then Poch would have walked and the defeats to Southampton, Burnley, Bournemouth and West Ham would have been forgotten but now they provide the statistical foundation for those making an argument that he ‘had to go’.
We all want trophies in the long term and six years is the long-term. Even so, I can’t believe he wasn’t backed properly and replacing him with the liability that the bullying, sniping Mourinho is, was viewed as the best way forward.
He has, as I say, won our hearts. He won the players hearts too, and their minds. Together we were a proud, proud family.
We will miss him.
He is still, and will always be, Magic You Know.
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