Former Spurs star opens up on strained relationship with Juande Ramos

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Former Tottenham number one, Paul Robinson, has opened up on the contrasting relationship he had with Martin Jol and Juande Ramos during the four years he spent at White Hart Lane.

Jol replaced Jacques Santini as Tottenham manager midway into the 2004-05 season and the Lilywhites registered two fifth places finishes in the Dutchman’s first two full seasons at the club.

The Dutchman was adored by the White Hart Lane faithful and Robinson revealed that he also had the players’ respect owing to his honesty.

The former England number one claimed that it was Jol’s era at Spurs that laid the foundation for the club’s progress for the subsequent decade and a half.

Speaking to The Athletic, Robinson said: “Martin was a top manager and a very, very good man-manager. I had a great relationship with him, which I still do today.

“I always liked working with managers whose doors were always open, and if you weren’t performing they’d tell you you weren’t performing.

“They wouldn’t just not put you in the team, they’d give you a reason and were honest — the biggest thing for a player and managers is honesty.

“And I think that time at Spurs was potentially the building block, the platform that’s put the club to where it is now.”

However, the 40-year-old admitted that his relationship with Jol’s successor, Juande Ramos, was anything but straight forward and that the pair did not see eye to eye.

Robinson found himself losing his place in the Spurs side soon after being dropped from the England team and subsequently left to join Blackburn that summer.

He said: “I wasn’t playing particularly well at that time, because of the setback against Croatia (in the Euro 2008 qualifiers).

“But it didn’t help me having a manager that would pull me in and out of the team. His door was always closed. He wouldn’t speak to you. He was always at arm’s length.

“There was no kind of personal relationship. You’d go to the team hotel, and turn the sheet over and you weren’t in the team and he wouldn’t say a word to you.

“If he wanted to speak to you or whatever he could use his interpreter, and he could understand to get his point across.

“But when you wanted to go and speak to him, his understanding of English became very minimal. It was a personal relationship that wasn’t working and at that time I needed to play.

“I don’t think anybody’s got a given right to be anywhere. I openly admitted my performances that season weren’t to the level that they were because my confidence had taken a hit.

“I don’t have a problem with a manager not fancying you as a player, but it was the way he handled it. It caused a problem for the both of us, which inevitably led to me leaving.

“I’m not sure that he got on with a lot of the squad. Hence the reason that, shortly after winning the League Cup, he departed (Ramos was sacked eight months later, in October 2008).”

The former goalkeeper admitted that he could have been at Tottenham a lot longer had he stuck around until Harry Redknapp replaced Ramos at the helm just eight games into the 2009-10 season.

The former Spurs star added: “Did I leave too early? I certainly think that if I’d have stuck around then Harry Redknapp would have come in and he was a manager that I could have got on with.

“Juande had preconceived ideas of me I suspect before he came in — similar to Pep Guardiola and Joe Hart (at Manchester City in 2016).

“But I don’t think it was personal at all. It was just his opinion on my ability. But that was to be the end for me at Spurs.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Robinson was treated rather harshly by Ramos the season the Spaniard arrived at the club but I do not think his decision to sell the former England stopper was one of his biggest mistakes. Although Gomes took some time to settle into the Premier League, I thought he was a genuine upgrade on Robinson as the Brazilian’s shot-stopping ability was up there with the best on his day.

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