Opinion: Where did it all go wrong at Tottenham?

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Daniel Levy
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The last few games and months have showcased the decline which has occurred at Tottenham, from reaching the final of the Champions League, to losing heavily in three London derbies in a row. It’s been a turbulent last 12-24 months at the club having fallen outside the top four, dropping down down the league table and tears through manager contracts, but how has the club fallen so far, so quickly?

The first place to turn would be back in 2018, where Tottenham were bracing themselves for a move into a new 62,850 seater stadium. Obviously, a move that requires huge financial muscle and sacrifice by the club. However, the club have seriously paid the price for these financial restraints after in the January transfer window of 2018, Tottenham made no new signings, leaving the squad stale and light in the midfield when fan-favourite Mousa Dembélé  left the club for Guangzhou City.

This transfer drought continued throughout both windows of the 2018 season. The manager at the time, Mauricio Pochettino, had a tendency to take a season or two to settle new players in, especially ones from overseas leagues, leading to the squad seeming content and impressive for the rest of the season. However, the squad was just on a year delay due to Pochettino’s methods of transfers.

The summer of 2019 meant that players such as Giovani Lo Celso and Tangut Ndombele arrived at the club but failed to make an immediate impact as they struggled to adapt to a new league and lifestyle. It then gave the board a point of criticism at the Argentine manager, even though the transfer and squad issues were mainly the fault of the board themselves. The sacking of Pochettino after five-and-a-half years was certainly recognised by all fans as a turning point in the club’s history. A manager that had revolutionised the club and changed it from the top to bottom, leaving a lasting effect on players and staff, with a change so vast it would be anticipated that it would take time to adapt away from Pochettino. Nevertheless, I’m not sure too many people would have envisaged just how painful the break-up with Mauricio would be.

The shifting of philosophy for Spurs was forced through in late 2019 by chairman Daniel Levy, who marked a tornado of change for the club, by introducing Jose Mourinho to the North London club, a manager who was completely different to his predecessor. The move was certainly an ambitious one and something that was always going to go one of two ways: either be Mourinho success return story, bringing himself and Tottenham to trophies and glory, or the option that became true which was that the relationship between the manager and club turned sour and it ended with both parties worse off.

The gamble not paying off was certainly a catalyst for the unrest towards the club. Mainly due to frustrated fans believing that Mourinho was Levy’s choice of manager, that had clearly failed, but the events such as the furlough scheme and the European Super League saga wouldn’t have helped Levy’s relationship with the fans by any means.

The sudden capitulation of Tottenham in the early months of 2021 was certainly a reason for dejected players and a frustrated fanbase, even more so when the style of play is considered. It was a draining few months that came to a head with a diabolical performance in the Europa League against Dynamo Zagreb , a match with marked the writing on the wall for Jose Mourinho.

Ryan Mason was shortly appointed as the interim first-team coach after Mourinho’s departure and was left with the task of battling one of the best teams in the country, Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, a team who Tottenham famously beat in the Champions League under Pochettino, but Mason seemingly had an impossible job of beating the Citizens, truly displaying the decline of Tottenham over just two years -a  result that elongated Tottenham’s trophy drought for at least another season.

The following weeks of Ryan Mason in charge meant Tottenham had to make do with a seventh place finish in the Premier League, consequently causing Tottenham to fall to the new lowest tier of European qualification, the Europa Conference League. Making it a third straight year of falling down the European ladder and leaving Tottenham gawping at the heights they were once at.

Looking back on the turbulent past two years or so, there are many events to point the finger at, but as usual in football there isn not one issue that causes a downfall but a combination of mistakes and missteps. However, the pressure is seemingly mounting upon the board and Levy, and by looking at this combination of events it must be said that the pressure is more than justified. After countless mistakes, a lack of faith in worthy managers and little investment we can only hope the board take note of this downfall and take drastic action swiftly to prevent a further downfall for our club.

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