Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admitted he has been a Spurs fan since childhood; with Jimmy Greaves being his favourite player. He also admitted that he came close to managing Spurs – his boyhood team – but went for United instead. I can understand that to a point. But will United give Louis the chance he deserves? What happens if he struggles in his first season? Will he go the same way as Moyes? If he doesn’t hit the ground running he will be in the sights of the United snipers. And no doubt that will give Moyes a chuckle. From a Spurs point of views we hope he continues where Moyes left off; a few more rungs down the ladder will do nicely. You never know; if our new manager does badly, along with United’s they might end up swapping positions. But no doubt that will be considered fantasy football at this point in time. Nevertheless Gaal’s position will be more precarious than Mauricio Pochettino’s position. Manchester United had stability for years (with a break and rest under Moyes) so their fans won’t understand anything other than continuous top 4 fighting position. While our fans – under Levy – have never seen or known stability so will probably just take it in their stride. However, we are getting used to 5th or 6th spot.
Van Gaal is supposed to be a disciplinary and even though the players accepted that under Alex, will they accept it under Gaal? I suppose they would if United are doing well, but questionable if doing badly. Of course both managers are unknowable’s. One has worked in top flight, but not in this country, the other has worked in the Premier League, but for a smaller club with totally different pressures. As Spurs fans we all wish Mauricio well and United to finish well below us.
Mauricio Pochettino is an unknown force. Did well in his only two seasons at Southampton. His first season he replaced sacked manager Nigel Adkins in January 13. They finished 14th. His second and last season (before moving to Spurs) he finished 8th while playing attractive football. Impressive for a club like Southampton, but it would be below par if it was for a top club.
Before that he was at Espanyol. In January 2009 he became their manager, after replacing 2 coaches before him (from the same season). Espanyol finished a comfortable 10th. However, he might not be able to claim that he did it all-on-his-own-competence as, it is reputed, he asked for “Divine Intervention”. It does make you wonder that if he has such contacts why he didn’t ask for a higher placing than just 10th? If I had such contacts I would have also added global leader into the equation as well, along with winning the title. But to be fair on him he might have pissed off the Mighty One (no, not José Mourinho, but God; I know what you are asking; ‘what is the difference?”) so his request of “Divine intervention” might have been given as a trial run before He committed everything to Mauricio Pochettino’s cause. God works in mysterious ways, or so they say. He also might only work for Argentinians; remember Diego Maradona’s hand of God goal? And of course Ricky Villa’s magical goal for us in the FA Cup final against City. Well, that proves it then. Mauricio Pochettino is touched; I just hope he is touched in the right way and it benefits Spurs.
The following full season he did well and was making progress; it seemed. So much so that on 28th September 2010 Espanyol extended his contract for one more season. Was God really looking down upon him? He seemed to be on a roll. Two years later on the 26th November 2012, following a home defeat he was sacked. The club was at the bottom of the league with 9 points from 13. He was only two months out of work before Southampton jumped for his signature. So he seems to have the qualifications, as past failed managers had, to get Levy interested. So the signs are looking good (or not, depending on your sense of humour).
Mauricio Pochettino is either a very clever and ambitious manager, or his insights with Him above told him to jump before going the same away as he did with Espanyol. But experience can work wonders and sometimes failures can turn into rewards; at least I like to think that is what Levy is telling himself. It reminds me of a Churchill quote. Clementine, his wife, said (after he failed to win the general election in 1945) “your defeat might be a blessing in disguise”. Churchill’s response was “it must be very well disguised”. Leading to this moment in time for Levy he probably said to his board “what happened before is probably a blessing in disguise. If we wouldn’t have gone on this road we might not have had Mauricio Pochettino as our manager now”. So-true, so-bloody-true.
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