Sports Opinion

Tough road ahead

November 27 - December 3, 2019

Gulf Weekly Stan Szecowka
By Stan Szecowka

Gulf Weekly Tough road ahead

Football is a fickle old game. It has only been a week since Mauricio Pochettino left Tottenham Hotspur and was replaced by Jose Mourinho yet the dissatisfaction among supporters has ebbed away so quickly.

When the news was announced that Pochettino was leaving, most of the footballing world was in agreement that it was an unwise and unfair move by Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman. Manager Pochettino had led Tottenham to four successive seasons in the Champions League, not to mention reaching the final for the first time in the clubs history. He had overseen a period in the clubs history where they had very limited financial resources yet had enormous success, playing entertaining attacking football. Hours later his replacement, Jose Mourinho, was announced, a man who on the face of it, could not have been more anti-Tottenham. Not only is Mourinho’s name synonymous with London rivals Chelsea, he has been known to spend big in transfer windows as well as play a less attractive, more defensive style of football. Let’s not forget to mention the fact that in an interview in 2015, Mourinho said that he could never manage Tottenham as he loves Chelsea too much. Naturally, his appointment was met with opposition. Hashtag #MourinhoOut was trending on Twitter just hours later and many fans were voicing their concerns about his recent club records, the last of which a not particularly successful spell as Manchester United boss.

All that however is feeling more and more distant. A first interview with some rambling about pyjamas followed by a routine victory over a struggling West Ham side has eased Mourinho in nicely. I wrote an article a few weeks back suggesting that Tottenham would be crazy to sack Pochettino and I am still of that opinion but the main point that was being addressed was that there simply were not many world class managers – difference makers – that Tottenham could obtain should they part company with the Argentinian.

In Jose, they may have managed to get the only special one. Daniel Levy is notoriously prudent as a chairman but with this one I believe he is going for broke. I mentioned that the Champions League final last summer may have been Tottenham’s last chance to establish themselves as a big club in England but with the appointment of Mourinho I believe they have extended that chance. Whilst they have a fancy new stadium it doesn’t automatically grant you status and the facts of the matter are that Tottenham are the only big six club to not win a trophy this decade and they only won a solitary league cup the decade before. Tottenham fans will have you believe that they are at a level where no man is bigger than the club but Mourinho has 25 major honours to his name whilst Tottenham only have 24 in their history. They laughed at Arsenal as they pushed their capacity just above that of the Emirates yet have an average attendance nearly 1,000 lower than their North London enemies.

In my opinion, Mourinho is not a good fit for Tottenham but Levy’s dream for his boyhood club was to establish themselves as a big club for generations and he’ll know that chance is beginning to slip away after so much fantastic work. Mourinho may not have been the choice for many but if he can get Tottenham winning trophies, he really will be the special one in their history.

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