Parting ways with the best manager we have had in my lifetime...

Discussion in 'Tottenham forum' started by Craig Emanuel, November 13, 2019.

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  1. Craig Emanuel Member

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    I keep finding myself staring into space, just shaking my head. It’s like a kind of Post Traumatic Stress syndrome. I’m trying to find an explanation for what I’m witnessing. Replaying in my head the moments that led to where we are today. Trying to make sense of it all. But I can’t.

    It seems unfathomable how I could even be contemplating the notion that my club could be better off parting ways with the best manager we have had in my lifetime.

    Just 10 months ago we were in a title race. Just 5 months ago we were contesting perhaps the biggest club match in world football.

    Now we find ourselves paralysed; an unrecognisable version of our former selves. Mauled 7-2 by a ruthless Bayern Munich team – our biggest ever home defeat in our 137 year history. Outplayed and comprehensively beaten at Brighton – our first defeat to them since April 1983, the month I was born. Dumped out of the Carabao Cup by League Two Colchester United. And most recently, second best at home to newly promoted Sheffield United. Unable to hold onto a lead. Defensively fragile. Devoid of creativity and, more worryingly, devoid of fight. For the first time under Pochettino’s tenure, we are under achieving and the collective no longer exceeds the sum of its parts.

    As well as the results and the performances, our identity has gone. The high energy pressing game that defined our early years under Pochettino is now a distant memory, like those halcyon days in 2016/17 when this group peaked. Those days when our marauding full backs were the envy of the league. When we were smashing teams up on a weekly basis, so much so that one opposing manager described us as “animals”. Our league record at home in that last season at White Hart Lane read P19 W17 D2 L0. We amassed 86 points – a club record, albeit there were seasons before the introduction of 3 points for a win that would have yielded higher totals.

    Mauricio Pochettino had assembled the most exciting young team in the country and, when on song, very few could live with us. In truth, looking back it has been a slow decline ever since.

    In today’s incessant world of social media post mortems and scapegoating, where should we place the blame for what now appears to be a deep-rooted malaise? Depending on your perspective, the fault lies with (a) Levy / ENIC; (b) Pochettino and his coaching staff; or (c) the players, with Eriksen and Rose coming in for particular criticism as two of the most seriously underperforming, want-away contract rebels. Or maybe, as I see it, it is a combination of all of the above and perhaps also Steve Hitchen, our chief scout since February 2017 and a key man on our transfer committee. Everyone is culpable, at least to some degree.

    But there is a growing swell of fans who are laying significant blame firmly at the door of the manager. The hashtag #BackPoch which was trending on the Spurs Twitter over the summer has now been replaced with #PochOut.

    How did we get here?! I’ll leave that question for another day. For now I want to focus on whether we have reached the end of the line with Poch or whether he can resurrect our fortunes.

    Until very recently I was of the firm opinion that we should stick with Poch until at least the end of this season. I felt that he had earned the right to try to turn the situation around and start to rebuild the squad. Of course he has made mistakes but I felt that his over achievements during the first five years of his tenure pointed to the fact that he was the right man to lead us forward.

    But now I’m not so sure. Recent Premier League performances have been so abject and the downward trajectory so sustained that even I am starting to waver in my belief. I’m deeply confused. I desperately want him to turn this around and build an even stronger team than before, finally lifting the silverware that the current group threatened but never quite achieved. But at the moment I can’t see any real signs of improvement and nothing to suggest that Pochettino has the answers needed to turn the ship around.

    Nothing seems to be working. He has tinkered with the formation all season, so much so that it has probably been detrimental in itself. He has changed personnel. In fact, an alarming stat publicised this week is that Pochettino has not picked an unchanged starting XI for 94 games in a row. Despite this, he still appeared very reluctant to drop some of the old guard – previously trusted mainstays in the team who have badly underperformed this season. In Belgrade he finally took the plunge and sat them out, giving us a glimpse into the future with his team selection. It appeared to make a world of difference as we played with a freedom and confidence that we had all but forgotten. Four days later and that mirage of an imminent bright new dawn came crashing down before our eyes as a largely unchanged team came a cropper against a very well-drilled Blades team.

    Pochettino seems unable to affect games while they are unfolding – either in closing out wins or finding a way back into games. His substitutions have at times been counter productive and all too often, far too late. This has been a criticism levelled at Pochettino throughout his time at Spurs – he’s more reactive than proactive.

    All of this paints a pretty damning picture and it is difficult to dismiss the #PochOut brigade as foolish reactionaries. This has, after all, been going on since at least January. Even before our results nosedived following defeat at Turf Moor on 23 February, the performances had already dipped alarmingly. Even our last away win in the league, 10 months ago on 20 January, was via a 93rd minute headed winner from Harry Winks, with an assist from outcast Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, at beleaguered and soon-to-be relegated Fulham. In the month preceding that game we had lost at home to both Wolves and Manchester United in the league and got knocked out of the FA Cup to Crystal Palace. Narrow, unconvincing home wins against Newcastle and Watford, courtesy of late winners, also told a story of a team clinging on to former glories.

    The excuse at that time was Wembley and the uncertainty hanging over us with respect to our return to N17. Pochettino spoke of “circumstances” last season that worked against the team – alluding to our lack of pre-season due to our players’ success at the World Cup, no signings, a plethora of injuries and the stadium debacle to name a few. Unsettled, want-away players was the other circumstance that perhaps proved and still proves the greatest obstacle to any turnaround in form. But there comes a time when the hard luck stories must stop. If you give players readymade excuses then they become a self fulfilling prophecy. Talk of a painful rebuild gave those players a get-out clause. Maybe he saw this coming or maybe he helped to unwittingly engineer it.

    Pochettino’s demeanour over the past year or so probably provides the most compelling argument that a change could be in everyone’s best interests. A football team is usually a reflection of its manager, and the 2016/17 team certainly demonstrated the same ferocity, energy and passion of our Argentine boss. But as his mood has darkened and he has seemingly grown weary of the uphill task he continues to fight at Spurs, his team have mirrored him and that is perhaps why we are seeing uncertainty and disharmony on the pitch, where previously we saw clarity, fight and incision. Maybe he needs a break himself.

    Given the duration of this downturn, it is hard to argue that questioning the manager’s future is knee jerk. However, the thing I feel deeply uncomfortable about is that sections of our fan base (perhaps more the keyboard warriors than match-going fans) appear comfortable throwing Pochettino under the bus – questioning his ability, his tactical acumen, whether indeed he was ever “that good”. They throw at him everything they’ve heard from rival fans on Twitter over the past few years. “He’s a bottler”, What has he won?” and he’s not a “winner” is the most popular refrain. “What success?” is a common retort when you try to defend his record and some even look to diminish those achievements by attributing them to luck or claiming they were in spite of him. In my opinion the least he deserves is some respect.

    Of course he’s made mistakes but he’s got more right than he’s got wrong in his time at the helm. Let’s not forget the transformative impact he has had on our club. The highs that his team have given us. A first league win at Stamford Bridge in 28 years. A 3-0 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford and a 3-1 demolition of Real Madrid at Wembley. Countless victories over that lot down the road and three consecutive seasons above them in the table having not done so since season 1994/95. Four consecutive seasons in the Champions League having only qualified once before he arrived. A second place finish in the league that was our highest since 1963. And then we come to *that* run in the Champions League culminating in one unforgettable night in Amsterdam. And all on a shoestring budget compared to the clubs we were going toe-to-toe with.

    No silverware but, for me, the essence of being a football fan is more about the journey you go on than the destination. If you think that makes me part of the problem then so be it. I don’t support Spurs so I can go into work on a Monday morning and gloat to my colleagues, or troll rival fans on social media. Yes, a nice shiny trophy would be lovely and I have fond memories of us lifting the League Cup in 1999 and 2008. But neither of those days out at Wembley come close to the elation of that Lucas Moura winner and the weeks that followed, leading up to the final.

    The sight of Mauricio Pochettino crying uncontrollably on that pitch, as the magnitude of the achievement sunk in, cemented him in my heart forever. We were all crying. He was one of us. And still is. And always will be.

    When Pochettino walked into our club in 2014, he told us at his unveiling that he wanted to make us feel proud. Well, my god, he has absolutely done that. He gave the team a new identity and forged a remarkable bond between all of us. The Battle of the Bridge showed us that those players were going to fight with every sinew for the badge. And we adored them for it. The spineless Tottenham that we had become accustomed to over decades of under achievement were no more. No more “Spursy”. No more “Lads, it’s Tottenham”. It was Pochettino who built that team in his image.

    All of that seems to count for very little nowadays in an era where fans have an insatiable appetite for sustained success. Any drop off and we’ll dispense of you and bring in the next name on the conveyor belt.

    Let’s just ignore the fact that Pochettino could have jumped ship to Real Madrid or Manchester United at various points over the last five years but showed us his loyalty by staying at our club to advance the “project”. Now perhaps it is time for us to repay that loyalty by reciprocating. By standing by him through his darkest period.

    I’m not advocating blind faith and I won’t back him indefinitely. No one is bigger than the club. But perhaps he deserves time to rebuild. I understand that for some, his time has already run out. I’m still torn. And whatever happens I will look back on this era with fondness and gratitude.

    If we do stick with him, it is likely to get worse before it gets better. It’s a mess. And it was entirely avoidable if the squad transition had been managed via a gradual evolution rather than a desperately required and overdue revolution.

    In reality, the reported payoff for Poch and his staff is likely to deter Levy from pulling the trigger anyway so I think we’re stuck with him for the time being at least, unless relegation becomes a real prospect or he decides to walk himself. So buckle up and prepare for more anguish and soul searching over the next few months.

    I’m no longer #PochIn but I’m not #PochOut either. I’m just deeply confused. Staring into space, still shaking my head.
  2. Thomas Member

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    A very well written article that highlights the dilemma many fans face.

    I am not a Pochettino hater but I believe it's time to change. The longer we remain in this state, the more difficult it is going to be to get out of it. Pochettino's body language says it all. The enthusiasm is gone. He looks lost most of the time and in disbelief at the situation the team find itself in. If this rubs off on fans who catch a few glimpses of him every week, what impact does it have on players who see him everyday.
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  3. Sidney Guest

    Proper supporters aren't contemplating a change and if you can't fathom the current situation you know little about football.
  4. Gordon Mc

    Gordon Mc Well-Known Member

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    Two things here 1)What is a "proper supporter" and 2) If none of us discontented souls can "fathom the situation" then perhaps Sidney, you can fathom it for us. I'm certainly not happy at all to be in the camp that feels Poch has done all he can and when his whole demeanour, to me, suggests he, himself, wants out, but nevertheless I find myself in it and there's little to no chance he's going to walk, not when there's multi-millions staring his bank account right in the face - even I wouldn't. I'm a Spurs fan for many, many years, going way back to Bill Nick's first game - a team scoring 10 goals stamping a huge impression on a kid not yet, but nearly, in double-digit years - and I'd venture to suggest possibly a lot longer than you although again, possibly not. I've been there through thin and thinner. Does that make me a "proper supporter"? Or how about I don't go to The Lane any more ? I'm not a proper supporter? Maybe I'm critical of many things - where do I fit in, with that psyche. I don't wear, around town or on my hols, a replica shirt (I don't have one, I just don't do that, but to those who do - fine, I have no problem with that, it's your thing maaaan) preferring a discreet small metal badge on my coat and a small pennant in my car. Not proper? A "proper" fan is a subjective term and can't be categorised. I'm sure you consider yourself proper and I'm certainly not saying that in any sarcastic, disparaging way, merely pointing out that you follow Spurs and support in the way you deem fit, likewise many thousands of others, so I would respectfully disagree with your comment that proper supporters aren't contemplating a change - regretfully, many, and I'm speaking in the knowledge that it includes a significant percentage of my Spurs supporting mates, are doing just that.
    Last edited: November 13, 2019
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  5. Gman Guest

    Well written article stating the dilemma facing all true fans. Sometimes you still love someone but the spark has gone. It's hard to make that break but you know in the long run it's for the best.
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  6. Preed

    Preed Well-Known Member

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    Sydney what do you think is a proper supporter then. I like Gordon mc have supported spurs since way back when my first game being spurs10 Everton 4 in the 1950s.Since then I have seen every up and down that our great club has gone through and until my legs no longer allow I have had seasons where I went to every home and away game.Does this qualify???If so I still think pochetino has gone as far as he wants to go and should be replaced before a total collapse. His body language and after match comments say he wants out and if somebody was willing to pay up his contract he would be gone in a heartbeat.Is this not fathoming the current situation if so please Explain
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  7. Jesper Active Member

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    In my opinion then the time after the CL-final should have been about finding a strategy to turn things around. It might appear strange to say so about a team that reached the CL-final but the performance in the EPL had been poor for months and a turn-around or fresh start was needed. For some reason(s) the turn-around or fresh start didn't happen during the summer and the transfer window.

    When I watch the matches and the interviews then I get the impression that Poch has run out of energy. The many changes indicates that he believes that something isn't right but it also indicates that he does not know how to right it - if he had known how to right it then he would have done it already.

    I think Poch might be in a negative spiral, I believe that for him and for the club to break a negative spiral (if there is one) then he needs a sabbatical. In a different kind of business then a person might be told to get a sabbatical and come back with fresh ideas and fresh energy. But in this case then a sabbatical isn't possible.

    Maybe the international break will freshen things up, however, I believe that the break is too short and might even worsen the situation - desperation can be inspirational but it can also cloud reasoning and result in poor decisions.

    There should not be shame associated with the parting of ways, at this moment in time then I think Poch might need some time out of the high pressure situation of being a manager and Spurs might need someone to come in with fresh eyes looking at the team, fresh ideas for the team and new energy.

    Dissatisfaction is being voiced about the players, I agree with a lot of it, however, I do believe that there is a chance that if a new manager comes in then players might start to perform again.
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  8. Cheshuntboy Guest

    'Proper supporters', 'real supporters' - the arrogance of the people who bandy those terms about is infuriating. There was an article on 'Dear Mr Levy' a few days ago from someone seriously arguing that people at home games - let alone away ones - have no right to shout anything other than 'well played, Lamela' or 'good tackle, Aurier' (slight exaggeration!), their function being to supply uncritical 'support' and nothing else. To me, that attitude is nothing short of fascist, the irony being that the 'real' fans are invariably the arch-proponents of 'yiddery', but irony is another thing 'proper' supporters don't do. Football is sport, not religion, and blind faith surely has no place in the profane world of muddied oafs and VAR.
    As for the article, most of it provides a cogent argument for Pochettino to go, but then blind faith rears its ugly head again, and he should be spared because of the CL run last season - didn't that have far more to do with VAR at City and Moura's purple patch in Amsterdam than any master stroke from Pochettino, however tearful he was at the final whistle?
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  9. Gordon Mc

    Gordon Mc Well-Known Member

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    Not quite sure why you're quoting me in your piece - I'm not taking the "proper supporters don't do....." line, merely stating that, to my mind, there isn't any such thing as a PS - I consider myself a fan (or supporter if you wish - it's all the same to me) and don't have any illusions that I'm any more proper than anyone else. If there was any suggestion of PS or non-PS it's surely come from our friend Sidney. If I'm misreading you Cheshunt, apologies.
  10. Cheshuntboy Guest

    Sorry Mr Mc - I'm the master of the convoluted post, and my intention was to agree with you to avoid having to disagree with 'Proper Sidney' - I genuinely don't look for arguments, although I'm good at finding them!
  11. Craig Emanuel Member

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    Thanks for your contribution Sidney.
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  12. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    Poch was a good fitness coach that inherited a core of potential about to hit it's peak years , he organised them and made them work hard.
    Tactically he is nothing special his in game management is non existent.
    his only successful game plan of pressing deserted him 2 years ago and since then it's just gone further backwards.

    The football we consistently play now and have for a while is an absolute shambles it's so devoid of any ideas or anything remotely exciting as a spectator its an accomplishment to make to half time without falling asleep.

    Ive not seen any evidence of Pochettino himself as a manager improve , he's not improved his tactics, game plans, players influence, how to see games out how to adapt to what's going on. And that's before his inability to replenish a side adequately to keep it competitive or improve.

    But the biggest gripe I have is his arrogant bs and his contempt for fans with his wishy washy nonsense he spouts every window while effectively doing nothing or ignoring major areas of concern.

    He's not doing anything else at Spurs other than running us into the ground.

    He's got to go

    Good reasoned piece none the less Craig
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  13. Dan Guest

    "Felon82,: Poch was a good fitness coach that inherited a core of potential about to hit it's peak years , he organised them and made them work hard...Ive not seen any evidence of Pochettino himself as a manager improve , he's not improved his tactics, game plans, players influence, how to see games out how to adapt to what's going on. And that's before his inability to replenish a side adequately to keep it competitive or improve."

    I think this is slightly harsh but it may just be that his strengths are primarily in man management, fitness/conditioning, etc. I lay the blame about replenishment on him/Levy/ENIC. But I really wonder about Poch's training methods at this point and what goes on at training sessions. Is it impossible to work on passing drills, how to take corners, how to run into open spaces in the final 3rd, how to press intermittently, how to make a tackle, etc.? The basic skills I took for granted with Spurs seem absent at this point. I'm not confident that bringing in new players will magically cure these deficiencies.

    I'm not completely #PochOut but we spend a lot of time excuse-making even though we are at a disadvantage to some of the super clubs in the League. It just seems to me that lesser coaches call out poor performances and take more responsibility for bad decisions. Has Poch ever admitted that he makes substitutions way too late to change the outcome of a game? Did he ever recognize that the diamond formation wasn't working or that playing out-of-form Eriksen/Kane for 90+ minutes sends a bad message to the other players. I've never heard him say I got it wrong. That's why I'm thinking he's not the right man to turn the club around. We fans constantly look in a rear-view mirror instead of engaging in honest reflection. The reality is that both the manager and a good chunk of the players need to go in order for things to start turning around.
  14. Spurporter Well-Known Member

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    This Proper Fan agrees with Craig and with Sidney. Good article. I think there is absolutely no sense to rush to any actions. It could be time to part ways with Pochettino, it could be not. January is almost here. If Levy will not be the most active in the league in this window, than he has no right to run this club. This is an emergency and Levy must act accordingly. Levy must sell those who should have been sold already for peanuts and he must buy some warm bodies as well. That will set this group in motion , I believe, and should help, since throwing money at the problem often does it. If it will not work, then wait till someone offers Poch a job and see him off in the summer. That is the Proper Fan plan.
    Last edited: November 14, 2019
  15. Spurporter Well-Known Member

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    Thanks from this Proper Fan as well,
  16. Gordon Mc

    Gordon Mc Well-Known Member

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    By all means give reasoned structured arguments, and some of you certainly do - that's what the site is for but please, do me a favour and give us a break from elitist, bordering on arrogant, claims to be a "proper fan" suggesting that others, who don't share your view, are know-nothing, worth-even-less irritants to be frowned upon and ignored. I've seen some absolute, laughable bilge recently from some "Proper" Fans/Supporters - not all of it on here, in fairness, So guys, a post making your point - fine, we can agree or otherwise but climb down a bit. We're all fans - full stop.
    Last edited: November 14, 2019
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  17. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    You sound just like Poch with such flim flam & twaddle.
    He's had numerous windows to sort this obvious oncoming car crash out yet has done nothing.
    He needs to be given his marching orders along with certain players and Levy needs to back his new manager that's how it's turned around not more years of dawdling and pretending we're gonna go bust if we dare try.
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  18. Spurporter Well-Known Member

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    Oh, common, it was a little sarcasm, although it did by far more than I expected with you, evidently. Please, never mind. We all are the same, just disagreed on prescriptions.
  19. Spurporter Well-Known Member

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    That is true, we both him and I believe in Pochettino's abilities. When he will start doubt himself, so will I.
    False. He was denied that. Read Felon82 posts, the blame was correctly on Levy/ENIC in those back then.
    Without the latter (Levy's backing) the former has no sense, the new manager will be a failure. I suggest Levy backs THIS manager for a change. It shall bring about change, IMO.
  20. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    He's been entirely complicit , even backed the board over it, lied to fans and spun complete nonsense.

    (after he'd signed his contract of course)

    There is no sympathy here for him or victim card he has hidden every window and has overall spent £437mil over 5 years yet seems to be forgiven in this mythical world he's worked wonders.

    If he'd of had an idea who he actually wanted or needed to buy and actively sort after them then we could have progressed, we could have replenished we even couldve won something instead he chose to ignore & deflect through sheer arrogance or compliance a bit of both I feel but either way he is as responsible.
    Gordon Mc likes this.

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