Average at Best – AVB’s position at Tottenham had become untenable

Ousted Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas

Ousted Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas

THE WORST aspect of The Barclays Premier League is that the largely intelligent legions of football followers up and down the country are strung along by the facade of foreign coaches.

This separation of club and manager began long ago. In March Tottenham were 7 points clear of Arsenal after seeing them off in a 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane. The soon to be most expensive player in world football scored that day, one of 25 for the season as Tottenham stormed to the title…..oh wait, they still finished fifth. Arsene Wenger re-galvanised his troops to go unbeaten for the rest of the season and pip Spurs to the last Champions League qualification spot in the hallowed Top 4 through Laurent Koscielny’s goal at Newcastle on the final day. Even with one of the best players in world football in his team he failed to deliver the prize of the Champions League to Tottenham.

Depending on what news outlet you read, Tottenham spent between £100 and £127 million on new players in the summer transfer window. That equates to all the money they banked from the sale of Gareth Bale and then some. Andre Villas-Boas, or AVB as he is colloquially known, should have seen his sacking coming if he failed to make it click after such an outlay. I believe he bought well in theory, but in practice it has not been far short of a horror show.

Eriksen from Ajax is one of the hottest prospects in the game and but for injuries would have showcased his talents week-in week-out, with goals to boot. Lamela has struggled, and there are already rumours circulating about how he may be going out on loan to Atletico Madrid in January. If I was him that is as good a get-out-of-jail-free-card can get in modern football. A struggling mid-table side, or a side going toe to toe with Messi and Neymar’s Barcelona in La Liga? That’s a hard one. Soldado has been impressive in the Europa League, bagging a hat-trick against Anzhi last Thursday but has only found the back of the net 4 times in 14 games compared to Suarez’s 17 in 11, a goal to game ratio of 1.54. Spending £8.6m on Etienne Capoue from Rennes has been compounded by the Frenchman’s poor form and injuries. Paulinho’s red card in Sunday’s dismembering at the hands of Liverpool is a cherry on the top of this disastrous transfer tart.

Why did they let Stephen Caulker go? He has gone to Cardiff and performed admirably at a club many were tipping to slip through the relegation trap door. His winning header versus Swansea showed his strength in the air, and his positional sense would have been a great help to Michael Dawson yesterday afternoon, who was booked as a result of a cynical foul on Jordan Henderson, but only because his defensive colleagues were nowhere to be seen.

There needs to be a culture change at Tottenham. In the aftermath of Sunday’s 5-0 defeat Emmanuel Adebayor tweeted a smiling photograph with the words “Great game-LOL”. Tottenham as a proverbial selling club need to get rid and fast. Tottenham are a club that always flatter to deceive, a club that believes they have a fictional standing in English football that reaches far beyond its actual scope. Philosophy is a word used far more around football nowadays than it is around Arendt or Plato. The only clubs in the world who can rightly use such a word are Barcelona, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Manchester United. Every one of those clubs has a distinct way of playing, a footballing philosophy that means we will play this way and that is the most important thing. Their view on recruitment is long-term, youthful, and home-grown wherever possible. You cannot be that if you are a selling club, undermining any prospect of meaningful football foundations.

AVB lost this battle on so many counts. If it was a boxing contest, he would have lost on all three judge’s scorecards. This article is not bashing Spurs completely, because the traditions of Ricky Villa, Ozzie Ardiles, Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne-to name just three-need to be upheld. In the last fortnight he has had a scathing press conference criticising the football press. Neil Ashton of The Daily Mail bore the brunt of the assault, where AVB, and I quote, said Ashton was attacking his ‘human decency’. Talking pseudo-intellectual football rubbish, as per usual from the Iberian Idiot. Next he would use the word ‘project‘ to justify the lack of immediacy in the investments this summer paying dividends. You cannot criticise the printed press in this country, it is a no-go area, because the written word can make or break you.

Manchester City, the champions in waiting, made his side look like amateurs, eviscerating them with six unanswered goals. A Liverpool side without Steven Gerrard were on easy street on Sunday. But, why did he even get the job?

He failed at Chelsea massively. Massively. Blasted by a Cavani-inspired Napoli side. Disrespecting Frank Lampard by undervaluing the talents of one of England’s best modern midfielders. Misusing the beast that was and still is Didier Drogba. And all of this with a sadistic disregard for those who pointed deserved criticism his way. He won The Europa League and Portuguese League with Porto, but the one jewel in that Porto side was one Radamel Falcao. He just hasn’t hacked it here.

Tactical ineptitude is at the heart of it. He made West Ham look like Dortmund by playing Soldado on his own up front, and wrongly rotating his squad between Thursday Nights in the Europa League and Premier League football on a Saturday. Jermain Defoe breaks the club record for goals in Europe and yet never gets a fair crack of the whip domestically? Defoe would walk into many sides in Europe because of goals, pace, goals and more goals.

Daniel Levy’s head has to roll as well. How has he remained whiter than white in the midst of this debacle? He spent the money, sacked Harry Redknapp-who took Spurs to Inter and beat the then European Champions 4-3 away and then 3-1 at home in 2010/2011- for non-football reasons, sold Modric, sold Berbatov, sold Carrick, sold Van der Vaart. Yet he remains he-who-cannot-be-touched. Tottenham fans rightly are throwing vitriol Levy’s way.

Who next? Hoddle for me. English, knows the way he wants to play and may return some pivotal English players back to form before the World Cup in Brazil this coming summer. Andros Townsend, Kyle Walker, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe should all be staking claims to be on the plane to Copa Cabana Country. Under the tutelage of a home-grown manager, here’s hoping they flourish, for the sake of the national side, and the sanity of British football as a whole.