Well, who saw that one coming?
Just as we were drifting towards the end of another impossibly dull international break, English football got the biggest kick up the arse we’ve seen since Bishop Brennan was on the receiving end of Father Ted’s size 10s.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 20, 2019
In the space of just 11 hours, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy made the ruthless decision to axe their manager of five-and-a-half-years, Mauricio Pochettino, and replace him with the undisputed king of goaders, Jose Mourinho.
The call to bin the man who’s had Spurs punching well above their weight for several years – guiding them to last season’s Champions League final, no less – has been met with incredulity from many, not least the club’s supporters.
But whether you want to believe it or not, it was absolutely the right decision to make. Here’s why…
1 – It makes their documentary series remotely interesting
Fundamentally, football these days is an entertainment business – even if Spurs’ dire form this season has been about as fun to witness as watching paint dry whilst wearing a blindfold.
And that’s not a good look for Levy, who, in his mission to make Spurs at least look like they’re pretending to be a big club, has signed them up to star in their very own fly-on-the-wall Amazon Prime documentary this season.
Up until this point, the most exciting moment camera crews have caught is the stadium bar staff learning how pints served in the ground pour upwards. Now, however, everyone will want to tune in to the episode which will feature this spin of the managerial merry-go-round and the hiring of football’s most effective P45 collector.
It gets their name out there at least.
2 – They’re struggling to sell out home games
Spurs are barely three months into the first full season at their new £1bn stadium, and already the novelty of it all is clearly wearing off with supporters.
Despite all the fanfare and expectations, tickets for home games have struggled to sell out and are freely available. Indeed, the only time it has been truly packed to the rafters is when the NFL came to town and, hilariously, painted their stadium red and white.
Nope. Don’t like it. Too much red in the stadium for spurs😂 pic.twitter.com/Lwa2VSzKsu
— Jack Crane (@JackCraneyy16) October 13, 2019
So by recruiting Mourinho, Levy has ingeniously created a spark of excitement among the fanbase, likely guaranteeing sell-outs for the next few weeks at least. Although if Levy really wanted to ensure a full house week in, week out, clearly the best course of action would have been to simply appoint an NFL coach instead.
3 – It gives Levy a genuine reason not to spend money
Hamstrung by the costs of constructing their new stadium (and reconfiguring the cheese tasting room), Spurs spent a grand total of £0 during the 2018/19 season. That set into motion Pochettino’s frustrations with the board and subsequent collapse in form towards the end of the campaign.
And although they splashed some cash this time around, it was a case of too little, too late for the Argentine. Fans livid about restrictions on the transfer budget at a time when Spurs are posting record incomes have rightly pointed the finger at the all-powerful chairman.
But after shelling out £20m on Pochettino and his staff’s compensation packages – and now needing to save up for Mourinho’s inevitable payday in a couple of years’ time – Levy finally has a watertight excuse to explain the club’s lack of transfer activity.
4 – Pochettino is a natural born loser
In just shy of 11 years as a manager across three clubs, Pochettino’s honours list reads as follows: four Premier League Manager of the Month awards, plus the one they all crave: the London Football Awards Manager of the Year.
In real terms, that means the only thing currently sitting in his trophy cabinet at home is a lonely can of Mr Sheen and an as-yet unused dusting cloth, both poised and ready for action the day he actually wins silverware. If it ever comes.
Naturally, Pochettino’s aversion to tangible success had no impact on Spurs fans’ adulation of him, but that’s not enough to appease the trophy-hungry Daniel Levy…
5. Mourinho knows how to win things
The last time Tottenham won a trophy, Duffy (not Damien’s dyslexic sister) was at the top of the charts and Ratatouille was hours away from winning an Oscar. That was some 11 years and 265 days ago.
Evidently, that’s unacceptable for Levy. So, like a possessed Bond villain with the bald head to match, he’s gone to desperate measures to achieve world domination/win a League Cup at any cost.
Whether it’s leagues or cups, the Portuguese has won something everywhere he’s gone, and he’ll bring that winning mentality with him to the Premier League strugglers. Although admittedly he hasn’t got that high a bar to beat – a couple of Manager of the Month awards will be more than enough to make him a Spurs legend.