I didn’t really want to do this. Isn’t the point of blogging to write about what you want to write about? Well, yes, that and trying to experience a modicum of what it would be like to journal for a living while at the same time realising no one will ever pay you for your opinions.
Here I am anyway; reluctantly starting an article about AVB. I’m already sick of those three letters and he was announced (confirmed) as the new Spurs manager only yesterday (overnight my time). All it took was one reader (you know who you are) to request this and I was pulled to the keyboard like a fly to a… well, y’know.
There’s really nothing to say that hasn’t been discussed ad nauseum on various formats ever since he was installed as the favourite for the job three weeks ago. In summary:
- His Porto success was no fluke
- His Chelsea failure exposed some man-management issues, to say the least
- He needs to be more humble than at Chelsea and handle fragile footballers’ egos before instilling his ideas – though the Spurs dressing room contains a very different set of characters
- He’s shown balls/pride to return to the Premier League so soon
- He’ll face a hostile media pack (again) upset at seeing their mate ousted by nasty Daniel Levy – and ‘Arry still has his column in The Sun from which to launch verbal mortars
- He’ll need to find a new playmaker in the midfield once Modders hops off to the riches of the CL
- He has no strikers at the club apart from Jermain Defoe
- The defence is a bit shaky too
- And the GK is past it
A few negatives in there but the first point shines brightly. In one season he achieved more than Harry Redknapp did in 35 years of management and, as I’ve admitted before, Harry did relatively well at Spurs. It’s a definite risk, a big gamble. But to bridge the gap between peripheral top four contenders and the top of the league Spurs need to be bold.Since ENIC took over in 2000 the club has slowly positioned itself to make guerrilla raids on the top four – Liverpool’s demise has been an external factor in bolstering Spurs’ relative position. That was the easy part. But to establish Spurs in the top echelon the incremental improvement over a decade needs rocket fuel. Nowadays, that can be provided by billions of petrodollars (forget the fallacy that is FFP) or by a huge cultural shift within a club.
You can’t find a more different coach to Redknapp – a 65 year old macro-manager wedded to 4-4-2 – than AVB. With this appointment there can be no middle ground. He’ll either be Sir Bill Nich or Christian Gross. Either way, it all points to another thrilling ride for Spurs fans long conditioned to experiencing the exhilarating highs and crushing lows of supporting such a dramatically underachieving team. Once the season finally starts I suspect my enthusiasm for writing about AVB will be here to stay.