Tottenham good, but lacked the spark

Tottenham had been one of the five clubs, which pushed for the founding of English Premier League. They contested alongside the big boys of English Football, but the desired results were not coming at all. The Spurs invested faith inTeddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmann and David Ginola for a brief period, but the returns were not good –  finished mid-table most seasons with few trophies won.

The performance started to improve under Harry Redknapp in the latter part of last decade. Legendary figures like Luka Modric and Gareth Bale flourished under him. In the 2009-10 season, Tottenham secured a place in the UEFA Champions League –  it was a dream come true after so many days spent in wilderness. Redknapp had fixed the North London Club and what required was to take it to the next level. Tottenham required a spark.

Pochettino arrives and changes the fate of Tottenham

Back in 2001, Sugar sold his share-holding in Spurs to EINIC Sports Inc. run by Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy and then stepped down as Chairman. Both of them focused on the spark, which would take Tottenham to the next level and transformed it into a crowd-favourite club across the globe. They rang the bell and an Argentine named  Mauricio Pochettino opened the door and responded to their dream. In 2014, Pochettino was appointed as the head coach of Tottenham and a new era begun in the history of the club.

Pochettino invested faith in youth – Harry Kane was chosen as the first-choice striker ahead of Spanish International Roberto Soldado. It was dubbed as a gamble, but in course, it has been proven as a gutsy decision. Eric Dier and Delle Ali followed Kane and became established names under Pochettino.

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Then an Asian named Heung-Min Son became a global star, while the lost action hero of Brazil Lucas Moura got a new life under Pochettino. Again, the Danish creative master Christian Eriksen came of age to become one of the targets of Real Madrid under the Argentinian.

Pochettino managed to spend just £95m net on transfers, 17th among current Premier League teams, while the others ran after mega-signings and breaking the bank at any cost. The move was successful.

In the 2016-17 season, Pochettino’s men eventually finished in second place with 86 points, their highest-ever tally since the English League began under the new denomination and their highest ranking in 54 years since 1962–63 under Bill Nicholson. And, the first season-long unbeaten home run in 52 years since 1964–65 was also achieved. In the 2018-19 season, Pochettino won his 100th Premier League match as manager of Tottenham and became the first Tottenham coach to reach this milestone and the third quickest Premier League manager to achieve the feat with a single club.

In the same season, Tottenham became the master of dramatic matches in one of the most epic Champions League battles in the history of the competition.  After the heart-racing contest against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, drama unleashed at it’s very best in Amsterdam, where his men came from a two-goal deficit against the brilliant Ajax side to claim a place in the final. Pochettino’s men ended up as the runners-up, but that season elevated the status of Pochettino and Tottenham.

Levy extended his contract until 2023.

But tragedy struck!

End of an adventurous journey

Tottenham’s start to this season had been rocky. Somehow the wheels started to come out of the vehicle as Tottenham continued to digest humiliating defeats in almost every match. Right now they stand 14th in the Premier League points table – a shocker state for the fans, who almost forgot the strugglings of old days. The recent successes of the club have raised the bar, but all of a sudden, this downfall neither impressed the owner nor the fans. But it was this man, on whom each and everyone had kept faith and trusted his decisions – no matter how wild the sea might be, Pochettino would steer the shape safely home.

Quite astonishingly, that faith faded. On November 20, 2019, Tottenham sacking Pochettino hit the headlines. No one was prepared for this decision. Some thought, it was done in haste, some thought it was ruthless, while for some, this was inevitable.

After fairytale-success-story managerial roles meeting a disappointing end is nothing new. Football fans across the world are quite habituated with such stories, but still, a sudden shock engulfs them – perhaps, at the back of the mind, they don’t wish to prepare for such shocks. No one wishes to witness the downfall of agents-of-change like Pochettino.

Indeed, it was a shocking downfall and a brutal decision, but the failure of just one season can never belittle the achievements of Pochettino, who let people love the Spurs for their attacking intent and never-say-die attitude. North London had not been all about the Gunners or the Blues, as the Spurs challenged their existence and for the last five years, one can admit, Spurs replaced Arsenal and Chelsea as one of the crowd favourites.

All good things come to an end and in football, they just make a big noise.

There came a time, when Pochettino’s plans had not been working. The team seemed to have been engulfed by lack of confidence – the process of putrification was evident, which the once leader of the pack could not halt – some of his men lost faith in him – started to act according to their whims and when this happens, it becomes hard for anyone to sustain. A downfall is evident. The players deserve some sticking as well, but you can’t sack all of them, so, let’s sack the coach!

It’s not the end of story

If one door closes then another will open. That is the funda of human life. Pochettino is someone, who is widely regarded as one of the best minds in modern football. His coaching skills and experience are of high-quality. Big clubs in Europe would definitely open the door for him. Certainly, this is not the end of Pochettino’s story. We might observe his magic in one of the biggest clubs in Europe in future.

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