SN Blog 27 – Poch the manager

When Mauricio Pochettino arrived at Spurs from Southampton he was appointed head coach by the club on a five year deal.  He brought with him several coaches who he works with but the definition was clear, he was head coach –  therefore his responsibilities were coaching that first team and getting the best results he could with the squad he had and would be given.

Spurs, like many clubs, operated with a Sporting Director / Director of Football who would be in charge of transfers.  This system like any has its flaws and it was reported recently that the club were looking to go back to that format.  So my blog this week is to explore why any club would like to use that structure, why under Daniel Levy it both worked and didn’t work AND why under Pochettino its not likely to return to Spurs.


When Daniel Levy came to Spurs as chairman he inherited a structure that was all about one man, Alan Sugar – who managed every aspect of the club – something Daniel quickly realised would not be possible with the ever changing face of football and the demands.  He actually made a smart decision, if you think about it, and looked to find a structure where “football people” were in charge of the football aspects and that would leave him to focus on the commercial activities of the club and building it as a business.

Something we as fans have slowly had to accept is that football is a massive big money business and as such that aspect of a club needs to be run well or disaster (See Leeds United).  Daniel Levy knew that and set about working to ensure the club had a solid business footing and he identified the structure of a director of football as the best way forward for him and the club.

Now, in theory, under this system the person appointed director of football is the man who would operate in the hole between Chairman (the club) and the coach of the first team.  He would be in charge of all football matters, signings etc and work within the budgets set by the club and to best of his ability get what the coach wants done.

There are many examples of this working beautifully then and still to this day in Holland, Spain, Italy and Germany and the reason is the club comes first.  Head coaches come and go like players to a certain extent but the club, the chairman and the Director of Football remain so the club has a clear identity, a clear road forward at all times and continuity.

As you can see, on paper it makes perfect sense if you are a chairman looking to take the club forward and build a long term vision but sadly in reality be it ego or just personalities clashing the system has never really worked at Tottenham and could be argued never really worked in England full stop.


Upon signing his new deal at the club there was a key change to the job role of Mauricio Pochettino and that was he is now classed as manager.  Its a small definition change for many but it in reality reflects the behind the scenes work he does, not just coaching the first team.  There is now no aspect of the club Pochettino is not involved in.

The academy system is now structured all to his specifications with John McDermott (head of youth development) spending time every day with Poch, also we have Steve Hitchen – Chief Scout working to a detailed brief from the manager only.  If Spurs sign a player now it is because Pochettino has personally had a hand in selecting him, not something that can always be said of Spurs past.

The club training facilities have living quarters being built, a request from Pochettino and also the new stadium, every aspect to do with the team from the changing rooms to tunnel had input from Pochettino and his coaching team.

I realise as we approach the summer we have that typical “players leaving” story to deal with each day in the press however for me the one essential person at the club who we cannot afford to lose is the manager, not just because he has built a team that is actually playing some great football but also because he is now so heavily involved in building every aspect of the club to remove him would quite literally be like demolishing a wall – we would have to start building again from scratch.


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