SN Blog 74 – My goodbye to Pochettino

Football as a business is a bizarre one.  You can be considered the messiah one day and sacked the next and in the past week we saw at Tottenham something I never thought I would see.  Jose Mourinho is our new head coach.  Mauricio Pochettino, our manager for over five years sacked.  Its easy to say in hindsight the writing was on the wall for Pochettino and had been for some time with the way the team was playing and the results however still when it happened I was shocked.  Then for him to be replaced by Mourinho, even more shock.

Jose is one of the most successful club managers in the world of all time.  His record of winning trophies at EVERY club he has managed is not to be sniffed at.  He has the CV that will make the players sit up and take notice and possible even give them some belief that the club is about to take the next step we have all been craving for some time.

HOWEVER none of this would be possible without Mauricio Pochettino.  So in this blog I am going to just share my thoughts on the Argentinian and his impact on our club and his legacy which I know due to the ending many have started revising.

When arriving at the club Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching team set one simple goal; to make the fans proud of the football club again.  This really struck me personally as I had become so detached from the club during the AVB / Sherwood season that not only was I not attending games anymore but also not even caring we were playing. I was over it, I was done.  Then we make a managerial change and I wanted De Boer; yeah I was one of those.

It was actually a fan written blog all about Pochettino which changed my mind however.  In this blog it discussed the type of football he had Southampton playing and how his coaching was improving every player at the club.  It was a well written piece (not like my rambled efforts) and so when he arrived I decided okay, lets give him a chance and then he said those words.

Make the fans proud again.  It felt like he was speaking to me.  It felt like he looked into the club, researched how things were on and off the field and understood.

We did not start that amazingly under him however like many other fans I was understanding of the fact he was trying to do the best he could with a squad full of players that belonged to previous managers failed visions.  Certain players he brought in from the academy who fully bought into his way of coaching and style of play suddenly burst into the first team and no other player made his mark more than Harry Kane.

(side note; who else really missed those contract poses…)  It is impossible to know if Harry Kane would have made it under another manager; De Boer etc might have tried him or might not have been brave enough given the club had its highest paid player ever at the time in Adebayor and the clubs record signing at the time in Soldado competing for the same position as the youngster.

However what we do know is Pochettino was brave enough to play him in the Europa League at first and then into the Premier League where the young man just kept scoring and gradually the Pochettino era at Spurs was rolling.

The summer of that first season was like the night of the long knives.  The manager was ruthless in culling all the players who did not make the effort to play his way; famously Aaron Lennon told Jesus Perez – “I ain’t doing extra, I was here before you and will be here long after you lot…”   He was gone days later on loan and then sold permanently once that loan expired.

The team was now in the image of the manager and we started to show it and for the next two seasons to be honest as a Spurs fan they were among my happiest I have had in a long time.  There was not one team we were afraid of, not any team and at home in our final ever season at White Hart Lane we were undefeated.  An amazing glorious way to say goodbye to our home for so long and it was special.  I still remember seeing Pochettino with tears in his eyes as he looked around the Lane for that one last time.

The Argentinian took us from a Europa league team who were threatening to break into the top four into a team who truly belonged amongst the best in Europe.  We challenged for the Premier League title, challenged for the Champions League reaching the final just last season and that was all done by a manager who during his watch had to deal with having no home stadium for nearly two seasons and a budget for transfers and wages the same as clubs who are in the relegation zone.

When I talk about how proud I am of Pochettino and what he achieved at Tottenham many often point to a lack of trophies as if that means he was not a success.  To me that is like telling a man who completes a marathon he is a failure as he never won the race.  Pochettino on the same budget as teams who were relegated and promoted into the Premier League during his five years in charge transformed the whole club, the culture, the belief and is the reason a manager with the CV of Jose would even consider joining us now.  He is the reason we have signed more commercial partnerships than any other top flight club in recent years, all because the club has moved forward.

If you define success only as a trophy then I pity you for your life must be full of disappointment.  Success is defined by circumstance.  Under the circumstances created by the club he was a fantastic manager who gave me back my love for the club, the team and all things Tottenham.

With him gone now I am a little sad, full of anger at those I feel let him down and full of regret that in his time I never got to meet him personally and shake his hand and say thank you.  On a very personal note, listeners to our Spurs News Podcast will know that Matt, my co host and admin on our page, has had a very tough 2019 as his wife has been fighting breast cancer.  As a massive Spurs fan, season ticket holder and knowing his spirits might need a lift I reached out to see if the club could maybe do something, a gesture as I know they have done these things before.

After speaking to a former player in Micky Hazard within a day or two a lady called me to confirm the details of Matt and said that Mauricio asked if he could always be made aware of things like this so he could personally send a letter, signed by him, from his very desk so that fans knew he was supporting them as much as we were supporting him.

He was more than just a great manager for Tottenham he was and continues to be a great man.  Thank you for everything Mauricio, thank you Jesus and all the coaching staff who have left us.  You gave me my Tottenham back and I will forever love you for it.

-Admin SJ

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