Ben Weich

In sacking Pochettino and appointing Mourinho, Daniel Levy displayed outrageous chutzpah

Having just hours to mourn the loss of our beloved manager, who took us to a Champions League final, Tottenham fans now brace ourselves for disaster

November 20, 2019 10:52

Shortly before 8pm last night, as news broke that Tottenham Hotspur had sacked Mauricio Pochettino, my phone blew up with a stream of texts checking on my wellbeing.

For those who don’t know, I have been deeply fond of our Argentinian gaucho gaffer almost since the day he swaggered into North London.

Photos of him – prowling the touchline, celebrating with players, stroking his puppy fat-laden cheeks – jostle for supremacy on my various screensavers and backgrounds with loved ones, winning most of the time.

Club legend Ossie Ardiles tweeted: "From my personal point of view, life gave me a wonderful present. Unique. His friendship. The friendship of a wonderful, principled man that would last forever."

It might be mawkish to say it's like a death in the family. But it's basically the same as having your dog put down.

Admittedly, I was in the minority of Spurs fans who wanted to stick with Poch – favouring an overhaul of the playing squad instead.

On the domestic front, things have turned sour since the turn of the year. We are 14th in the table, 20 points behind leaders Liverpool after 12 games. Thankfully, we are still ahead of West Ham, who we play on Saturday.

But I point the finger at Daniel Levy, our tight-fisted chairman, who refused to refresh the squad with new signings for two transfer windows, from January 2018 until this summer. Stasis, as everyone knows, is the kiss of death for a football team.

Which brings me to the actual point of this article – Mr Levy’s sheer chutzpah in appointing José Mourninho as Poch’s successor.

The man has fought bitterly against almost every chairman he’s worked under – from Roman Abramovich (twice) to Florentino Pérez and Ed Woodward. Mr Levy himself is notorious for his scraps with coaches who have demanded greater support in the transfer market, most memorably Harry Redknapp (who is not a wheeler-dealer, he’s a football manager).

Even the local MP, David Lammy weighed in, saying: "Tottenham is only about four square miles large, we will struggle to contain Mourinho’s ego which is bigger than even our new stadium."

It just doesn’t make sense, unless Mourinho has been offered a big budget – which would beg the question why funds were withheld from Pochettino.

Not only did he serve us loyally for more than five years – turning down Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and the Argentina national team – but he also delivered Spurs fans’ greatest moment for more than 30 years in taking us to the promised land of a Champions League final. That was just seven months ago.

Let's be clear – only Mr Levy’s strange obsession with Mourinho has brought us to this.

When he first fluttered his eyelashes towards West London, during the Portuguese's mid-noughties heyday at Chelsea, he was too big for Tottenham. But now on the way down, we are the last branch for Mourinho to clasp as he tumbles down the ravine.

It is chutzpah not in the Yiddish sense – which can sometimes convey admirable audacity – but in the more Israeli usage, which relates to an offensive disregard for the feelings of others.

It will all end in tears, and I hope our travelling support to West Ham cease their booing only to sing Pochettino’s name.

November 20, 2019 10:52

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