Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Feature - Why Hoddle should stay (Published March 2003)
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Feature Article - Why Hoddle Should Stay

This article was written in March 2003 by Joff Wild

Many readers of this website will know that I am also on the board of the Spurs Trust (or to give its full title - The Tottenham Hotspur Suporters' Trust). On the right of this and most pages of the site you will find the active logo that will take you to the Trust website (Ed:- formerly maintained by Yours' Truly), and the various items of interest, including how to join. Right now, it could be a very interesting time to join the Trust, who have a new investment scheme in the planning stages.

Earlier this week, when reporting on the Bolton game, I finally joined the growing army of fans who would like to see Glenn Hoddle move on, although I still have yet to express such a sentiment in a forceful way.

Joff Wild is also a Trust member, and was the Chairman of the Steering Committee that saw the establishment of the Trust. Joff is a very active and passionate Spurs fan, and has written the following article explaining why he thinks that Glenn Hoddle should stay. I am happy to publish such a well-written item, in the interests of balance and healthy debate. Thanks Joff!

Why Hoddle should stay

It is clear beyond all doubt that Tottenham Hotspur is in a desperate state. The kind of stories published in today's (26.03.03)Daily Mirror and Daily Express are not going to go away. Some will focus on Hoddle, others on the chairman Daniel Levy. You pays your money and takes your choice. And when it comes to apportioning responsibility for the shambles that is Spurs these days I choose not to place the majority of the blame on Hoddle even though I do recognise his many faults and errors of judgement.

My contention is that there are few other managers that could have done any better with the resources that have been made available to Hoddle. Games we have lost we may have drawn or won with another man in charge. But then again there are games we have got points from which we may not have done with another boss. I see it all as swings and roundabouts with a mediocre squad made worse by long-term injuries to key players. Something the likes of Charlton, Soton and Everton have not had to worry about so much this season.

I think that the first half second half display conundrum is explained away by two factors: first, many of our players are old and so just do not have the physical strength necessary to play 90 minutes; second, most our team is not good enough to play 90 minutes against Premier League opposition, especially when the other side adopts a physical approach to the game. It seems that Hoddle has the ability to send out what is essentially a mediocre team able to compete for the first 45 minutes in many games, a team that can even look good at times. But once they are back in the dressing room, have lost the adrenalin and the muscles are beginning to tire, that same team is just unable to come out again and do the business. I don't think this is all about bad motivation or bad tactics. I think this is a product of mediocrity. And the lack of a credible strike force highlights this because we are unable to kill off games when we are on top.

Clearly Hoddle must take some of the blame for this. For one thing he fails to recognise the very real physical deficiencies of much of the team. But my question is why do we have such mediocrity in the first place? In my view it is because the board of directors at Spurs are unwilling to back the manager with money that they could access if they so wished to. He is forced to play players he clearly does not rate and to shop around at the bargain bucket end of the transfer market for players that do not cost us anything (the old ones) or the ones that have low salary demands (the ones from eastern Europe). We are a rich club, richer than almost any other club in this country. But we spend far less on transfers and wages as a proportion of turnover than most others. That is not Hoddle's fault. We know, because he has told us, that the chairman has the final decision on who we buy and that he only gives a deal the green light when he considers it to be "advantageous". This is why we ended up with the comparatively low salary and interesting marketing opportunities Toda represented in January rather than high salary, dodgy profile of Lee Bowyer, the man we now all know Hoddle wanted. Which one of those two would be likely to have most impact on the pitch however?

So, whilst recognising Hoddle's faults, my major fear is that in calling for Hoddle to go what we are doing is giving the club the perfect opportunity to buy yet another two or three years of inaction and non-ambition. Getting rid of Hoddle is far easier than addressing the root and branch reform that Spurs so desperately needs. Remember, Levy will be picking Hoddle's replacement. What will his criteria be? How will he know what he is looking for? What selling points can he use to bring in someone that is better than who we have at the moment? Levy has shown himself to be a disastrous negotiator with management skills that are far worse than Hoddle's. He has no successful business background and no real experience of working in football. Yet we have to trust him with the most important decision a club can take. It frightens the life out of me because I know just what we will end up with. A no-record yes-man, who will not cost much in wages, will not demand funds to rebuild the squad and will not kick up a fuss when our best players are sold. In other words, a complete disaster.

So, my support for the manager is not based on the fact that I think he is doing a great job. It is based on the fact that I struggle to think of anyone who can do it better given the resources that will be made available. If the personnel at the top were to change or were to begin to show some concrete evidence of real ambition then my views on the manager could well change. But at the moment neither looks like happening.

Having said all that, however, I know Hoddle will go sooner rather than later. I know many people will be very happy about it. And I know that in a couple of years time we will be having the same debate played out against the backdrop of falling attendances, falling revenue and the terminal decline of our club's name.

2 Ian Campbell comments on Glenn Hoddle's Talents and Misjudgements
3 The state of "The Spurs Franchise"

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