Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey Premier League Review of 2013-14 Season Index - Match 16
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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2013-2014 - Match 16
Why I think AVB had to go

It was suggested in some quarters that I would get very little response to the usual invitation to grade and pass comment about Sunday's abysmal home defeat to Liverpool. In fact, over 250 people bothered to offer their thoughts in words and figures.

For the record, as some anticipated, yes it was the worst set of marks for a Spurs result since the spursometer was established in 2000, which is not surprising as it was our worst home defeat in 16 years, which is longer ago than the website's creation. Yes, it was even worse than the response to the Man City defeat on 24th November, and in his last game, Andre Villas-Boas managed to get an even worse score than one considered an all-time low in November.

Events have overtaken the comments passed about Sunday's result, which according to press reports was only one of the factors affecting Daniel Levy's decision to dispense with AVB's services "by mutual consent".

Of course, the press have preyed upon the club like vultures, whereas at the start of the season they were tipping us as Champions League favourites and even title contenders.

What do I think? I said when AVB was appointed that I had reservations, mainly about his ultra-technical approach to the game we all love. However, obviously I was happy with our record points haul last season, and after our opening day 1-0 (Soldado penalty) win at Selhurst Park, I stated I would happily take 38 1-0 penalty wins.

I am on record though as saying those defeats to two Champions League rivals by such gross margins were unacceptable. Whilst we don't know all the facts about any differences between board and head coach (his refusal to play Adebayor is rumoured to be one area of discontent), I would throw the following into the mix.

Like plenty of other fans, I travel home and away to watch Spurs and we away fans have witnessed better football, better performances, more magical moments, and more entertainment than home fans this season. (A better away record; last gasp winner at Cardiff; annihalation of Villa in the Capital One Cup come to mind)

Most of the regulars that sit around me at White Hart Lane don't travel, and they also don't bother to come to the Europa League games. Their personal experience of watching Spurs this season has been the 8 league games played so far, which now include 3 home defeats, and a negative goal difference of -5, thanks to Liverpool. They've seen decent team performances against Chelsea and Man Utd at home (although we did gift United their goals), and the one quite attractive win was against an ailing Norwich side.

I'm sure that Mr Levy has a big post-bag, or e-mail in-box, lamenting the absence of entertaining attacking football; the tentative build-up play and lack of goals. He'll have been getting plenty of personal comments too from those favoured people who sit in and around the Directors' box. One of these is former owner Lord Sugar, who has not been slow to tweet his indifference to the AVB regime in the last month or two. I am sure that Lord Sugar still has the ear of those in power at the club.

He's not the decision maker of course, and whilst many have criticised the club over what they consider to be their haste in dispensing with their eighth manager/head coach in their 12 year plus reign, it is a results-based business in the Premier league, and the lifespan of a manager at any football club is getting shorter and shorter these days.

AVB's given objectives for this season would have been to finish in the top four, or at the very least to qualify for European football. To do that, the club needs to do better against its main rivals for the top four, and certainly not to be thrashed.

Then there is the issue of the paying customer. Spurs have a new stadium (we all hope) to fill in two or three years. To do that you need to be displaying not just successful, but attractive football. Last Thursday, when we beat Anzhi 4-1 to maintain a 100% record in Europe this season, just 23,101 paying customers bothered to come and watch. There were 13,000 empty seats. Surely more people would come if they felt the football was worth seeing?

Could a team playing Andre Villas-Boas's style of football fill the new 56,000 seater stadium? I don't think so. I am sure that such thoughts contributed towards the club's decision, and whilst another period of transition is undesirable, I understand the decision.

So, AVB and his direct support staff are out, and we have Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand looking after first team affairs with Steffen Freund and Tony Parks remaining in place on the coaching staff. I don't think any of them are going to be the long-term answer, and it seems the club are looking for an experienced and capable head.

On Sunday, when Andros Townsend was waiting to come on in the second half, he went through the sort of intense touch-line briefing that happens at so many Premier League clubs theese days. AVB's predecessor, Harry Redknapp, once told Roman Pavlyuchenko to "f***ing run abut a bit". What we need is the balance between technical and inspirational.

The headline says "Why I think AVB had to go". What it means is that I reported that AVB's job was on the line, and I understand the decision made by the club. I didn't go so far as to call for his head, but if I had to give a Yes or No answer to the question "Do I support the club's decision" then it's a "Yes" from me.

See the spursometer in full



Results 14-15.12.13

Man City   6-3   Arsenal
Cardiff    1-0   West Brom
Chelsea    2-1   C. Palace
Everton    4-1   Fulham
Newcastle  1-1   S'hampton
West Ham   0-0   S'derland
Hull       0-0   Stoke
A. Villa   0-3   Man Utd
Norwich    1-1   Swansea
Spurs      0-5   Liverpool

                Barclays Premier League

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts

 1. Arsenal   16 11  2  3  33-17  16   35
 2. Liverpool 16 10  3  3  39-18  21   33
 3. Chelsea   16 10  3  3  32-18  14   33
 4. Man City  16 10  2  4  47-18  29   32 
=========================================
 5. Everton   16  8  7  1  27-15  12   31 
========================================= 
 6. Newcastle 16  8  3  5  21-22  -1   27
 7. Spurs     16  8  3  5  15-21  -6   27
 8. Man Utd   16  7  4  5  25-19   6   25
 9. S'hampton 16  6  6  4  20-15   5   24
10. Swansea   16  5  5  6  22-21   1   20
11. A. Villa  16  5  4  7  16-21  -5   19
12. Hull      16  5  4  7  13-19  -6   19 
13. Stoke     16  4  6  6  15-20  -5   18
14. Norwich   16  5  3  8  15-29 -14   18
15. Cardiff   16  4  5  7  12-22 -10   17 
16. West Brom 16  3  6  7  17-22  -5   15
17. West Ham  16  3  5  8  13-19  -6   14
=========================================
18. C. Palace 16  4  1 11  11-24 -13   13
19. Fulham    16  4  1 11  15-30 -15   13
20. S'derland 16  2  3 11  12-30 -18    9

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