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Entries in director of football (13)



Damien Comolli was on the recent episode of The Football Manager podcast. They've added a DoF to the FM2013. If you've got no idea what I'm banging on about, FM is a football management game and for the first time ever you can appoint someone to handle the hiring and firing all members of staff, contracts, youth development, managing scouts, transfers etc. You can select the level of involvement for yourself (as manager) and the responsibility the DoF has at the club you're managing. If you have no interest in the game, you might still want to listen to the podcast as there's plenty said which retains massive interest in both Comolli's role at Spurs and what ultimately a DoF vision represents depending on what a football club seeks to get out of it.

We made a scapegoat of DC and in amongst all the name calling I think most of us know the system didn't work at Spurs because there seemed to be a lack of transparency on what the system actually was. An unnecessary cog in the wheel to most. The main complaint (from myself) was that it always appeared that our particular version of the DoF system was DoF > Coach. Consistency behind the scenes with the DoF selecting the coach/manager and supporting them in the transfer window. But as we all witnessed, when Comolli and others wanted to change things, they went ahead and did just that (removing Jol for Ramos). Comolli was given too much power and didn't compliment the system but rather consumed it in the end. Arnesen had a say in appointing Santini. Santini left, Jol was promoted. Jol and Arnesen worked well together. Arnesen left. Comolli was appointed. Jol was not the appointed one by Comolli and perhaps that's where the issue was birthed.

That's not to say that DC didn't have strengths. Again, we probably ignored the finer aspects of his job claiming that signing certain players wasn't such a big deal because they were hardly unknown transfer targets. He gives a couple of examples of the work his role entails on the podcast by telling a story about how Berbatov came to the Lane to watch us, only for Utd to win 1-0. After the game Berba told DC, "You're missing a striker like me". Took months of work, of talking, to get the player to decide it was for the best he signed with Spurs. Same with Gareth Bale. Sure, hardly unknown, but there was untold work (not just from DC but Levy got involved) to make sure Bale was ours in the end (the player was unsure about moving to Spurs with doubts on whether he would get any game time). All the grafting is something I guess we took for granted.

The crux of it is, the DoF (purely with transfers) is heavily involved in scouting, talking to players, agents, the players family and working with the chairman at the point of understanding and agreeing budget for wages/fee etc.

Comolli speaks about how it's impossible for a manager to cover all responsibilities without some assistance. Again, we probably get bogged down by titles. People reference Wenger and Ferguson as not working under a DoF system, but its not like they both do all the ground work for every deal. There are structures in place. There are structures at quite a few clubs and the 'system' has been around for several decades. It just didn't have a label that most of us scoff at.

The impression DC gives is that he works with the manager at all times and signs players the manager will agree to have (rather than the more continental and South American approach where coaches just work with the players given to them). So based on that, you expect that transfer wise - there was no issue with Martin Jol. On the surface. Politics of power ended that particular relationship.

"I never worked like this. I don't like. I work with the coach or the manager or the head coach (whatever you want to call it), I'm not working against him, I've always been saying 'what's the point in signing a player that the coach doesn't want because he won't play him - so it's money into the bin" - DC

There's some other interesting discussion points including how most successful youth development programs at football clubs have consistency by always retaining one person to oversee at academy level. The staffing outside of first team coaching is retained as this is a long term objective (and you only ever produce good youth players if the program is one that retains that consistency rather than losing it every time a new manager is appointed and restructuring occurs).

Since we scrapped the DoF at Spurs with the sacking of Comolli, we've witnessed how short term our transfer policy under Harry Redknapp and how the targeted players did not truly sit under any long term philosophy. Levy has worked as a General Manager for the club. Involved in signing players. Whether some players are proposed to the chairman outside of the remit of the coach, I don't know. I believe AVB accepted the new summer arrivals. There's no doubt Moutinho was one player he asked to have and we almost did before contract technicalities and last minute antics but that on hold for the time being. Levy is very proactive (say the 'relationship' with Real Madrid) but perhaps this role would be better occupied by someone that is truly a football man rather than a business one.

With the new training centre and the emphasis placed on youth development in recent years you can understand why we're rumoured to be looking for a director of football / technical director / call it what you want. To echo the sentiments of what was discussed on the FM podcast, as long as this position (one familiar to AVB from his time at Porto) was there to aid the coach in terms of the ilk of signings wanted along with personal preferences - then first team wise, AVB doesn't have to be heavily involved in the mundane parts of the process. Although, I really do think most managers are not heavily involved in that (aside from perhaps sometimes meeting players).

For me, having someone deal with the transfers will be better than having Levy deal with them. As long as the empowerment doesn't conflict with the coach - AVB is number one, the 'DoF' is number two. What matters more is the work that can be down with the academy and the scouting system (the latter especially needs refining). And a clear long term vision with the youth system with style of player and training along with players we seek to sign and add to the academy - this is what needs to be crafted and founded. Quite simply a DoF and the first team coach should be two separate positions both progressive and forward thinking and both complimenting each other and more importantly the ethos the club lays out (I'm not going to use the 'p' word here).

I'm all for Levy appointing someone. It's a long term assignment for certain. If things go wrong, if things don't work out at first team coaching level, then the chairman can appoint a new coach on advisement from the DoF. I guess that's how I would see it work, the problem last time out is that Comolli was the one that was truly doing the appointing and arguably his influence was too heavy handed and undermining.

It's about adapting a system that fits into your club and the clubs mantra. Have we learnt enough from the last attempt to make it work next time?

Interestingly, in the actual game FM2013 - you as a manager can hire and fire the DoF, rather than the other way round which tends to be the way it works at most clubs. But then, it is only a game.


You can listen to Comolli on the FM podcast on RSS here or via itunes here.


Time to doff our hat to the potential return of the DoF?

Last week we recorded an emergency episode of The Fighting Cock podcast to cover Harry Redknapp's departure and the managers being linked with replacing him. Tim Sherwood was mentioned, not as a replacement but in connection with the alleged potential return of the DoF at the Lane. Firstly, my issue with this is simple. What is the basis for the rumour? Is it because the back to basics approach that replaced Comolli with Harry has come to an end? Or is it because Sherwood survived the cull that saw Allen, Bond and Jordan leave the club? I don't see how such an appointment would work or for that matter be feasible because of his complete lack of experience at the very highest level. It's a non-starter for him. Is it a non-starter full stop? Or is it only a non-starter when assuming the role is similar to past ones we've seen at the club?

If Levy was considering restructuring the hierarchy and re-introducing it, what exactly would the DoF system work when compared to its past ? I've written this article for my own process of dismissing the system from being a relevant option for Spurs to re-introduce. It's not really as in-depth as I set out to craft. It's just me moaning and waffling. You know the drill. I say a bunch of stuff out loud and hopefully in the mess you lot can pull out sound-bites and argue and debate amongst yourselves.

I've been asking myself that question over and over again. What exactly would the DoF system be if re-introduced at Spurs? Would it match the previous under Comolli or the one where Pleat acted like a glorified scout knocking heads with Hoddle and giving us joyful sagas such as 'Rebrov' and 'Diego'? I don't care for the footballing dictionary definition because of the variety of incarnations we've witnessed under the same chairman. Add to it the fact that other clubs are of no significance thanks to the rather sensational reason that other clubs are not THFC.

Under Comolli, the quintessential Spurs DoF appoints the coach/manager and they work in unison, a collaboration, to sign players that fit whatever formation and club model they agree upon with the chairman. It's a system completely reliant on both men being one hundred percent on the same page. It's long term aim is to create stability with transfers and potentially with ideology of said transfers, so that if the manager/coach is replaced the DoF brings in a new man and the transition isn't too disruptive. It's what Levy was advised to look into and introduce when he was still a footballing virgin, turning to advisor's for support. It works on the continent. It works in the NFL. But neither are the English Premier League. It also works in the lower divisions in England but the ambitions and stature of the clubs there provides a different type of working template and very different pressures on all concerned. Again, that's just my own opinion.

Arnesen replaced Pleat. He appointed Santini and then Jol. He left for Chelsea and Comolli took the role and eventually replaced Jol with Ramos. Hardly plain sailing. The ethos and scouting of Arnesen and pattern of incoming players was different to the one introduced by Comolli. I always saw DC as a chief go-getter of potential signings. Levy would rubber-stamp the air travel and off goes DC to bag Berbatov or Zokora (can't always get it right). DC does all the face to face work, easing pressure away from Levy and the manager. But then that just sounds like a more slick productive version of David Pleat.

My discomfort has always been that the DoF, regardless of the fact he's there to support the man he appoints along with the chairman, has too much influence and power that can undermine the coach. Santini struggled. In some ways we hit good form with the unexpected promotion of Martin Jol (conspiracy theorists will suggest Levy felt obliged to appoint Santini, a 'big name' to appease fans and media and Arnesen always had a keen eye on Jol taking the job. Perhaps there is some truth in there that long term, that was the plan, but it came to fruition early). 

Jol was his own man but worked well with Frank and post-Arnesen to Chelsea continued to do a superb job before it all fell apart. Ramos was supposed to be the perfect coach for such a system, proving just how delicate and risky it is to implement. Highly rated, few doubted his abilities but we all doubted his lack of English speaking skills. More so the lack of apparent enthusiasm the players had for his tactics and match preparations. My main scratch of head here has been the fact that most successful managerial appointments do not work with someone looking down from above, packing as much punch as the man that selects the team. Ramos was the catalyst for the DoF system imploding at Spurs, never truly proving to be a genuine success. Even when Jol was leading us to top five finishes, the cracks still appeared and Comolli got itchy fingers (along with one or two others that sadly got ahead of themselves with our 'progress'). The only success was that some of the signings proved to be very good ones. But no different to any other prolonged period of time concerning players signed.

Levy scrapped it. Enter the wheeler dealer and the rest is very recent history.

Would most of the managers we've been linked with so far be comfortable working under a DoF or would they expect the chairman to trust their own judgement? Is it not more prudent to allow someone with ambitions that match the clubs to perhaps ask for changes to be made in scouting or youth development or for the club to offer this support to aid the new man at the helm?

I've always believed that a DoF can work as an administrator taking some of the more mundane responsibilities away from the manager. Mundane underplays it, what I mean is - if the manager wants to sign a striker he tells the 'DoF' what he requires and the DoF returns with the short list. Apparently, it's what Comolli did. But then Comolli did a lot more than that what with his dizzying offers to others. Technically speaking, he did what a DoF (dictionary describition) is meant to do, but that doesn't necessary make it the right thing to do at Spurs and in the English Premier League.

Also, the major bugbear I have with all of this concerns the fact that you could argue Daniel Levy is so hands on with transfers and building relationships with other clubs (i.e. Real Madrid and Internacional, two very different relationships) that in many ways he is a director of football. Or an acting General Manager at the very least. The assumptions made and usually confirmed by Redknapp via Sky Sports was that they would both 'discuss' potential targets. Levy famously telling Harry about van der Vaart's availability is one example. Another concerns the story that Pienaar was signed by the chairman and not wanted by the manager. Parker, another well documented disagreement between the two of them.

Their relationship degraded, we know that much. They didn't always see eye to eye to players. Whether it's true that Levy wanted to spend big but Redknapp only wanted the bargains and the cheap for the moment signings rather than players that can impact Spurs season positively over the next few years, that's something we won't quite know for sure (until the next man is appointed). Levy and Redknapp were not on the same page.

The chairman will always do the chasing but you could clearly tell which targets being linked to Spurs were Levy targets and which belonged to Harry. The conflict here is; if you trust the manager you back him you don't try to influence him into another direction because if you find yourself doing so then perhaps he's not the right man for the job you want him to do.

There is no need for a DoF at Spurs.

For a start, if you believe what you read in the press, we've gone after potential managers. We'd have to appoint a DoF first before we started interviewing anyone. There is no need for one I'm certain of it, but there is a necessity that Levy's vision is shared with the prospective manager and they both understand how best to improve and evolve Spurs together. A collaboration not based on job titles but one based on a clear understanding of the task ahead and how to achieve it (or die trying). The same page please.

I'd like to hope the plan is long term with the aim to sustain a challenge in the short term. I'd explain that hope with us signing the players we need to build on the side we have and avoid stagnation. No job in football is particularly easy but a job where the two most important people at the club fail to agree will be made impossible. Such a basic and obvious statement, and yet one that failed us not too long ago.

The director of system works on the continent because the culture is completely different there. Real Madrid is an example of a club signing players before appointing managers. But even they have gone through internal hardship with Jose Mourinho fighting for 'complete control'. I personally don't see the point in comparing football with any U.S. sport in terms of the DoF system. Mainly because their culture and structures are different to our own.

If you want to lighten the load on the manager that has to handle training, day to day business, match day preparation and transfer targets, assign him Tim Sherwood. Or define the role to be a more concrete long term position in the club to cater for youth development, say a technical director (as the suggested rumours). Not quite as interfering as a director of football. You'd think Sherwood must be doing something to impress behind the scenes. In fact, let the new manager ask the chairman for the personnel he requires to be able to comfortably do his job. Let the new man at the helm set up his boot room of soldiers so he can lead us into the battle as one unit with no politics holding us back from marching forwards. No Brutus for our Caesar. We do not need to complicate things and I doubt very much we will. So if Sherwood does end up with a position it will probably be one that will also benefit Levy, allowing him to concentrate on the stadium and other matters (like ENIC selling Spurs.../trollface).

As for the other slightly more important appointment we are all waiting on, I'm not going to guarantee we all agree on the man Levy does end up appointing. Just hope we can agree to back him.

Until Christmas at the very least.


If you're interested in more on this discussion including comparisons between the DoF system in the NFL, visit this thread for heated debate.



Is Comolli God?

Sorry, that's meant to be good. Typo in the title. Was he any good for us during his tenure at the Lane?

This discussion has been had more times than a cheap yet tasty East European whore at the local sauna. Not that all girls working in a sauna (brothel) happen to be from Eastern Europe, but if someone was to frequent such a place, I'd hazard a guess they'd select a Russian or Polish lady of the red light than any of the oh so bland alternatives. They tend to have fabulous looking legs. Allegedly. It's what I've been told. Best to move on before this turns into a punter report and goes widely off-topic.

My point is, we've discussed this thousands of times - mostly during and in the lead up to the beginning of the end of Comolli at Spurs, and then in the aftermath of his departure. And once again the last time he was interviewed and mentioned his transfer record at the Lane. And we've been blessed with yet another rendition of the 'I'm so f**king great' chorus from the Frenchman, this time thanks to the Bale hat-trick at some small ground over in Italy.

I guess every single time one of his signings performs majestically well we're going to be treated to various sound-bites from his delirious gob. He's quite obviously never going to tire telling us he's responsible for our good form and fortune. I'd suggest we put aside a plot of land to erect a statue in his name when the Northumberland redevelopment kick-starts but it's probably only right we just skip that and name the stadium after him.

So let's break this sh*t down. Does our former DoF own the exclusive rights to bang on about this to us and should we give him his due?

Much like most managers/coaches - Comolli made some very decent signings and several shabby ones. There is a clear argument to be had for and against in terms of the decent signings made and their already known talent (as opposed to perhaps plucking someone from obscurity). But still, he captured the signatures of the likes of Berbatov and Modric and of course Gareth Bale - their abilities known to many, if not all. Personally, wasn't sure of any of the three. Especially Modric who I had not really seen or heard much about at the time.

He also signed the likes of Zokora, Bent, Bentley, KPB, Taarabt, Bostock and dos Santos. Players that have either struggled, have yet to prove themselves or not turned out to be half as good as expected.

It's all subjective. Everyone knew Bent and Bentley. Comolli signed them. Zokora, I'll give him that one - but Christ, it's nothing to shout about. Taarabt had/has a massive ego. dos Santos hasn't been given a run of games in the side. Jury out. As for Bostock - we'll have to wait and see. But Bostock could have been scouted by myself or you - it's no claim to fame as he was making a decent name for himself down at Palace.

Not sure Lennon and Huddlestone can be claimed. I'm positive they were targeted before his appointment. The rest - some were squad players that worked (Rocha) some didn't (Rasiak).

Kaboul is a perfect example of Comolli at his frustrating best. Rather than sign the finished article or a proven at top level player, he signed a highly rated youngster for a substantial amount of money where it was claimed he would not be thrown into the deep end and thus be developed. Question marks over the fact we paid the amount we did for someone who wasn't deemed a first-teamer. Classic Spurs, we throw him into the deep end thanks to injuries. Ironically, the lad (having been sold and re-bought) is showing signs of football intelligence and composure. Finally. But the journey he's under-taken has been nigh shambolic.

It's not exactly razor sharp stuff, is it?

But none of this is relevant.

Okay, it is actually if you want to strip away everything about the Director of Football system and discuss the individualism of each signing based on merit of the players form at the club. But without doing so, and looking at it as a complete entity of enterprise from top to bottom - Comolli followed Levy's lead (buy young English players with sell-on value) and also bought in foreign players to improve the first team. But the transfer ethos was never really decisive enough for me.

Mainly because we signed individuals (some of which have been a success as mentioned) but because of the lack of any clear true genuine balls deep strategy in terms of types of players required - it was all very mish mashed.

Our stance had at times been a mixture of the superfluous and the potentials. Unbalanced. And it's all good and well saying 'I signed BAE - look at him now', but if you're a DoF signing players for the current appointed manager, that player is meant to work for that manager. But then I guess Comolli will argue he signed the right players, but the manager didn't use them correctly - which again would bring you back to the whole what's the point then argument surrounding the DoF system.

It's all a bit like having two people trying to use any old jigsaw pieces to complete a puzzle, even though they're using pieces from different sets without discussing it first. The DoF felt like that, most of the time.

Again - you can look back at all our managers in the modern era and possibly argue at the amount of money wasted and lack of clear direction we've had during many transfer windows.

Comolli is managing to cloud over the fact that he might have had an eye but in terms of working as a support mechanism for  the manager? Nope. Just not good enough. You can't undermine the person you are meant to be supporting (Jol). Or make fundamental mistakes (the 2006 Xmas window).

Levy admitting the mistake, in the end, after the Ramos debacle that the DoF system had to be scrapped. When Comolli got to choose a new man for our dugout, he got it completely wrong with the Juande.

In conclusion, he signed some very good players. Some of which we are enjoying massively in our colours currently. And I guess we should politely nod in his direction for this. But considering the task at hand at the time, he failed to sign players for key positions when required, sometimes signing players completely out of synch with the squad and manipulated and altered the clubs direction to appoint his own man - which proved to be an unmitigated disaster in the end.

Director of football? More of a glorified scout who interfered a little too much, sometimes got it wrong, sometimes got it right but only on a few occasions got it bang on the money.

Fact is, the likes of Bale, BAE...the team as a unit, only came together AFTER he left the club. That should take precedence over his tiresome attention seeking quotes. Even though I'm sure DC will say, that's not the point - he saw the potential and that is enough for him to continue to pull a David Pleat and tell the world of his achievements in N17.



Spurs/Everton match report, it's been drafted but need to touch it up (ooh) and will post on Monday.



Redknapp - The Messiah?

Disclaimer: Yes, I know, it's a bloody long article.



Tapestry Part V

Redknapp - The Messiah


Dear Mr Levy,

I've had my moments. My attempt to parachute onto the pitch at White Hart Lane in protest of our early season form backfired when I mis-calculated the wind factor and my resulting trajectory took me onto the North Circular. My demonstration in protest of the West Stand bourgeoisie also ended unsatisfactory. I guess wearing an actual suit made of bagels was a major oversight on my part. I still have the scars from the pigeon attack. But nobody can ever doubt my commitment. I've put myself out there and will continue to do so. As soon as the court injunction ends.

But perhaps there is no urgency to be on the front-line thanks to the current equilibrium bestowed upon us by your good self. The appointment of Harry Redknapp was a masterstroke of a decision. Nine years into our five year plan to turn us into a Champions League outfit and you finally use the Batphone.

You’ve tried it all during your tenure, your predecessor too. Ex-legends, an up and coming manager, PE teacher, international tactician, promoted assistant, experienced continental mastermind. None of it has worked. Apart from that flirtatious 2006 season which ended with a chorus from Johnny Hates Jazz.

It never quite comes together, does it? Usually because of the itch to jump forward three steps when only one step is required. It's all a bit John Sergeant giving it the Fred Astaire. A comical mess of an embarrassment.

So when Ramos and his ketchup ban was shown the door we all fell into any abyss of confusion, nervously eating away at our fingernails trying to work out who the next victim of the White Hart Lane guillotine would be.

I clearly remember the evening when we all found out. I was watching a remake of Debbie Does Dallas, which in essence I believe to be superior to the original thanks to some sparkling camera tricks and shrewd re-working of the plot. I didn't discover the appointment until an hour or so after it had happened. Sky Sports News was in a giddy meltdown that resembled a club terrace in Ibiza, with churning smiles all over the place as the presenters all bounced up and down with joy, repeating the news over and over and over again with the ticker at the bottom of the screen working over-time.

And then it got surreal. Harry himself on the blower telling us he had accepted the job.

I was numb. And the Kleenex was firmly pushed aside.

"Is Harry likely to fulfil the dream that Levy champions? Does he have the tactical ability to outsmart his peers at the top of the table? Can we see him achieving Fergusonesque empire building success with us fighting it out with Wenger, Rafa and <insert current Chelsea boss here> in the midst of battle for a top 4 place?"

As the questions bounced around my head, the numbness faded, and the hefty kick of reality landed on my backside.

"When have we ever sustained such a challenge anyway? In fact, isn't this form of out-stretched ambition the reason why we never get things right, always eager to change things? We are bottom – all that matters is getting off it"

You don't need me to tell you this is Tottenham Hotspur. But I feel the need to run through recent history. I guess it's a statement of fact. Lessons learnt.

We are ambitious by nature, longing for glory days and nights. Like any other fan who supports a club that has the resource to compete with the top sides, you know you are a little closer to the dream than others less fortunate. But instead we are kept in a perpetual ground-hog day where the same promises are made and mistakes repeated. And yet we never learn from any of it. You must know this already considering the sharp rise of frozen shit pellet attacks on your car over the past few seasons.

Juande you will be able to drive down the road without incident.

Pre-Redknapp, Ramos was obviously still dizzy from the offer and although we will be forever grateful for that day at Wembley, nothing else actually worked.

During the summer in came some key signings and the removal of all deadwood along with some quality additions. You know, like selling Berbatov. To Utd. In the final minutes of the transfer window. At the death. Sold. And bringing in a right-winger, to go alongside the other right-winger we have. Because two right-wingers is better than one especially when one of them costs £15M and can star-jump. On camera. In the background. It was funny. The star-jump. Jumps like a star.

A new age was upon us. It lasted as long as the opening credits to Match of the Day.

What we were left with in the aftermath was a disjointed squad of players who lacked self-belief and pride and two measly points from 720 minutes of football (that's eight games to the common man).

How did we get here? Let's go back even further and work our way back to the present.

Once upon a time, in a simpler world, we were the glamour club. Remember those days? The 1980's were good to us. Shirts tucked out, bit of swagger and a couple of Argentines. Proper Cup finals too. It wasn’t sexy football. It was tantric.

Happy days. But nothing stays still forever. Keith left. Scholar made a mess. Venables v Sugar. We slowly degraded whether it was down to in-house politics or financial meltdown.

The lust we have (it's just part of our genetic makeup) meant we always over-extended when attempting to re-claim past glories. We stagnated. But around us, others began to move on. Arsenal went from winning things in a boring fashion to playing football with the type of revered football that was once bestowed on us. Chelsea stole our glam. And while others (Liverpool) were dethroned (Utd) we jumped from one manager to the next, all failing to claim any concept of consistency.

  • Pleat's experiment almost worked.
  • Venables saved the club in '91 and then that spoon full of Sugar saw him swap the bench for the High Court.
  • Ossie, bless him, was over ambitious and out of his depth, an appointment that stemmed from Sugar's aim to appease the locals.
  • Francis got the team working hard but then it all faded into mediocrity.
  • Gross was Sugar's attempt to do what Arsenal did with Wenger and how we laughed.
  • Graham was another attempt at something that we didn't quite fathom and then the Levy era truly kicked in with the return of the King of the Lane.
  • But Hoddle's ego devoured itself, sandwiched in-between Pleats caretaker responsibilities and ‘technical director’ meddling.

Then came Santini, Jol with Arnesen.

This was the master plan in full effect - the Director of Football structure - one that allowed for failures. Santini didn't work so off he went, taking with him the keys to the bus. But no need to fret. The DoF was the guardian of the dream allowing the vision to never lose focus, whilst others around did. Managers are appointed based on what the DoF believes to be the right man for the job, a man who can work hand-in-hand with him.

Jol was promoted and then we watched Arnesen quit for the grand challenge on offer at Chelsea (had nothing to do with money that).

So in came a new DoF. Might have different views and policies than the departing one but the ambition remains the same, no? The ambition based on your directives as chairman. Welcome Damien Comolli, the new keeper of the vision. Safe hands please, don't drop it.

The tranquillity did not last long.

Jol was meant to be the one. Comolli and Kemsley thought otherwise. Many agreed that Jol lacked the edge that was required, with the choking in big games syndrome. So when Ramos took over this was seen as the natural logical step in the master-plan. The final piece of the progression puzzle to elevate us towards the promised land of Champions League.

"Down to bare bones, two points from eight games, triffic"

But just how many mistakes can we afford to make? Up until and just after the Ramos appointment, you built in a nice little safeguard, stating that if Juande didn't work out - Comolli would be responsible. Shock horror, it turned to shit again and not even you and your PR machine could save the infamous DoF from certain doom.

Straw. Camel. Back.

The faith you had in this awkward system was as mystifying as the unnecessary plastic surgery the Leslie Ash of mascots had done to his face. I’m talking about that piece of work Chirpy and that ridiculous face-lift.

We needed an English-can-hit-the-ground-running coach who could lift us up and out of the mire by sorting out the fundamentals. Back to basics was the only way to kick-start things again. The future vision, for the first time, was irrelevant. The immediate future the priority. The plight we were suffering, the only thing of consequence. No messiahs need apply.

Hence Harry, the only viable available option, one born out of desperation due to the predicament. Sure you dropped a sound-bite or two about how you had spoken to Harry in the past about offering him the position and that he is someone the board respect and yadda yadda yadda.

Two or three years ago, appointing him as manager would have been seen as a negative backwards step. And why? Well because, Harry is like, ex-West Ham and what's he ever done/achieved to warrant the job at the Lane? You know, cause we’re such a big club, innit.

Ouch. Another reality kick to arse: Bottom. Two points. Relegation fodder. Damage limitation. Anything after that is a bonus, and anything after that can be something a little closer to that vision we have cradled for so long.

It's no longer 2006. The French do not fear the English. The big bloated ambitions of cracking the Prem’s elite led by a director of football structure has imploded and left us in a perilous position miles under the foundation of hope we would usually start at.

So in some ways having Harry Houdini take the helm was a master-stroke. One or two people pulled out their calculators and worked out that based on the fixtures left in the season we could still go down. Countless Facebook Relegation Party invites does not mean it's a dead cert the champagne corks will go flying for opposing fans.

We were never going to get relegated. Far worse teams in the Prem. But because of the start we had and the fact that we had a squad of players epically under-performing.

Which is why the publicity shy Harry Redknapp had the midas touch with our powder-puff millionaires. It must have been a little gut wrenching for you Daniel. Deep down, you must have felt a little empty that we had come to this. But come to this we had.

And it split Spurs fans, had West Ham fans laughing even harder. But then sometimes, things fall into place accidentally. The less obvious turns out to be the more pleasing. And soon enough the doubters became believers.

  • Harry has got the players playing for themselves and the team
  • Players starting in positions they are comfortable in
  • Playing to their strengths. In a formation that makes sense and works

And more:

  • Got the best out of BAE and Lennon where Ramos failed miserably
  • Palacios signing was inspired and yet a perfect illustration of the failures of previous DoF's and managers who never got close to filling this gap (apart from Carrick who worked well for us in a different kinda way)
  • Defoe just had to come back home
  • Keane, did have a positive impact on his return, even if he has run out of gas a little in what has been a roller-coaster season for him
  • Points accumulated has been impressive. We got to a Cup final, again. White Hart Lane is currently a fortress

Only concern is the re-signing of Pascal Chimbonda who has hardly figured for the first team. Although I have sources close to the club who believe him to be one of three people employed to wear the Chirpy costume on match-days. The other two are currently in hospital due to accidents outside of the work place. Apparently. So they tell me.

Sure, he shows a lack of instinctive quick-thinking changes to turn the course of the game if things are not quite working and sometimes is late in making key substitutions. But we knew this already. He's no genius.

So does make Harry unofficially a stop-gap? Get the team consistent and up to 6th/5th place and make us steady and reliable enough to not only attract players (which we don't tend to have a problem with anyway) but to also attract a glamour manager? If that's what we need. Considering that hasn't worked before. But then nothing really has since Keith.

But thinking that far forward is the exact type of mistake we are so prone to making. One step at a time. That's for you Daniel AND some of our fan's who take a few wins on the trot to mean that glory is waiting round the corner with her skirt over her back and panties down at her ankles.

So, Harry? It all looks good thus far doesn't it? But I refuse to get giddy. History reminds me to stay firmly on my feet.

There is no doubting that going into the summer, we are looking in great nick. Two or three additional players and we are set. Not for 4th spot. Regardless of what Harry or anyone else in the media will no doubt spout in their predictions for next season. 4th is completely unrealistic, unless Arsenal implode. Winning silverware and finishing 5th is not so ridiculous. An FA Cup would be nice. But continued progression and strength in depth would be even better. We just need to compete. And we've shown glimpses of doing just that against Top 4 opposition this season.

This isn't a deluded outlook. It's just based on the fact that the teams just outside the top 4 are - all on form - about equal in class and effort. And all have the chance to edge in front if they get their summer planning spot on.

It's a realistic ambition.

We've done nothing for years and years in the league if ever tbh (apart from those two 5th spots). And rushing into it has never worked, so instead of assuming we are X amount away from being a top 4 club, how about just working hard from one season to the next until we are actually good enough and its obvious we are within touching distance by the virtue of points in the bag.

Stating the bleeding obvious, aren't I?

See the disease at Spurs is one that has engulfed everyone from the board to the fans to the media and even opposing fans. Because we are so hungry for success, we find ourselves not so much expecting it like it’s a God given right, but always believing we are on the right path in a very over excitable manner that tends to blind us from the harsh truths.

It's the money, the support, the signings. Always positive, always with intent. And the warning signs are pushed aside until it’s too late for recovery.

We put ourselves out there like a cocky boxer who knows he's forgotten his gum-shield but fights on regardless.

No matter what anyone might say about us, we might not be perceived as a big club in comparison to the Top 4, but we are a big club compared to one or two others simply on the basis of what I've stated already - cash, big name signings. It makes failure all that more bitter because the resource to compete is actually there.

Delusions of grandeur!! Delusions of grandeur!! I guess when you have this type of intent constantly, without success you'd think we would learn something. But alas, no. That's us with hearts on sleeves. We might have the intent, but it's nothing without assured focus. And not the type that Comolli displayed when he courted Ramos.

Everton strive for the same thing, but there is no urgency to chop and change. But there isn't half as much money. And they were winning titles back in the 80's, whilst we only ever claimed two in the 60's. Are they less ambitious?

Chelsea, before Romans money, were a Top 4 club. Something they worked towards and have now consolidated, and then gone further because of the money they came into and the Jose appointment.

You make your own luck.

We are a proud club, with a rich tradition. And we are stuck between the past and a vision of the future.

Harry's job should be simple. Change the culture of the team, the players. Instil a winning mentality. Start at the bottom and work our way up. Which, ironically, is exactly what we've done.

There is far too much trauma on the pitch for a club that does almost perfectly off it. Leave the football to the manager and let things progress naturally.

We need to get better than the Villas and Evertons and Citys. And then we can look up at the remaining four.

Consider this a warning shot across the bow. A statement of history we all know inside out, but needed to be stated for reference. Don't make me come back to this for the wrong reasons Mr Levy.

It's in your hands.

Buck the trend.





Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV



The Smoking Gun

Kevin Prince-Boateng and a smoking gun. He's told the media that he has no future with us and that - brace yourselves - he was a Comolli signing. Martin Jol apparently told him he did not want to sign him, which makes it the type of evidence that proves what a shambles the DoF system was. Of course, pinch of salt, is always recommended when a player speaks out against the club they he wants to leave. Although Boateng probably regrets the comments (get ready for a 'I was mis-quoted' follow up story) now that Jenas is out for a while. First team football isn't an impossible task for him if he shuts up and tries to prove the self-hype be believes so much in.

As for Damien, he's been active in the press in recent days telling everyone how bloody great he was at Tottenham (as if listening to Ramos tell everyone that nobody at Spurs was intelligent enough to understand his advanced coaching methods hence the terrible terrible relegation league form, although he'd still be manager I guess had he learnt to say 'Just f*cking run around' in clear English). Damien told the Telegraph he was not surprised that the players he has signed are all playing so well and that there is more to come thanks to the world-class academy he has left behind.

Players he signed playing well? You mean Zokora? Bought as a DM, and playing a blinder in the right-back position? And as for a world class academy, its obviously not that great if Wenger hasn't attempt to steal any of our players. Let's quote the great man:

“I’m pleased when I see Woodgate doing fantastically, Assou-Ekotto playing well; I thought Zokora was outstanding last week [against West Ham]. And Corluka, Modric, all of them. I’m very pleased. When I made mistakes I knew it quite quickly. I don’t think I made many mistakes. The players who are still there and playing, I knew they had the quality. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound arrogant by saying that, but that’s the way I felt. I’m pleased the players are doing well, but not surprised. I’m not surprised that Darren Bent has scored 12 goals this seasons. I knew he would score goals.

Overall, in terms of trading, it worked well. As far as I’m concerned I probably made about three or four mistakes out of 25 first-team deals during my time. Some of those I consider mistakes now, could turn out to be a success in the future. You never know – that’s the beauty with players, especially young ones".

He goes on to claim how he bagged Berbatov from Leverkusen and that he beat Barcelona for the signature of Bostock. What a guy!

The academy, well, if he was responsible for the scouting and coaching then fair play. We do have a tasty youth team so this is something that might come back and bite any anti-Comolli person (including me) on the arse. And its a bite I would gladly bend over and take if we see 3-5 of these kids make it into the first team.

As for 3 to 4 mistakes (transfers) out of 25? Its more like 3 or 4 successes out of 25. And as for 'could turn out to be a success in the future' - you don't spend millions on players who might just make it after making no initial impact. That's a bullshit ego-get-out-clause.

Comolli, seems to think he can walk on water, and would even have you believe that he was responsible for signing Adam and Eve to the Garden of Eden, but don't you dare go blaming him for the forbidden fruit debacle. That was down to God because, like, why stick forbidden fruit in an easy to get place and what the fuck is up with the security if a snake can wiggle its way in causing biblical havoc? But speak to God and he'll tell you that the DoE (Director of Evolution) system works fine and that the Garden is the responsibility of the landscaper and Adam and Eve were imperative signings if progress was to be achieved.

All went pear-shaped with the snake and fruit incident, so God decided to get rid of the DoE and went for a more traditional set-up, which proceeded a transitional period involving the dismantling of the garden and replacing it with dinosaurs. Which worked a treat for many many ages until he realised you can't win anything with Kritosauruses.


Comolli again

So our mate Comolli thinks he did an exceptional job at the Lane.

Spurs rated 11th biggest club in the world.
3 times European qualification.
Carling Cup winners.

All down to him according to himself. He doesn't say that directly of course, but implies it.

"I had a lot of success. I did a lot of good for the team and left a club in great shape"

No you didn't. The club was a complete and utter mess thanks to the DoF system and your ability to avoid the most vital of signings at key moments.

"The current results are showing what I did for Tottenham. The team is great and young"

The current results are a consequence of Ramos and you being sacked. We were rock bottom, disharmony in the dressing did what for Spurs?

"I am still asking myself what happened in the end. I don't understand it. I advised the club to take a coach (Ramos) and it went well at first. But when he had problems the club turned on me. I am leaving a club with a lot of assets, many, many players"

Obviously someone needs to take Damien aside and explain what constitutes success. In Ramos, he bought in the wrong person for the job. If the rumours that Juande stopped learning English 2 months ago are true, then you do the maths. As shown in a previous blog posts, yes, Mr Comolli you did bring in some decent players but you never addressed the main issues that's left us with an unbalanced team.

Buying players isn't a difficult job. Bringing in the likes of Corluka and Pav (who I hope go from strength to strength) and having them both cup-tied for the UEFA Cup isn't what you would call world-class scouting and acquisition. Zokora, Kaboul etc.....let's not cover ground covered yesterday.

There's no doubt the quality of players we've had at Spurs recently has been fantastic compared to maybe 5/6 years ago. But signing Bentley/Modric and the likes is something I could do with a wad of money and a private jet. He was meant to be a prodigy. A true scout who would uncover gems for little money. Compare us to Arsenal in that respect and Comolli has hardly done a thing for us. But then, you didn't really do much at Arsenal so not sure why I even mentioned this this aspect of your role. Maybe to highlight what a mistake it was to employ you in the first place?

Fact is, a true scout would sign the likes of Corluka BEFORE he signs for the likes of City. Plucking players from other Premiership games when every man and his dog can 'scout' him via tv coverage is not deserving of exceptional credit.

Players of an unknown quality you have drafted in (Ghaly, BAE etc) have been resounding flops.

My final point on this (I promise) is that overall there is no complain of the quality brought in, but for what you are meant to be you haven't done a thing that could be considered exceptional.


DML Editorial: Complaining about Comolli

Damien Comolli has fallen on his feet. The much maligned easy-to-blame target for the Spurs boo-boys, the media and for the right honourable Daniel Levy - who made sure that after Ramos was acquired as manager that everyone knew he was brought in on the say so and recommendation of Comolli (thus by default, responsibility for his failure was tagged). But, fallen on his feet has Damien. At Saint-Etienne. Again.

I was never a fan of his (you'd never have guessed that, right?) but more so was never a fan of the director of football structure. Chief scout working as a bitch to the manager, closing deals the manager has requested is how it should have worked rather than taking responsibility of transfers away from the coach. We all know it was an overly simplistic system when noted on paper but in reality it created confusion and chaos in-house and on the terraces with nobody ever knowing who was directly responsible for the internal politics that undermined the likes of Jol. Obviously Levy, but see, he sits on the side of 'I'm dumb with the football thing and entrust my DoF to make sure all things go as planned', so as this paragraph descends into literal suicide, it serves its purpose to prove that Comolli leaving and Levy finally admitting defeat is a great day for traditionalists.

Will it be great for Saint-Etienne? Possibly. Possibly not. Don't care. So what of Damien's reign as top cockerel at WHL? Was he really THAT bad? Was he simply an easy target, with us only selecting examples of transfers that didn't quite work out (no different to a manager with no technical director influence buying the wrong player - and how many times has that happened?) and not giving him credit when he did bring in someone decent?

"No seriously dude, I don't like you or your English cup of tea"

The fickleness is strong amongst us. He was celebrated for a period of time, believe it or not. When things were going well on the pitch. When we signed Zokora (and he was photographed with the player by a Spurs fan abroad) many of us saw this as a major coup. A real proper DM, proven African Nations class. And he also signed Berbatov (his first signing in fact). Or did Jol tell him to scout Berbatov and sign him? And was Berbatov really a good signing considering the mess its left us in? Harsh I know - because there's no way of knowing who or when a player will act in such a disloyal way. The point is, was Comolli actually 'ok' at his job?

Bent (initially slated by all), Corluka, Woodgate, Bale, Hutton, Modric, Bentley - all arguably very very decent players (Bale and Hutton still trying to reclaim some form after returning from injury and Bentley and Modric finding their level after a slow start). Most Prem teams outside the 'Top Four' would be happy to take these players off our hands (by most I mean Aston Villa). Modric is arguably good enough for a Top 4 club. And might well be playing for one in a season or two. Hmm. Anyways, all good good players. Maybe purchased for a little bit too much, but that's up the bank and not, I would expect the DoF.

Some managers spend millions on players of their own choosing, who flop and get sold on - so if Comolli was discussing targets at all times with the 'coach' and only going out to sign a player the coach wanted 100%, then was he doing anything wrong? Was he not just doing his job? Following orders? Players who we apparently missed out on due to chairman interference ('he is too old' - 'he wants too much in wages') is surely down to Levy and Levy alone. Up to the bank, right?

But isn't it Comolli who advises Levy who should be manager? Surely someone with that much responsibility and power wouldn't then become a lap dog for someone he appointed? Would he?

But what of Ghaly or Kevin Prince 'everyone thinks I was German Young Player of the Year when actually I wasn't' Boateng? Or Rocha? Or Taraabt? Or Gilberto? Or BAE? Kaboul? And Zokora obviously. Or Zokora. And Zokora. That Zokora. Oh Christ, Zokora.

We have spent millions on players that don't appear to be signings the coach might have wanted or singled out as targets. Millions of pounds playing reserve team football without a squad number. Yet where are the player we so desperately require? The cheap and cheerful engine-rooms and grafters? Not every player has to be box-office.

And when we need a replacement for Berbatov along with a defensive midfielder we got nothing. He never got on with Jol and along with his pal Kemsley got Ramos to walk out of Sevilla for us, which turned out to be an epic failure too far. So surely an inability to work with someone like Jol and Ramos out-weighs any successful signing? But if he's empowered by the chairman, the buck should stop with Levy. But it doesn't. And gone is Comolli.

Daniel and Damien thought it rude to stare at the blind floating head ghost

Apart from the nitty gritty of transfers, arguably, you could say his other main directive is to avoid mass upheaval and sign players the next manager can work with - all of course within the DoF structure. So basically, Comolli is responsible for the vision and progression of the club, and no matter who we sign, the 'next' coach can ease in and continue the training of the first team.

But now, this ethos, no longer exists, so players like Modric and Bentley - bought by Comolli for Ramos and were not used properly are now finding their way under Redknapp who HAS used them properly. But then any manager probably would have done so. In fact, if the players are good enough, it doesn't really matter who the coach is as long as he can man-manage.

What pro-Comolli supporters will tell you, as I've hinted earlier, is that he hasn't done that bad compared to other managers (DoF free) with signings. But again (repeat mode) him being there as a buffer between chairman and coach, protecting the chairman serves no purpose to the fans or the club in the long term.

Let's take a look at his signings:

Berbatov £10.9M - For the money spent and low-key status of the Bulgarian (not everyone had heard of him) this was a great signing. The first made by DC, and ironically the one that would prove (partly) pivotal in his downfall, thanks to Levy's dithering.

Assou-Ekotto £3.5M - Why, why, why? He has one move. You know the one. It's the one where he moves to go one way and goes the other instead.

Zokora £6M - After the first season, everyone hoped to see the real Zokora - the one that played a handful of games in the African Nations - in his second year at the Lane. What we got in year two was first season Zokora, slightly degraded, but with additional dance moves. An engine he has, but its not enough. Footballing brain is a standard requirement. Doesn't score goals, likes to play act and is pretty much the definition of not what to spend £6M + on.

Dervitte undisclosed - Not seen much of him, but I'll put this type of signing down to the quintessential 'we've signed a captain of his country (be it at youth U-21 level)' Spurs signing that we never see break into the first team because they never turn out to be good.

Malbranque £3.5M - Great player to have in the squad and team, and our most consistent performer last season. Would flourish under Redknapp. Why was he sold to Sunderland? Did we need the extra few million, perhaps for investment in the hopefully re-designing of Chirpy's head?

Chimbonda £4M - Infuriating player. Mercenary who had a few decent games, because he can play, but has shown himself up (Cup Final anyone?) and since joining Sunderland has continued to prove this point.

Mido £4.5M - Really helped us when he first signed up, influential up front, giving us somethign different. The weight/injury problems means he will probably never consistently perform for any one club.

Rocha £3.5M - Why?

Alnwich undisclosed - Is he still on loan? Another 'highly rated youth player' who we've seen nothing from. Apart from his dick in a mobile phone sex video.

Bale £5M - Great talent, but is possessed by evil spirits. Why was this not uncovered during scouting missions? Has never won a Prem game for Spurs, and never will till he is exorcised

"What do you think? Can he play left-wing?"
"Damien, that's a tree"

Berchiche undisclosed - Another one for the future, but he has a few years before we can chalk this off as a faded dream.

Taarabt undisclosed - Zidane on LSD. Has had some tasty games for the reserves, that are made up of 10-30 second bursts of genius, followed by playground football. A kid with immense ball skills, but suffering from Zokorapsy. If he doesn't learn to do the simple things, he'll never make it.

Bent £16.5M - Masses of money spent on him. The ones who didn't want to take the abuse that Bent was a waste of money will tell you he was bought for that much at the time because we needed someone to take the helm from Berbatov. Except, Berba was still with us for a season - along with Keane and Defoe, so Bent's form and confidence suffered as he sat it out on the bench. Still, over-inflated price (thanks to West Ham for matching Charlton's estimation). We were still the mugs that paid it. £9M would have been fine based on modern day wastefulness. Still, at least he is now starting to repay us. But why he was bought originally when we did not require a forward, especially when the money could have been spent elsewhere is.....Comolli's guess.

Kaboul £8.2M - Stupid. Another 'captain', another average player. Struggled thanks largely to the poor start to the season we had, but showed glimpses of something. That something then turned to nothing, confirming he was shit. Now at Pompey (bought by Redknapp, which is something that I'll worry about depending on how Harry does in the Jan window). Complete and utter waste of money. You do not spend £8.2M on a 'potentially great player'. Potential is another word for 'maybe'.

Rose undisclosed - Decent young Lennoneque player, without the bling baggage. One to watch and maybe a gem. As long as he stays away from Buckhurst Hill.

Boateng £5.2M - Much hyped because he has 'Prince' in his name and has tattoos. Looked well over his head when he did play for us, but he just might come good. Has 'grown up' since he got relegated to the reserves (basically, he realised he was being a dick and has got back to proving his worth as an up and coming prospect by concentrating on his football, because Christ, he ain't no superstar). Harry has brought him back into 1st team affairs, so a second chance is on the cards. Did we sign him because Sevilla were looking at him when Ramos was still there? Doubtful you think, as Ramos never went anywhere near him selection wise.

Gunter £2M - Decent player. Another gem, we hope.

Woodgate £7.5M - Doesn't take a DoF to look towards bringing Woody to Spurs, does it? Any manager at Spurs (considering our CB issues) would have looked to bring him in. Am I side-stepping a compliment for Comolli? Yes. Yes, I am.

Hutton £8M - Probably a bit too much for a Scottish player. Looked superb getting forward before injury. Bit of a crock performance wise since coming back. Comolli bought him on the strength of one of his scouts (Alex Ferguson).

Gilberto £1.9M - Brazilian? If he's Brazilian, so are my nuts.

Modric £15.8M - Brilliant little player. Gem for sure. Diamond in fact. But what does it say about the working relationship of Ramos and Comolli when Modric is stuck in awkward formation positions and struggles to impress? Harry comes in and does what everyone would do - let him play as a classic free-roaming number 10. Spurs did well to sign him. He's a typical flair Spurs type of signing and one we needed after losing the vision of Berbatov. I'll give Comolli props for getting the signature, but what did Ramos actually ask for? A left-winger?

dos Santos £4.7M - Either he is an extreme talent (if so, why did Barcelona let him go?) or he's a one-trick pony. IMO, was thrown into the deep end in a shit team. When he returns from injury, hope to see him settle and play. Might not be good enough for Bojans Barca, but he'll do fine in the Premiership. But Spurs should not have pushed this as a major coup with additonal 'he'll be a fully fledged first team player' soundbites. We needed something a little more complete. dos Santos is for the future. He's got a while to go before we can claim to have the best young Mexican player.

Gomes £9M - He plays brilliantly against us (for PSV) in one game and that's enough to value him at a hefty £9M and also pencil him in as a steady, reliable replacement for Paul 'I once had a HUGE long term contract at Spurs' Robinson. Instead we got a very good shot-stopper who is prone to amazing lapses in concentration and experiences yo-yo confidence. In other words, we spent almost ten million to bring back Paul Robinson.

Bostock £700k - Gem, gem, gem. Whether we have the development lined up for him is something I can only pray for. This kid can plaaaay. So credit here.

Bentley £15M - A typical superfluous luxury Tottenham type of player. Not really needed, when you consider what was needed pre-season. We lose Robbie Keane, so quick-sharp, we get a new poster boy. Not that Robbie was ever a poster boy. However, confidence makes people forget the past and look to the future, and Bentley is showing some quality now that he and the team are playing with swagger. Still not worth £15M, and might yet still go missing in games, depending on whether the gel keeps his hair in place.

Sanchez undisclosed - Backup keeper. Fairly impossible to be critical of this signing. Until he plays and concedes three.

Pavlyuchenko £14M - He might have the fashion sense of a blind chav let loose in Primark, but he seems honest, but not in a soppy way Rebrov was. Might have no pace but once he settles in England, he might be very decent for us. A snip at £14M. I'm trying not to be critical of the player, so I wont. I'll be critical of Comolli however who saw fit to spend this staggering amount of money on a player who had just done 5 months of Russian football. Arshavin would cost us £20M tops. We don't ever spot a bargain do we?

Corluka £8.5M - Can cover three or so positions. Has looked good and has looked average, but with Mordic at Spurs, bringing him in was inspired. I don't want to sound like a broken record and criticise the fee, and when you compare the amount spent and see it matches up with the money spent on Kaboul, this transfer still manages to make me feel a lot better, even though it shouldn't. But I wonder what kind of defender we could have got for £16M.

Campbell loan - Manchester United laughing at us.

So, the list more or less has as many hits and misses as you'd expect from most clubs who go with a more traditional manager-with-no-director-of-football-system. The lack of transparency means we simply can't be certain how much influence Jol and Ramos had during their time there and how involved Levy truly was. So, be it Comolli the glorified scout/contract man or be it Comolli the would be architect of glory - the only thing certain is he was one cook too many around the broth.

Comolli, having inherited a team built by Frank Arnesen's and Martin Jol - who finished 5th - he got Jol sacked and left us wanting a DM and a LW even after spunking £150M. He simply never bought the right players for the right (or left) positions when most required.

This system doesn't, didn't work.

The comedy Comolli complaints have now ceased. Forever.


Another red letter day

You didn't think I'd forget all about Daniels open letter to the fans?

Open letter from the Chairman, Daniel Levy

Dear Supporter,
How quickly things change in football. Our pre-season form, our start to the transfer window and early summer signings had everyone optimistic for the season ahead. The last few days of that window and our poor start to the season has seen all that change. This has been a difficult period for the Club and many questions are being asked and much criticism levelled. I should like to update you on some important developments announced a short while ago, to answer some of your questions and also to outline our thinking as we look to improve our current position going forward.

Here it comes. The double-barrel PR shot-gun, aimed directly at our faces, and when fired, we get covered in fluff, glitter and care bears.

We have faced many key challenges as we have progressed over the last few seasons and we have had to take important decisions at crucial times - without the wonderful benefit of hindsight and always under full public scrutiny. As such, they have been judgement calls. Some of our decisions and judgements may at times be unpopular with our fans but we always take decisions we believe to be in the best interests of our Club, at the time we make them, and for the right reasons. In many cases, it is simply not possible or practical for all of the factors involved to enter the public domain and I do understand that this can alter or impair the perception of why something has or hasn't been done.

So basically, we sacked Martin Jol because it was in the best interest of the Comolli and Kemsley. And you agreed to it even though history would suggest caution when sacking and replacing managers. Good judgement call there. It's what you get paid for.

Today, as formally announced by the Club, I have made one such important judgement call and in doing so I have taken some very difficult decisions. Relieving Juande Ramos, our Head Coach, and Juande's assistants, Gus Poyet and Marcos Alvarez, of their posts is not something I have undertaken lightly. Unfortunately, our record of just three League wins since our memorable Carling Cup victory against Chelsea last February, combined with our extremely poor start to the season, led the Board and I to determine that significant change was necessary as a matter of urgency. We are grateful to Juande, Gus and Marcos for all their hard work - they are incredibly professional, committed individuals and I regret that their time in the Premier League has not gone as well as we had all hoped..

Quick sweep under the carpet. But at least you stepped up and admitted failure with these appointments. Leaving it any longer might have proved suicidal out on the pitch.....and in the stands.

The English Premier League is an unforgiving competition - time was no longer on our side and was a luxury we simply could not afford. We have quite clearly not performed to the best of our ability for many months now and our poor run of form is not something we could allow to continue unchecked.

In appointing Harry Redknapp as our new manager, we are delighted to have secured the services of someone we have long since admired and whose track record and knowledge of all levels of football, including importantly the Premier League, is outstanding. I know Harry is relishing the opportunity of managing a Club he knows well, not least from his son Jamie's time here as a player and Captain, and of re-invigorating and restoring confidence to a squad of highly talented international players. With his great knowledge of the game and his excellent motivational skills, Harry has inspired his teams to consistently over-perform, whilst his preferred attacking style of playing the game sits comfortably with our Club's history, heritage and the type of entertaining football our fans want and expect to see.

Easy on the points scoring. Jamie was 'ok' for Spurs as a player. And if you've been following tv, you'll have seen his transformation into the Sky Sports poster boy. Though I doubt he'll be churning out any more anti-Spurs chat now that his old man is in charge of first team affairs.

Harry has the right tools for the job (ooh) and should see us move out of the bottom 3 before Christmas. But let's not forget West Ham United (too good to go down) went down playing attacking football and his style also sat comfortably with their clubs history, heritage and brand of entertaining football.

It's not a given that we'll be safe by the time you unwrap your Xmas presents. Not yet. And we'll have to wait and see how Harry handles life at a club like Spurs, where we have far bigger expectations (deluded, aren't we?) than lickle West Ham or Pompey.

We have spent around £175m on new players over the last 3 years. The purchasing of players is a critical aspect of our Club and, given our current position, it is essential that we go into the January transfer window with absolute confidence in the advice being offered to the Board. Following a meeting of the Directors and a full review of our football management structure, I can also inform you that Damien Comolli has left the Club with immediate effect. Damien will not be directly replaced.

In my opinion, and with the benefit that comes with running our Club with and without a Sporting Director in the past seven years, the successful management of a football club is not about structures or job titles. As in most businesses, it's about people: their personal qualities, their knowledge, their experience, their relationships, communication skills, interaction with colleagues, leadership and, of course, their ability.

£175M? Christ. Does that not tell you that the DoF doesn't/didn't work? You're meant to be good with numbers. No 'big thank you' and goodbye for Damien?

All that stuff about personal qualities and ability can be said of the players along with some of the people you've had at the club in recent years (Kemsley anyone?). But that's probably you're point, especially with regards to the management team and the fact that you've brought in a manager who is on par with Jol, re: personality. Though I don't think Jol was half the media whore Harry is.

In Harry, we are also accepting with his appointment that now is the right time for us to move back to a more traditional style of football management at our Club. one which we believe will be capable of initiating our climb back up the Premier League table and to maintaining our challenge in the UEFA, Carling and FA Cup competitions.

However, I should stress that we are not in this current position because of any single factor or any one individual. Human nature often dictates the need to find someone or something to blame, but in these circumstances we need all our energies to be directed instead to supporting the team and improving our League position. Nothing else matters at this time.

Yes we are. Its down to you. The fans, as witnessed on Sunday, backed the team rather splendidly. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna sweep all this under the carpet and just forget about it because 'nothing else matters'. It's happened and it might happen again.

It will happen again. Based on history. You're job is prove me (us) wrong. The people that doubt you.

That said, and without dwelling too much on last summer, I do also want to take this opportunity to address some of the other concerns you have raised. Many of the questions I have been asked and much of the reasoning for our poor start to the season has centred on our striker options. I do not believe this to be the sole reason, but I do feel it is important to set out the facts once again regarding the sale of two popular and talented strikers: Keane and Berbatov. Robbie Keane's departure was undoubtedly the shock of the summer. I personally had an excellent relationship with Robbie and he was one player that I always thought would end his career at the Club. I know you all felt the same. I was as disappointed as any of you when he informed me that he wanted to join what he described as his favourite boyhood club. Against this background and despite his obvious professionalism, our coaching staff felt that it would be very difficult to expect Robbie to continue to be such a positive influence in our dressing room when he so clearly wanted to leave us. The decision to sell Robbie was therefore not a financial one, although in such circumstances it was vital for our Club to secure the maximum possible value for a player of Robbie's ability.

We could have tried a Gareth Barry stance with him, but fair enough. £20M is a lot for Robbie. What makes all this frustrating is that money has gone on compensation for sacking Ramos, Comolli etc. So we've left without the energetic and match-winning Keane and out of pocket on the money made from his transfer to Liverpool. Ho hum, hey? Great bit of business right there.

The sale of Dimitar was an entirely different matter. Dimitar first intimated to Martin Jol that he wanted to join Manchester United after just one season at our Club - and just 10 days before the end of the summer 2007 transfer window. At that time, the coaching staff's preference was to let Dimitar go and for us to replace him. This was not something I would allow - at any price - as I felt that Dimitar's request was completely unreasonable. From that moment on, we obviously knew we had an issue and we spent many hours over the course of the season that followed trying to persuade Dimitar to stay. I rebuffed a number of approaches from clubs , including Manchester United, this May and again in early July. Despite press stories to the contrary, there was no extended period of negotiation with Manchester United and their July offer of £20m was not increased until they contacted us again in the last few days of the transfer window.

Dimitar is a squirrel loving twat. The more I think about this, the more I believe we should have accepted £20M and got rid of him the first time round. I've changed my mind based on everything that's happened since his transfer. Magic of hindsight.

The club said they would never let another Rebrov situation happen again. Or another Campbell situation. Let's not go through another summer of verbals like we did with the stroppy Bulgarian. He wanted out. He was disruptive and as noble and right standing up for the club and the written contract is - the club NEVER wins. The player always does. So playing hard-ball with Utd and waiting until the final moments to sell him was a mistake. I know that's not how it happens, according to you. But from a high level point of view, it's exactly what happened.

What was wrong with telling Utd to pay up within a set deadline - and also tell the player he wont move unless Utd make a bid for him and the offer is accepted? Start of the summer this could have been done and dusted. Basically, when it comes to players - men - like Berbatov, we as a club need to be a far bigger cunt than the player in question. Enough with the begging and wanting a player who quite obviously wants to leave. Shinebox. Go home, get it.

The internal decision to sell Dimitar at the beginning of the window was premised on a suitable replacement being found and on the assumption that Dimitar couldn't be persuaded to change his mind. Under FIFA regulations, if a players signs a contract before his 28th birthday, he has only to serve 3 years of that contract before he can terminate it and join a new club. Whilst some compensation is payable under such circumstances the level of compensation is set by a third party body in accordance with predetermined factors, and in Dimitar's case would have been but a small fraction of the fee we received from Manchester United. But even this was not the final determining factor in our decision to part company with him. Despite the potential cost to the Club and knowing that our efforts to sign an additional, experienced striker had failed, the final decision on whether or not to sell Dimitar was not a financial decision but a footballing one. It was felt that he had not been a positive influence on the pitch or in the dressing room and that this would continue.

Is that right about the FIFA regulation? I think he can move abroad but not to another domestic club in England. So not sure its all that relevant there Daniel.

So, not financial? Why such desperation to get that extra £5M/£6M then? Getting the most and not allowing Utd to benefit from the players disgusting lack of loyalty is again noble. But in this case it didn't seem like we truly believed he would actually leave, hanging onto a billion in one chance.

But you're saying we had already failed in bringing in a striker, so selling him at the last minute is not relevant to other dealings? See somehow, I think a clean break at the start of the summer would have made it easier. For a start, we would have had £40M+ from Berba and Keane and that other Russian player who you don't mention in your letter might have been purchased from Zenit.

The timing of the actual transfer of Dimitar was completely immaterial and unconnected to our bringing in a replacement for him. We had been aware for a long period that he was likely to leave and our negotiations to get the best fee for him was independent of our work to replace both him (as we did with Pavyluchenko) and Robbie, with experienced strikers.

The ultimate failure - as I have said before - of our dealings in this summer's transfer window was not about the departure of two good strikers, or because we have operated a structure that happens to have had a Sporting Director and a Head Coach, or because our financial parameters are too rigid - after all, let´s not forget that we did bring in much quality to enhance our current squad. Quite simply, we failed because we were not as decisive or as successful in identifying or replacing the two strikers as early as we should have been. Perhaps these insights will help once and for all to de-bunk the myths that have been perpetuated around these transfers.

So basically, its not because of the structure the club operated with (DoF and coach) and yet we failed to identify or replace both strikers. Surely if we failed it was because of the structure? Whilst Wigan stole Zaki (be it on loan), we panic-bought Pav. The Arshavin saga went on for ages and ages and never happened, and from the sounds of it because we didn't meet the asking price. And (allegedly) a last minute call to Reading (for Doyle) was, well, last minute. No one was there to pick up. You've not really de-bunked anything here. Just deflected.

There are a fucking shed load of forwards out there. I can't believe for a moment that a competent coach/DoF/chairman would not aim to work every single day for the summer to bring someone in. There is no shortage of quality forwards. I refuse to believe Spurs could not draw up a list of 10 players. Remember, we are Tottenham. Not Real Madrid.

You all failed the club on this.

There is also an inaccurate perception that our Club is run entirely for profit and that football is secondary. Success on the pitch is the sole determinant to the future of the Club and its financial stability, so it would be entirely counter-productive to have anything other than football as our first and foremost priority and it is ridiculous to suggest otherwise. At a time when football clubs are criticised for losing money and for their debt levels, I am surprised that we should be criticised for running our Club on a sound commercial basis and for making a profit. Thank goodness we do make a profit because it has significantly supported the progress we have made over the last seven years and has helped to make us one of Europe's most secure Clubs. I make no apologies for the fact that we reinvest the Club's positive cash flow in both players and infrastructure.

Yes yes. You are great with the money and the merchandising and the profit margin. And our profit margin might even be bigger if we didn't spend so much money year in year out and find that it doesn't always improve the squad. Comolli, arguably, didn't always buy badly - but he did over-spend. And just because we are rich doesn't mean we should be spending £8M or so on Zokora and Kaboul. Money saved by a better system of scouting could be spent on forking out extra in club wages for the one or two players that have in the past turned us down for not offering enough. The reason people question you is because, for a club of our alleged stature - when the likes of Carrick, Keane and Berbatov do move on for a lot of money, it feels like we sell the parts of the jigsaw that stop us from completing it.

All three left because the lure of the Top 4 is too great. But when MON stops Barry from leaving Villa, sometimes people see our initial stamping of foot as just part of the money-dance you make when the offer is finally accepted.

Goes back to the lack of transparency, but don't expect the club to ever be 100% forthcoming with what happens behind the scenes. Not sure anyone expects that.

Sadly, we (you and the fans) will always be losers to the likes of Keane and Berbatov. The drastic measure to stop it can be something for you to look into. For a fee, I'd be willing to offer my assistance.

And so back to looking ahead and to redress our current position.

Firstly, in Harry, we have secured the services of an excellent Manager of proven Premier League quality. Harry will be working with a squad of quality internationals. We must not forget that this team, without the benefit of three additional players at the time (Pavlyuchenko, Corluka, Campbell), gave a more than creditable performance against the current League leaders. I have spoken to the senior players in recent days and I know the players share our frustration and I know they will dig deep to produce the performances we know they are capable of - they have our full support - and support for the team is absolutely critical at this time.

Yes ok Daniel. We'll stop threatening demonstrations and protests and forever sing songs for the team.

Stop with the patronising. Its sickly.

As for Harry. What quality exactly? Let's not build it up to anything more than what it actually is. But then again, you're not are? No mention of a 2-3 year plan. Just getting us to play decently again and push forward and up the table. Fine. He's a decent man-manager, which after the silent Spaniard, both fans and players will be very happy with. He's a personality, so Sky Sports will be off our backs for a while. Whether this is the right type of kick up the arse we need, we'll find out 10 games from now.

What type of players we can attract will altogether be a different kettle of fish. But this might be one of the upsides. We need some work-horses and not powder-puffs.

If Harry is a run-away success, then all those times we pointed at the DoF system and laughed will come back to haunt you. Because every manager you've sacked might have worked out if they were left to manager the transfer like Harry will.

We have all been subjected to much criticism - myself, the Board, coaching staff and players - having now made what I considered to be necessary, sweeping changes to our football management team, we must re-assert ourselves, regain our focus, and answer our critics in the best way possible - by winning games again.

Secondly, we must prepare ourselves to take advantage of the January transfer window. Harry's experience of the UK and international transfer market will be of critical importance and I shall be looking to Harry for clarity on our priorities. As Chairman, and as previously in our former structure, I must, ultimately, rely on the knowledge and judgement of my technical staff to give me a clear football-based view and recommendation on our transfer targets.

Came no Daniel. Are you saying you're a bit of a thicko with the old football shit? Do you want me to explain the offside rule? Actually, let's pass on the offside rule.

You must have some knowledge, but sure you had to rely on Comolli and his recommendations i.e. Can I please have £8M for Zokora? Maybe on the pitch performances would have given you a clue on just how successful your staff proved to be when spending that money you make for the club.

As long as Harry doesn't start shipping in players with unpronounceable names and David James, I'll be ok with it. Can we expect Defoe back? £10m should do the trick. You'll be down by £3M, but that's just loose change.

I can assure you that everyone here, from the Board to our most junior staff member, shares the frustration and disappointment of the season so far, but I can also assure you that all of us in every area of the Club are doing what we can to help the players to produce the level of performance and the consistent good results our fans expect and all of us crave.

We have achieved too much over the last seven years - three successive qualifications for Europe, a League Cup win, Training Centre planning permission - and still more to announce - to allow this to be overtaken and thrown away overnight. We have suffered a set back and we have taken strong action.

Too much? You mean not enough? Did we get an open bus parade for the Training Centre Planning Permission Cup? But yeah, considering we had no progress for well over 10 years - since Martin Jol we've made the right type of leap forward. The same pundits and tabloid hacks who laugh at our current predicament are the same ones who put us down for a 5th spot finish. Seems our esteemed football journalists believed that without a DM and true class forwards we'd do just fine, even with our lack of results since March. So much for their expert opinions. The fucking melters.

To get into that position regardless is fine. But winning the Carling Cup is just a bonus (previous winners never pushed on - its not a sign of actual 'Top4 ' pushing progress). All it did is prove the players could finally beat a couple of rivals, and avoid choking. And it's something we all appreciate. Ramos did have one big positive impact.

Sacking him was the only option. All a bit dizzying, this isn't it?

I have received numerous e-mails and letters from supporters offering advice and suggestions on how the Club should be run and what we should and should not do. I do appreciate the time people take to write to me and when the e-mails or letters are constructive and not abusive, I can assure you that I read as many as I can. And I do take notice of your views. Indeed, I have been heartened by the fact that the over-riding response from our supporters has been one of determination to get behind the team. Too often in difficult times supporters can forget that their support is needed even more than ever. The team will tell you how much of a difference it can make to them on the pitch. White Hart Lane needs to once again become the fortress it was, not so very long ago. With your tremendous support it can.

I try not to be abusive. Just honest. Colourful language is something you should expect from a football fan.

Yet more ass-kissing from your good self with yet another mention of the crowd/support. We know what our job is and we'll always make noise. And you're saved from protests and water-balloon attacks for the time being.

Finally, I know I am sometimes criticised for appearing too business-focused, too uncommunicative, or simply for not being emotional enough when it concerns our team. The majority of our fans know that it's simply not my way to seek a high profile. I do not crave publicity, neither do I believe it is necessary to do my job. I would prefer our team to make the headlines, for the right reasons. We now have a manager who is a great communicator to players, fans and the media alike and I shall also, personally, look to keep you all informed and your questions answered as we progress through the season.

Your support has never been more important - and we are grateful to so many of you for the messages of support and encouragement the Club has received during this difficult period. Now's the time for all of us to pull together and to get behind Harry and the team.

Yours, Daniel

Very heart-felt and upfront, even though you've carefully side-stepped and deflected blame quite creatively. See things change very quickly in football. On and off the pitch. A week ago people wanted to protest and this week people aren't too fussed about it. But the reasons they wanted to protest in the first place are still moments in time that have happened and someone should be accountable. They are in the past, and will be there forever for people to refer back to and use going forward.

You've sacked Comolli. You've got rid of the DoF structure.

That has bought you a get out of jail card even if there is still a minority (majority?) that believe you should step down. But with Joe Lewis seemingly detached from ENIC, it seems you'll only ever step down if you sold the club. And at the moment, that doesn't appear to be something you wish to do.

I'm sure with the new stadium annoucement forthcoming, the fans who did hate you may soon be worrying about other things. Fickle bunch we are. And you know that.

So, I'll let you get on with the accountancy and judge you on how Harry performs. Just make sure you keep an eye out for my next letter.


Disfunction of Football

Cannot disagree with this:

Paul Duffen, the Hull chairman and a Tottenham fan, said:

“The idea of a director of football is very amusing to us. The clubs with the biggest problems in this country have directors of football.

“I feel you need a shallow hierarchy, total accountability, with nowhere to hide, good communication and you don't want an interim layer between the boardroom and the management. The extra layer tends to obviate responsibility and nobody really knows who is accountable."

And yet Levy swears by his precious DoF system. Even though history tells another story altogether. Look at Hoddles reign, where one blamed the other for the failings of the team. It's almost like a Director of Football is there to legislate who comes and goes by sanctioning transfers - having the final say on whether its a green or red light. It's a safety net to protect Levy's far more important ethos of 'what's best for the business' - rather than what's best for the footballing team.

Yes, our finances are in great shape. But losing sight of what happens on the pitch can result in losing status as a top flight club. Which means those fantastic finances turn to shit. And all because of an extra few million not being spent because 'our' valuation of players did not match the clubs we were attempting to sign them from. Which cost us a certain Russian forward (or maybe it was agent interference) and one or two other players that we could really do with at he minute.

So what's the answer? Simply put, keep things simple. Have a chief scout, call him a DoF if you really find that title sexy, but have him as nothing more than someone who scouts and updates the coach/manager on targets. If Ramos wants a player, and wants him bad, then we sign him on the strength of what he wants - rather than what Comolli thinks we need.

And if all fails - then the manager is the responsible one. No blame game.

I don't see the risk. I know what Levy would say. He'd say that we need a DoF system to make sure things do not go out of control, money wise, over-spending and turning into another Leeds Utd.

There's this quote that usually does the rounds every now and again in newspaper articles about Levy. It's something like 'I'll never let another Rebrov happen to this club again' (if anyone has the correct quote, please feel free to share).

What Levy means is that the club won't go out and spend so much money on a player that proves to be an unmitigated disaster. But unless my memory serves me wrong, Rebrov was a Pleat signing, and Hoddle didn't rate him. So is this not a DoF error?

And with the DoF in place we've spend £16.5M on Darren Bent and £14M on Pav and £15M (maybe more) on Bentley.....and so on.

Fair enough if we are asking Ramos 'do you want this player?' - but hands up if you believe that's how it works?

There was a wonderful Martin Jol interview in the broadsheets this past weekend (Sunday Times). And the stand out quote from the big huggable man?

"I knew Comolli was trying to get Ramos in the summer, even when we had just finished fifth.”

So was the start we had down to the politics behind the scenes? It's the picture painted by Martin and preached by a number of Spurs fans. The way we went Ramos-chasing, led by Kemsley, suggests Levy got a little bit too ambitious too early. See the fundamental problem here is that if Comolli really knee-deep in these type of discussion making then it's suggestive that the DoF is the most important role at the club. The club's 'drive'. And that the coach is secondary to this Holy position.

The DoF selects the coach. The coach has to be compatible with the DoF. The DoF buys the players (Kaboul, KPB for example) rather than the coaches choice in players (Petrov, for example). And when it turns to shit, the coach is the scape-goat.

But with one failure following another, this is now far too transparent (if it wasn't before to the most blind of fans).

Will Levy admit defeat? Of course not. If Ramos goes, then another willing 'coach' will arrive and the same cycle of disfunction will begin. Much like the snake swallowing its own tail, at some point soon, there be nothing left.


Ramos and Poyet, two peas in a pod

I had a conversation with a fellow Spurs fan a week before the season kicked off. He said it was IMPERATIVE we won at Boro. I agreed. Confidence wise, to win opening day, away from home, and collect 3 points would see us start on a positive. Confidence wise we would have continued on a high. But the reality was it went to shit, and got worse.

Playing one up front is OK when you play Chelsea away, but at Pompey, it's almost felt like Ramos was telling the board, "Here you's the team you have built for me".

Its a mess. Which would mean the DoF isn't working the way it's meant to, because Levy stated Comolli wanted Ramos, because they could 'work' together on transfer targets.

The final 15 mins or so of the game at Portsmouth saw Ramos and Poyet sitting down, with the look of disillusion. If you wanted to be a conspiracy theorist about it, you could argue Poyet's insistent repeated post-match 'complaint' of Pav and Bent being the same type of player, thus they can't play together being a subtle hint at how unhappy management are.

Reading between the lines is all you can do until something gives.


The Two-Face Perspective

Issue #3
Director of Football

Harvey Dent: So another manager fails under the Director of Football structure.

Two-Face: Failed? I would argue against that. I think Levy is accountable for appointing Santini but found himself lucky to then promote Jol to work with Arnesen. It worked with those two because they were suited for each other. There is nothing wrong with the structure as long as the parts fit.

Harvey Dent: Not many Arnesen signings left at the club.

Two-Face: Yes, but the point is Jol worked well with him. It was Arnesen that gave the go-head to promote Jol. Which forms part of the continuity flow that the DoF system is meant to promote. When Frank left for Chelsea, Levy had to replace the DoF. That’s the crux of the problem thats confusing you with the suggested 'failure'. You can’t employ a new director of football when you already have the coach there because you run the risk of bringing in someone who may not like the current manager. Levy had to obviously replace the gap left by Arnesen. I do agree that this was potentially a risk and was proven so.

Harvey Dent: Yes, and by your very defination it didn't work, did it?

Two-Face: It does work and has worked.

Harvey Dent: Nope. Comolli didn’t see eye to eye with Jol and vice versa. Neither were comfortable in each others company and had different targets in mind. That's the systems fault.

Two-Face: You are simply echoing what the papers write about the DoF structure and the fact that it supposedly undermined Martin Jol. Jol approved of the signings, but was found not capable of taking the club any further. Tactically he was shown up and incapable of developing the players and team. The DoF system works fine. You are missing the point. The problem was with Jol. Not the system.

Harvey Dent: Jol would work fine without a DoF. The problem was that Comolli found himself working with someone he couldn’t work with and vice versa. That's the systems fault. You do know Jol has gone on Dutch tv and made suggestions that things were not right at the club since the summer? He stated he had the same view as Arnesen. Doesn’t have to mention Comolli, and the fact he doesn’t speaks volumes. You even touched upon this yourself. He also stated he felt something was wrong during the summer and that in the end he was simply waiting till they took him aside to tell him he was sacked.

Two-Face: Thats Jol's perspective. Levy and Comolli will possibly suggest the opposite of that. But Levy knows to admit to anything would be detrimental for the way people percieve the DoF system. Levy knows the system works and knows that Jol doesnt fit into the system.

Harvey Dent: Best manager we've had for years and we've got rid of him because the system doesn't work? Lunacy. What about Petrov, Distin, Elano?

Two-Face: What about them?

Harvey Dent: Three players he wanted to sign, that’s Jol. Rejected for being either too old or too expensive.

Two-Face: We don't know that for sure. Didn't Petrov reject us because we wouldnt say yes to 100% first team football?

Harvey Dent: He also mentioned on Dutch tv that you can’t read too much into the £40M spent in the summer as the players are either for the future or for the subs bench and thus are not that big of an improvement to the squad. Sure, we all know Bent is a replacement for Berbatov. But how about spending money on areas that need immediate improving rather than covering our backs with the potential sell of one of our current players? The DoF was stagnating Jol.

Two-Face: Look, I'm not arguing that it wasn't working out for Jol - but that's down to Jol and not the system itself. It wasn't working in his favour, we can agree on that. In fact I would go as far as saying that Levy and Comolli made their minds up a while back and the players bought in the summer were players that another manager could reap the benefits from rather than signing a player that falls into the Jol philosophy. So that explains Jol's frustration on that £40M spent.

Harvey Dent: So you are saying what now? That the DoF works but it has to have the right director and coach?

Two-Face: Yes. Do you not listen? You know that's exactly what I mean. Look at Ramos at Sevilla. The DoF he had there was able to work in complete unison with Ramos. It was a perfect partnership. Comolli has appointed Ramos. Comolli sees him as the person, the type of coach, he can work with. They share the same philosophy therefore there will be little or no disagreements with signing players.

Harvey Dent: So let me get this straight. As long as the DoF remains consistent, i.e. the same person, then it doesn’t matter who is coach as long as the coach is of top drawer quality?

Two-Face: Retaining a DoF allows for continuity. It isn’t detrimental when we have to change manager. A new coach comes in and the same club ethos continues.

Harvey Dent: That’s really dressing it up right there. Detrimental? Of course it is. It’s not like there’s world class managers waiting to be picked off a tree. How many other managers do you think would suit Comolli? Surely we are limited to the DoF and his ethos? In fact, its almost like the DoF is the kingpin and the coach is there for his benefit. And if the DoF walks, then you need to start again. Its potentially messy. Very untidy.

Two-Face: And having one man buying and selling and coaching isn’t? The DoF is there to assist the coach. The coach wants a certain type of player, the DoF will draw up a list of 5 or so, and then along with Levy and others they will agree to sanction the transfer.

Harvey Dent: Works for Fergie and Wenger, not having a DoF.

Two-Face: DoF worked for Sevilla and Ramos pretty well too. You need to remember, when this system works – with a DoF and coach – who see eye-to-eye, then it WORKS. They obviously gave it a go with Jol due to circumstance and it worked with two top 5 finishes. But there’s been problems there for a while and they unfortunately exploded in August. Jols wasn't improving the team and if you look closely, which Levy obviously did, the team were going backwards. We flattered to decieve. Hence the chase for Ramos. And look what happened just before we got Comolli. We signed Rasiak. A DoF is there to aid the coach. If you want to believe the press that there is continuous disagreements on who we should sign then you are some what delusional. Nothing more, nothing less. The system does work. Jol simply wasn’t good enough for the system. He had to go.

Harvey Dent: If a manager isn’t capable of buying players on his own, then that individual can’t possibly be a good coach. Sure, have someone doing all the leg work but don’t dress it up as a ‘Director of Football’ and stick him at the top of the hierarchy. That has the potential for conflict. Jol was undermined because of it.

Two-Face: Oh please. Do one. Undermined? How so?

Harvey Dent: If you are part of a system that doesn’t work, how can you possibly concentrate on the work at hand? How can you even work with players if they are players that you did not want in the first place?

Two-Face: You’re saying what? That Spurs poor form is down to interference from above? That Jol wasn't inspired to work with the team he had because the team he had wasn't completely his own selection? That Levy and Comolli are to blame? That’s pushing the boundaries of belief just a tad. Put down your copy of the News of the World. Levy and Comolli are not out on the training field shouting out instructions. Jol takes reasonability for that. And he has failed to correct countless long running problems with selection and tactics. You can’t say this is the fault of the DoF system.

Harvey Dent: Ok, maybe not directly. But by your own admission you are saying it’s not working with Jol stuck in the middle of it, so ignoring the ideal template for the system - if all parts fit, it works like a dream – when they don’t fit, it quite obviously causes problems. In this case it’s done just that, so you can't argue that it works. The moment someone, a coach, feels surplus, then this will affect him and affect his management and his coaching and the players and the results. That’s exactly what’s happened. Jol has admitted that things haven’t been right since the summer. So, this is the fault of Levy above anyone else for the single fact that this whole system is his responsibility. The moment he brought in Comolli he should have sacked Jol if that’s what Comolli felt was the right thing to do.

Two-Face: Sack Jol? At the time there would have been a riot. The team were playing well and improving.

Harvey Dent: And the progress stagnated. The DoF system didn’t help matters. Again, remember you have stated that when the right people are working as part of the structure/system it works, when there's one person who isn't quite right, it doesn't work. What was it you said? There is nothing wrong with the structure as long as the parts fit.

Two-Face: Thats right.

Harvey Dent: Yes, and that's my point. If you don't have the right people in there then it wont work which means the DoF system doesnt work. Its not full proof and not stable.

Two-Face: It is if you get it right and you are naive if you think its easy to rid the club of Jol in a blink of an eye and replace him. Levy and the board have had to think this over and make the necessary changes over time. Wasn't fluid, but it wasn't a knee-jerk either. Levy's aim has been to bring back stability that will help produce the results needed. You need to see beyond Jol's lovable character and see he wasn't cut out for it. DoF or not.

Harvey Dent: This will go on and on...

Two-Face: Flick a coin and be done with it.

Harvey Dent: Up, up it goes…



Not sure where to begin.

Jol was interviewed yesterday (shown in SSN), and he stated various things that were contradictions. Like how we (Spurs) spend more time practising/training set-pieces than any other Prem club. Firstly, how would he know what other clubs do in training? And secondly, OMFG! We spend time practising set-pieces? And yet we hardly ever score from them and ALWAYS concede from them. This is like Jack the Ripper telling everyone he’s actually a great conversationalist.

Martin looked huggered. Completely defeated, his fate blatantly obvious to all. We all know he wont walk (money money money) and we know Levy has no options with who to bring in. So, the cancer continues to spread from top to bottom, from board level to first team and through to the stands where hope has disintegrated into a puddle of shit.

Is he or is he not friends with Berbatov? Who know’s. Everyone’s read about how he apparently asked Berbs 3 times to get up and warm-up. But then Berbatov has looked and acted like a stroppy bastard since pre-season so I wouldn’t blame him. Jol explained the benching down to 'saving him for Thursday'. I wonder if Defoe feels privileged to have been left at home, all in the name of the UEFA Cup.

The confusion continues to drown the memories of what it felt like to be on the up. Once more, I refer you back to the Newcastle game (yes, I have now seen it). Tactically astute is our manager and as for our players, they know exactly what their responsibility on the field should be.

Tainio: "I was surprised I was put on pitch, as I had only trained once after an injury. I went on to play on the wing - which wing it was, was a bit unclear. I think I was told to change positions four times during the match."

It’s Total Football all over again.

The Omnipresent that is Jenas continues to do what he does so well. Nothing. But to simply lay blame on his incompetence (unable to pass or hold onto the ball), to be fair, most of the team were guilty of the same inept display. Again. May as well start copy and pasting previous blog entries to save time ranting about the same thing every week. Then again, it’s therapeutic to laugh at my own misery. Helps to elevate the tragedy of the situation.

So who is exactly responsible for this mess? As manager you expect Martin to oversee and get the fundamentals right:

- Shape
- Passion
- Belief
- Fight

But there’s so much one man can do, because out on the pitch the players are producing nothing more than a Keystone classic whether home or away. Has he really become a bad manager over night? Of course not. Looking at our prima donnas you’d think they were playing to enable those relegation clauses, post haste. All is wrong and God only knows what the psychological shot in the head this will have on the club. Again, amazing how quick you can go from being ‘nearly top 4’ to utter gush. Proving that we were never nearly top 4 in the first place (blame the fans and the media on that one).

Yes we have talented players. But we have no true balance. No true leader. Key positions are weak. And talking of 'no true leader', Jol loves pointing out the fact that we have a leadership issue, but again not his fault that we spent £16M on a striker we don’t need at this current point in time. Talented players – no direction. And the same olde trend is set to be followed. We cant handle or live up to the hype.

Modern day footballers don’t tend to bust a gut for a manager on his way out. And the boards general incompetence with on the field management and football (rather than merchandising) is dragging us down. It always has. The two 5th place finishes flattered to deceive.

We sacked Graham before a semi-final. We gave Hoddle millions to spend when it would seem Levy and his pals always looked to set get rid of him in the 2004 season and did so 6 games in. Then there was Arnesen who’s advice was ignored and Levy drafted in Inspector Clouseau and his magical mystery tour bus. Nine games later he’s gone and Jol is promoted. That’s some shrewd re-structuring there, very slick. No wonder we are hot on the trails of Arsenal. Apparently that’s the reason we have a Director of Football structure at the club. We can replace a coach without upsetting the karma around WHL – and yet it seems to do the exact opposite. To further compound the fact that Levy doesn’t have a fucking clue, him and the board (including Kemsley who apparently has wanted Jol out for an age) knee-jerk after 2 league games resulting in the Ramos fiasco and this rendering our season dead.

Fact. Jol has over-achieved. The fans got a tad too excitable. The board got too Billy big-boots.

It’s summed up perfectly by this:

Levy has enjoyed popularity over the past few years because he has put up the money - but the buying policy is now under serious doubt - many people claim that Levy wanted the young English talent like Jenas and Bent - and Comolli is bringing in player after player who are not the finished article. Running a club is not just about spending money - people tipped us to break the top 4 just because we had finished 5th and then spent £40m. But look at how Allardyce and Eriksson spent their money and look at the way we spent ours.

When Levy announced we would have a DoF structure I thought who the hell is he to decide that he knows better than the boards of Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea where the manager was all powerful - but we stuck with it and by chance ended up with a good coach. But with this structure there is too much potential for conflict and I fear that as long as Levy buries his head in the sand (or refuses to fuck off) we will slip back to being the also rans of the Prem League once more.

Nothing more to add.