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Tottenham a shambles and directors of football don't work, says Jeff Stelling

Jeff Stelling - Jeff Stelling Posted 19th December 2013 view comments

It's always the manager who carries the can while the director of football gets away with it and that appears to be the case with Franco Baldini at Tottenham.

We've read all the stories this week that Andre Villas-Boas was unhappy with the signings made over the summer that the director of football and Daniel Levy made. It doesn't exonerate AVB from the blame because he should have been stronger than that.

Franco Baldini: not taking the blame at Tottenham.

Franco Baldini: not taking the blame at Tottenham.

You can't accept players being signed if they're not the players that you want but the Tottenham modus operandi over the years has been that they wanted a director of football.

Daniel Levy had this vision 10 years ago that Tottenham should have a continental structure so he tried Frank Arnesen - who left to go to Chelsea, he tried Damien Comolli who in my view was not a great success and now he's trying Franco Baldini.

The situation at the moment is a total shambles. It's easy to talk in hindsight but in my view Andre Villas-Boas was the wrong choice

Jeff Stelling
Quotes of the week

I do not believe directors of football, generally speaking, work in this country, I don't think it's a great idea. If you look at the best sides and the best managers they are strong, independent individuals who maintain most of the power at football clubs.

The obvious example is Sir Alex Ferguson, who did not have a director of football. Yes, David Gill would complete the transfers but Fergie would be the one to decide precisely who he wanted.

People say directors of football can work because they'll discuss with managers who they want and what their options are. But with a strong and powerful manager there shouldn't be any discussions, it should be a case of the manager makes the decisions and the manager demands and acts upon them because he is the one who lives and dies by it.

Arsene Wenger is the same story. Look at Arsenal's comparable success and director of football? No chance.

Apparently when Brendan Rodgers joined Liverpool he talked the club out of having a sporting director in Louis van Gaal because he wanted complete control and look at what they're doing at the moment.

There are far more examples of it failing than it working; Dennis Wise was parachuted in above Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, there was Gianluca Nani at West Ham when Alan Curbishley was in charge.

I think you need to appoint the manager and have faith that he will make the right decisions. I know they've got big workloads and it's hard with the amount of duties they've got in terms of training and matches, but that's what they're earning big money for.The other thing with Spurs that I can't understand is that if they've got a director of football in Baldini and if Daniel Levy clearly wants an input as well then what does he want in a manager?

Presumably they want someone that they can tell 'right we'll give you the players you go off and coach them'.

Did he think that AVB was going to be a tracksuit coach and be out there coaching all these wonderful players that he's brought in? Absolutely not, he's a man that gave a PowerPoint presentation to get the job as manager. He's not your hands-on guy down at the training ground every week as far as I understand it. So in every respect I think the Spurs vision was always blurred.

The situation at the moment is a total shambles. It's easy to talk in hindsight but in my view Andre Villas-Boas was the wrong choice; he failed at Chelsea and had fallen out with the players, I didn't understand what there was to recommend him and it was a bad appointment.

They've got Tim Sherwood in charge, temporarily at least. He's a cracking guy with good ideas but it's hard to start your first job in charge of players that have cost £20million to £30million and will have big egos.

They're a total mess and where will they look to next? They better find someone quick because that Champions League spot is disappearing over the horizon at a rate of knots and they're now out of the Capital One Cup, a competition we sometimes turn our noses up at, but it would have been a piece of silverware.

Let's not forget that Harry Redknapp took Spurs to the Champions League and gave them a fantastic run and they would have been in the competition the following year had it not been for the freak of Chelsea winning the Champions League. The decision to sack him was one of the biggest mistakes that Daniel Levy will ever have made. He was doing a terrific job.

Levy clearly wants to have an influence on the club and it is his money that's going into it so I sort of understand that he wants that. But when you have an input you have to make sure it's good and not taking the club in the wrong direction.

They've got Southampton away this Sunday which is not ideal. There's often a new manager bounce but there was none of that present in the cup defeat to West Ham on Wednesday and they're going to be at rock bottom.

It's going to be interesting to see how they approach a Southampton side who, despite a couple of setbacks, are still playing some sparkling football and the sort of football that Spurs fans would love to see their team play.


Liverpool's performance last weekend at White Hart Lane hasn't quite got the credit it deserved because of all the aftermath of AVB's dismissal but they weren't just good, they were breath-taking.

Without Steven Gerrard or Daniel Sturridge and they were still a joy to watch. It's no exaggeration to say they could have scored 10 or 12 and I think Brendan Rodgers deserves massive credit because he's getting the best out of, not just Luis Suarez, but Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Lucas, Joe Allen, Jon Flanagan - they were just absolutely brilliant.

In the Daily Telegraph I read that Burnley manager Sean Dyche had had dinner with Brendan Rodgers and had said to him 'do you realise the hopes of a lot of young British managers hinge on your shoulders? You have to show that young British managers can succeed at the highest level.' In which case I'd say that Rodgers is not just doing himself a huge favour but also doing young British mangers a favour because people will look and see that you don't have to have some flash and fancy foreign pedigree. Brendan Rodgers, a brilliant young manager, can maybe give others like Sean Dyche the chance to follow in his footsteps.

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