Monday 24 October 2016

John Giles: Low key Levy has learned crucial lesson

Spurs' chairman has taken a step back and allowed Pochettino to do his work

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is giving Daniel Levy the space he needs to manage the team well
Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is giving Daniel Levy the space he needs to manage the team well
Mauricio Pochettino has been given the space to manage his team properly this season and is reaping the benefits

There hasn't been a year in the last ten when Daniel Levy didn't do something annoying and self-destructive.

Spurs have always been a rolling disaster waiting to happen and I could see no way that this would ever change while he called the shots.

I have to say, I might have to change my mind on that.

The main reason for this is Mauricio Pochettino, a man with a low profile, few words and a very clear work ethic.

Somehow, he has tamed Levy's wish to be involved in every aspect of Tottenham Hotspur, including the buying and selling of players and as a result, they have put themselves in a position to challenge for the Premier League title in a real way this season.

I don't say that lightly. Spurs have let us all down so many times in the past and Levy has never before trusted his own judgement and allowed the man he hired as manager to manage.

Well, actually, that's not strictly true. The only other time he stepped out of the way was when Spurs were plummeting towards relegation in October 2008 and he hired Harry Redknapp to replace Juande Ramos.


Levy was desperate and willing to give Redknapp anything he wanted so on that one occasion, he let go of his tight grip on the club and relied on the experience and nous of a very good manager.

After quickly pushing away from the danger zone, Redknapp began a run which eventually delivered Champions League football, Levy's heart's desire.

It wasn't enough though. The chairman decided that this management game was easy, got rid of his saviour and brought in Andre Villas Boas who was happy to tell us straight away that he had no control over anything.

Naturally enough, the wheels came off quickly and Villas Boas was gone after six months.

But this time, I think Levy has learned his lesson. This time, I think he sees that Pochettino knows what he is doing and is best left alone to do his work.

If that is the case, he has finally woken up, finally realised that there is a right way to run a football club and a wrong way.

I say 'if' because there is always the chance that the leopard has not changed it's spots at all and that even as I write this, Levy is meddling in the transfer market trying to buy players Pochettino doesn't want.

That's usually the way it happens at Spurs or any of the clubs working with a committee model for player acquisition.

But it doesn't look that way this time. Whether it is Pochettino's quiet authority, a realisation by Levy that his way is the wrong way or a combination of both I'm not sure but the upshot of it all is that Spurs have a chance this season - a big chance.

They have a chance because Pochettino has been working hard at making Spurs a good defensive team, has a more than decent range of midfield options and has Harry Kane up front.

I've liked Pochettino since I saw him first at Southampton. I like the fact that he says very little and is remarkably low key by the standards of the Premier League.

There was a nice contrast available when Spurs played Sunderland last weekend. Before the game, Sam Allardyce wondered about Spurs' title chances and whether they could hold their nerve.

He was asked whether he thought it was a positive development to see a foreign coach make such good use of young English players but he couldn't bring himself to give Pochettino the credit he deserves.

Instead, he claimed that good recruitment policies at Southampton and White Hart Lane which focused on English talent were responsible for the Argentinian's record in the Premier League.

He suggested that a manager is only as good as his players and while there is truth in that, the implicit message was that he, Allardyce, would be doing as well as Pochettino if he had some players.

Imagine how that went down in the Sunderland dressing room.

Not for the first time, I wondered about Big Sam's mouth, why he opens it so often and talks about other manager's business. His team was hammered 4-1 by Spurs.

He really is terrible Allardyce. He has an opinion, mostly negative, on everyone else and his team is heading for the Championship at breakneck speed.

He seems to want to rise above that small matter as if Sunderland's dreadful season has nothing to do with him while he gives forth about Jurgen Klopp and most recently, Pochettino's Spurs.

Can Spurs hold their nerve? It's a good question for neutrals to ask but not Allardyce.

I think a better question would be can Pochettino hold his nerve and I think the answer to that is positive.

I know that the young players in his squad will love working with him. They will admire his quiet authority and they are working hard for him, you can see that every time Spurs play.

That's the acid test. When players win football games, that cuts through all the flannel you hear from Allardyce and exposes the actions of Levy in the past as nothing more than vanity.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News