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While one half of North London has been an oasis of stability, Arsene Wenger’s consistent Arsenal always competing for a Champions League spot and always clinching one, their bitter rivals over at White Hart Lane continue to scratch at the edges of the Champions League positions without quite getting over the hump (at least not on a regular basis). As Completebetting.com shows, Arsenal are always among the favorites to qualify for the Champions League while Spurs are not.
The reason for this constant borderline failure by Tottenham Hotspur appears to be so blindingly, amazingly, crazily obvious that it seems bizarre a club could spend so much money without figuring it out yet. Every year that Arsene Wenger checks-off, for all the frustration some Arsenal fans have shown that the team is no longer in the mix for the Premier League title itself, he seems to see out a different Spurs manager in the opposing dugout.
In the last ten years, Tottenham’s revolving door has seen Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp, André Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood take charge of the club, with the latter just jettisoned today despite boasting the best winning percentage in the Premier League this season.
Spurs would only have to look at their own glory days of decades past to see how important finding, and keeping, the right manager is. Top of the cream is the legendary Bill Nicholson, who managed the club from 1958 to 1974, including the infamous Double season of 1960-61. While Spurs only won the title once under Nicholson, they were always a great team, playing flowing football and finishing in the upper echelons of the table. Almost Arsene Wenger-ish, you could say.
Of course, the challenge for the Spurs hierarchy is knowing who is the right coach to stick with. Would Totteham have established themselves in the top four if they’d stuck with Juande Ramos or Jacques Santini? Probably not, though we’ll never know. Redknapp of course has his detractors, but results were strong under his regime. The one that may be seen to have gotten away – though it remains to be seen – could be Andre Villas-Boas, a young and dynamic coach who despite two failures in England is still seen in many circles as one of the most talented in the game.
You can ask Manchester United if it’s worth persevering with a young, headstrong coach despite some initially poor results – Sir Alex Ferguson is the name to drop there, one or two poor results from being sacked himself before his two decade plus stretch of remarkable achievement with the Mancunian club.
What Tottenham do next – identifying the right man for the job and then sticking with him even if there’s some thick to start out with, before the thin arrives – will determine whether the team can make the break into the Champions League spots in a league that grows more and more competitive, and deep-pocketed, by the year. Daniel Levy, the team’s supremo, has made many mistakes but this is another chance for redemption. He could do worse than look across North London to see that stability and consistency rather than constant change are the real routes to long-term success.