Last day of the premier league 2011-2012. Spurs have finished fourth. Champions league qualification almost within reach. The only way we miss out on the CL would be if Chelsea,who finished sixth in the league,manage to do the impossible : beat Bayern Munich in the champions league finals at the Allianz Arena, the home of the German giants on the 19th of May. Chelsea sit back, defend all match, concede one and score a last minute goal through a corner out of nowhere. Luck favours them in the penalties and stabs us in the back yet again.
Harry Redknapp is stunned. Luka Modric goes AWOL to force a move to Madrid. He gets his way and is sold to Madrid for 33 million. Day is going fine, Harry is having lunch with his wife, thinking what went wrong. Didn't get the England job, no top 3, no champions league. And he receives a text from Daniel Levy," Hey 'Arry , you're fired!" Harry stunned again, White Hart Lane stunned again, Spurs fans stunned again.
Now, there is only one question that arises - What the hell? Why was Harry sacked? The only plausible reason I could come up with was the lack of ambition in Harry. Also, the ageing squad he built. Replacement suggestions were being thrown in by the media. Moyes, Martinez, Benitez and AVB. Wait...who AVB? That same young dynamic coach who loves aggression and wanted to build a young squad at Chelsea and was given the axe in a few months? That same guy who didn't get enough time to build a squad? Oh.
So Levy sees the same thing we all saw in Andre Villas Boas, and hires him. Avb asks Levy for a few new signings. Levy gets him Gylfi Sigurdsson, a promising midfielder who impressed with his performances on loan at Swansea City, Jan Vertonghen, Dutch League player of the year for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, Mousa Dembele, an engine and a world class dribbler who thrived at Fulham and the French keeper captain,Hugo Lloris. But Avb's priority was a world class striker. Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe sure didn't fulfill his requirements. But Levy is Levy. He gets him Ade(28) ,who no doubt impressed with his performances on loan at Spurs the previous year, and Clint Dempsey(29), who did well at Fulham. Avb was content but not completely happy. He surely had the right to be disappointed after having had strikers like Radamel Falcao and Hulk at his disposal during his reign at Porto.
2012-2013 seasons kicks off with a home fixture against WBA. A slow start to the premier league put some pressure on the young coach and a trip to the Old Trafford was around the corner where no Tottenham coach had managed a victory in the past 23 years! Guess what? Spurs managed to beat them 3-2 in a game of two halves. Avb instantly became a fan favourite. His emotions, his celebrations, and those wild fist pumps while shouting out loud showed his attachment he had begun to develop with Spurs. The strikers were wasteful all season and truth be told, Gareth Bale single handedly won quite a few matches for us. But someone had to shine. But Bale shined too bright. It was another bright star Madrid wanted to gobble down its ever hungry stomach and add to its already star studded galaxy. Frankly, he was so good, that he was our plan A , plan B and plan C. Avb had turned Bale into an unstoppable world class player. Did the same happen with Falcao? Hell yes! And still no credit was given to Avb. Bale took away all the limelight. Bale went on to win all the 3 awards of the season,which only a few players like Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo have managed.
Spurs finished fifth in the league, with a total of 72 points, our highest points tally in the premier league ever. We missed out on Champions league by a single point! No problem. Spurs had become a force to be reckoned with. Next season they would do better. A team would be built around Bale. A team which could be a potential title contender. But Bale and Real Madrid had other ideas. A long stressful transfer saga ended with an inevitable sale of Bale to Madrid for a world record fee of 84 million pounds, eclipsing the previous highest that involved Madrid(again) and United for Cristiano Ronaldo that summed up to 80 million pounds.
Spurs stunned yet again. A player becomes famous, and leaves us in misery yet again. Its hard to face the fact that you're being used as a stepping stone. Spurs appoint Franco Baldini as a technical director on Avb's suggestion. All the money from the Bale Sale was pumped in for transfers of Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches. Levy gave complete backing and assurances to Andre to begin a revolution at Spurs and build a young squad which would be POTENTIAL title contenders in the near future while setting the mimimum qualification of a top 4 FINISH AT THE END OF THE SEASON and subsequent champions league qualification.
Two home defeats against West Ham and Newcastle and a 6-0 defeat at the Etihad had created enough buzz in the media threatening Andre's job safety. 15 games , 27 points, and just 8 points behind the leaders, Arsenal, 6 points behind second placed Chelsea, 5 points behind 3rd placed City, and 3 points behind 4th placed liverpool before the match against liverpool on the 15th of December at White Hart Lane. Spurs don't show up in the match, while liverpool dominate them in each department and run riot at us smashing the spurs' net 5 times. Final nail in the coffin for Avb. Levy sacks him today, the 16th of December. Fairytale ends. Dreams shattered. All gone quiet. Revolution halted. Avb gone.
108 million pounds invested in the team. 115 million earned. A net profit is still made by our Chairman, Daniel Levy. 108 million spent and only 107 DAYS invested in Avb after the transfer deadline day. Funny.
The whole point to appoint Avb was to BUILD a squad to challenge for the title in the near future, to play dynamic aggressive football. Honestly, we didn't see the best of it but we did see glimpses of what we were capable of. All that was needed was time. A young squad WAS in the making. All that was needed was to find the missing spark that Bale took away with him. And a top 4 finish was well within reach with 22 more games to be played! United still sit below Spurs, but Moyes has the complete backing from everyone at Man United. And those who think pumping in millions guarantees success, let me tell you something. Sheikh Al- Mansour bought City in 2007. Millions and millions were pumped. But the first time they MADE AN APPEARANCE in the champions league was in 2012. And they also went on to win the 2011-2012 title after 44 years! Patience paid off. No? Hire and fire is certainly something that no club should be proud of. I'm devastated , shocked and disappointed in Levy today.
A final goodbye to Avb. Some of the memorable moments Avb gave all of us were : The 3-2 win at old trafford, the 3-2 win against West ham and a 3-1 win at home agaisnt city. Also the 4-0 thrashing Spurs gave Inter Milan was worth celebrating.Personally, his fist pumps and celebrations made me crazy about him.
Good bye Andre. All the best!
Meanwhile, I can only hope for some good times at the lane. Hope that dawn is coming. Hope that the light will shine again. Hope that there will be smiles brightening up our lilywhite faces again. Hope there will be a wave of happiness sweeping the Lane again. Hope that we will throw our hands wide in joy again. Hope that we will breath the sweet smell of success again.
We keep on the fight
Even in the darkest night
The future is bright
The future is lilywhite!
Come On You Spurs!
About the Author:
Aman Tukrel, Mumbai
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