In my head, overnight, I had started to compose this morning´s blog with the headline “Comprehensive” which would inadequately describe the defeat inflicted on us by Liverpool.
They were simply too good for us.
Whereas we could look to far too many individual mistakes which cost us early on against Citeh, there weren´t that many. Liverpool somehow, simply, outplayed us. There are no excuses. We were not good enough, collectively as a team or as a club.
This morning, I then decided to survey all the members of Spurs Supporters Spain with a simple question – “Should AVB go now?” Yes or No.
Within an hour and a half I had 51 replies with 37 wanting him to go, while only 14 were in favour of keeping him with some of them indicating they might change their minds if we lost to WetSpam on Wednesday.
Voting closed at 12 midday – 5 minutes after the official communiqué from White Hart Lane had confirmed the parting of the ways by “mutual consent”. So the end of the AVB comes with a shuddering defeat – one that is perhaps more difficult to understand than the slightly larger one at the Etihad just a month ago.
Liverpool were without key players, but we were without our best defenders – no Vertonghen, no Kaboul, no Chiriches, no Rose – so only had a makeshift back four, but all are experienced professionals but they were all found wanting. Even with our big midfield trio we could not cope, and as – one by one – they departed, one through injury, the next by red card, and then finally a substitution, it was almost as if AVB was throwing in the towel.
Up front we offered nothing. Ten shots on goal, none on target. The opposition managed twice that many, ten on target – need I remind you how many went in!
And at lunchtime today just before the Europa Cup draw for the knock out rounds we learned that AVB was indeed consigned to history. Halfway through a season is never going to be an easy time to take over a team but perhaps two weeks before the transfer window opens is as good a time as any.
Time to assess who should stay and who should go. Who to bring in – or possibly – bring back from loan deals. And by that I do mean BAE – he is playing really well at QPR – so it would be so, so easy to recall him, he knows us, we know him – a perfect fit, if only for five months.
But who will the new main man be – short term or long term. I suspect that Daniel Levy will have been searching high and low for the past month or so for someone to replace AVB when the time came, but he must have hoped he would not have had to make that decision just yet.
There simply are not enough managers of the calibre we need who are available. Would the likes of Capello or Klinsmann take on the job just six months before they are due to lead Russia or USA at the World Cup or could they do both jobs. Unlikely on both counts.
From within the Premiership, there are young managers like Laudrup, Ponchettino, Martinez, Poyet, but all these are relatively new at their clubs and some are getting success – perhaps more than us at the moment in many respects so why would they want to move?
Who is out of work? Martin Jol – we have been there before and so has Daniel Levy. Roberto di Matteo – at least he has history of converting a failed AVB project into a victorious season.
What about another old boy? Someone who played for us 297 times, scoring 12 times, as well as representing his country 53 times. He was on our management team under ten different managers from 1993 til 2007 so knows the club inside out and he has since gone on to have a successful career at lower clubs – notably Newcastle and Birmingham. Chris Hughton anyone?
The list goes on.
Daniel Levy can expect a very full email box from everyone and anyone over the next few days – he can probably ignore most – he has to get this one right. Having spent a serious amount of money – much of it on players that Baldini wanted (not necessarily AVB remember) – he has to see a return on that investment.
And finally before we depart this particular diabtribe two other points of note.
The Europa league draw wasn´t particularly kind on us, giving us an away trip to the middle of nowhere yet again. Dnipro of Ukraine will still be in the grip of a deep mid winter come the middle of February but we have been there – or thereabouts – so far this season, so at least we know what to expect. PAOK or Benfica await if and when we are successful in that encounter.
But before all that we have WetSpam and an opportunity for revenge for the 3-0 defeat they inflicted on us back in October. Wednesday night sees the quarter final of the Capital One Cup. What will the team line up be? How many changes will be made from the sorry staring lineup yesterday? Will we have a new manager or just an interim caretaker?
Too many questions. Not enough answers.