Back in 2007 when Juande Ramos was appointed as Tottenham Hotspur manager, the expectations of the fans raised ten-fold. Granted, the way Martin Jol received his marching orders wasn’t a defining moment in Daniel Levy’s stewardship, but for a club with top four aspirations, it seemed a logical move at the time.
It was October 25th that the news began to filter through that the Dutchman had been relieved of his duties. To make matters worse, Jol received the news via text message from his nephew during the 2-1 UEFA Cup defeat to Spanish outfit Getafe. It had become public knowledge that club secretary John Alexander and club secretary Paul Kemsley had been meeting Ramos in “secret” for some time.
Jol’s position at the club had become untenable as a result and it was hardly surprising to have seen the loveable 56-year-old replacement by the Spaniard. Upon his arrival, excitement began to heighten around White Hart Lane. Ramos had worked wonders in his homeland with Sevilla, with the La Liga giants win over Spurs in the now defunct UEFA Cup the previous season ultimately convincing Levy and co. to move for the 57-year-old.
The following summer ahead of the 2008/09 season had many fans salivating from the mouths at the upcoming campaign. A transfer policy spearheaded by director of football Damian Comolli saw the arrivals of the likes of Luka Modric, Giovani Dos Santos and Heurelho Gomes heighten expectations and understandably so.
However, it wasn’t to be. Spurs began the season miserably, making the worst start to a campaign in their history. It cost Ramos his job and saw Harry Redknapp drafted in as his replacement, spawning the now famous ‘two points, eight games’ quote from the veteran boss. Fast forward eight years and Spurs have a new man at the helm once again.
Andre Villas-Boas officially took over the reins at White Hart Lane last week and with it, a flood of excitement quickly followed suit. Unfairly treated at Chelsea, a second crack at the Premier League was inevitable. Many expect him to succeed at Spurs, but it is important for fans not to get too far ahead of themselves this summer.
Comparing the two
In the summer of 2008, it was hard not to get excited about the upcoming campaign. Having just picked up the Carling Cup with an emphatic 2-1 win over Chelsea, courtesy of Jonathan Woodgate’s face, expectations were sky high. It was that season that fans would see Spurs overcome North London rivals Arsenal in the battle for a top four finish.
It didn’t all go to plan. Dynamic duo Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov departed for Liverpool and Manchester United, respectively, with the former returning six months later. The pairing’s exit had a detrimental effect on the squad, with Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko failing to consistently hit the back of the net.
Confidence dropped, hearts began to sink and there was a genuine fear around White Hart Lane that Spurs could be staring relegation in the face if they continued the drop in form. As mentioned, Redknapp came in to rescue the sinking ship before leading the club to three consecutive top five finishes.
His sacking, to some, came as a shock, whilst others anticipated it to happen following the catastrophic drop in form between February and May as he continued to flirt with the England role. Villas-Boas his replacement and with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen now on-board, it is hard not to contain one’s excitement ahead of the new campaign.
However, many have felt this feeling before. Four years ago, in fact. This is a thought that has been lingering at the back of my head for the best part of a week now. Granted, Villas-Boas comes into the Spurs role with nine months experience and a domestic and European treble following his unbeaten season with FC Porto.
Yet, with the expectations, again, set to be high for the 34-year-old, hitting the ground running is pivotal. Understandably, the excitement is high. In the course of 10 days, Vertonghen, Sigurdsson and Villas-Boas have all arrived at White Hart Lane. On top of that, Gareth Bale and Steven Caulker have both extended their respective contracts at the club.
Either way, memories of the Ramos era still linger. A similar feeling of anticipation ahead of the new season remains. What is important is patience; patience for the new manager and his fellow arrivals. The good news is the main business is being concluded early in the transfer window rather than waiting until deadline day. Yet, I can’t quite helping thinking back to the summer of 2008 and the Ramos era, whilst praying they amount to nothing.
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