Juande Ramos was Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach from 2007 to 2008. He was approached to take up this position while Martin Jol was still occupying the post, and nobly decided to tell limit the number of people he told about it to absolutely everyone. Ramos guided Spurs to Wembley in his first season at the club, where we took home our only trophy of the last 15 years after defeating Chelsea 2-1 in the Carling Cup final. He then led Spurs into our worst-ever Premier League start to the season which saw us take only two points from eight games, a state of affairs which ultimately led to his dismissal.
All of this is apparently worth bringing up and discussing again today because... erm... I don't really know, reasons? Relevant to the present day or not, Tottenham's upcoming Europa League match against Ukrainian side Dnipro, a side which the Spaniard is the current manager of, has provided a nice context for Ramos to finally get years of butthurt about the aforementionde developments off of his chest and unleash an embittered tirade against his former employer, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. Let's take a look at some of the claims Ramos made during his vitriolic interview with the Guardian and delve into their veracity a little bit, shall we? Go on, it might be fun.
Ramos opens with a hilarious rant about how Daniel Levy sold Dimitar Berbatov with the specific intent just to spite him personally and ruin his day.
"The year before they'd signed Darren Bent for £17m. They sell Robbie Keane and [Dimitar] Berbatov because they want Bent to play, so they left us with Darren Bent and Frazier Campbell. Without strikers."
We sold Berbatov without properly replacing him on deadline day because he went on strike and United made an offer that was literally impossible to refuse. The deal was completed at the eleventh hour because Levy did everything he could to block the deal, as the fans were demanding. But no, you make a good point- Levy probably should have allowed our 20+ goalscoring striker to go right at the start of the window when United made their very first offer, right? That would have made the right statement about what a powerful European force Spurs were aiming to become under your magnificent regime. I think that's why we also sold Luka Modric to Chelsea, if my grasp of history is as not-strong as Ramos'.
Of course, Ramos had already suggested some strong and realistic replacement deals earlier in the window which only Levy's cold, dead-eyed business approach had stood in the way of.
"I wanted Samuel Eto'o and David Villa. Eto'o wanted too much in wages. We negotiated with Villa, when he was one of the world's best. Levy's a hard, hard, hard negotiator and in the end it didn't happen."
Also known as the ‘AVB defence'. If only the club had signed Willian, Hulk, Moutinho, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Eric Cantona from the 90s like I'd asked, I would've been a roaring success!
Ramos' Spurs side finished dead in the middle of the table in 2007-8. It is beyond delusional to put the blame on Daniel Levy for us subsequently failing to secure Villa and Eto'o at a time when they were two of the most-coveted players in the world. This barely even needs stating really.
The problem, as Ramos sees it, is that we're just not taking enough cues from our close... erm... rivals:
"The idea is: sign players, see if they take off, sell and reinvest. Fine but are you trying to win money or titles? The criteria at Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea is that the sporting side is the priority. If City sign [Jesús] Navas or [Álvaro] Negredo, they don't look at the player's age; they look at his performances."
Yes, why don't we splash money on top quality players like Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea without a thought for how we could fund such sprees? I literally can't think of any reason why we would do our business any differently to them. It is just so totally disgusting to me that Daniel Levy doesn't see the merit in things like sporting success and making huge year-on-year losses through maintaining an unsustainable wage bill.
Juande knows everything about sporting glory, of course, having delivered to the Spurs faithful the least well-regarded trophy on offer to a Premier League side. How could his legions of advocates have deserted him so quickly after that?
"When we won the Carling Cup I understood and then I don't understand any more! They sacked a manager they'd given a four-year contract to."
Well, I mean I guess one perspective might be that we were last in the table when you were sacked. Last. Bottom. 20th place. Does breaking things down like that help you comprehend why people got the impression you didn't know what you were doing?
I'm not going to use this piece as a chance to take a stance on this whole #profitnotglory thing which Ramos' comments seem to be a bit of agitprop for. All I'm going to say is that there's not having the resources you needed to make a push for Europe, and then there's not even having enough basic managerial nous and dressing room confidence to keep your side away from the very foot of the relegation zone. Was it fair that Harry Redknapp got £51m in the January window to spend after he got sacked? Probably not. But let us not forget that that money was allocated on an emergency basis to dig us out of a really, really serious hole.
Indeed, if Ramos was making anything close to a decent fist of his job, or at least had kept Spurs away from the very fringes of Premiership existence, Redknapp wouldn't have ever been parachuted in from Portsmouth to save us in the first place. A team which includes Luka Modric, Ledley King, Aaron Lennon et al. doesn't become relegation fodder overnight unless they suffer an unrectified loss of confidence in themselves or, more damningly , the manager. So unless your impression of glory would've been a romp to the Championship title in 2009-10 instead of qualification for the Champions' League, Juande probably isn't the right man to be acting as a standard-bearer for this 'Daniel Levy doesn't care about winning' charge.
Of course, there's a chance that everything might just have been the fault of his sporting director of the time and noted spendthrift Damien Comolli. Looking back, might it have helped his position if he'd just told the nutty DoF where to shove his David Bentleys?
"With hindsight that might have been the right thing to do."
Well, at least he said one thing I can't really argue with.
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