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Tottenham Hotspur Women fire head coaches Hills & Amoros

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Spurs Women make a surprising mid-season major change at the top.

Crystal Palace Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women - FA Women’s Continental League Cup Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

In a move that can only be described as hugely surprising, Tottenham Hotspur Women announced this morning that they have fired co-head coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros.

The Club can announce that Tottenham Hotspur Women Head Coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect.

This decision has not been taken lightly and has been made in the best interests of the team, with the belief that a fresh approach will offer renewed impetus as we seek to continue our upward trajectory and positive growth.

We fully recognise and appreciate the contributions of Karen and Juan during their time with the Club, helping elevate the team from amateur level to become a fully professional side in the Women’s Super League and we thank them both for their hard work and length of service.

Everybody at the Club wishes both Karen and Juan the best for the future.

We shall provide an update on new coaching staff in due course.

— Statement, Tottenham Hotspur Women

This is a downright shocking turn of events. Spurs Women have had, without question, a difficult opening to the 2020-21 WSL season, winless and with just three points after seven matches. Pointing that out, however, would ignore the context that Spurs’ schedule has been exceptionally difficult during that stretch, with matches against Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal. The final straw may have been the 2-2 draw against bottom of the table Bristol City, a match that saw Rianna Dean sent off for a late challenge on the keeper and Spurs concede a late equalizer.

Hills and Amoros are in their first season as co-head coaches, an unusual arrangement in modern football, but Hills has been at the helm of Spurs Women since 2007, shepherding the club from the fourth tier South East Combination Women’s Football League all the way up to the top flight WSL. It is safe to say that Spurs would not be where they are now without Hills’ leadership. Amoros has been at the club since 2011, rising from coach to first team coach to co-manager alongside Hills.

On a personal level, I’m a bit flabbergasted by this decision. Yes, the results haven’t gone the right way, and no the football hasn’t exactly been the best to watch this season. Spurs have struggled with putting the ball in the back of the net this season and have tended to get overrun in midfield. However, firing your managers, one of whom is directly responsible for bootstrapping your once-amateur club to the top flight of the league and who has been with the organization for 12 years, in the middle of the season seems like an incredibly short-sighted decision. Would it not have been better to actually invest non-trivial amounts of money into improving the club before deciding that a “fresh approach” is what is needed? If the club is worried about relegation, the time to think about what it would take to stay up was before the season, not in the middle.

There’s a lot we don’t know. There may be things going on behind the scenes that fed into this decision. Perhaps there are players upset with the way things are going. Or maybe there was a realization that for all the good Hills and Amoros have done in the past, they’ve reached the ceiling of what they can do for Tottenham Women. That’s all speculation. We also don’t know whether this decision will have any impact on Alex Morgan’s future decision on whether to return to the WSL early or not.

As for replacements, that’s also an open question. It’s interesting to note that today West Ham Women manager Matt Beard also left the club “by mutual consent.” There may or may not be a connection between the departure of Beard and the departures of Hills and Amoros. Or perhaps this is just the first step in the club recognizing that they need to do more to invest in the Spurs Women in order for them to take the next step. The timing, however, is curious.

Change happens in football. Managers come and go, and it is no different at Tottenham Hotspur. Hills and Amoros, Hills in particular, deserve a huge round of applause and our profound thanks for what they have done for the club.