With this morning’s announcement that Tottenham Hotspur has fired manager Jose Mourinho, speculation has now moved on from whether or not he’ll be sacked to who will take charge now that he’s gone. Mourinho was relieved of his duties and placed on gardening leave along with all of his hand-picked assistant coaches aside from Ledley King, who remains at the club.
Early reporting suggested that Spurs U18 head coach Ryan Mason was taking control of first team training on Monday as the club prepares for a midweek Premier League match against Southampton on Wednesday. However, while there were murmurs that some combination of Mason and/or Head of Academy Development Chris Powell would presumably take the reins until the end of the season, details were fuzzy as to whether or not that was the case. In its statement announcing the dismissal of Mourinho, the club said a further announcement on Mason’s role would be made “in due course.”
It looks like we may know. While Tottenham have yet to make an official announcement in this regard, multiple sources including The Athletic are reporting that Mason and Powell will take control of the club, presumably as as co-caretaker managers to the end of the season, or until a new permanent manager can begin his duties.
At age 29, Mason will be the youngest person to ever manage a Premier League match, besting Crystal Palace’s Attilio Lombardo (32 years, 67 days). Mason is a Tottenham academy graduate who rose through the ranks to become a starting midfielder under Mauricio Pochettino, before being sold to Hull City in 2016. In 2017, Mason was severely injured and suffered a cracked skull after a head-to-head collision with Gary Cahill, an injury that forced him to retire from football. He later returned to Tottenham in various capacities and working on his coaching badges before assuming the role of U18 head coach and Head of Player Development (U17-U23) this fall. He’s obviously inexperienced, but is a well-respected figure at the club and loved by the Tottenham fanbase.
Powell becomes the first black manager at Tottenham since Chris Hughton’s stint as caretaker in 1998. Powell had a long playing career, including 200+ appearance stops at Southend United and Charlton Athletic, and five England caps as a fullback. As a manager, Powell has led both Southend and Charlton, and has joined Spurs as head of the academy on the back of an assistant’s position at ADO Den Haag.
One name not yet mentioned is Ledley King, the last assistant added to Jose Mourinho’s squad and the only one not fired on Monday. It’s unknown whether Ledley will be involved with the leadership of the club going forward at this time.
Obviously we don’t know what Tottenham Hotspur will look like when they walk out at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Southampton in two days time, but I think it’s safe to expect that the lineup and tactics are going to be markedly different under Mason and Powell than they were under Mourinho. Spurs also have always had a puncher’s chance against Manchester City in the finals of the Carabao Cup this weekend, and who knows — a “new manager bounce” might be just what Spurs need to put up a spirited effort to try and lift their first trophy since 2008.
We’ll update this story if and when the club confirms the temporary appointments.