Tottenham Hotspur Women have sacked Rehanne Skinner after a 9th straight league loss and some truly abysmal form. Assistant coach Vicky Jepson will take over for Spurs’ midweek fixture against Leicester, a game Skinner could not prevent from turning into a relegation 6 pointer.
The Club can today announce that Women's First Team Head Coach Rehanne Skinner has been relieved of her duties.— Tottenham Hotspur Women (@SpursWomen) March 13, 2023
Skinner took the helm in November 2020, after the departure of Karen Hills and Juan Carlos Amoros. She oversaw an 8th place and a 5th place finish, and departs with the club in 10th place, just 2 points clear of relegation.
Spurs have looked off this season, starting with a shaky preseason full of sluggishness and defensive errors, and an injury-hit first half of the campaign. Things never improved–things hit a nadir around Christmastime when our paper-thin squad suffered apathetic losses to West Ham, Reading, and Everton. The winter arrivals of Mana Iwabuchi and Beth England temporarily bolstered form, but a string of games against top sides showed it wasn’t enough.
Spurs often look unfit and unmotivated compared to their opponents. Skinner typically set up the side in a pressy mid-block, but the press seemingly no longer had the energy to carry out its duties. It was impossible to tell whether the side was even trying to keep possession or not, because they couldn’t do it. It was similarly difficult to tell whether there was a plan to progress the ball. From interviews throughout the years, we know that Skinner had a heavy hand in team building–while the vibes may have been good, she built a squad with almost no good passers in it (for example, not replacing Maeva Clemaron). After Beth England suffered a minor injury against Manchester United, there was no obvious attacking plan to replace “get the ball to Beth.” This should go without saying–if you can’t attack, can’t keep the ball, and can’t win itl back, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Skinner’s side was unsuccessful and nearly unwatchable, but the decisions that led there were explained away with “we’re doing what’s best for the players” messages from the club. And that would’ve been fine, but the players weren’t growing or succeeding. Many of them were stagnating and even regressing. Rehanne’s continued insistence of playing 31-year-old Amy Turner and 32-year-old over the extremely promising 21-year-old Asmita Ale was baffling (and was the thing that pushed me over the edge in the end).
Assistant coach Vicky Jepson previously managed Liverpool in the WSL from 2018-2020. The side finished 8th in 2019, and were then relegated by points estimation during the pandemic. It’s unclear whether Jepson will remain in charge beyond Wednesday’s game against Leicester, or who Spurs might hire instead. I have to admit, I have no idea how Spurs do managerial appointments. I can make you a list of potential replacements, but it’s likely going to be very silly and incredibly wide of the mark. Whoever it is, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they like to attack, and that they like to use young players, and most of all, that they like to win games.