Too soon, Mr Levy? I figured why wait. Why wait until the inevitable happens – two-and-a-half seasons of deadening football that makes you question why people ever bothered kicking a ball in the first place, followed by an unseemly exit and ugly recrimination – when one can really get a jump on things. Don’t put off for two years what you can do today.
And so, I’ve decided to start the campaign now. José out! Who’s with me?
I’m aware, of course, that calling for a manger to be sacked on the same day he’s hired is not the done thing. Indeed, the protocol dictates you greet a new manager with optimism and excitement, and, as if zapped by a Men In Black mind-ray, go about picking faults in the previous guy that you never knew existed.
How, looking back, he wasn’t really up to the job, was he? How he’d taken us as far as he could. And how, when all’s said and done, he...
But, oh, no, you don’t, Mr Levy. I’m not falling for that one.
That’s precisely why you moved so swiftly to parachute in José Mourinho as the new Spurs manager while Mauricio Pochettino was still backing out of the car park, isn’t it? Not so fast. The north (of London) remembers.
First, let’s start with what a sh*t you are. Yeah, I said it. What an utter sh*t. You held the purse strings so tight that for two transfer windows running we didn’t sign anyone, seeing Spurs become the only club in the world to do so (who needs trophies when you have records like that, right?).
Then you feigned shock that Poch couldn’t Supermarket Sweep three windows worth of shopping into one and feigned surprise that those players you didn’t manage to get out the door – newsflash: that was your job – might cause a problem once you let them run their contracts down.
Hell, for the last four months, Christian Eriksen has virtually been playing with a VR headset attached playing a Real Madrid version of himself on Fifa 20 for how present he’s been.
Put simply: the walls of the house were cracking but you didn’t once look to the foundations. You gave Poch some plaster and told the poor guy to get on with it: here’s some Champions League paint, no one will notice!
Is it any wonder it all started to fall down?
But here’s what’s worse. You asked so much of him. You asked for so much loyalty. You asked him to stay when Manchester United came calling, when Real Madrid did, when PSG fluttered their petro-billions. You beseeched him to stay on at a mid-level club through a torturous stadium move and a budget-budget. The one time he needed that loyalty in return, when he needed time to rebuild, you turned your back.
Hadn’t he earned that time, Mr Levy? With everything he’d done, securing four consecutive Champions League finishes in the league, creating England internationals from soft clay, making Moussa Sissoko a Premier League footballer, had he not earned one single goddamn season to rebuild the new team we all knew needed rebuilding?
Apparently not, and now we have José. José! The robber baron of the Premier League. Have I fallen down and hit my head on something hard? Are we in the Back To The Future timeline where Biff owns a casino? If José is the answer, what the hell was the question?
Who can sign the most 30-year-olds for the most money that sit on the bench? Who can ignore the most talented youth team players? Who can get into the most fights with most rival managers? Who can play the worst football after spending the most money? You don’t even have money – just imagine how bad the football is going to be!
Oh, I know why. We all know why. The official reason – fed by whispers to receptive members of the press – will be that you suspect Poch had lost the dressing room. That, after all, he never did actually win any silverware. That, with the debts from the new stadium, we couldn’t afford to spend a single season out of the Champion’s League.
But you know what I suspect is the deeper truth, Mr Levy? José speaks to your vanity. A big-name manager! So now the two of you can go play pretend that you’re at the big table, little knowing you’re both primly perched on plastic chairs, eating from plastic plates and all the adults are laughing at you.
According to reports you’re even paying José double what you paid Poch. You, sir, are a sh*t.
How, pray tell, do you expect this to pan out? We know with almost boring accuracy how: the three-act José structure of hope-boredom-bitterness. Maybe he’ll throw in a League Cup victory in season two before he flames out in season three. I know how this show ends. Excuse me if I don’t break out the bunting.
And what of the players? Harry Kane will go. Of course Kane will go. He’s 26 now. Why would he not? Poch will manage a Madrid and Kane will follow. Lloris will follow too, if he can. And as for those feckless layabouts running down their contracts, that chequebook coterie who checked out last summer and got Poch sacked in the process – yes, Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose, I am looking in your direction – well, they’ll all go to the highest wage payer and good riddance to them. I dread to think what Mourinho is going to do to Son. Can we send social services to go check?
And at the end of it all we’ll be left where we started, before a certain much-loved Argentine set foot in North London: a mid-level club with delusions of grandeur.
Sure, Poch didn’t leave us with trophies, but he does leave us with memories. I know that seems glib and, to sides that actually win things, frankly sad. But to that I only say I was a Spurs fan when Christian Gross was in charge and Paolo Tramezzani was at left-back. We were in two title races! They felt like miracles. We got to a Champions League final after a last-last-last-gasp win in Amsterdam! It felt like the afterlife.
And here’s really the thing: we loved Poch, Mr Levy. He set a standard of decency and decorum so lacking in today’s game. He treated the players with respect and demanded respect in return. He always took the higher ground while everyone else took the low. He was a gentleman in an age of assholes.
And now you’ve appointed the A**hole-In-Chief. Well done you.
And here, Mr Levy, is something else I remember. The ceremony to mark the end of White Hart Lane. Old legends came out onto the pitch, followed by the new, followed by Poch himself. A band played, so it was hardly conductive to chanting, but when the crowd saw Poch they chanted like hell.
You know the one, don’t you, Mr Levy?
And the band played on still, but it was no use: they were soon drowned out by an entire stadium singing as one. I’m sure you know this, but you don’t often get that. There’s always a hardcore that sings and always sections that don’t. But on that day, everyone sang, and even as the rain came down, the stadium shook with it. The band didn’t stand a chance.
You know the song, don’t you, Mr Levy?
And as the pitchside camera swivelled around to Poch, he looked around at the crowd with his jaw clenched and tears began welling in his eyes.
They didn’t sing your name, Mr Levy. And no matter what happens, I suspect they won’t sing José’s name quite like that either.
You know the song, don’t you, Mr Levy?
But here’s the thing: the more I think about that song, the more I realise he had to be magic, didn’t he? He had to create something from nothing. Because nothing is exactly what you gave him.
He was magic, you know?