The last time Tottenham endured such a poor start to a season was the year the Titanic went down, and if the dreadful results continue at White Hart Lane in the coming weeks then manager Juande Ramos will be the one sinking into unemployment.
The board and directors are unforgiving at Tottenham, as Martin Jol well knows, and with the club sitting rock bottom of the Premier League with only two points from seven games, they will not be afraid to pick up the axe once more and strike down another failed manager.
Ramos will point to Tottenham’s lack of quality strikers as a reason for the recent disappointments, following the summer departures of key forwards Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov, but fans and directors do not take kindly to excuses, even if they have some justification. The football industry is one of the most ruthless around for managers.
Ramos may not have control of the club’s signings, for which Damien Comolli holds responsibility, but the manager is the first person to face the blame when results go wrong and it will no different in this case. Comolli may not have done his job well, as Tottenham only brought in Fraizer Capmbell on loan in the summer to replace Keane and Berbatov, but there is no doubt that he will keep his job longer than Ramos if teams like Hull continue to beat the club in their own back yard.
The fans are the only people who will be able to sway the decision of the board if the losses carry on, and if they fully support Ramos then the directors and executives upstairs may have to consider the decision. The supporters were behind Martin Jol at this stage last season though and look where he ended up.
If Ramos had expressed his displeasure at the works of director of football Damien Comolli then perhaps the board would have more sympathy of the Spaniard’s struggles. But the fact that he seems to hold no grudges against the man who failed to do his job properly in the summer, when he did not recoup the quality lost in Berbatov and Keane, means Ramos must be satisfied with how the club is being run at the moment. And if he is at ease with things behind the scenes then continuously poor results will not be tolerated.
If Ramos was to point the finger at Comolli though, which would be more than justifiable, then the board would have to consider sacking the director of football. He sold the club’s two best players before bringing in an inexperienced loan signing from Hull City to replace them. Comolli has not been good enough in his job so far, so he deserves the sack if Ramos is to also be axed.
It is very difficult for a football club to be run properly when the manager does not have the final say on transfers to and from the club, and Kevin Keegan and Alan Curbishly have both walked away from their respective Premier League jobs already this season for not having that last word. Particularly for the high-profile clubs in England’s top division, having a director of football usually ends in tears. Frankly, an owner appointing one is almost writing off the season ahead.
But the manager is the one who coaches the team, picks the side and decides the tactics that will be employed in each game. The manager is the person really behind the footballing side of the club, and it is the footballing side that Tottenham are currently struggling with, unfortunately for Ramos. Whether or not Comolli has performed poorly in his director of football role, Ramos will be the forefront of the criticism. The manager always is.
Football is not kind to underperforming managers these days, and Tottenham’s board add even more chance of a dismissal for Ramos such is their ruthlessness. Results must improve very soon, or the winner of two UEFA Cups will be wishing he stayed in sunny Spain.