Sir Alex Ferguson is regarded as not just the Premier League’s but, arguably, world football’s best ever manager and he has the honours to back that up – the 76-year-old won the English top flight 13 times and the Champions League twice with Manchester United before retiring in 2013.
The Red Devils were then faced with the enormous task of finding a replacement who could bring them even a smidgen of the success they found under the Scotsman, such were his achievements in his 27-year tenure – they have not done so as of yet.
There is little doubt that the 12-time FA Cup winners miss the man who brought Cristiano Ronaldo to the Prem, as they currently sit seventh in the standings and are, a surely insurmountable, 13 points adrift of leaders and rivals Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho, currently the man in charge, has struggled to produce, in particular this season, the high standards of performance and good results which have seen him garner a reputation as one of the best in the game. The Portuguese has thus far failed to muster bite on the pitch to match his bark off of it and speculation over who will replace him when his time does eventually run out is rife.
One of the names linked is Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino, who has established himself and his team as one of the most consistent around – rarely under the Argentine have we seen the north London club’s standards slip too far.
The 46-year-old could be the best manager that the Premier League has had to offer since Sir Alex but he may need to take a step up to prove his world class quality to those who doubt it. There is a paradox to be confronted here as the latter’s success is defined by what he won, while the former is yet to guide any of his teams to a cup or league title – however, are we entering an era where a manager’s pedigree cannot be measured by the shine of their trophy cabinet but by their proportionate accomplishments with the resources available to them?
Indeed, where the former Southampton chief has taken Spurs to, from where they were when he succeeded Tim Sherwood in 2014, should be commended and how he can be dismissed for not taking his side right to the top is baffling.
The Pep Guardiolas of the world are brilliant football minds, there is no doubt, but giving them what are seemingly limitless funds to build a team which suits their philosophy to a tee should more or less guarantee glory and therefore comparing a manager’s quality by using the table or trophies is highly misleading.
Poch has a net spend of just £50m at Spurs in four years while Guardiola has spent over £530m since his arrival at the Etihad in 2016. The difference in resources is enormous and, while the latter has the budget to buy more or less ready-made stars, the former has bought shrewdly and developed the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen into some of Europe’s best players.
What the Lilywhites could achieve if their boss was handed a war chest even half the size of that of either Manchester club we can only imagine as we will likely never see that stride be taken. There is, however, hope for the White Hart Lane faithful as a new home ground nears completion and fingers will be crossed that this expenditure on facilities will be mirrored in the transfer market but, if not, they may have to say goodbye to the manager who has got them to this point in the first place.
Pochettino can be the best we have seen since Fergie but whether he can truly assert himself as such may unfortunately depend on whether he abandons his Spurs project and moves on to a club that can financially match his ambition.
Playmaker FC’s Theo Ogden was at Wembley to witness Spurs’ dramatic second half comeback against PSV. Watch the drama unfold in the video below…