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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 12:03 GMT
Spurs heading for troubled waters

By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Tottenham's sporting director Frank Arnesen
At Spurs, it seems that while Jacques Santini, and now Martin Jol, may be the manager, it is Arnesen (above) who is bringing the players in
Spurs asked for big trouble when they appointed their new management team in the summer - so it is perhaps no surprise they have now got big trouble.

Name one instance in the history of British football where the appointment of a director of football has worked - the answer is "never".

And yet Spurs have not only gone down this road once, they've done it twice and are now stuck with a management set-up that has, at best, a very chequered history.

If Spurs wanted to appoint one of the leading managerial contenders to this job rather than current coach Martin Jol, namely a Martin O'Neill or Gordon Strachan, they wouldn't have gone within 100 miles of it in its current form.

This is because if they did, the likelihood would be that Spurs would then have to sack sporting director Frank Arnesen, new boss Jol and probably some of the coaching staff as well.

They can't afford to do that - and I must stress my criticism is not of Arnesen or Jol, but of the system they are working within.

If a director of football is to be appointed, he has to be appointed by the manager, not the other way around.

The players in the dressing room need to know who is in charge. The most important thing is communication between the manager and players and then clarity over the whole system.

Any team that has had serious success in this country has never had a director of football

In Spurs' case, it seems that while Jacques Santini, and now Jol, may be the manager, it is Arnesen who is bringing the players in.

There was much media speculation that Michael Carrick was an Arnesen buy rather than Santini's. This can't be right.

This is what puzzles me about Spurs.

The director of football system caused problems when David Pleat was there with George Graham and then Glenn Hoddle.

It didn't work then - so where is the logic behind doing it again and financially hand-cuffing yourself to the format?

The warning signs were there before, but Spurs have chosen to ignore them.

The only time I can recall this being anywhere near a success was when Kenny Dalglish took over at Liverpool.

Kenny was asked if he'd like Bob Paisley to work with him as an advisor. This is exactly what Bob was - an advisor.

New Spurs manager Martin Jol
Will Spurs' players recognise Jol as the man in charge?
If Kenny needed advice he would ask Bob for it. Bob would never suggest anything unless Kenny asked him. The manager was in complete charge.

Bob was also never a go-between for the boardroom and the dressing room, so Kenny was never looking over his shoulder wondering if Bob would say anything to directors that might be implied as a criticism.

Indeed, Bob's years of experience at Liverpool told him that when things went wrong, this was even more the time to keep your mouth shut rather than say anything.

The successful clubs have had managers who have controlled everything - not been controlled by directors of football.

Look at the names. Bob Paisley, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger. All in total control of playing affairs and not a director of football in sight.

The result. Their clubs were successful.

If you bring in a foreign manager within the director of football system, then you are asking for trouble

Any team that has had serious success in this country has never had a director of football.

It's different on the continent, where they get rid of coaches after three bad results, the director of football stays and the clubs move on to the next candidate.

Here the successful clubs can be identified by the longevity of their managers.

This is why I still believe clubs take a chance bringing in a foreign manager.

There have been fantastic successes like Wenger, but if you bring in a foreign manager within the director of football system, then you are asking for trouble in my opinion.

Arjen Robben
Robben made the difference in Chelsea's win over Everton
Listening to Spurs fans on Saturday it was a case of "Disillusioned of north London" all round.

The fans are not excited, and they also know Jol is Arnesen's man so where's the power?

If players think power lies with the director of football rather than the manager, then I'm not saying the manager's position is exactly a waste of time in the dressing room, but it will be unbelievably difficult.

Spurs got off to a great start, but a couple more defeats and they are going to be in a real dogfight.

I believe they have made a major error with this system - time will tell but I'm hardly optimistic.

I certainly believe it will get worse before it gets better.

And there is a real test on Saturday when Arsenal come to White Hart Lane. A result and performance of any kind buys time, but a heavy beating doesn't bear thinking about after the recent upheaval.

Chelsea on course

All the more galling for Spurs is the current success of Chelsea, putting them firmly in third place in the capital behind Arsenal and Jose Mourinho's side.

There was criticism of how Chelsea shunted out Claudio Ranieri, but removing and then choosing a manager is a seminal moment in a club's history.

Chelsea got it right whereas Spurs got it horribly wrong.

I still fancy Chelsea for the title, especially after they ground out a win against an Everton side who have surprised everyone this season, incuding myself.

Everton stood toe-to-toe with Chelsea, showing magnificent fight and organisation, but Arjen Robben was the difference between the sides and they took the sort of gritty three points potential champions can grind out.

The added dimension Robben brings only increases my belief that Chelsea could finally be ready to end their long wait for a title.

Spurs can only dream of such glory - especially while they continue to employ their current management set-up.

It may be trendy in some quarters, but I've always preferred successful to trendy.

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