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Tottenham chairman Alan Sugar
"There's not really been many high points, so to speak"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 08:20 GMT
Sugar's bittersweet reign
Alan Sugar
Sugar steps down after nine years at the helm
BBC Sport Online's Peter Sanderson looks at the turbulent reign of Sir Alan Sugar on the day he steps down as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur.

You could forgive Alan Sugar for renaming Tottenham's ground White Hart Strain after his troubled tenure as Spurs chairman.

Most footballing romances end in tears - and the "Sugar years" have been through more than their fair share of tissue boxes since he began his reign in 1991.

No fewer than five different managers have taken charge during Sugar's nine-year stint at the helm.

Terry Venables, Ossie Ardiles, Gerry Francis, Christian Gross all came and went while current incumbent George Graham is just about hanging on.


1991: Alan Sugar teams up with Terry Venables to assume control of FA Cup winners Tottenham.

Following a protracted take-over battle with Robert Maxwell, Sugar eventually succeeds in buying out Irving Scholar.

1992: Venables takes a step back from the day-to-day football business by becoming managing director of the club. He appoints Peter Shreeves as first team coach.

The club reach the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup before losing to Feyenoord over the two legs.

1993: Sugar causes a sensation by sacking Venables on the eve of Arsenal's FA Cup final with Sheffield Wednesday.

Spurs hero Ossie Ardiles is installed as the new manager and is a popular choice with the fans.

1994: Sugar gives Ardiles the green light to sign Romanian duo Ilie Dumitrescu and Gica Popescu as well as German superstar Jurgen Klinsmann.

Gerry Francis
Francis: Lasted three years
Despite Tottenham's powerful forward line, their defence leaks goals. Ardiles eventually pays the price and is replaced in November by Gerry Francis.

Sugar wins an appeal against a six-point penalty imposed because of financial irregularities. The club are also reinstated in the FA Cup.

1995: Klinsmann announces he is quitting the club at the end of the season, sparking a war of words between the striker and the chairman.

1996: Francis stabilises matters on the pitch and a late run in the league sees Spurs narrowly miss out on a place in Europe.

1997: A poor start to the new season sees injury-ravaged Spurs struggling at the wrong end of the table.

There is more trouble for Sugar when Francis resigns. Christian Gross is chosen to succeed Francis, with Sugar hailing the Swiss unknown as the man to take Spurs into the next millennium.

Sugar stuns the soccer world by signing Klinsmann for a second spell in a bid to help steer the club clear of relegation.

1998: Klinsmann keeps Spurs in the Premiership but leaves at the end of the season after another public fall-out, this time with Gross.

Sugar comes under pressure to resign. The chairman then sacks Gross, appointing former Arsenal manager George Graham as the new boss at White Hart Lane.

1999: Graham steadies the ship and delivers Sugar the first trophy of his turbulent reign, when Tottenham beat Leicester 1-0 in the final of the Worthington Cup.

2000: Sugar backs Graham by making money available. The manager breaks the club's transfer record by signing Ukrainian striker Sergei Rebrov from Dynamo Kiev for 11m.

French superstar and fans' favourite David Ginola signs for Aston Villa.

Sugar comes under more pressure to quit. He eventually announces he is selling up to leisure group ENIC.

2001: Sugar steps down days after winning a libel case against the Daily Mail.

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See also:

24 Feb 01 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Sugar relieved to step down
03 Feb 01 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs owners keep Graham in dark
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