Freund with Benefits

by The Fighting Cock


Ok, so Steffen Freund then. Erstwhile Spurs midfield enforcer of the late 90s – quite a rare breed in itself in those times – wherein his path crossed with George ‘brown paper bag’ Graham. Freund was able to add to a relatively modest yet not completely insignificant tally of titles and footballing achievements (2 Bundesliga and one UEFA Champions’ League) with a Worthington Cup win in 1999 at the hands of the mighty Leicester City.

In a weird arc away from the hero of the piece, the aforementioned arthritic former-woolworths gaffer was dismissed from his job at Spurs following what he later described as a ‘flimsy’ excuse given by the then Non-executive Vice-chairman, David Buchler. After appointing David Pleat in a caretaker role, the new Spurs owners produced none other than Lane Legend Glenn Hoddle to sit in the manager’s chair, much to the delight of pretty much anybody who had ever watched, played for or otherwise supported the North Londoners.

Hoddle was sacked in September 2003 following a less-than-stellar stint and at much the same time the East German maestro bid his farewells to White Hart Lane. The club clearly held much appeal though, and he has routinely been seen back in the stands with his son, colours and everything. The Pleat cardboard cut-out was rolled out again in the time between Hoddle’s departure and the installation of Jacques Santini (with ‘Big’ Martin Jol as his assistant).

Clearly Messrs. Levy and Lewis are nigh-on desperate for the club to be successful but do not underestimate the importance to the fans of a manager with some form of connection to Tottenham Hotspur.

In a second departure from the principal thread, the Graham-Pleat-Hoddle-Pleat-Santini-Jol sequence illustrates a pattern that seemingly repeats under the current owners thus: Clearly Messrs. Levy and Lewis are nigh-on desperate for the club to be successful but do not underestimate the importance to the fans of a manager with some form of connection to Tottenham Hotspur. Ergo, they rid themselves of Graham and install Hoddle. When he loses his marbles they resort to a renowned tactician in Santini and inadvertently unearth a gem in Martin Jol, who neatly fits both bills for some years, narrowly missing out on the much-coveted ‘Legend’ status as a result of some dodgy pasta. Following the pattern then, in comes Juande Ramos with Gus Poyet in tow – again attempting to cover all the bases – but when it goes all Tango Uniform the panic move inexplicably brings Harry Redknapp trolling up from Southampton.

I’m not saying that Herr Freund is destined to be an unmitigated short-term tokenist appointment to balance out the supposed tactical genuis of a former chav$ki flop…but…one has to observe that the post-playing career accomplishments of the man are – at best – understated. From the top then: Qualified as a coach in May 2009 having served as assistant head coach of the German U20 team , followed by assistant manager of the Nigerian national team (under Berti Vogts). Following his qualification he was appointed as the German U16 manager and a year later took over the U17 team which finished second in the 2011 U17 European Championship and third in the U17 World Cup.

Solid? Yes. Impressive? Not earth-shatteringly.

What cannot be denied is that Steffen has served every conceivable apprenticeship in advance of this job and has earned his shot both on a technical and historical basis, having publicly displayed his affection for the club. It is difficult to argue against his passion for Spurs but one does worry in case the New Dream Team endures a torrid baptism and *the cycle* is repeated.

[author name=”Reptile_16″ avatar=”” tag=”reptile_16[/linequote]


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