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By Henry Tribe
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Tottenham blogger Henry Tribe looks back on Juande Ramos’ time at White Hart Lane as the Spaniard, who is now in charge of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, prepares to face his former club in the Europa League tomorrow.
He was in charge of Spurs for two days short of a year, and many regard his time at Tottenham as a forgettable interlude in between the successes of the Martin Jol and Harry Redknapp eras.
What you cannot deny is that Juande Ramos is the only Tottenham manager in the last seven to win a trophy – and that should not be dismissed lightly. Just ask Arsene Wenger.
My own memories of him are mixed. He was brought in as the Spanish saviour following the undignified sacking of Jol - an episode I still think of as one the darkest in the Daniel Levy reign.
The game against Getafe was one of the strangest ones I can remember, as rumours spread around the stadium that Jol had already been sacked.
A man who had led us to two consecutive fifth-placed finishes, and was enormously popular with the fans, deserved better.
But Levy craved Champions League football and in his mind Jol had taken us as far as he could. Perhaps he was right.
Ramos came in on big wages and with a good European pedigree, having won the UEFA cup in the previous two seasons, and he set about trying to turn around our terrible start to the season.
He overhauled the diets of the players, and ketchup was famously banned at the training ground. His more authoritarian approach seemed to work initially and none of us will forget the 5-1 mauling of Arsenal in the League Cup semi-final.
He didn’t just break the hoodoo, he smashed it. We hadn’t beaten Arsenal for eight years, and we’ve not lost to Arsenal at home in the Premier League since.
Being there to watch Spurs beat a very good Chelsea team at the new Wembley remains my best moment as a Spurs fan - and the fact we came from behind and scored an injury-time winner was the icing on the cake.
Ramos had an abundance of riches up from with Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe but his downfall was a lack of decent, fit centre-backs.
No-one doubted the quality of Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate, but I think that final was pretty much the only time they ever played together!
We won just three league games between the cup final and the end of the season. Then there were the summer sales of Keane and Berbatov, which he can’t be blamed for. And, when Roman Pavlyuchenko was signed as the replacement for the best strike partnership we’d had in the Premier League era, it’s no wonder we infamously only got two points from the first eight games of the 2008/09 campaign.
When he returns to the Lane next Thursday we should applaud Ramos for delivering us a trophy, but without sounding flippant that’s all he achieved.
‘Arry came in and showed that a squad of predominantly British players liked an arm around the shoulder, being told to express themselves on the pitch, and the occasional dollop of ketchup.
Five years later, perhaps AVB should have taken note.