It was ten years ago that Christian Gross took over from Gerry Francis at Spurs and the Guardian’s Paul Doyle analyses the “sneer campaign” that plagued the Swiss manager, saying that:
“‘Christian Gross’ entered the footballing lexicon as shorthand for ‘clueless continental clown who couldn’t guide goats to grass let alone a football team to glory’. Even now if an English club hires an unheralded coach from overseas, fans will mutter with a shudder: ‘let’s hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Christian Gross’.
During his tenure at Spurs, Paul Doyle reckons that Gross was consistently undermined even though he did “a respectable job.” Doyle continues:
“They were 16th in the table after 14 matches, just one point off the relegation zone. Everton and Bolton, the two teams directly beneath them, each had a game in hand. For his first match in charge, Gross took a Spurs side that had lost four in a row to Goodison Park and won 2-0, though even this ultimately counted against him, thickening the ever-intoxicating fumes of past glories as fans feverishly recalled that double mastermind Bill Nicholson had also opened his Spurs career with a win over Everton (by 10-4, no less).”
The problem with Gross was the players mental fragility which flowed over from the Gerry Francis regime, in their next game they were drawing 1-1 with Chelsea at half time but when on to lose 6-1(!) – Gross was forced to come to terms with the fact that the injury-prone confidence-free players he inherited wouldn’t be able to ape the up tempo style of Grasshoppers Zurich.
Finally this lack of tracking back and basic fitness was remedied, as shown in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal, and the resurgence of Ginola – a player that Doyle claims was transformed by Gross. Doyle also compares the prudent signings by Gross with the dosh spent by
“Francis, who had been splurged £30m on a slew of flops during his three-year stint”
So has Gross been the victim of a smear campaign when Gerry Francis is really to blame? Doyle certainly thinks so, saying that:
“A team that had been in freefall thus finished the season on a high, losing only one of their last nine. But that wasn’t enough for Spurs fans, whose delusions of grandeur were aggravated by the frustration of watching Arsenal do the double. Sugar should have known better, but didn’t: and just three games into the new season, after a summer in which Gross had been allowed to buy just one player, the Swiss was shown the door. Sugar weakly wibbled that his ongoing mauling in the media made his position untenable – the very excuse at which Sugar had snorted when Francis used it 10 months previously.”
Gizza your thoughts!