It won’t be a Happy Christmas for two more managers in the Barclays Premier League after Steve Clarke and Andre Villas-Boas got their marching orders.
I don’t know who Spurs are going to appoint but I know for sure that the fans seem to favour Glenn Hoddle. If you’re going to get anyone in there to galvanise supporters right away you won’t get better. He’s been an international manager, has developed youth players through his coaching and was idolised at White Hart Lane as a player.
Granted, he said a few silly things in his time as England boss that he regrets now – but who hasn’t made a mistake in their lives? It has probably cost him jobs in the past so he’s already paid a price for his opinions.
Spurs fans want entertaining football. They hated George Graham because he played boring football. Spurs fans don’t want that. They want their side winning 4-3 or 5-4 and don’t give a shit about tight defensive formations.
Glenn Hoddle can bring that because he’s a positive fella.
I see it at Goodison Park. Look at the job Roberto Martinez has done at Everton. He’s turned the club inside-out despite having no affiliation playing-wise with the Toffees. Hoddle wouldn’t even need to do that. He was revered there as a player and knows the traditions.
Spurs fans just want open, attractive, attacking football. This season they’ve been bland, slow and methodical, and that type of football reflected AVB’s management. He came across as someone who, if it couldn’t be used on the tactics board – he didn’t want to know.
An abundance of riches and it was just boring football. I wouldn’t have trusted him with £100m.
If Spurs had a right go against Liverpool and still got beat even 5-1 there would have been a lot more forgiveness. Tim Sherwood’s tried to give it a go was a little unlucky against West Ham in his first game in charge. But if Spurs are thinking longer term they need to get Hoddle in.
On song with the Swans
Roberto Martinez has brought a different mentality to the team this year. He doesn’t go out thinking ‘don’t get beat’. He sends his team out to try to win.
I don’t know anybody who’s changed the fans’ opinion of going to a game so much. I’ve been at games last season and the season before and people are going ‘Ah f**king hell, we might get a draw out of this.’ Everton would score and David Moyes took a player off to defend a lead.
But now there’s a proper philosophy and he’s using the history of the club to push the players forward. Some managers – Brendan Rodgers does this at Liverpool as well – embrace a club’s history. Others don’t want to know because they’re afraid of being judged by it. Martinez is a sensible fella and tries to use it.
The goalscorers get all the credit in the game but Gareth Barry has been the key to Everton’s revival this season.
He sits in the middle it gives the rest of the team licence to kick on and get forward. Some people call players like Barry the ‘Dogs of War’ because the do the shitty and unglamorous jobs. But Barry is more than that.
He’s a players’ player. Their team-mates know the job they do for the side. It opens up the pitch for the rest of the team to play and his pass completion rate is very good too. It keeps the team ticking over. Barry is as good a sitting midfield player in the Premier League as anyone’s got.
He’s ideal for Everton. Young players like Ross Barkley and James McCarthy probably don’t appreciate the job he does because they’re inexperienced.
But Barry’s performances give them licence to shine. If I was an England supporter I’d be calling for Gareth Barry in the national side. He senses the danger and he’s the best Everton have had at what he does for a long time. He’s the gatekeeper and makes things happen.
Everton haven’t lost in 17 games to Swansea and I don’t expect that to change this Sunday. I always liked playing against the Swans because they let you play. And when teams do that you’ve always got a chance. If Everton get off to a winning start this weekend – and I think they will – it could be the start of a very good Christmas campaign for the club.