Football: Which Herr is out of place at Spurs?

Norman Fox looks at the Gross-Klinsmann power struggle that has split a struggling club

SO just who is running Tottenham Hotspur and can they save the great, stumbling giant from falling out of the Premiership, with all of the financial problems that will cause?

Jurgen Klinsmann is believed to be more influential off the pitch than he has been on it. His comeback was never going to be much more than a cosmetic face-saver for a team too frail to support a striker of once commanding skill. Many fans thought the real motive was to guarantee that the German would be available to take over as coach next season. But now he says he will not be staying.

Klinsmann cites differences of opinion with the still comparatively new Swiss coach, Christian Gross, whose own success rate at Spurs so far is not much better than his player's. Anyone listening to Gross after matches can hear that he is not given to lightening the atmosphere whereas Klinsmann's quick wit and ability to speak the players' own language has obviously made him the one they would rather listen to, if only on the basis of his affection for the club which admittedly must come easily for someone bought at a cost of some pounds 40,000 a week.

Nevertheless, over the last few weeks the rest of the team have begun to turn against Klinsmann; there have even been suggestions that he is here to exploit the rewards and does little to form an understanding with Les Ferdinand. Obviously, though, the serious injury he suffered last month has to be taken into account when judging his value to the side, which so far amounts to one League goal.

In the background there is David Pleat, the director of football without much input into the direction the club is going. Pleat, though, is the key figure in the whole problem. Whereas Alan Sugar can only preside over the mess and, perhaps, throw in more money as a last desperate attempt to get the necessary points, Pleat has the knowledge and the contacts to do more practical things - if asked.

The chances are that the club will allow Gross to stay, at least until Spurs are either safe or sunk. It would be pointless making another change at this late stage and, in any case, recently the side have shown greater determination. However, at Leeds on Wednesday the old doubts re-emerged as they again struggled to raise meaningful attacks and finally relied almost entirely on David Ginola's shooting from distance, which was poor.

But when the time comes for change, Sugar may well find that if Pleat himself is not put in the frame, he will recommend others, probably including his friend Raddy Antic, now manager of Atletico Madrid. Whether Spurs supporters would be prepared to accept another foreign manager is another matter.

With only nine Premiership games remaining and the team fourth from the bottom, Gross must get the best out of a squad permanently weakened by injuries. That means making Ginola (the subject of Klinsmann's row with Gross) the catalyst. He is the only outstandingly skilful member of a side who seriously lack midfield creativity and resilience. Only by giving him the freedom to take a latter-day Glenn Hoddle role will Gross appease the traditional Spurs supporters, who always want to see the side play their way out of trouble, and perhaps eke out the last dregs of what attacking strength may remain with Klinsmann.

The German himself has confided that he began to make his opinions known, even though they conflicted with those of Gross, because Sugar suggested that with the side in difficulties there was a need to use his experience tactically. The exact role Ginola should play was the crux of the conflict between the two.

Klinsmann now says that for the rest of the season he will concentrate on his game, which may come as a relief to his coach, but the chances are that the only thing that will save Gross personally will be a run of victories. To judge by everything that has happened since the departure of Gerry Francis, that scenario is highly unlikely.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map