Spurs hint at 'imaginative' replacement for Hoddle

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The Independent Football

Daniel Levy, the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, has accused managers of "posturing and jockeying" to replace Glenn Hoddle, whom he sacked two weeks ago. In his first statement since the decision, Levy said he had not "formally" approached anyone to take up the post. "So to suggest we have been turned down by anyone is nonsense."

In an open letter to Spurs fans in today's match programme for the fixture against Everton, he added: "There has been media coverage about likely successors, with comment from many sources, including agents and senior management at other clubs. All this serves to produce is unnecessary and unhelpful speculation.

"This is no doubt set to continue and I would ask you all to be circumspect. It is not ideal having a change of manager mid-season and as a club we are extremely fortunate to have someone of David Pleat's abilities to step in and seamlessly take over as caretaker manager."

Hoddle was sacked two years into the job as manager at White Hart Lane after a run of six wins in 23 games since January and with growing unease over his style and tactics. "I was determined to give Glenn every chance of success," claimed Levy, who sanctioned £12m in spending over the summer.

Pleat, who will take charge of his third game today in what is his third spell as caretaker manager, appeared to distance himself from taking up the position permanently. "I feel I am the director of football acting as the caretaker," he said. "And as the caretaker, somehow the pressure is less. I think the pressure would be slightly more intense if you knew you were the permanent manager and knew you were fully dependent on results."

Pleat said he felt sure that Hoddle would find another job in management. "It can work out at some clubs and not at others," he said. He added that he did not know how long he would be in charge for or what the timetable was to try and appoint Spurs' 10th manager in 19 years. "Fortunately in my role as director of football we have some stability throughout the club," he said.

Despite Levy's comments, the Spurs board has started the process of finding a new manager. Top of their list remains Celtic's Martin O'Neill, although it is unclear whether or not he would accept Pleat working above him, and Pleat is close to Levy. Graeme Souness - who further distanced himself from the job yesterday - and Alan Curbishley are also being considered.

The Charlton Athletic manager is one who has studiously avoided ruling himself out of the running, while the former Barcelona coach Raddy Antic - who played for Pleat during the early Eighties - has expressed an interest.

"A few other managers have been receiving media attention but at the moment there have been no discussions with anyone," Pleat insisted. He then suggested other names were being discussed. "You may have to have a bit of imagination," he told reporters. "You'll be surprised at the amount of people who revere a job such as this."

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