EXCLUSIVE: How Pochettino lost the power struggle against Levy
EXCLUSIVE: How Mauricio Pochettino lost the Tottenham power struggle: Boss blew his top after Daniel Levy refused to spend £80,000 for training pitch cameras… before Amazon were allowed full access to his office for tell-all documentary
- Mauricio Pochettino wanted cameras installed at Tottenham’s training ground
- He even offered to personally pay for the cameras but Daniel Levy refused
- Amazon were allowed to install similar fixed cameras in Pochettino’s office
- Jose Mourinho replaced Pochettino on a £15m-a-year deal on Wednesday
By the end of his time at Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino felt like a tenant trapped in the house of a controlling landlord after failing to read the small print on his contract.
The club’s problems on the pitch were the result of a long list of issues off the field that had restricted the Argentine’s power to make even the most minutiae of decisions on a daily basis.
In July, as players returned for pre-season training, Pochettino wanted to install fixed cameras on the training pitches at Tottenham’s training ground to record sessions, only for Daniel Levy to refuse to pay for the £80,000 cost.
Mauricio Pochettino lost his power struggle against Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy
Pochettino wanted fixed cameras installed at the training ground but Levy did not sanction it
The Argentine even offered to pay for the cameras himself but Levy again refused his request
Amazon were allowed to install fixed cameras in Pochettino’s office for a new documentary
Such was the Argentine’s desire to add them to his arsenal of surveillance, he offered to pay for them out of his own pocket only for Levy to refuse to grant him permission to buy them. This was his house and only he was allowed to change the fixtures and fittings.
The power games continued as Levy proceeded to accept a £10million offer from Amazon to record a fly on the wall documentary series documenting the club’s season.
As part of the agreement, fixed cameras were installed in Pochettino’s office — not dissimilar to those he had requested to film training sessions — to record every second of the Argentine’s day inside the one room at the club he considered to be his personal sanctuary.
Compare this to Pochettino’s freedom at Southampton, where the 47-year-old had been able to completely change the club’s approach to sports science. In his first weeks in charge at St Mary’s, he flew the club’s backroom staff out to Barcelona, where he showed them a new method of training which dispensed of the use of weights.
Instead, players would increase their strength on the pitch through a series of exercises which involved attaching a cord around their waist and performing movements against resistance.
It was a progressive environment that encouraged swift and healthy change. The staff bought into his new ideas and Pochettino won the early trust of his players, notably Adam Lallana.
The midfielder, whose speed of thought had always helped him to beat players rather than any genetic physical gifts, felt the new approach had given him an extra yard of pace to beat opponents over short distances.
The autonomy afforded to Pochettino had enabled him to bring about immediate cultural change and performances on the pitch soon followed.
Levy decided to dispense of Pochettino’s services to sign free agent Jose Mourinho
At Spurs, his attempts to implement change were slowed by the chain of command he was forced to go through every time he wanted to make even the smallest of tweaks.
As manager, he was merely considered the head of the playing department, and all requests related to first team matters to Levy were to go through the club’s head of football operations, Rebecca Caplehorn, who sits above five heads of department, of which Pochettino was just one. Her remit is to run the club on a daily basis and communicate messages between department heads and Levy.
A key part of her role is also to deal with recruitment and contract renewals for players and staff alongside the Spurs chairman, which posed another roadblock for Pochettino and his quest for change over the summer.
After Tottenham’s run to the Champions League final last season, Pochettino had been eager to conduct a fire-sale of players he knew had no intention of staying at the club and could walk away for nothing at the end of the season.
Pochettino had to liaise with head of football operations Rebecca Caplehorn for certain issues
He informed Levy that Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were to be sold while Spurs could still command value for the trio in the transfer market and in the hope it would provide funds to reinvest in a rebuilding of a squad that was at risk of becoming stagnant.
Pochettino’s request was discussed between Levy and Caplehorn, who made the decision that all three players were to remain at the club, even if it meant losing them for free. That decision was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
As the three most experienced players in the squad, the trio carry great influence and effectively run the Tottenham dressing room. The negativity caused by their desire to leave has spread like a virus among the rest of the squad and resulted in their disastrous start to the season.
It also caused a terminal shift in Pochettino’s mindset as he surrendered to the fact that he would never have the freedom or power to make the necessary changes to take Tottenham forward again. He was merely a tenant living in his landlord’s house and his tenancy had come to an end.
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