Season Highlights: Tottenham Fire Mauricio Pochettino & Hire Jose Mourinho in Manic 12 Hours

By Sean Walsh
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It all happened so quickly. It was all a blur. You couldn't believe it was happening.

The Club can today announce that Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez have been relieved of their duties...

It didn't feel real. To this day, it still kind of doesn't. How could it be real?

...Daniel Levy said: "We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the Board has taken lightly, nor in haste...

It felt a bit like grief. But it couldn't be, could it? You can't grieve a manager getting sacked, surely?

"...We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters.”

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It was the end of an era, the end of Tottenham's most successful period since the 1980s, since the days of Glenn Hoddle and Steve Perryman, Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa. Even Paul Gascoigne's chapter didn't match the excitement that Mauricio Pochettino brought to White Hart Lane (and sometimes Wembley).

But now it was just history. Whatever feeling Spurs fans had about the Argentine by the time November 2019 rolled around, it was the end of something, an era built on human emotion, intertwining each part of the football club, rebuilding a bond that had been broken by the mistrust of previous regimes, rebuilding a stadium to get closer to the elite.

Tottenham's response to their poor start to the season - they were 14th upon Pochettino's departure - was cold, ruthless, acting like the super-club they aspire to be. Their farewell was extended to one statement, largely just quotes from Levy. There would be no compilations on their social media pages, no thank-yous, no further show of appreciation for the man who inflated Spurs to a position where they thought they could behave this way.

Fans - Spurs or otherwise - were coming to grips with the news. In this age of football, it's normal to expect managerial change, but Pochettino had been at the club for five-and-a-half years, and his job looked one of the safest in the Premier League regardless of indifferent start. Pochettino himself felt assured that he would be given more time.

But before anyone could even properly digest what the hell just happened, before the columns and think-pieces could be written about it, Spurs had made their next move. News of Pochettino's sacking came at 19:34 on 19 November, and Mourinho was revealed as his successor at 6:33 the following morning.

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It's not implausible that a Tottenham fan somewhere in the world went to bed thinking Pochettino's job was safe and woke up to Mourinho being unveiled. You'd feel a lot like that meme of Mr Krabs in a daze, right?

As day broke and the sun rose over the cold streets of north London, Spurs had definitively made the bold move to enter this new era. There was no going back. If building a billion-pound stadium is the prologue in their self-written book on how to become a huge club, then hiring Mourinho is chapter one. Pochettino's pages were amended and added to the acknowledgements section.

People wouldn't have cared about the news if the new head coach was Eddie Howe or Nuno Espirito Santo. Effectively, it would have taken Spurs back off the footballing map for a while. Levy had two wishes granted - Tottenham Hotspur were the talk of the town, and Mourinho was his man to lead them.

Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

It wouldn't even matter how the Portuguese would fare over the coming months. As long as he was at the helm, Spurs as a story weren't going away, Spurs as a club would always find a way to be mentioned. For all of Pochettino's success from within the club, there were only two real periods where they were the story to the rest of the world - the 'Battle of the Bridge' and the Champions League semi-final against Ajax.

Mourinho brought the closest thing to a guarantee of being front-page news, even if that meant eventually leaving with an IOU.

No other 12 hour stretch in Tottenham's history threatened to change the course of the club as much as this one. Levy hoped it would breathe new life into Spurs' season, and it certainly gave the Premier League a much-needed new narrative to feast on.