When Arsenal appointed Arsene Wenger you it wouldn't be long before north London rivals Spurs followed suit. Unfortunately, while the Gunners went on to win countless trophies under the Frenchman, Tottenham's decision to turn to Swiss boss Christian Gross almost took them down.
Continuing our week-long theme of managers who were in the right place at the wrong time, we've already looked at AVB at Chelsea and Roy Hodgson at Liverpool, today I'm going to take a look at Tottenham's Christian Gross.
CHRISTAN GROSS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
NOVEMBER 1997 - SEPTEMBER 1998
The CV: Swiss boss Christan Gross cut his managerial teeth at Grasshoppers of Zurich. Gross was an instant hit as the Hoppers won two domestic League
The Nightmare: Spurs
were in dire straits when Gross took the helm. A poor start to
the season had signalled the end of Gerry Francis' reign. Gross was a
surprise choice to fill the White Hart Lane hot seat. Outside
Switzerland few people had heard of the new Tottenham manager. Ironically Arsenal had provided the blue print for the bold
appointment. In 1996 the Gunners had taken a punt on a little
known Frenchman. A year later Arsene Wenger's Arsenal won the double. Spurs chairman hoped that Gross could
reproduce that success across town.
Gross had the shortest of managerial honeymoons. His introductory press conference was an unmitigated disaster. Having arrived late the new boss suddenly
produced a tube ticket from his jacket pocket. Gross proudly announced
"This is my ticket to dreams." Sugar later admitted the alarm bells had
already begun to ring. The incident was more akin to a scene from 'Mike
Bassett England manager' then the unveiling of a Premier League manager.
maybe things would improve on the pitch. That hope was in tatters when
Chelsea won 6-1 at the Lane. The following week Coventry City handed out
a 4-0 hammering at Highfield Road. Spurs continued to struggle during a
torrid season. With the drop looming Jurgen Klinsmann returned on
loan. The Spurs legend arrived in the a nick of time. A flurry of
Klinsmann goals saw Tottemham finish 14th.
The new found optimism didn't last. Tottenham lost the first three league games of the 1997-98 season. In preparation for a later life Lord Sugar uttered those two little words "You're Fired"
Iconic Moment: That press conference.
What Happened Next? The
Spurs experience would have broken most men, but Christan Gross had
the last laugh. He returned to Switzerland and quickly re-established
his tarnished reputation. In 2011 Gross's FC Basel knocked Manchester
United out of the Champions League. Not bad for a Tottenham flop.
Tomorrow we will take a look at Mike Walker's torrid spell at Everton in the mid-90s.