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On this Day in 2004: Tottenham choose Jacques Santini

UK & international sports | Published:

France coach announced as new manager of White Hart Lane club.

Jacques Santini was appointed as Tottenham manager on June 3, 2004

On June 3, 2004 Tottenham announced that France coach Jacques Santini would become their new manager after Euro 2004.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at his appointment and what happened next.

Pioneer of French football

Santini had been France manager between 2002 and 2004
Santini had been France manager between 2002 and 2004 (Nick Potts/PA)

Santini was little known in England, but he had a great reputation in France after helping to turn Lyon into the country’s best team. He took over from Roger Lemerre as manager of the national team in 2002, given the task of rebuilding after the golden generation that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 had broken up. However, before Euro 2004, where France lost in the quarter-finals to Greece, Santini had already quit his post, with Spurs enticing him to the Premier League

Spurs’ search for success

Santini was the man Spurs chose to take them to the next leve
Santini was the man Spurs chose to take them to the next level (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Spurs had been in the doldrums for the best part of 15 years as a host of managers had failed to finish higher than seventh in the Premier League. They had big ambitions under Daniel Levy and looked abroad for the man to replace Glenn Hoddle. They tried to get Claudio Ranieri, who instead chose Valencia after his Chelsea sacking, so turned to Santini in a bid to earn a seat at the top table of English football.

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155 days of chaos

Martin Jol took over at Spurs after Santini's hasty departur
Martin Jol took over at Spurs after Santini’s hasty departure (Joel Ryan/PA)

Just 155 days later and after only 13 games Spurs’ Santini’s experiment was over. The Frenchman quit on November 6 citing personal reasons, but it was widely understood that disagreements with sporting director Frank Arnesen led to his departure. In his short stay he still managed to create something of a legacy, though, as Spurs’ tactics in a 0-0 draw at Chelsea led Jose Mourinho to coin the now famous phrase “parking the bus” phrase. Santini went on to manage Auxerre but has not worked since 2006, while Spurs appointed Martin Jol as his replacement and their climb up the Premier League began in earnest.

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