It wasn’t supposed to end like this. It was supposed to end with a trophy, not with a knife in the back.
Mauricio Pochettino showed loyalty to Tottenham Hotspur when bigger clubs came calling, but he now finds himself out of work after a woeful start to the season which leaves Spurs 14th in the Premier League.
When the dust settles, the Argentine will be remembered for happier times.
He has overseen a power shift in north London, challenged for two titles, led Tottenham into a new stadium, thrashed the European champions at Wembley, overseen a first victory at Stamford Bridge in almost three decades, and topped it all off with a Champions League final.
That night in Amsterdam will be talked about for generations to come and it is a testament to football’s cruel nature that it seems as if it were only yesterday.
Those are the highlights, but his success can also be found in the mundane. The fact that top-four finishes are now taken for granted in the Lilywhite half of north London is down almost entirely to their departing manager.
He took over a side regularly thrashed by the traditional big teams under Tim Sherwood and Andre Villas-Boas, an XI featuring the likes of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor, and completely reinvented the squad.
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In that sense, he has become a victim of his own success. Levy can merely hope that he is not left to rue what could, on paper at least, be a terrible mistake. It’s surely only a matter of time before Europe’s elite, the Bayern Munichs and Real Madrids, come knocking for one of the most highly-rated coaches around.
His exploits, all achieved with one hand essentially tied behind his back throughout, may not have been truly appreciated by a board who imposed a self-inflicted transfer ban for two windows.
Pochettino was operating on a third of Manchester City’s net spend and yet allowed Tottenham fans to dream of titles and competing with the very best.
The two words that were synonymous with Spurs for so long were “midtable mediocrity”. Countless managers have tried to break the curse, but the 47-year-old has gone above and beyond that. He has fulfilled his promise to “give everything” and make Tottenham fans proud.
Players’ careers have been transformed. More than that, the entire ethos of a 137-year-old club has been transformed.
The values of respect, determination and hard work which adorn the walls at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium must not be forgotten as the Jose Mourinho era begins.