Francis bows to pressure


As Tottenham confirmed they had ordered a Gross yesterday their outgoing manager appealed for a measure of sympathy. Gerry Francis, making way for Monday's arrival of the Zurich Grasshopper coach Christian Gross, openly explained his resignation after three years in the White Hart Lane job.

His resignation appears to be the genuine article rather than something containing a bit of push as well as a jump. For Tottenham's chairman Alan Sugar said he had tried hard to persuade Francis to stay. He went so far as to admit: "I would have liked not to be sitting here today and quite frankly I don't know why I am."

"He has the same credentials as when he arrived here three years ago. The only difference is that a lot of pressure has been put on him, starting from the media."

Francis's explanations for jumping ship were various, but again the central theme was pressure: pressure from himself for not producing results and pressure created by critical fans and media. It was a pressure compounded by regular speculation about a change of manager and it had finally affected the team.

Said Francis: "The bigger the club the greater the expectation and the greater the pressure if you're not doing well - nobody likes to have bad things written about them. So you have to assess how far all that is affecting the club and the players and would it benefit the club if I resigned?"

Francis says he has already received two job offers, but will now take a rest from the game before deciding what to do next. A return to Queens Park Rangers is the most likely.

Meanwhile, the spotlight falls on Gross, who was courted by Sugar once Francis made known his decision to resign. The move for Gross appears to have involved Andy Gross, a lawyer who represents Christian Gross (no relation) and the former Spurs striker Klinsmann.

At first Grasshoppers did not want to release their coach but after pressure from him and some compromise from Sugar, they finally succumbed.

Contrary to reports Gross's number two will be the Tottenham youth-team coach and former player Chris Hughton. Gross will hold a press conference at Tottenham today after taking charge of Grasshoppers game at home to Etoile Charouge last night.