I had explored different avenues away from Tottenham on two or three occasions by the time André Villas-Boas got sacked just before Christmas in 2013. I wanted to spread my wings.
I had been there since 2005 and worked largely with the academy. When Villas-Boas took over in the summer of 2012, we were expecting to work more closely with him, providing a link between the academy and the first team – a path to promote players. That’s what Daniel Levy wanted.
But a year later, after Gareth Bale was sold to Real Madrid, a lot of money came in and Franco Baldini, who was technical director and in charge of transfers, spent the lot. It was almost £100m – loads of money in those days – and it blocked the pathway to the first team for a lot of the young players who had been introduced to the senior squad during Harry Redknapp’s tenure.
So, I considered my options – but Les Ferdinand persuaded me to stay.
He got Tim Sherwood to watch me coach and then Tim, who held a role as technical co-ordinator at the time, took me on as his assistant.
It meant that, when he got the job as caretaker manager once Villas-Boas was sacked, we’d worked together for long enough that he knew and trusted me enough to be one of his assistants alongside Les (below).