On this day in 1997: Gerry Francis replaced by Christian Gross as Tottenham boss

By PA Sport Staff
·1-min read

Gerry Francis resigned as Tottenham manager on this day in 1997, with chairman Alan Sugar announcing Grasshopper Zurich coach Christian Gross would be taking over at White Hart Lane.

Former QPR boss Francis had been given the Spurs job following the departure of Ossie Ardiles in November 1994 and guided them to seventh in the table – a best final position for five seasons – as well as reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup, with Jurgen Klinsmann scoring 30 goals.

Despite having delivered two more top-10 finishes, followed by the signings of David Ginola and Les Ferdinand, speculation mounted over Francis’ future after a lack of consistent results which left Spurs looking set for a relegation battle.

Swiss coach Christian Gross (right) lasted less than a year in the job
Swiss coach Christian Gross (right) lasted less than a year in the job (Ben Curtis/PA)

Tottenham chairman Sugar had wanted the manager to stay on despite the clamour for a fresh approach in the dugout, but the former England midfielder felt he had no option but to resign.

Gross did not make the best of starts when he arrived late for his unveiling press conference, where he memorably went on to hold up his “ticket of the dreams” having travelled from Heathrow via the London Underground.

Spurs finished 14th – just four points above the drop zone – under the Swiss’ guidance in 1997-98, and he was sacked in September 1998 less than a year into the job, with former Arsenal boss George Graham the next man into the hot seat.