For a man who was studying engineering before becoming a professional footballer in his late teens, Gus Poyet is likely to be one of the sharpest managers on the Premier League circuit.
The Uruguayan's brains and mathematical eye led to a hugely successful playing career, which included time in England with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, where his ability to time runs into the penalty area made him a much-feared goalscoring midfielder.
Poyet won two Cup Winners' Cups, an FA Cup, a Charity Shield, the UEFA Super Cup and, among his 26 international appearances, was also a standout performer to help his country claim the 1995 Copa America. He eventually retired in 2004, bringing to an end a playing career with 125 goals in 463 games.
A move to the dugout followed and the South American had good experiences working as a No.2 to Dennis Wise at both Swindon Town and Leeds United. But he then also had a less enjoyable one-year spell as Juande Ramos' assistant back at Spurs, where - although the League Cup was won - the 12 months were ultimately doomed.
Poyet went on to become a manager in his own right at Brighton & Hove Albion in 2009 and his stylish success in turning the club into contenders for promotion to the Premier League persistently led to links to potential top-flight employers. There was a feeling of inevitability about him making that step up and it came this October when he joined Sunderland as Paolo Di Canio's successor.
It has since been a mixed start with Sunderland, who have picked up four defeats, three wins and one draw in all competitions. But Poyet's positivity in his rebuilding job at the Premier League's bottom club has led to optimism of escaping relegation and he will hope to carry that feeling into this weekend when his former club, Tottenham, visit the Stadium of Light.
Ahead of this reunion, we look back at some of the now-46-year-old's memorable moments and standout quotes which link him to Spurs - including his best and worst games, difficult return as coach and some of the finest soundbites from a man nicknamed 'The Radio'.
Days To Remember...
Everton 1 Tottenham 1 - August 2001
Having joined Tottenham from Chelsea in the summer after requesting a transfer in the wake of a bust-up with Stamford Bridge boss Claudio Ranieri, Poyet was harshly sent off by referee David Ellery in only his second game for Glenn Hoddle's Spurs. The dismissal for a late challenge on Steve Watson came just two minutes after Spurs had already been reduced to 10 men following Gary Doherty's red card for giving away a penalty. Everton had equalised in the heated encounter through Duncan Ferguson's spot-kick.
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 1 - November 2001
The script was all about Sol Campbell's first return to White Hart Lane after leaving Tottenham for Arsenal. But Poyet announced himself to the North London derby with a dramatic added-time equaliser to cancel out Robert Pires' goal for the visitors. Poyet's volley was allowed to slither through the hands of Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright to give the Uruguayan a fifth goal in six games for Spurs. He had scored his first goal for the club in a League Cup win at Tranmere Rovers just a few weeks earlier.
Blackburn 2 Tottenham 1 - February 2002
Spurs and Poyet suffered a major upset as they lost the League Cup final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Blackburn Rovers' goals from Matt Jansen and Andy Cole either side of an effort from Christian Ziege caused the shock. Poyet had almost given Spurs the lead when the game was tied at 1-1 but hit the crossbar after a defensive error from Henning Berg. Poyet had earlier played in both legs of the semi-final against former club Chelsea and celebrated in front of Ranieri's bench after a thrilling 5-1 second-leg win at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham 2 Sunderland 1 - March 2002
Poyet played the full 90 minutes as Tottenham won at Sunderland in only his fourth game for Spurs earlier in the season, however, he really made his mark in the return match. It was Spurs' first fixture after their League Cup final misery and Poyet opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a stabbed finish from Ziege's corner. Patrick Mboma went on to equalise for Sunderland but Les Ferdinand made sure of the points.
Tottenham 4 Sunderland 1 - February 2003
In his second season with Tottenham, Poyet enjoyed another good encounter against Sunderland. After losing 2-0 at the Stadium of Light earlier in the campaign in a rare bad day in a Spurs shirt versus his current employers, the midfielder gained sweet revenge. Poyet opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Kevin Phillips equalised but Spurs went on to comfortably win through Gary Doherty, Simon Davies and Teddy Sheringham.
Tottenham 0 Blackburn 4 - May 2003
On the final game of Poyet's second campaign with Tottenham, the midfielder was sent off in just the 31st minute for a wild, two-footed lunge on Blackburn's Gary Flitcroft. Spurs were hammered by their League Cup conquerors of the previous season through Dwight Yorke, Craig Hignett, Damien Duff and Cole. It was a bad final day of the season for Spurs, who were saying goodbye to Sheringham in his final game for the club.
Wolves 0 Tottenham 2 - May 2004
Poyet played the last game of his career after a disappointing third and final season with Tottenham. Having made just 25 appearances in all competitions, which included scoring one goal and being sent off in a win over Crystal Palace, he decided to hang up his boots and left Tottenham after 82 games. This was also Ziege's last game for Spurs while Denis Irwin was making the last appearance of his playing career as a member of an already-relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers side.
|Poyet's Spurs Playing Record v Sunderland||Wins||Draws||Defeats|
Return to Tottenham - October 2007
After successfully working as assistant manager to Wise at Leeds, Poyet was asked to become Ramos' right-hand man at Tottenham. He returned to White Hart Lane to join the new coaching staff. Spurs made the change after sacking Martin Jol and it did bring some success in winning the 2008 League Cup in extra-time against Poyet's former club, Chelsea, but the regime was ultimately doomed.
Sacked by Tottenham - October 2008
With Tottenham having made their worst start to a season, four points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League with just two points from eight games, Ramos along with Poyet and other members of the Spurs hierarchy were sacked. Harry Redknapp was brought in as a replacement and transformed Tottenham's fortunes. Poyet won one game and lost another against Sunderland as a Spurs coach.
Poyet in an interview with FourFourTwo in 2011 on his perceived mistreatment by Chelsea boss Ranieri, which led to him joining London derby rivals Spurs...
"The thing was, when I was there, Chelsea had not lost to Spurs in a long time so I did not see them as rivals. Normally, the fans do not like the teams they cannot beat! I had the chance to go to Liverpool but I was keen to stay in London. But after I played against Chelsea, I remember thinking, 'Oh, what have I done?'. I am not making excuses, I just did not realise. It was my fault and I need to accept that. Yes, I celebrated by the Chelsea bench when we beat them 5-1 in the League Cup but that was purely for Ranieri. He was why I put in a transfer request and it was personal."
Poyet in an interview with talksport in 2013 on his Spurs playing career...
"My first year at Tottenham was spectacular. I had one of my best years in England. We were very close to winning a trophy in Cardiff but we had a bad day at the office. My third year was my retirement year. I was seeing younger players were playing week in, week out and I was on the bench. I thought, 'it is time to stop now'."
Poyet in 2008 on being sacked as Ramos' Spurs coaching staff to be replaced by Redknapp...
"Being honest and looking at the results, it was the right decision to sack Juande and me. When you change the manager after 10 games or so, you are not looking to change the style. What you are looking for are different results, a reaction, a change. Simple - and it happened. Full credit to Harry."
Then-Brighton boss Poyet in 2012 on being linked with the Spurs and Chelsea manager jobs...
"I think these clubs that you played for, in my case Spurs and Chelsea, normally you are closer to them and it is easier, because they know you. They know your personality and how proficient you are. But it is not in my hands, it is in the chairman's hands. We will wait and see. I think that there is going to be opportunities but maybe we will make it with Brighton, so who knows? I am trying to be honest with everyone. I think the chairman knows what I want to do. But definitely the aim is the Premier League."
Poyet in FourFourTwo on what might have been if he had not gone into football...
"I am not called 'The Radio' for nothing! [laughs]. I would love my own radio show, although I think I would need a six-hour slot, daily! In all seriousness, I was studying to be an engineer, so that is probably what I would have done. I like maths and trying to work out crazy problems. I was really into my studies and was going to do it at university, until at 18 I realised I could be a footballer."
Sunderland v Tottenham is live on Sky Sports 1HD on Saturday night from 5pm