A turbulent summer at White Hart Lane heralded a new dawn for Tottenham Hotspur, as Harry Redknapp, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart all headed for the exit.
In came Andre Villas-Boas with a clutch of new ideas and a string of signings to match. Mousa Dembele, Clint Dempsey, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris all arrived to try to help Spurs back into the Champions League.
An impressive win at Old Trafford showcased Spurs' potential early on, alongside steady progress in the Europa League.
Here, Sports Mole looks at the first six months of Villas-Boas's reign in North London.
The slow start continued a week later when James Morrison scored a last-minute equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw for West Bromwich Albion.
Defoe was on hand it make it two wins on the spin a week later as two goals in 60 seconds did the damage against Queens Park Rangers.
Progress in the League Cup over Carlisle United was followed up by victory at Manchester United in the one of the season's most exciting matches to date. Vertonghen and Dempsey scored their first goals in a 3-2 success at Old Trafford to help Spurs surge up the table.
A run of four league wins was halted by Chelsea in capital clash a week later. Spurs let a 2-1 lead slip against Villas-Boas's former club as the visitors ran out 4-2 winners.
A mixed bag in the cups saw Spurs come through two Europa League trips unbeaten before slipping out of the League Cup with a late defeat at Norwich City.
Early-season promise came crashing down around Spurs as November began with three successive league defeats.
Back at home things improved as Spurs recovered to record back-to-back wins. Defoe scored twice against his former club to secure a 3-1 win over West Ham United before Bale inspired his side to victory against Liverpool.
Sandro scored with a thunderous drive from distance to help Spurs start a busy month with a 3-0 win at Fulham. European progress soon followed as a 3-1 success against Panathinaikos booked a place in the final 32 of the Europa League.
A late collapse at Everton proved a setback as the visitors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the final few minutes.
Vertonghen was the only scorer across two home matches against Swansea and Stoke City, before Bale claimed his second career hat-trick in a 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa.
A fruitful festive period helped Spurs climb to fourth on Boxing Day, with the race for Champions League places hotting up at the halfway mark.