In defence of Daniel Levy

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

There is a lot of anger towards Daniel Levy among Spurs fans. I’ve even seen the first @ENIC_OUT account on Twitter. Some were even comparing him to Venky’s. Their points of argument seem to be that Levy sells all our best players, is only in it for a profit, promised us a new stadium but won’t give it to us etc.

I completely disagree with that. I think Levy has done an excellent job at Spurs. A lot of people seem to have forgotten where we were under Sugar and where we were when Levy took over. That’s right, mid-table mediocrity. Players like Doherty, Perry, Acimovic etc. dotted around the team. Since Levy took control we have been gradually rising up the league and we got our first shot at Champions League football in 2010-11, getting to the quarter finals, after Levy paid a lot of money for Modric, Crouch, Van der Vaart etc. As Redknapp said, we’d never had it so good.

Now we have slightly dipped below the heights of Champions League football. But that’s not really to criticise Levy for. He sold Bale and bought in 7 players – at the time everyone said what marvellous business it was. He clung on to Modric when he wanted to leave and got another excellent season out of him. VdV left as AVB didn’t rate him/he wanted to return to Hamburg.

And re. the stadium. The foundations are in place, but Levy wants to get it right. You can’t just splurge £400m on a new stadium overnight – it has to be done correctly. ENIC want to sell the club for the highest possible price and the stadium is an absolute necessity in that; it will be done at some point. If someone had asked you 10 years ago if you would take the current state of the club you would have undoubtedly snapped their hand off. We are financially stable, having a young squad full of potential and challenging for top 4. Obviously there is a lot of angst surrounding our manager but that is a temporary problem, not a permanent one. AVB burnt so many bridges that he had to go but no-one was available; anyway, Sherwood has done a very tidy job so far, with 5 league wins, 1 draw and a solitary loss against the champions-elect.

And re. Levy only being in it for profit. I’m not going to complain if our Chairman takes us from bottom half to top 5 in 10 years whilst making money and keeping the club within the new FFP rules.

A lot of fans seem to be taking what we have achieved in the last 5 years for granted. For them, the benchmark is no longer mid-table but the benchmark is top 4. That’s a dangerous game to play. Without a larger stadium, we should not be competing with the Arsenals, the Citys, the Chelseas, the Liverpools, the Uniteds. But we are. Without a larger wage budget, we should not be competing with the Arsenals, the Citys, the Chelseas, the Liverpools, the Uniteds. But we are.

At the end of the day, Spurs are punching above their weight, and Daniel Levy is a large part of that.

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  1. For the most part, the anti-Levite's aren't really making an assessment of the role he and ENIC have done at Spurs. They want a sugar-daddy to match the sugar-daddies at Chelsea and Citeh, and are angry that Levy isn't, and won't, be it!

  2. I agree with all this until recently but it’s what’s happened lately, AVB going, an inexperienced manager coming in, record signings not playing, makes the club seem a shambles.

  3. 13 years, one trophy. That has to be the criteria to judge any ownership group. Financial stability is great, but you can't tell great stories to your grandkids about that magical year Levy signed a deal with Under Armour.

    • Surely you've derived some pleasure from seeing our team get better and better over the last 8 years, Kent?
      From Carrick and Robbie, Berby, King, Modric, VdV and Bale there has been a lot to treasure for those who enjoy good football!

      • Arsenal how many years with no trophy? And everyone laughed when their fans changed their tune from the recent 'Wenger Out' diatribe. Seems more energy has spent in criticising and placing blame this season than actually getting behind the team. Everyone criticises the managerial decisions: disagreed with the manner of Jol sacking but league performance wasn't good enough and results did improve as a result. Ramos may not have been the right man but did win a trophy. Loved Harry until the whole England situation and was in general a media clown. AVB as everyone knows was too stubborn and Bale papered over a lot of cracks in his tenure. Now Sherwood has changed things up but seems to have minimal support, despite coming across well in my opinion. Top 4 is still a distinct possibility although many are happy to write it off so Sherwood loses the job…

  4. What Levy has done is to make the club financially viable. His business decisions are sound but his footballing decisions are not . It is a difficult balancing act and he has not got it right. At least we didn't end up like Glasgow Rangers !!

  5. I ain't having that………. Levy is pathetic and the article is a joke…. how many more manager's do you want to be sacked before you work out its that idiots thought???

  6. I would like to know where the stadium is? I have understood most of the decisions with the managers and after the Berbatov sale, it APPEARS we have done a lot to keep hold of our best players. Where is the Stadium though, I dont care about the Sainsburys

    • why even think about moving us from are home to the olympic stadium?, the man is all about profit.. we had a chance to sign mourthino who do we end up signing dempsey lol… he sacked martin jol who gave us the best football in years and who did he replace him with ramos lol… ain't just that though how did he sack Jol during a uefa cup match no morals, out for a profit

    • If you bothered reading the reports that are available online you will see that the Archway works is the hold up. They are refusing move. THFC have applied to the council to have a CPO issued on them. The application is in and has been almost a year however the council arent due to reply to it until feb 2014 all this information and more about the stadium is freely available and will answer all your questions about the project if you only bothered to look for it instead of just moaning.

  7. I definitely agree. Sure, when it comes managerial decisions and transfers there are a number of things to to criticize. But, I don't think there is anyone who could have stopped Berbatov, Modric, Bale, and others from leaving to bigger clubs. Levy and Enic have given us money and financial stability, without which long term success is impossible. Also, if Wikipedia is to be believed, Levy has been a Spurs fan since he was a child. Even if he was simply interested in money, he would still be heavily interested in the success of the club because this is what gives him money.

  8. it is articles like this that will keep us anchored in mediocrity as the fans are too accepting of levy's incompetence. we have no chance of top four this year as the results against liverpool, city twice and yesterday agaisnt hull prove amongst many other inept performances this year. The common denominator is levy. He chose the sporting director route saying that in these days of changing managers the club needs to be able to have continuity!!!! This would indicate that the manager does not have the total say on transfers and it also would prove that levy is total crap at choosing maangers as he has made 14 msitakes which Joe lewis has chosen to ignore. In business terms it would mean 14 failed business ventures!!1 would they still have a business???? For those gullible enough to think we really have a stadium to look forward to i thank you for keeping our club afloat ! there is no chance we are going to get a new stadium unless we get an arab sheikh take over!! Just look down the road at our sickeningly lucky neighbours arse, they havent won anything in 8 years yet they have stuck with the whinger! they have bought a new stadium that is arguablY the best club stadium in the uk and they are minted!!! Yet spurs fans are happy with the way our club is run??? sugar took over when the club was in debt and did his best to put us on a sound footing which he did but he got vilified by the fans and faceD abuse personally and to his family which is unaccpetable!!! You can see he loves spurs so why would he want to ruin the club??? if we keep supporting levy our club will just go downhill and will soon fall into the pack!! LEVY OUT

      • RE Degree

        What on earth has a degree got to do with anything?

        12hrs a week in lectures? Oooooooo so hard whilst pickling your liver – great sacrifice for the country you have made.

        You sir, are a prime example of everything that is wrong with the way the country is and the way the political system is functioning. Utterly flawed.

        Re Other

        DL has done a great job for this club, but this season has been a disaster from a Chairman’s perspective and he should be held accountable. In any other business he would have been ‘sidestepped’ a long time ago. Just look at the disaster and waisted money of managers alone. Don’t forget he is only as good as the people ”’paying”’ to watch?

        Financially astute – absolutely (bordering on genius)

        Footballing Chairman – unfortunately he is not.

    • Well done on a wonderful comment. Everything wrong with spurs fans summed up in one neat package. Football manager player who thinks real life is the same. Utterly embarrassing and pathetic. You make me ashamed to be spurs.

      • wish people would stop playing fantasy football… levy lovers that talk about profit so what,,, that fool ain't got us a new stadium, aint got us champions league football!! ain't giving us the world class striker we need, the creative midfielder since modric jumped ship to real madrid who we have this so called partnership with and who do they end up selling Oilz to the gooners lol levy the mug out for profit

  9. I agree levy has done well for us, but since harry went i feel levy has gone backwards and just doesnt talk to the most important people the fans. When avb went he never told us what was going on, whats this relationship with madrid? They get our best players and we get nothing? Whats happening with stadium? Keep us informed. I have always said we have best chairman in league but patients running out a bit now, come on levy tell us whats going on and your have fsns back on your side

  10. Edd, with two Ds. If Levy is so stupid and you believe him to be pathetic you always have the option to put a bid into ENIC and buy the club. Then you could apply your mighty intellect into building a stadium, training ground and hiring a coach, instead of cutting his grass.

  11. nice one, too few article like this about. There are some accurate criticisms around levy (not getting striker in january AGAIN!!).. But I agree with you, great chairman who has done so much and yes, if he gets us regularly in and around CL spot and new stadium, I hope he makes a boatload of cash for his efforts. like you said, extra season out of modders, and bale, he only sold because they wanted to go, was it 8 (?) million for VDV?? and 8 mil for defoe. and 1.5m for holtby. that list goes on and on, most of his work in transfer market is exceptional. looks like we're good on the business side of things and looking 'up to date' with all the technology/media opportunities. Had the balls to lose AVB which was needed knowing that he was in effect putting his hands up and admitting to his mistake, a really easy one to have made given AVB's point haul last season. The Balls to put Sherwood in charge, which has been so refreshing after the garbage we witnessed this season. Bales goals camouflaged what we all knew last season but didn't want to admit, that AVB ain't all that. Keep up the good work Daniel son..

      • Are MU a selling club? And yet when RM came calling with a stupid price for CR7 they sold. It's all relative to one's economic power, and there are clubs that get a lot of advantages and can guarantee CL football every season without busting a gut in the process. In a sense, we are unlucky that we are in the EPL. Maybe we should move to another country, if CL and trophies is all we care about???

  12. Agree we are punching above our weight have been for a couple of years;the only problem is sooner or later you get finaly found out and brought crashing back to earth we badly need a new stadium

    • DL has been brilliant for Spurs, a lot of you must be too young to remember some of the clowns we’ve had over the years. As for Managers, Harry was disloyal and believed his own hype, he had also taken us as far as he could. We all thought AVB was going to be the perfect Manager, he probably will be….in Europe, but he proved to be useless in the Premiership and as for Tim Sherwood, DL had no choice, nobody else was available in January. DL is probably the best Chairman this club has ever had and I believe he will take us to great heights.

  13. Obviously Levy is ambitious for Spurs. Spurs NEVER pay a dividend!! All their revenue is re-invested in the club. Mostly on players wages.

    Unfortunately Spurs generate much less revenue than Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal. They need a bigger stadium to generate more revenue. Or an oil sheikh!! Then they can afford to buy the best players and pay the best wages to keep them. Spurs don't generate enough revenue to pay the £200k+ per week salaries the top players want.

  14. Levy and co have failed to employ the right people to manage the club. They have employed manager after manager and sacked them. If they take the same care in employing managers as they do with the finance of the club, we will have the stability , growth and development. AVB was sacked by Chelsea and this articles seem to suggest similar reason for sacking him- so why did we select him. I think it is time spurs fans asked the question of Levy and co.

  15. Spurs have peaked under Levy. He simply does not possess the requisite skill set to achieve and maintain regular top four finishes. On the financial side, the club is as well run as any of our contemporaries, and for that Levy deserves praise. But his string of rash, ill-advised and reactionary managerial appointments amply illustrate just how limited his directorial abilities are. AVB is not a Premier League manager. The task of trying to assimilate so many new players into what was essentially a settled squad simply exposed his shortcomings all the sooner. The sheer number of new signings made withe the Bale proceeds was also typical of Levy’s lack of joined-up planning and inability to learn from mistakes. His choice of managers also leaves much to be desired. Impulse seems to be the main motivation for his appointments, and even when they are arguably successful, as with Redknapp, the slightest hint of disloyalty or distraction on the part of the manager has led to their dismissal. This makes attracting top managerial talent difficult and the Spurs job less attractive than it should be – just ask Brendan Rogers. Under Levy Spurs have become the eternal ‘work in progress’ and we who support them have only the perpetual promise of a better tomorrow for nourishment. Levy must acquire, or employ someone with, the necessary football management skills to match his financial ones, or ENIC will end up simply having to cut their losses.

  16. Brilliant article mate! We need more people like you at the Lane. Let the glory hunters complain, clever fans know Spurs are overachieving year after year if you look at our stadium and financial situation. Bring on Financial Fair Play, Spurs have been there for years!

    • Agree Chris. The way things stand, at present, there is little doubt that Spurs are overachieving, compared with other clubs, such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, where they have greater stadium capacity, income, etc and foreign owners who splash the cash. As loyal Spurs fans, we have high expectations for the Club, and want to compete with the best. Personally, I don't think Daniel Levy is a bad chairman. We have an English owner, and once the new stadium is completed, we will compete more successfully with the aforementioned clubs, and secure CL football much more frequently.

  17. OK ..we’re over-achieving. So let’s simply go back to mid table mediocrity and bow down before the likes of the ‘big clubs’. Those Spurs fans ‘with their feet on the ground’ who seem to accept this ‘realism’, and tell the rest of us to limit our anger and frustration at even more dashed dreams and aspirations, seem to have no real feeling for the agony and ecstasy of being a Spurs fan, or the memories ..let alone short ones.

    Cruel luck, along with wasted opportunities and poor judgement over the past 4 or 5 seasons has cost this club (its fine squads, and the fans) regular CL positions. Yes, even above our bloody weight ..we could and should have had regular spots at the main table!

    No point in recounting in detail how this all panned out, because most Spurs fans know, but Levy, while taking earlier credit, has to take much of the blame for this terribly wasted period! Like Moses he initially led us out of the wilderness, reaching a crescendo at the start of this season in terms of fan optimism (although I was more sober because we’d never replaced Modric, let alone Bale), and then, despite tantalising glimpses of that promised land over recent years, it’s disappeared altogether.

    For the first time in 5 years we are no longer CL quality, or CL in everything but name! All this despite ‘strengthening our squad’ in the summer. Strengthening? Ha!

    So yes, I’m angry ..and enough about ‘if it wasn’t for Levy we’d still be mediocre’ or ‘we should restrict our expectations’! WE’RE SPURS FANS, AND WE DO EXPECT! We’ve been made to expect! ..and why shouldn’t we??

    Of course we’ve handled/accepted the disappointments and the mediocrity through certain periods over many years, and we’ve loyally supported our club through thick and thin (it couldn’t be any other way even if Tottenham were in the lower leagues). But I was a kid in the 1960s, and the name of SPURS evoked GLORY then and has evoked it ever since (even when I saw them play in the 2nd Div in 1977/8)! 1st Double Winners ’61, 1st European Cup Semi-Finalists ’62, 1st European trophy winners ’63, 1st winners of two different European trophies ’72, 1st team to retain the FA Cup twice (’61/2 and ’81/2), most FA Cup Victories by 1991, 1st team to win the UEFA Cup twice ’84, up among the best with League Cup victories ..and so on! We ARE and always have been one of the BIG CLUBS (so get that through your head some of you Spurs fans)..and, although for 14 years, after we last won the FA Cup in 1991, we struggled (although we still managed a League Cup win in 1999) our expectations since 2005/6 are, and should be, HUGE. If we simply accept our disappointments (until we, er, get the big stadium) and accept a return to anything less than 5th (punching above our weight thing) then shame on us! Keep the pressure on Levy and make him realise how his actions (or lack of actions) in these recent ‘better’ years have contributed to costing our club from cementing its deserved and rightful place.

  18. It seems DL generates a lot of heat from Spurs supporters. He has made mistakes during his time (by far the worst was Berbatov leaving at the end of the window, and the knock-on effect that had on team morale, but was that entirely DL's fault?), but I have the impression he learns from them, which is all we can ask, really. On the other hand, who else would you like to replace him – Abramovich, the hand-in-the-till Glazers, Venkys, WH's porn kings, Vincent Tan, Mike Ashley, Hicks & Gillette….or does it simply come down to "please give us a sugar-daddy to compete with our rivals?

  19. On the whole I totally agree with this article.

    My one issue with Daniel Levy, and this is a common theme in many large companies, is that I’m not sure he is good at the man management part of the role. In any business, and before you start, this is a business as well as our beloved Tottenham, the key to getting the right management is not just about technical skills but also about how that person fits into and subsequently manages the diverse group of individuals that make up the organization.

    Personally I think the Director of Football role is important as that allows the manager to not get involved in the highly sensitive role of contract negotiations but thee has to be an understanding of where the extent of the various parties responsibilities lie. In most large organizations there is a Delegation of Authority (DOA) matrix and I’d just love to see whether Daniel has put one in place at Spurs.

  20. I agree that levy has done more or less a good job, obviously there's been some mistakes along the way with the footballing decisions the biggest in my opinion is not backing Harry in the January window when we was playing our best ever football and he signed Saha and Nelson. But I think it's ridiculous to say he's not taking our club in the right direction if anyone disagrees look at our starting line up for the game against Birmingham city the season he took over, have a look at our new training ground widely regarded as the best in Europe. Yes we would all love a new stadium but it's a cycle you need sponsors for the new stadium and success on the pitch to generate enough money from those deals, it's not an easy process and we know the difficulty he had with the council. The truth is its hard to see the scum with a nice 60,000 stadium but they were competing in the champions league in order to fund it and got a lot of help from their coucil where ours made it difficult. With regards to the manager and this season we had a great opportunity to get top four this season but Chelsea and city our absolute givens with the money they can spend arsenal are always there or thereabouts and it's only something out of the ordinary which has happened to united to open it up, Liverpool are 3 points above us playing at their absolute peak with the best player in the league, they don't have Europa league to worry about and they can just concentrate on the prem. I think this is a massive issue when we consider most the games we've lost have been after playing in Europe.when you look at our squad and see how much improvement we can make when people settle, hit form and return from injury this season might not be a disaster it seemed. If we was to get CL would the levy out preachers still be calling for his head?

  21. Lets first be grateful that under the present leadership we wont be facing a relegation battle, or even a bottom 10 situation. As ManU have found out, a new order has moved in, and we are part of it. We are, without the management skills of Everton and Arsenal, and without the `luck` of Chelsea and ManC, able to maintain a top 6 position.
    To graduate to the top 4 will require management and player stability rather than rapid staff turnover, larger profile and financial outlay to attract top players, and an attitude to place us with the Barcelona, Bayen Munich elite clubs.
    This is a big step forward, so maybe we should be content with completing for position 5 and rather develop a great style of football like we occasionally saw under Harry`s management.


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