Jenas: Levy Criticisms Are Wrong

Image: SpursWeb

Former Spurs midfielder Jemaine Jenas has stated that he believes Tottenham’s future is in good hands in Chairman Daniel Levy, who’s reputation for being ‘horrible’ and ‘tight’ is ‘just plain wrong’.

The 34 year old pundit delved into personal experience to defend the Tottenham Chairman, who’s wage structure and shrewd transfer business has come under fire in recent weeks from pundits and fans alike, as well as even one of his own players.

According to a BBCSport article penned by Jenas, who played over 150 games in Tottenham white, Spurs fans’ desire to see their club progress further all rests on Levy, who he Jenas believes can deliver for Tottenham. He said:

“This is such a crucial time for Tottenham’s future and the direction they want to go in after taking such huge strides over the past couple of seasons.”

“Their fans, and undoubtedly their players too, just want to feel like they are still moving forwards after finishing third, then second in the Premier League.”

“The danger is not that they risk standing still – more that they could fall behind if they don’t strengthen properly now or, even worse, keep this group of players together.”

“Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy holds the key to that with who they sign and the club’s pay structure going forward.”

“He has a reputation for being a pretty vicious negotiator but when I played for Spurs I sat down with him personally on several occasions to speak about wages and we had a really good relationship.”

“He was always brilliant with me. Even when I ruptured my Achilles in 2011 while I was on loan at Aston Villa, one of the first things that came down the chain to me was, ‘Jermaine, you will be back – and here is an extra year’, which was great.”

“So from my point of view, he always treated me with respect and treated me well. He has definitely got that humane side to him and the reputation he seems to have of being a horrible or tight man is just plain wrong.”

Jenas then went on to explain just how Levy conducts his business, while also pointing out that the club are no longer in a position where our best players are desperate to leave.

“Of course Levy is shrewd, though,” He added. “He has always been clever – especially with the way he ties young players down to long deals but with the incentive to improve.”

“When I joined from Newcastle, aged 22, I must have signed a new contract every year for four or five seasons. Dele Alli has done something similar recently, signing three new deals in the space of 16 months to tie him to the club until 2022.”

“I was always happy at Spurs so it was never an issue for me but, without really knowing it, I got to a point where I was about 26 or 27 – the age Rose is now – where I realised that even if I did want to leave it was too late.”

“I could not renegotiate because I had too many years left on my contract, which took me up to the age of 30 or 31, at which point you are struggling to land a big deal anyway.”

“As a model for Tottenham, it worked in the same way it does today – but we saw some of our best players leave, which is something that no longer has to happen.”

Speaking about the transfer window, Jenas also discussed the manner in which Levy manages the club’s transfer policy, revealing that he expects new signings to arrive much closer to the deadline.

“Off the back of Rose’s comments about the club’s wages and lack of activity in the transfer market, there has been a lot of discussion about the club’s ambition, or the perceived lack of it.” He said.

“It appears things are now happening on the transfer front, with Ajax’s Davinson Sanchez and Everton’s Ross Barkley both in Spurs’ sights.”

“Only Levy knows why he always does business so late – even my transfer to Spurs from Newcastle was done on the last day of the window in August 2005.”

“Looking at that approach as a pundit rather than a player, it does not help manager Mauricio Pochettino much.”

“You look at the players Spurs are going for and Sanchez would be new to England, while Barkley did not feature in Everton’s pre-season at all and has picked up a hamstring injury this week.”

“Realistically, for different reasons, you are not going to get the best out of either of them until October, at the earliest.”

“But from my point of view, there has never been a problem with their transfer policy in general. It has always been very well thought out when it comes to bringing players into the club, because in terms of the ability, age and price of their signings, they often seem to get that right.”

One criticism Jenas did throw Levy’s way was over the limiting wage structure in place at the club, suggesting that the Chairman needs to ‘take it up a notch’.

“Spurs’ marquee players like Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris are probably on about £100,000 per week,” He added. “And for the rest I expect the cap is about £60,000.”

“To keep everyone happy you would not have to change the pay structure dramatically, just take it to another level for everyone to reflect the progress the team has made on the pitch.”

“I am not saying pay anyone £300,000 per week, or even £200,000 – but Spurs could take their wages-revenue ratio up a notch without going crazy and remain a well-run club.”

“If they do that, everything is going to go a lot more smoothly for them in the next year or two as they move to their new stadium, while trying to maintain the momentum they have at the moment.”

Do you agree with Jenas’ comments? Have your say below.

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  1. According to the last annual report Spurs made £33m on a turnover of £209.5m. We currently spend about 48% of our revenue on all salaries (predominantly players). To take Spurs to the highest level in the top six, we would increase that percentage to 56% at most. That would achieve a 16% increase in salaries across the squad. So Danny Rose would see his weekly salary go from £60k to £70k. Will that make him happy? Don’t think so do you? Meanwhile the profit nose dives by 53% to £15.5m and that will not service the debt on the new stadium.

    Meanwhile friends, 45.2% of our revenue comes from TV and media and a further £58.6 from Commercial, much of which is sponsorship. If the money from TV were to reduce by 20% (after all it has gone up by more than that) our profit takes another hit of £19m and we are in the red to the tune of nearly £3.5m and that is before we start paying the additional debt for the stadium.

    So JJ is right about the financial prudence behind the club, but the best way for the players to get an increase is to win things and push up revenue. We have a great first XI but had they bothered to turn up for the Wembley Champions League matches along with the rest of us, then they could have paid for their own salary increases.

    This is not to say that the chairman is beyond criticism; but on balance I think he has taken us a long way and deserves credit for it. Nor does it mean that impatience, on the part of many fans, for transfer action is unreasonable. But we have to buy smarter than our competitors and develop potential talent. I’d never heard of Danny Rose before he joined us; he has become a fine player with help from Spurs. A little loyalty however is too much to ask.


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