The ENIC hokey cokey

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

In out, in out, shake it all about. You know the rest…The ENIC Group, owners of Tottenham Hotspur, run by British billionaire Joe Lewis and hard-headed businessman Daniel Levy have been lauded and castigated in equal measure by the Spurs faithful. In recent weeks, some have even called for Levy and co. to step down. But have ENIC really done a good job for Spurs? Or is it a case of one step forward and two steps backwards?

To judge how far Spurs have come under ENIC, you must look at where they were before. The nineties was a difficult decade for the club. The take-over by Alan Sugar in 1991 led to instability on and off the field. Seven managers in the space of nine years, not one top six finish and the solitary trophy. The dizzy heights of Champions League football seemed a long way off.

Sugar sold up in 2001. ENIC came in and Daniel Levy was appointed chairman. The aim of the new owners was (and still is) to ensure Tottenham are competitive on the field whilst being financially stable off it. When you look at it in that respect, ENIC have delivered the goods. In the past five years, Spurs have finished fourth in the league on two occasions and fifth twice. Supporters have had the pleasure of witnessing the team lift the League Cup in 2008 and enjoyed a marvellous run in the Champions League which saw the Lilywhites reach the quarter-finals. The latest financial figures mirror the club’s long-term strategy. The owners recouped £106.75 million in the summer of 2013, a large portion of that attributed to the sale of Gareth Bale. In return the board spent £103.7 million on seven new players to mould a new team. If Tottenham Hotspur is a business, as many have labelled it, then it’s certainly a successful one!

Some argue that financial stability has come at the expense of the supporter. The controversial introduction of StubHub has angered many fans which see the ticketing service as a form of legal touting. From personal experience I can’t quite see the issue – twice I have listed tickets at face value and on both occasions they haven’t sold. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem confined to Tottenham Hotspur but rather a sign of change in modern day English football. It’s worth remembering that two other Premier League clubs have a partnership with the ticketing company.

Many supporters have bemoaned the amount of time taken to start work on the new stadium. Plans for the Northumberland Project surfaced in 2008 – a 56,000 seater arena, state-of-the-art facilities along with the regeneration of the local area. At an estimated cost of £400m it comes as no surprise that the building work hasn’t started overnight. Projects as big as this take time. The discontent surrounding the new stadium is a prime example of the impatient nature of Spurs fans.

Ultimately, the ENIC In/ENIC Out debate boils down to how well the team are performing on the field. Spurs win – Sherwood was a brilliant appointment and the seven players bought in the summer are world beaters. Spurs lose – sacking Villas-Boas was an awful decision and the board is showing no ambition. It is the typical knee-jerk reaction to blame the guy at the top. But you should be careful what you wish for. The next time you find yourself calling for ENIC or Levy’s head, just think – would you really want Spurs to be run by a erratic character such as Vincent Tan or Assem Allam? I’m sure you’ll agree, the answer is a resounding no.

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  1. Surely there is opther options than the 2 You list here. Having owners with real clout willing to invest their own money in a new stadium would propel us into another level both off and on field. We are treading water whilst our competitors are making progress. 13 years with 1 CL-qualification and 1 one worthless cup, can only be considered a success compared to the incompetent regime of Alan Sugar.

  2. You could also argue that by letting our big players leave effects the business model as we have got less income from the new sponsorship than Levy would have liked.
    We have yet to get a stadium sponsor which would have been easy with Bale Modric …. In the team so in that respect Levy is short sighted.
    We have basicly signed mediocre players instead of two or three top top players, Paulhino aside, signing Soldado was a mistake, it's not like he's a young boy like Lamela who will need time and may not settle but his wil still have a huge sell on value in Europe.
    Soldado will only be of use to get another striker in exchange because at his age your expecting the finished article.

    The club for me have no plan, there is no general pattern of play, leadership or any sort of plan to move forward, one minute Tim is saying I only play players I trust ie Bentelab but the next minute he's saying he may sell Capue because he doesn't know him ffs! Why sell then? I know he didn't go but that was only due to Napolies bid.

    He even came out and said he didn't know Paulhino was that good, he's the fecking technical coach for the whole club, didn't he watch him before hand?

    Regarding Bentelab, he's supposed to develope the boy not stick him in against Yaya Toure ffs, all this talk about they don't like holding midfielders is getting on my nerves, all top teams have players who hold break up and give the ball to others type of players why not us?
    There is no shape to the team and if Tim thinks were fine for strikers he is plainly just wrong, anything happens to Ade and were done for.

  3. Have ENIC done a good job – Yes
    Will we place better than forth – No if we continue to sell our best players
    Would we be better off with new ownership – ?? as stated in the article that could go the wrong way.

    The new stadium will be great and I see it generating more income but will it really chnage the business model? – I think not

    ENIC will sell the club when the new stadium is built. That's what some people are saying

  4. The line i like the best is "The discontent surrounding the new stadium is a prime example of the impatient nature of Spurs fans" when Spurs fans are surely one of the most patient and loyal fans in England.

  5. ENIC its all about balancing the books, how many times have we seen us almost on the brink of something big just when we need to buy they pull the purse strings closed. Take for example this transfer window, we need a striker, Defoe has already been sold they knew that but do we buy NO ??. So we now find ourselves with just Soldado who is struggling to adapt to the premiership and Ade who at any moment can decide he's not in the mood to play and yet again forth place goes begging, They miss out on a massive pay day in the Champions league for what a few million quid, not saying they are the answer but we could have got Berbatoss and Shane Long for under £5 million and given real competition for places. Sad but we will not get forth place and we will miss out on the Champions league riches, but more importantly we will let Liverpool back into the big time and make it harder to displace them next season when they can attract more quality players. Time for ENIC to sell to some one with a vision and who wants to win things.

  6. My son bought two, £44 tickets for us to go to WHL on Boxing day. Cost through StubHub – a mouth-watering £141. When I complained to the club, they told me how good it was for people wanting to buy genuine tickets. The Arsenal way, which I have to say stops people getting a Season Ticket and then selling individual tickets for a profit, is to simply sell it back to the club thereby stopping any profiteering. Are you listening Spurs?


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