Team first. Stadium second


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to question Daniel Levy’s commitment to or love of Spurs. And it would be churlish in the extreme not to acknowledge the massive steps forward we have made under his stewardship. I also happen to believe that his stand against the want-away Luca Modric a couple of seasons ago was little short of heroic. A contract is a commitment by two parties, not one.

For me, the problem with Daniel Levy seems to be his love of ‘the deal’.  Year on year he holds out for the last minute bargain, convinced that the Club he’s negotiating with will blink first. It worked with VDV, but, as a strategy, it’s been little short of calamitous since. The Damiao saga is a perfect case in point. Over and over we go in for a man who clearly doesn’t want to come to WHL. Levy plays his usual waiting game, but to no avail. Instead of refocussing and looking for an alternative player, he carries on hoping things will change. They don’t. The clock runs out and we finish outside the CL spot. Again.

Every Spurs fan (and I include Levy as one of our own), has known that we’ve needed at least one new striker since Berbatov departed. Back then goals from Van Der Vaart and Bale papered over the cracks but, when they got injured, the erratic impotence of Crouch, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko and subsequently Adebayor (surely Britain’s laziest so-called striker) was cruelly exposed.

The team needs investment in this area now. Mr Levy doesn’t seem to understand that it’s great teams that build great stadia. Not the other way round. The dreaded Arsenal built their ground off the back of league and cup success. Look at the half empty Emirates now the team have faltered.  So instead of adopting the ‘if you build it, they will come’ approach, Mr Levy now needs to stop believing that player prices will drop if he waits them out. The market is way too competitive nowadays. He needs to be forceful and decisive. I’m not saying don’t haggle, but surely if a player like Soldado can’t be got for less than £25 million, then maybe we should pay £25 million, simply because his 20+ goals a season will put us in contention for something more than a slim chance of fourth place. Yes, I am naive enough to believe that with reasonable investment (we do have players to sell after all) we could mount a genuine challenge for the title. The sort of challenge that puts bums on seats; that makes the Villas, Damiaos and Huntelaars long to come to White Hart Lane and, equally importantly,  stops the commentators saying “how long can Spurs hang onto him?” every time we find ourselves with a half decent player on our books.

If you build the team first, everything else will come.

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    • Business is one thing , but for a business to succeed. You need sucess . Mediocre is not good enough

  1. Trouble is it's been a case of 2 steps forward and 1 step back hasn't it? My biggest gripe being last minute signings and lack of anything remotely resembling a true striker in recent seasons. There's a very strong case that the former cost us 7 dropped points in three winnable games at the start of last season and the latter cost us further points after the January transfer window. Thanks Levy but please leave it to Baldini this time around.

    • You're an idiot and should have all opinions blocked from all message boards just so said message boards do not become a joke! We were awful when he arrived and now we're very good – you don't have to agree with everything he's done and I'd be worried if you did, I hope to god he's a damn sight more intelligent than you are and he obviously has the luxury of knowing what's going on and therefore having more information than you to base those decisions off. If you choose to take exception to individual decisions he makes you are entitled to – but to say he is holding us back is laughable!!!

  2. Agree to some extent, but Spurs aren't currently building the stadium. The supermarket is under way, but not the stadium. Don't think the financing is in place, given the difficult economic times.

  3. Very well said and let's hope Levy is reading this article. Problem is though since he acquired Rafa van der Vaart his ego has exploded beyond imagination. He really thinks he is the king when it comes to transfer window but to me he is the clown. Even the prices he sets for players to be sold are nothing short of ridiculous and that's why we have all this deadwood at Spurs. Levy thinks he is going to make money on deadwood but in reality by hanging onto them is costing us far more.

    As for Leandro Damiao I'm not sure whose fault it is he is not with us but the whole thing is a farce and I am sure we could have got him for that extra £2 million and he would have been the perfect fit along with Paulinho and Sandro.

    Because of our lack of ambition and pace in the transfer window I just wonder who is left that I would want at Spurs besides Negrado, Soldado or yes even Damiao. The first two will cost £22 – £25 million and Damiao probably £17 million. Napoli have only offered him about £36,000 per week so he is within our meagre range.

  4. Can not add anything to a perfect a article, years of frustration promising so much and underperforming in the transfer market any chance we land a £25 million striker before someone else wil pay the price.
    Down under Spurs fan

  5. You lot have very short memories. Before Levy we were a mid to lower table team, we would of bit the hand off anyone getting us in a position we are in now. Leave levy to his business and just get on supporting the team which is in a far stronger position than we could of dreamed of before levy.

  6. Its far too hard to sit here at my desk at work and make (what are complete) assumptions (by all of us!) on how any transfer deal works, so I try to have faith in the fact that the entire staff at Tottenham are made up of former players and people that are professionals, but that doesn't make it any easier to make it through to August without feeling suicidal. #same ol' summer blues. COYS

  7. to your last sentence…. Build your team first and everything else will come?

    1) There are very few players that you can guarantee will play well….. Messi, Ronaldo, RVP and only recently Bale
    2) Tell that to Leeds when they got into the CL and gambled by spending big
    3) Sad fact is that money talks, Levy is one of the best things to happen to us, as whilst we all get carried away with "sign this guy for £40 mill" etc etc…. He is the only one that realises business is business.
    4) Then again I am an accountant!

    • and a fan with his head well and truly screwed on! If people shared this opinion, you never know, they may one day actually enjoy this business of supporting a club and watching football!

  8. Well Brian, glad to see someone finally agreeing with my exact same viewpoint expressed 8 years ago (that's 5 years after Levy promised to concentrate on the team first).

    To those praising Levy for rescuing us from mid-table mediocrity where exactly have we got to after 13 years? Well we have a world-class training facility…if only there was a Champions League for training facilities, oh the players we could recruit.

    We have won 1 League Cup which is the same record as during the previous 13 years except during that period we also won an FA Cup and as far as League progression goes, well that has definitely improved but has only delivered Champions League once (OK, bloody jammy Chelsea screwed us once as well).

    And we all know that if we had bought proper strikers in 2010 then we probably would have finished in the top 3 instead of 5th, 4th and 5th with the benefits of CL football.

    IMO the team has been poised for the top since 2010, but lack of strikers has prevented us from making the next step but it has taken 13 seasons and 8 managers to nearly get somewhere. Most CEO's in a results business get less than 5 years at most to deliver tangible improvements. I guess you could say that the main objective ie: the Real Estate business is proving successful but the football team needed some modest investment in the right areas 3 seasons ago….now it may be too difiicult.

    Build it indeed.

  9. Whilst I agree with your views about prioritising investment in the team/squad before spending a load of money on building a new multi-million pound stadium, I can also see it from Levy's perspective too!

    Because while Spurs are undoubtedly one of Europes Top 20 sides, in footballing terms, that definitely ISN'T reflected by the size OR quality of our current ground. Put Tottenham, at the moment, in any (realistic) list of Europe's 20 biggest teams, and you would SURELY find that we would be propping up any perspective table with regards to the size of our ground/stadium.

    Nowadays, I believe the lure of playing in front of huge crowds (50,000+) is ALMOST as important as playing regular CL football, for a club, as it gives a better impression of the size, financial capabilities and prestige of the organisation itself, as far as any potential new signings will be concerned.

    Imagine what players currently plying their trade at clubs like Schalke or Atletico Madrid must think when faced with the proposition of leaving their current clubs, where they perform in front larger crowds, to play at the historic, but small and outdated surroundings at WHL? I am sure that most of them, unless they are aware of the clubs history, reputation and size, on these here shores, would question whether or not a move to Spurs would actually represent 'a step up' from their current conditions. And who could blame them for having such doubts.

    The stadium/facilities, apart from on-the-field results, is a BIG part of what sells a club, not only to perspective new signings, but perspective new investors too.

    The case in point might well come with Atlectico's impending acquisition of David Villa. Whilst the 'other' Madrid side can entice Villa with the promise of CL football next season, I would argue that Atletico are hardly serial qualifiers for Europe's top competition, nor could they be could be considered a more ambitious, forward thinking side than that of our own,in my opinion. Yes they are WITHOUT question a very good team on their day (especially when they could boast the supremely talented Radamel Falcao at the spearhead of their side) but realistically there best chance of winning silverware is limited to Europa League and Copa Del Rey success.
    A.Madrid are usually considered to be a, relatively, cash-strapped side who HAVE to regularly sell their best to players to balance the books, and then reinvest the money they receive, wisely.

    My point being, is that unless they suddenly get brought buy a rich Arab/Russian investor, it is entirely plausible to believe that they have reached a ceiling in terms of their potential success.

    Obviously there are a few trump cards A.Madrid could use when trying to convince a Spanish player, who already ply's his trade in Spain, to stay in his native country, but, for me, there is no doubt that the prospect of playing in a stadium less than half the size of his current employers will definitely have an impact on Villa's decision.
    After all, it is a big jump/drop from 98,000 to 36,000!

    For me, Levy knows and understands that to truly be considered a 'big' club, you must first, at least, APPEAR to be a big club. And nothing say's BIG club quite like a brand new (BIG) stadium.

    If you don't believe me, just look at Newcastle, who's wait for a trophy stretches FAR beyond that of our own, and yet most people on these shores (and beyond) STILL consider them to be one of the biggest clubs in the country, and a lot of that (in my opinion) has to do with the size/capacity of St.James Park. You could argue, that is why they are still able to attract the calibre of player they do. Or why the likes of Owen, Butt and Duff were saw NUFC as a viable option when leaving bigger/more successful teams.

    A new stadium is a MUST if Spurs are to continue to compete both on, and off the field with both our Domestic and European counterparts.

    At the end of the day, you wouldn't call a corner shop, a SUPER-market, would you???

  10. Completely agree with the article. Of course it is prudent and wise to be financially sound but we are so close we really are. If we are genuine about challenging next year Levy will spend the 25/30 million plus wages to sign a truly class striker. Business is business of course though if you want to accumulate you must sometimes speculate. I cant remember the last time I was so excited about a season starting. I think AVB has been given assurances from Levy as he will most certainly know its a galringly obvious part of the team that needs strenghtening. The time to spend the money and go for it is now, not next season or the season after, right now. Surely Levy understands this, we will never have a better chance to establish ourselves among the elite than this season with the team we now have. To dare is to do right????? lets dare.


    • Very good article…could'nt agree more….the time is now to solve the striker issue! I'm sure no
      one knows that better then AVB and Levy…..not only is it a MUST but the backlash from the Spurs
      fans if a deal does not get done for atleast one quality striker will be huge and will be the main
      talking point (as it is now) and will take away attention from all the good that has been done in
      the past year. We have gotten rid of all the deadwood and made some great signings (except
      for that lazy striker with a new contract). We simply need to trust the management to get us the
      best players at a reasonable price in a over inflated market. Very happy with the Paulinho signing!!!
      Well done Levy! We have an outstanding midfied now.

  11. Well said. My thoughts exactly. Team first. If we fall back to mid table mediocrity , a new stadium will be worthless and we would enter a downward spiral that will be nigh near impossible to reverse. It may be too late already. The last two winter windows were the time to consolidate our CL credentials and we failed both times. Let us all hope we get one last chance.

  12. The amount of jump-on-the-band-wagon protesters on here is a bit of a joke really. I think that the ability to run a multi million £ business year in year out, without huge relative expenditure but being able to keep almost shoulder to shoulder with the mega businesses around us – such as Chelsea, City, Utd, Arsenal is a testament to the longevity and solid and successful business plan and sporting strategy put in place under the current ownership.

    Acquiring players on a season by season basis, building, rather than potentially diluting a growing squad of players, enhancing expectations of a club that up until 2005 had severely struggled to even keep clean sheets let alone win points from the teams in the top 6 of the table. Build the squad yes, balance this expenditure with that of building a new stadium yes. Bring in one or two players in each off-season to continue the trend, the growth and the relative success that we as a club are achieving.

    Everyone is talking about how it's ridiculous that we haven't signed Leandro. A player, that other than ourselves hasn't really been seriously linked with any other progressive or dominant outfits. Have faith, be a FAN of the players we have, the owners we have, the budget we have, the following we have – we are the greatest fans, our atmosphere at WHL and beyond is incredible, we have fighters, flair players, and amazing levels of experience throughout every level of the club – a position we simply haven't had for years. Building a little slower than our hasty minds are demanding will ensure the near future kind of success we deserve, and will get. Trust in LEVY, trust in THFC, and it will happen!!

    • Completely agree, my friend! Glad to see NOT all Spurs supporters are all so short-sighted! Record points total is an achievement that should NOT be overlooked. And with a chairmen as ambitious, forward-thinking AND sensible as our own, it will not be long before we can boast many more recognisable achievements.


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