Depending on who you ask, every Tottenham fan has differing opinions on what is really wrong with the club.

Some say it’s ENIC and Levy. Some say it’s Antonio Conte. Some even say it’s a mix of both.

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the arguments for both sides, and where Spurs’ issues ultimately lie and disclaimer; this is purely my opinion. 

Are ENIC and Levy the problem?

Let’s start with Tottenham’s ownership.

In a conventional business, as with Tottenham, if the business was underperforming, the onus and ultimately the blame would lie with the chairmen and owners; but football is no conventional business.

Since ENIC acquired Tottenham in 2001, we’ve won just one trophy, the 2007/08 League Cup, and that’s simply not good enough.

Too often, Spurs have been stagnant in the transfer market, typified by becoming the first-ever Premier League club to make no signings in a summer window, then repeating that feat again in January of the 2018/19 season going a whole season without an addition.

And when have spent, rather than going all-out for a “must-have” priority target, Levy has instead opted for the mid-range, budget-friendly choice that has too often seen little progression in terms of improving the first-team.

That being said, in recent years, whilst our spending hasn’t compared to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Manchester City, four of our five “rivals”, Daniel Levy has loosened the purse strings a little, spending £100m in the latest summer window and the same again the year before.

Granted, it’s not the expenditure of our aforementioned rivals, but the reality is we don’t have the financial capacity of a City, United, or Chelsea; that’s a fact we just have to accept.  

But outside of transfers, consider ENIC’s now 20 years at Tottenham as a whole, and it’s impossible to argue progress hasn’t been made.

We have gone from a midtable, even relegation-threatened side to a team who have played European football for the last 14 consecutive seasons; six of which have been in the Champions League and one of which we even made the final.

For reference, we never qualified for the Champions League before ENIC’s ownership.

But even looking away from football, funded by ENIC, Tottenham now occupies one of if not football’s most modern, cutting-edge, elite stadium; an investment that has opened the door for countless commercial avenues all of which will benefit the club in the long run.

And however morally devoid, Levy managed to secure Spurs a permanent place in the European Super League, supposedly reserved for Europe’s elite clubs.

Granted, the Premier League money likely helped, but from a purely business standpoint, that’s an impressive feat.

It’s arguable that out with Chelsea and Manchester City, who simply have unfairly rich owners, no Premier League club has seen more development than Tottenham over the last 20 years, but again, that’s just my opinion.

With all that said, those who protest ENIC certainly have validity, as Tottenham have too often failed to capitalise on what we can now look back at pinch points in recent history.

We should arguably have won the league in 2015/16 and 2016/17. We should have kicked on after 2018-19’s Champions League final. And we certainly should have won a trophy in Pochettino’s golden era.

All of this has also happened under ENIC’s ownership – they are far from blameless, but the progress Spurs have made in the last 20 years is unavoidable, we could so easily have remained a mid-table side, or maybe even have been relegated.

But with all that said, we’re now an established top-six team, and for some, the route of our problems lies with Antonio Conte.

At the time, and still now, replacing Nuno Espirito Santos with Conte was a stroke of brilliance; like trading in a Fiat for a Ferrari.

Together with Paratici, Conte improved the team, played some immaculate football, turned Kane, Son, and then new signing Kulusevski into the uncontested best front three in England, and overall saved a seemingly unsavable season.

But since Conte’s arrival, there’s been a crack in the wall at Spurs, temporarily papered over last season’s successes but always present.

In signing an 18-month contract, Conte’s time in N17 was always set to end this coming summer, but after qualifying for the Champions League last season there was genuine optimism that he would extend his deal. But that didn’t happen.

That’s been a problem with Spurs since the summer, condemning us to a vicious cycle of Conte complaining about not being backed by a board who don’t want to back a manager who won’t commit to the club.

The signing of Djed Spence is a perfect example.

Conte has openly said Spence was a club signing, it’s clearly not who he had in mind at right wing-back and therefore he’s stuck with a combination of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty – the undisputable weak links in the side.

Say Conte had agreed a new deal, even just for another season, and it’s completely plausible Levy may have forgone Spence, instead opting to get Conte a more readymade upgrade at RWB and immediately solving the issue.

This exact issue has once again reared its head this winter; Tottenham need a RWB, have a clear target in mind with Pedro Porro, but with Conte offering no assurances he will still be there after the summer, in fact it’s looking increasingly likely that he won’t, Levy has understandably been reluctant to spend £40m (O Jogo) on a player who may not fit the system of a new coach next season.

Granted, the deal looks like it may well go through (Fabrizio Romano), but had Conte been more committal, it’s perfectly imaginable that the long, drawn-out negotiations Spurs fans have witnessed for Porro this winter could have been forgone.

Speculatively, the same could be said about a left-sided centre-back, as instead of signing Lenglet, who has turned out to be fine, if Conte had a longer-term deal, Levy may have been more willing to sanction a move for an ageing but more experienced Conte-esc option.

This would be an issue at any club, as although short-term success is the priority for many fans, for owners and investors, consideration has to be given to what happens in the next season, and even the season after that, and even after that.

With all that said, it’s fully plausible that come the end of this summer, neither ENIC, Levy, or Conte will still be associated with Tottenham, and that we could see a new, or old, managerial era unfold under new ownership.

There’s an also argument that we’ve had elite managers time and again still failed, but don’t think of who we had, think of when we had them.

Tottenham undeniably got Pochettino’s best years – so far, he took a top-seven side and transformed us into Champions League regulars largely overachieving – I’d say that’s a success.

Then with Jose Mourinho, yes, we inherited a Champions League-winning manager, but in truth, he was in decline having already been fired from Chelsea and Manchester United in recent years.

This leaves Conte as the outlier; a truly successful, in-his-prime-coach that has failed to deliver at Tottenham, but as explored that has come tied to deeper routed issues.

Ultimately, every fan will have their own thoughts and feelings on the situation, and it really comes down to what you prioritise; short-term success or long-term growth, but hopefully Tottenham will resolve at least one, if not both these issues in the near future, and maybe even lift some trophies.

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