It’s turning into what could be a seminal season in terms of identity for Spurs both on and off the field. Our spectacular efforts in the CL have made sure that our name is known once more throughout Europe, even though our domestic form remains something of an enigma as we portray goal scoring as a task as difficult as trying to get Harry to keep quiet for five minutes. Off the field thereâ€™s currently also more than a touch of mystery as itâ€™s now six weeks or so since the Olympic stadium was awarded to West Ham and weâ€™re no nearer to finding out where the future of the club lies.
If you believe the papers then Levy is still struggling with the injustice of it all and has the clubâ€™s lawyers poring over the detail of the OPLC decision into the night every night. Should he find some evidence of bias or political influence then he apparently is prepared to throw dignity to the wind and do what he can to get the outcome reversed. Stratford has so many appealing aspects to him that heâ€™s not prepared to let it go easily. The urban yet green field site, (once youâ€™ve brought in the demolition men), the existing transport infrastructure plus the cost and elegance of the solution compared to the NPD jigsaw puzzle rebuilding of WHL, solve every problem that he & presumably Joe Lewis see with the current set up.
His original pursuit of Stratford starkly revealed where the fans lay in his priorities. We may have been loudly proclaiming that â€˜North London is oursâ€™ but in Levyâ€™s view E15 is only a short train ride from a huge catchment area and thatâ€™s more than enough for him whether North London is included or not. Two months ago the publicity surrounding the potential move focused on what would happen to the identity of the club if we left our â€˜spiritual homeâ€™ and upped sticks, but the issues of heart versus head, of sentiment against practicality and of history against â€˜progressâ€™ were never issues. ENIC had already decided that head, practicality and progress were jumping up and down gleefully behind an advertising hoarding whilst spraying champagne and being showered with glitter.
The lack of an apology to the supporters locked out of the Paxton End due to a fire alert before the start of the home game against FC Twente was significant in my view. Online, Spurs made statements giving an explanation as to why the turnstiles were closed and thanking people for â€˜their patienceâ€™ but there was no â€˜sorryâ€™ as I say, and obviously no attempt was made to delay the kick off to allow thousands of people in who, through no fault of their own, had been excluded from the start of our first European Cup home game proper for nearly fifty years despite paying record ticket prices.
We have been reduced to customers, and not very well treated ones at that.Â The emotion involved in supporting the club for a long time makes it hard to fully accept but once you do, the move for Stratford veers from the unthinkable to the entirely logical.
If the original Joe Louis was the Brown Bomber then our sound-a-like version is just going brown in the Bahamas. Daniel Levy is the public face of ENIC. Throughout the lead up to the OPLC decision he was unnecessarily belligerent in his statements and also in his dealings with those trying to argue against the move.Â His assertion that some of the Spurs press releases surrounding the â€˜viabilityâ€™ of the Northumberland Park Development project â€˜suited their purposesâ€™ left a bad taste in the mouth despite the subsequent follow-up statement that the original quote had been â€˜misconstruedâ€™. He has been dismissive and cautious, not in the least transparent and has done little to fill fans with confidence that heâ€™ll do the best for them. (Also, a personal bugbear, he uses the word â€˜soccerâ€™ in interviews.)
We may think, â€œBill Nicholsonâ€™s ashes. How can we leave them?â€ Levy can only see the Return on Investment of redeveloping Bill Nicholson Way.
The club has literally been rebranded since ENIC took control as the cockerel, the crest and â€˜Audere est Facereâ€™ have all had makeovers or been quietly forgotten about. Perhaps the beating heart of N17 went with them? Spurs have turned into an organisation that is not afraid to chuck its weight around in the direction of parties who donâ€™t deserve it whether it be We Are N17, season ticket holders trying to get in to CL games on time or even West Ham and Orient, both of whom had their future threatened by our move on to their patch.
None of the above is news particularly. Maybe itâ€™s just symptomatic of the growing pains suffered by every club in the current climate that decides itâ€™s got a chance of playing at the very top and chooses to give it a shot. Supporters become customers but no matter what theyâ€™re called, UEFAâ€™s dignitaries are still more important. Perhaps Iâ€™m just naÃ¯ve & being too sentimental to think that it might be otherwise.
Like most Spurs fans I donâ€™t live in Tottenham. I did, but moved away years ago. Also like most Spurs fans I donâ€™t know of a green field site with great transport links ready to move to, I couldnâ€™t give a toss about an Olympic â€˜legacyâ€™, am only interested in creating a successful Tottenham and perfectly understand the need for more revenue and a new/bigger ground. But again like most fans, I wish the people making the decisions were capable of showing more empathy with & sympathy for the supporters. Until they show these qualities a crucial level of trust in their activities will be missing and weâ€™ll await the clubâ€™s next move with more trepidation than excitement.
Whilst Harryâ€™s in charge at least the identity of the club on the playing side seems in good hands. Elsewhere, Iâ€™m not so sure.
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