Criticism, Levy and my support of him

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Image: SpursWeb

My last article (The Transfer Window and Levy) caused a bit of a stir on SpursWeb and other social media sites. Of course, there was a lot of positiveness from those that understood what Daniel Levy was doing and has done, but the unconstructiveness (putting it politely) of those that hate Levy is where I shall focus this article.

Somebody wrote that Levy kept the club from winning Silverware because of his “tight grip” overall financial matters. This is the best one to start with:-

This doesn’t make sense (and is an absurd statement); there are clubs with less money than us that have won trophies, and those with more that haven’t. Just think of Wigan (FA Cup), Portsmouth (FA Cup), Wimbledon and Coventry (both FA Cup), Swansea City (League Cup), Birmingham City (LC), Middlesbrough (LG) and the list goes, so making such a statement doesn’t make sense or add up.

Whether one gets to the final is down to the manager, not the board (whether they are given adequate funds or not). All directors would love to visit Wembley and sit with the Queen or whomever (it is good prestige for them). And we could look at it another way, those clubs that have had money to throw at their managers haven’t always made it to Wembley.

It is true that we haven’t won a trophy since 2008 (but did get to the Final twice in 2009 and 2015). But is that down to the Director? Or the man he employees? Picking a manager is down to luck and other factors. Take winning the league. Just look at Leicester City, they won the league with less money than Spurs has. Take this season, United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal all spent more money than us but couldn’t win the league. If we want to point the finger at Levy, then it would be for getting it incorrect in appointing the wrong manager. But no director has a crystal ball, just look at United and after Furgeson left. Two managers were sacked in succession, and the third only managed second spot (even with all that money they were given).

Some say that Joe Lewis and Levy should put their hands in their pockets. Why? Because they are rich, is the answer. Rich doesn’t equal spare cash.

They may be millionaires or billionaires, but we don’t know how much they have in hard cash or just hard assets. That money could be tied up in businesses, art etc. And let us say that they did put their hands in their pockets. What next? The Levy hatters would be demanding the same for the year after, ad-infinitum. That would be foolish and damn stupid.

Clubs should be self-sufficient. Sugar took over a company from near bankruptcy. When Levy and Lewis took it over it was in the black, but not enough to spend wildly. And the current structure (then) wasn’t good enough to compete in the same way as the United’s, City’s, Arsenal’s and Liverpool’s of this world. And, of course, our stadium needed improving (a 35,000 seater stadium was not good enough for the modern era). So a long-term project was necessary to put in place. The Tottenham board started buying up properties around WHL (which would give the club more revenue, other than money coming from the stadium and merchandise). When it is all up and running Tottenham FC can get rent from those buildings around the stadium (such as Sainsbury’s is now paying). Of course, this isn’t going to be achieved overnight).

In the meantime, Tottenham Hotspur FC must rely on their own resources to get up the league table and win any trophies they can on the way.

Now let us look at resources. If you take the latest figures from Deloitte’s (Deloitte is one of the “Big Four”; accounting organisations), you will see that Spurs are rated the 11th richest club in the world. Out of the English clubs, we are 6th, behind Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, City, with United being the richest (and the richest in the world).

So, to achieve more we must build an enterprise that can put us further up the ladder of the world’s wealthiest clubs. As I said, we are rated 6th richest club in England. That means for the last couple of years we’ve been punching above our weight. When we were around the 6th position in the league (pre-Pochettino), we were where our finances dictated. Thanks to Pochettino (and Harry Redknapp) we’ve managed to get into the top four. And those clubs below us (2017/18), Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have been performing poorly (if you consider they are richer than us).

Somebody said, “If Levy had put more money into Spurs we would have won the league”. Really? Liverpool, Chelsea, United and Arsenal all put more money in than Levy, and none of them could win the league. So, it isn’t just money alone. And only the wealthiest club in the world ended up above us (and less wealthy, than United, ended up winning it: actually City are the second wealthiest club in the table). A lot of Levy haters don’t actually put their brain into gear when criticising. Shouldn’t we thank Levy and Pochettino for what they’ve achieved with such limited resources? And what they could achieve once all the pieces are put together. Levy & co are creating something that will make Spurs one of
the wealthiest clubs in the world.

Before we went into the Premier League, we were regarded as “the Bank of England”, and when we entered the Premier League, we began as one of the top five teams in England. Irvin Scholar started the processes of trying to build something better at Tottenham, as he realised that the club had limits, but too many bad business deals put the club on the rocks). Somebody criticised Levy for “overshooting” on our initial £400 million for the stadium. Clearly a comment from an ignoramus. When planning such a structure, as the new stadium, you can only work on the prices (raw materials) at the time (not by crystal ball). Inflation, Brexit etc. can, and did, push up the prices, that is outside anybody’s control. Not everybody who disagrees with me are Levy haters, but the majority
are.

“Profit is the game for ENIC, not trophies.” Profits is the name of the game for any respectable company. Just ask City, United, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, and the list goes on. Without the focus being on profits then forget trophies. But both can go hand in hand. In fact, higher positions can add to profits as well. All excellent and sound companies must have at their forefront profit-making, otherwise, you could end up on a dangerous edge. Without profits, one can easily slip under. And if that happens, then the finger will be pointed at Levy for the reckless behaviour of dealing out Tottenham Hotspur money. As people criticised Irvin Scholar.

You must also remember something else; for Levy to fill that stadium and being in the top four, then success must be achieved on the field. Below fourth spot means Europa league, which equates to less money (in both league position and none-European Champions football). So if profit and trophies weren’t the name of the game then that would be a good enough reason to sack Levy and the board.

I’ve covered most of the criticism of Levy/ my article, but that won’t satisfy those that have tunnel vision and only want to be driven on by their hate of our saviour.

The good news is, and going by social media etc., most Tottenham supporters have enough savvy to understand what Levy is doing and has done for our club. He hasn’t always got it right (such as picking the manager), but then what director has?

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Fantastic article and one I wholly agree with and have been saying for years. Spurs fans are crying out for success and silverware but this is not going to happen overnight. It is the Spurs fans who don’t understand simple economics and how the club needs to be run to eventually meet our goals. We will be one of the powers of English football if we continue on our current course, led by a business savvy chairman and board, a fantastic manager and a great team.

    My only concern is that we have not added anyone when the team is crying out for someone to competently support Kane whilst we seem to intent on losing 3 key players in Toby, Rose and Mousa. There need to be replaced before we let them go, not after, especially at this late hour, in case we cannot replace and/or cannot replace with at least equal ability players. We should be looking for even better players otherwise why sell. COYS

  2. I fully understand your long and detailed defence of Levy but I think the truth is none of us know who is responsible for some of the stupid desicions being made regarding players. There is a very long list of poor last minute signings culminating in the biggest waste of money of them all Sissoko. Still somehow he gets picked before Moura who clearly knows how to play football, I presume that must be the managers decision?? Put that to one side and help me with the conundrum of why we would let the best centre back in the Premier League leave because he’s asking for £150,000 a week. If the philosophy is that we won’t pay what the rest of the top six are willing to pay then I’m afraid good signing will become very rare and loyalty even rarer. Whoever is responsible for that lot is the problem as far as I see it but I don’t know if it’s one or more people.

  3. Not sure how any of that explains why we pass up good Free Transfers!!!

    Thinking Max Mayer for one of the more recent examples!

    I don’t hate Levy I think he’s done a wonderful job overall, that said I think his tactic of leaving it until last minute is futile and often works against us!!!

    Lets look at Sissoko he cost us 30m as a desperate last minute deal to appease fans as we do nobody else, we now can’t sell him.

    In that same Window that same price would have got us Ross Barkley but we decided to wait for the clearance sale, which of course never came as Chelsea came in, sound familiar?! Same is happening with Jack Grealish now!!!

    Poch himself said he wanted signing early, all the fans did, all our compeitors have already signed multiple players, if we sign anyone now they are no good until Jan according to Poch!

    Our competitors do not have this issue, it’s not about the money for me!

    It’s about missing out on players who wanted to sign for us, only for us to delay, delay, delay then fail.

    Hazard was one time going to be a Spurs player too remember, but instead we delayed so much that he told us where to go, before Chelsea even came in!

    Players want to know the club signing them has confidence in them, we don’t show that!

  4. An excellent article that puts the matter in its true perspective the facts cannot be denied, patience is necessary, we would all like overnight success, but it soon disappears.

  5. Myself and other fans critical of levy have never said we want the club to be recklessly spending..we dont need to as weve got the nucleus of a very capable team. What does piss us off is hes constant bargain hunting where for a few million quid we would have got a couple of the managers top targets rather than leaving everything til deadline day which disrupts us and gives other clubs a head start.. Liverpool have finished below us in recent times (7 out of the last 8 seasons) and theyve gone and spent 200 million and early. we should be keeping up with them
    or at least be nearer to them.. not the citys of this world.

  6. While for the most part I agree with what your saying there is a but, what you spend doesn’t at the end of the day mean you win something as there are only 4 chances a season it’s hard, but you do need to give yourself the best chance you can.

    I’m sure that the club as all do look to see what new player’s they need & then go about trying to get them which for lots of different reasons is not easy, but if we pick certain players we want & we can get them then they need to be got ASAP not at the last minute, now unlike in the days of Harry we never really know who the club are trying to get & stories link us with lots, the fans read these & then if they go else where think it’s because Levy messed up.

    The one thing I do find very odd is the case of Toby, as we’ve now decided to start paying more money why we can’t come to a deal with him, but then again we don’t know for sure if Toby really want’s a new deal, but no matter what the case the fans will blame Levy if he goes, who be a chairman of a football club ?

  7. “Club X spent such and such an amount and we should be doing better than them!” This whinge (and its variations) seem to be popular among a certain segment of fans. Yet the contest is not about who can spend the most, but who can deliver sustainable success. It seems to me that Spurs are more than halfway along an improvement curve that will take the club from the horror days of AVB and Tactics Tim to sustainable success at the highest level (ie. PL and Champions League)

    A few years ago I was critical of the way Spurs did business and the lack of success. But the results of the past 3 seasons speak for themselves. I believe that assuming we can hang on to the core of this team and especially Poch, silverware and sustainable success will come before too long.

    It’s time to keep the faith and believe.

  8. It’s a balancing act. A few of the players we have bought over the last few years haven’t been great. I’d rather Daniel spent less but bought wisely and making decisions on the last day(s) of the window isn’t necessarily in the clubs best interest.

    Jack G would make sense and we could have bought him weeks ago for a reasonable fee. He would then have had a pre-season and playing time with the team. Naturally the shape of the deal has changed with the new investment in Villa but it has also served to make us look somewhat stupid.

    Also, what is going on with the players leaving? Toby’s situation I can understand but Moussa surely will feel cheesed off that we touted him around if we don’t get rid of him and the same goes for Danny. We could have all three poisoning the well for a year and that seems madness.

    I get the feeling that it is all a game for Daniel and I wish he’d be a little more mature about it.

  9. It’s true that money alone can’t buy you success, i.e. the title, but not being ready to go from day one in your strongest possible condition is counter productive on many levels. I have massive respect for Levy and how he has transformed our club. It’s just a shame that he can’t apply that little extra “bravery” that Pochettino so clearly knows is needed for us to go that extra yard. COYS!

  10. The question is though how many trophies have Chelsea and City won since Levy took over? (20 between them?) and they have spent money. Levy has sold our best players to rivals(Carrick, Berbatov, Walker and maybe Toby and Rose). When we finished third and second you have thought he would have pushed the boat out to go two or one better. When you think of substantial television revenue, funds from Champions League participation, greater capacity at Wembley and crazy season ticket price increases for the new season. surely he could have spent more. Yet he found the money to pay himself a substantial bonus. You can blame coaches for failure to win trophies, he has appointed nine, so what does say about his judgment?

    With our terrible success record over the last seventeen years, we are the laughing stock of other clubs. I hope now that the stadium is nearly complete, a new backer will come in with the funds to take us several levels up.

  11. Agree with most of this, for years football fans didn`t have a voice….now they have, turns out quite a few of them are total idiots!
    It`s so easy to say “spend more money” without really thinking about it. Where is the money coming from? Is buying new players going to guarantee success? Are the players everyone`s clambering for better than what we have already?….and do these people believe most of the made up crap that`s written in the media
    We had all this a couple of weeks before last season, and still managed to finish above clubs that had a bigger budget and spent a lot more money than us

  12. I love when people say we “bargain” shop. By those terms I assume you mean players that were bought well below perceived value or the crazy money being spent by clubs today. Based on that, the following players on the current squad would be considered “bargain” buys: Dele, Toby, Jan, Eriksen, Dier, Wanyama, Trippier, Davies, and I might have missed some. Throw in previous players like Modric, Bale, etc and I would argue that the current status of the club has been built through homegrown talent and “bargain” buys. How many clubs would love to have the list of players above that were “bargain” buys.

    • and throw in Gilberto/Paulinhio.,N’Gia,Llorente,Janssen.Sissoko,Aurier, for a balanced argument.I love it when people look at ENIC with rose tinted glasses.

  13. “Shouldn’t we thank Levy and Pochettino for what they’ve achieved with such limited resources?”

    Yeah, thanks for nothing Levy

  14. To Dare Is To Do. We aren’t showing much ambition in this window. Or umpteen windows before it. Maybe we will dare to finish outside of top four, as our rivals improve all the time. Then we will have less money to spend and playing Thursday nights will make Pochettino’s job in the league that much harder, if him and Kane actually stay long term while the squad stagnates as it is doing. What’s frustrating is we expect silly fees for our players, but we won’t pay them to buy players. That’s why we have 6 days left and done zip.

  15. You talk about what Levy and Poch have done for spurs i have been a spurs supporter all my life i am now sixty three i feel the time is right for new people to come in give our supporters hope .To me i think it’s time for Levy and Poch to step down we have a brand new stadium and a average team to play in it you said we cannot blame who runs the club WHY

  16. It would be interesting to know precisely what the author’s ‘connection’ with the club is – I don’t remember us signing anyone of that name, so he’s probably not a player – is he the manager of the cheese shop? Whatever else he is, he’s clearly a Levy stooge, otherwise he couldn’t possibly write such twaddle, on the one hand putting forward the hackneyed ‘anything better than sixth is over-achieving’ argument, and on the other listing all the smaller clubs that have won trophies since ENIC took over Spurs in 2001 as if that vindicated Levy – talk about having it both ways. By the way Mr Scully, the Tottenham postcode isn’t ‘W17’ – try to get it right if you want to be taken seriously.

  17. Think what has to be said, Levy has no ambition for us to get above City/Utd, for two years they finished below us. Then last summer because of our lack of spending we let them finish us. Why should we fund the cost of the stadium, other than with highly inflated season prices. The only people who will gain from it are Lewis and Levy. He wants to run it as a business that is fine, but our lowest season ticket price is £150 below Man Utd’s highest. So in business terms we are paying for an inferior product. Wake up and smell the coffee, Levy is a greedy self serving little Jew. I do not what the author’s relationship to him is, but it is all very strange. Seventeen years no trophies, unlike City, Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. Second line should read we let them finish above us.

    • Spot on. 17 years under Levy and Enic and no trophy. They have sacked managers for less. Too many fans judge Levy based on what Pochettino has done. Not to take anything away from Pochettino but we need a manager who knows how to win trophies and has a cv of winning trophies. Levy’s transfer policy is a complete shambles. We were told that there was money to buy players irrelevant to the stadium costs so where is the money. This new stadium is just another cash cow for Enic and Levy.

  18. When you leave signings so late, it gives them no time to prove their fitness and earn their position in the team, as is apparently demanded by Poch. So the managers decree does not work with the clubs tactics.
    Purposeful stratedgy of late signings makes absolutely no sense. No wonder there is frustration.

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