The everlasting debate over Tottenham's ability, or inability, to overtake Arsenal and break into Europe has brought forward many opinions and divided pundits and fans. The North London side have come close in the past with a debut Champions League season in 2010/11 and a top four finish that season, but unfortunately have struggled to maintain that form.
The Spurs Chairman, Daniel Levy, could be the prime suspect for this drop.
Levy, also a managing director of the ENIC group of companies, has been at the top of the North London side since 2001. However, with the club having just one trophy in this spell, it is no surprise that he has come under criticism by many, even from former managers of the Lilywhites.
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Levy has, however, shown the business acumen that gained his first class degree from Cambridge University through his dealings in terms of the club's future.
Having recently revealed the club's new stadium plans, set to be finished by 2017, Levy has shown true belief in his football club to succeed; however it is not his business acumen that is under fire.
The general consensus at White Hart Lane is based more around economic, rather than sporting success. You could argue that this is good, the club remains financially stable, however, what is the point in being a sporting side, if you never strive to achieve at the highest level.
Former manager Juande Ramos spoke out against the chairman regarding the ethos at Tottenham ahead of his Dnipro side’s visit to White Hart Lane last February; making it clear that the wealthy businessman’s pockets are tighter than they seem.
“Spurs sold Gareth Bale in the summer and with the €100 million they have signed five or six players. They will see if any of those players take off and then maybe sell them on and reinvest: that’s the business plan” said the former Spurs boss.
We have seen this cycle over many years where players of the Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Dimitar Berbatov standards are brought in, left to grow and develop until their contributions are so highly recognised and craved they are immediately sold to the highest bidder like cattle.
As reported by the Daily Mail the Spaniard went on to say: “I didn’t have a problem with the sale of Berbatov, so long as he was replaced.
“I asked for players like Eto’o and Villa, but was left with Darren Bent and Roman Pavlychenko.”
It is rare that you see Tottenham sign experienced players, excluding the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Peter Crouch and Hugo Lloris. This is because they won’t possess the potential for a substantial profit in the future. It’s a good business plan yes, but is it the smartest plan for a chairman and a club who want to reach the top? No.
Obviously it is merely football suicide when trying to compete with the heavyweights not just in England, but amongst Europe’s elite also.
It is because of this they are yet to overtake their North London rivals, Arsenal. The Gunners have undergone some, let’s say, questionable seasons under Arsene Wenger since’ The Invincibles’, but they have well and truly picked up the pace in the last few years, with back-to-back FA cup triumphs and the acquisitions of real stars, such as; Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, alongside solid youth development.
Their easy on the eye football has always managed to drag them through tough seasons, but even Wenger, a manager criticised of his unwillingness to spend money in the past, has realised money is the reality of the modern world and sport, and investment is key to reaching the top of the game.
This realisation seems to be lost under Levy, with a lack of patience and premature ‘trigger-finger’ when sacking managers.
After firing Harry Redknapp, the man who guided Spurs to their first season of Champions League football, over the England job vacancy, a job that few managers would turn down.
Spurs have recently taken up a new look under Mauricio Pochettino and things are still under transition with key positions in need of strengthening. Only time will tell if we see the same old cycle at Spurs, or a Spurs side that can seriously challenge at the top.
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