by Jack Howes
I was on Twitter yesterday minding my own business when I happened to come across this article on the Daily Mirror website written by Darren Lewis. The same Daily Mirror who had another of its journalists John Cross suggesting that the Tottenham owners ‘were worse than the Venky’s’ in the aftermath of Harry Redknapp’s sacking.
Well reading this article I was incensed by it as a Spurs fan. There are more holes in this article than in a block of swiss cheese. The amount of assumptions and half-truths in it rivals what you’d expect from a Scientology meeting.
This article is a complete joke and for it to be appearing in a national newspaper is a disgrace. It is also I feel insulting to the hundreds of top quality internet bloggers who could write a fairer, wittier, much less biased article in their sleep. Below I will go through every paragraph to point out errors, misplaced assumptions and ridiculous bias and prejudice in this article….
Early next week, everything will become a lot clearer.
Presumably, no one actually knows yet if everything will become clearer this week
The Tottenham’s players will return from their summer holidays and Daniel Levy will reveal the identity of the man he believes can do a better job of taking the club forward than Harry Redknapp.
We don’t know this for a fact yet
And yet it will be hard for the fans to escape the feeling that their chairman is gambling with the club.
As a lifelong Spurs fan born into a Spurs supporting family and is active on social media with other Spurs fans no one has said ‘Levy is gambling with the club’.
As pointed out elsewhere on MirrorFootball, Andre Villas Boas couldn’t handle it at Chelsea .
Fair enough, though the job he was given was an almost impossible one
He couldn’t handle the players. He couldn’t handle the expectation and he couldn’t handle the media.
Yet Spurs have traded a man famed for his man-management skills for a man who showed very little at Stamford Bridge.
The same Harry Redknapp who upset Darren Bent by saying his wife could have converted a chance Bent missed.
And, just as Roy Hodgson and his derided, archaic 4-4-2 has the spectre of Harry Redknapp hanging over him, so too does Villas-Boas.
Fair enough I guess, though most Spurs fans were not unhappy to see Harry leave. The press will compare Harry to AVB more than fans will.
To be fair, it is not only rival fans of other clubs whose tribalism has branded Redknapp much of a muchness. Spurs fans have done it too.
Yes. With good reason too. Redknapp’s poor tactics and lack of squad rotation cost us a Champions League place.
They have refused to accept the scale of Redknapp’s achievement in taking a club with the sixth-biggest wage bill in the Premier League (and, by definition, the country) to fourth, fifth and fourth.
Spurs fans are thankful for what Harry did. He gave us memories that will last a lifetime. We supported him throughout his court case. His sacking was more for his conduct towards Daniel Levy than matters on the pitch.
They refuse to accept that Luka Modric, now so sought after, was treading water at White Hart Lane until Redknapp arrived.
Huh? We accept that Modric struggled when he first moved to Tottenham. To say he was treading water though when we’d paid £16m for a 21 year old who’d never played out of the Balkans before though is a joke.
They scoff at the fact that Gareth Bale was going backwards until he worked with Redknapp to become one of the most valued wingers in European football.
The same Redknapp who was prepared to sell Gareth Bale for a minimal transfer fee to Nottingham Forest in late 2009 and only played him due to injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Who then played Bale on the right side of midfield or down the middle to the point that fans were chanting ‘Gareth Bale, he plays on the left’. Also we are well aware of Bale’s early struggles at Spurs and his run of appearances without his team winning. To say ‘we’ (what Spurs fans did he talk to?) scoff at Bale’s lack of early progress is ridiculous.
And they refuse to accept that Levy had a plan all along. The Spurs chairman didn’t invest in the squad and the team in January as he should have done because even then he had been planning for life without Harry.
This is common sense. Redknapp was favourite to replace Fabio Capello as England manager in January (we thought Capello at this point would leave after the Euros, not in February as transpired). For Levy not to have a back-up plan in the case of Redknapp leaving would have been a neglecting of his duty of care. Also Levy was right not to hand over transfer funds to a manager who was likely gone in six months. That would mean having to give over big funds to a manager in January and then a new manager who wants to bring in his own players in the summer. Spurs simply can’t afford to spend big in two successive transfer windows.
Had Levy backed Redknapp’s big to bring in Carlos Tevez and Gary Cahill back then Spurs surely would have had the solidity at the back and the goals up front to snatch third place.
Tevez’s wages and the fact City had already given Spurs Emmanuel Adebayor on loan would have meant this deal was out of the question. It was reported widely in the press that Spurs bid for Cahill – he decided to go to Chelsea by most accounts.
But then why fund big signings and huge wages when you know you want to ease the man in charge out six months later?
Levy offered Redknapp a new four year contract in February in the aftermath of his acquittal in court. Hardly the actions of a man wanting to ‘ease out’ Redknapp in the summer.
So good luck Daniel Levy with the bold bid for a brave new world at Spurs that few people are convinced by.
By ‘few people’ you mean journalists. The pro-Harry slant in the papers does not reflect the feeling amongst either the Tottenham fanbase nor from what I’ve seen on other club’s messageboards or on social media sites. Most accept that Harry in using the press to force Levy to give him a new contract following Spurs dreadful collapse last season had to go.
And maybe those Spurs fans who agree with Levy that the club can do better without Redknapp – and the investment he should have had – need to careful what they wish for.
The ‘investment he should have had’ – Giving funds to a manager who may well be leaving in six months is not a good move. Giving funds to a manager who wanted to fill the side with veterans (look at the signings of Nelsen, Gallas, Friedel, Saha and attempted signing of Phil Neville) wasn’t the greatest idea either.
Villas-Boas has everything to prove and Spurs have everything to lose.
‘Everything to lose’? To be honest we lost almost everything last season. A champions league place, bragging rights over Arsenal and Chelsea, possibly losing Modric and Bale this summer – we’ve already lost a lot to be flippant about things. To say we have ‘everything to lose’ is over-dramatic. We’re not in danger of relegation or administration. Portsmouth, Rangers and numerous other clubs in strife have ‘everything to lose’. Not Spurs.
The ex-Porto coach didn’t fancy Lampard, Drogba or Ashley Cole. As soon as the door slams shut behind him, all three come back into the Chelsea team and help the club to their first-ever Champions League alongside the FA Cup.
Fair enough though seeing as Ashley Cole played almost every game I don’t know how that proves AVB ‘didn’t fancy him’. Also AVB was told to rejuvenate Chelsea and revolutionise their style of play while Di Matteo was not given such a brief and told to do the best he could till the end of the season. There’s a big difference there.
Little wonder then that Spurs fans will be rightly apprehensive about the man who will take the chair next week.
Yes there are fans who are apprehensive. But there are also fans who are quite optimistic about what AVB may bring to Spurs. Also to say ‘rightly apprehensive’ – the Mirror are already marking out their anti-AVB territory. Before he’s even been hired.
They will look to see which players are in AVB’s plans and which are left kicking their heels when the club kick off the new Premier League season at Newcastle on August 18.
Pointless sentence. ‘Fans look to see which players are signed and which players are not in the starting XI’ is hardly news is it?
We’ve already seen Ryan Nelsen shipped out to QPR. Ledley King’s time has run out and the word on the street is William Gallas could be on his way this summer too.
Nelsen was a stop gap signing while Gallas hardly played last season. Both are old and injury prone. With Steven Caulker coming back on loan, Michael Dawson returning to fitness and Jan Vertonghen supposedly on the way Gallas and Nelsen are expendable. He’s right about Ledley – Ledley’s a legend, but a legend with waning powers. Levy, offer him a coaching job for life please.
The imminent recruitment of Jan Vertonghen from Ajax and Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim is a method of operating that would have drawn criticism had Chelsea done it.
These signings are common sense signings with wide backing from Spurs fans. Also how do we know that prospective managers haven’t been asked about whether they’d like these players and have given their approval should they get the job?
The feeling would be that Roman Abramovich is bringing in the stars he fancies and that the man is charge is simply tasked with making it sing.
Possibly, though Abramovich did that with a combined £80m for Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres, both expensive players Chelsea didn’t really need. Tottenham are spending roughly £20m on players of need.
Well that appears to be the case with Tottenham these days.
Levy is a business man, Abramovich runs Chelsea to fuel his love of the game. Levy trying to move Tottenham to Stratford and having some of the league’s highest ticket prices show he’s hardly some football romantic signing players willy-nilly. Also the director of football system which caused friction between manager and board level was got rid of when Redknapp became manager.
Levy is understood to favour moving away from older players and you do sometimes wonder why he doesn’t just go the whole hog, get a tracksuit and take training.
So a chairman making some common sense transfers (possibly with the incoming manager’s seal of approval) should now start taking training sessions? Ludicrous hyperbole. Also to suggest that moving away from older players is a bad thing is debateable. Surely managers and chairmen should seek when possible to always have a young team?
After all, Giggs, Scholes, Ferdinand and Neville have all helped bed in young players at Manchester United.
United’s veterans are exceptional for their age and its incredibly rare for veterans of the calibre of United’s veterans to be at a club. Also given United’s relatively poor campaign last season and the over-reliance on Scholes/Giggs I’m not sure they are a top notch advert for teams to have a plethora of veteran playersi n their squads.
The senior citizens at Chelsea all spearheaded the club’s assault on silverware last season.
Fair enough, though again Chelsea’s triumph was a one-off won in exceptional circumstances with the likes of Luiz, Cahill and Ramires as Chelsea’s best performers last season. Having an old side I refused to be convinced is the way to go.
But Levy wants to go the other way. Presumably to make a few bob in the process.
Levy is a chairman of a football club. Chairmen in football are there to make money. To suggest otherwise is misty-eyed romanticism of an age where chairmen were all local businessmen who owned clubs without the concept of profit entering their heads (an age which I doubt ever existed).
All of which means the real fear remains that while Spurs fans enjoyed (during the first half of the season anyway) mixing it with Arsenal in the race for Champions League football, the Gunners are set to move on while Tottenham go backwards.
Fair enough to say we’re going backwards. But it was Harry who led us to our mid-season collapse which led to us finishing below Arsenal and Spurs not making the Champions League. Not making the Champions League, with the loss in income and perhaps the loss of players is what will led to us possibly going backwards.
For that not to be the case, Levy – and Villas-Boas – need to pull some real rabbits out of the hat during what remains of this summer.
Yes they do. With Sigurdsson and Vertonghen, Levy and possibly AVB (if he becomes our manager) are trying to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.