Bad decision after bad decision after bad decision, if this was me, I’d have been sacked a long, long time ago, but this isn’t me thankfully, this is Daniel Levy, so why oh why is he still taking £2million + in wages every year?
I’m not going to turn this into a Harry Redknapp love in but sometimes it will seem that way, firstly, If you, the reader, do something and it works, you do it again right? Whether it be taking a short cut to get to work quicker, finding an easier and cheaper way to do your weekly shop or going to the cinema on a Tuesday because it’s quieter. So, when we have a manager who gets us the coveted 4th place that we all wanted so badly like it was this unattainable holy grail, why did we see fit to sack him? Why when he took the club to Wembley more times than the previous nine (full time) managers combined did we see fit to sack him? How can a man who took us to the champions league quarter finals at our first attempt be sacked?
Because he wanted the England job? So what?!, what Englishman wouldn’t? Because he wanted a long term contract as a bit of security? So what?!, Who doesn’t in football. Because he was a bit of a shameless self promoter? So what?!, Listening to some former managers and players in recent months,(Roy Keane and Sir Alex), Makes Harry look quite mild. Lets not get it twisted, he was no genius, he wasn’t a master tactician a la Mourinho, He wasn’t a master of the game like Sir Alex,he was just Harry, he knew what he had, knew who he wanted and knew how to get the best out of them, Of all my years watching Spurs that was some of the best football we played. Beating Arsenal away 3-2 after being 2-0 down was amazing, beating Wigan 9-1 the year before unheard of for Spurs,beating Arsenal and Chelsea back to back in the week after losing the FA cup semi final in 2010 and then going on to beat Man City away to secure 4th spot made for one hell of a month! Beating Inter Milan, reigning European Champions 3-1 at the lane will live long in my memory, the atmosphere was incredible, the noise on going 1-0 up deafening. Beating AC Milan away from home and drawing 0-0 at home to secure a passage to the quarters was an immense effort. The trip to Madrid a bit of a bust after Crouchie was sent off after 15 minutes but that’s neither here nor there, we didn’t expect to be where we were and that made it all the more special. These moment’s of course weren’t just down to Harry they were down to the great players we had accumulated over the previous couple of seasons, but Harry got them playing, playing to their strengths, Modric playing the defence splitting balls, Bale using his pace to give right backs nightmares, Daws and the King strong as ever at the back, but alas that wasn’t good enough.
So……where do we go from there? AVB. The man not good enough for Chelsea, the man made to look foolish by Roberto Di Matteo’s Champion’s League win against Munich. In Munich. The man that tried to break up the backbone of Chelsea, the man who nearly got Chelsea knocked out of the Champions League with several selection and tactical mistakes away at Napoli. Yes him.
Give him a chance I was told, it’ll be a fresh approach. It took me one and a half matches to dislike his management. Away to Newcastle on the first day of the season was never going to be easy, Losing wasn’t nice but you can take that one on the chin, the next game was awful, at home to West Brom, It laid the foundation of what was to come. Sideways and backwards passing, trying to draw the other team out. Boring football simply put, Barcelona can do this as they have Messi, we, Spurs, Can not. Things improved slightly over the next few months, picking up some good results and beating rivals, but again, we still fell victim to this boring possession based football which had been all the rage for the previous 4 years due to Barcelona’s rise.
His transfer dealings weren’t much to get excited about either. His success rate was probably just under 50% in my opinion, the signing’s of Hugo Lloris and Jan Verthonghan just saving his first transfer window in charge, the signing of Moussa Dembele was ok but was he the man to replace Luka Modric? No. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Spurs sort of player, possibly, right time. No. Clint Dempsey? to me that smacks of Mr Levy bargain bin on Christmas Eve, got us some important goals but again, just not good enough. Over the next two transfer windows, (January 2013 and the summer window of 2013), He was allowed to rip out the English core of Spurs, something which he had failed to do at Chelsea. One of the best passers in the English game in Tom Huddlestone was gone, the leadership and work rate of Scott Parker was gone, the brilliant young prospect at centre back Steve Caulker was gone and while obviously not English, most famously of all, Gareth Bale was gone. Gareth Bale who, the previous season had won us 16 points, either equalising or scoring winners, mostly late on.
In came Soldado, Capoue, Eriksen, Lamela, Chirices, Chadli and Paulinho. Out went our only hope of ever being a top 4 club. Out it went on a private jet to Madrid’s Barajas airport. Who signed these players? AVB? Baldini? Levy? Or all three? Either way out of the seven, only 1 has shown what a good player he is – Christian Eriksen. And only one looks like being any good in a few years – Erik Lamela. The rest have done nothing to make you think that we are any better off with them in the squad give or take a few of Nacer Chadli’s goals this season of course.
These transfer failures all point towards one person – Daniel Levy. He is the one who has the power to employ the director of football/Technical director/Director of football operations/whatever job title you like. He is the one that has seen as of 2014 no less than 4 DOF’s,(Pleat,Arnesen,Comolli and Baldini), He is the one that has financed all these transfers at the behest of these four men, three of them obviously not good enough to manage their own teams but fine to buy players for somebody else’s. He is the one that since starting this nonsense has seen it not work time and time again. He is the one who gave Harry Redknapp ultimate power when it came to transfers and we ended up with players such as the work horse of Sandro, the experience and leadership of Scott Parker, (Whom Levy despised paying for), Kyle Walker and Rafa Van Der Vaart who was the big game player we so desperately needed. When the ultimate power went to Baldini we have ended up with a centre back in Vlad Chirices who isn’t fit to lace Michael Dawson’s boots. So why has he persisted with this? When you look back at Premier League History, the three most successful clubs are Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. Their common theme? No director’s of football have ever been involved in the transfer policies of Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho/Ancelotti etc. Surely Daniel must look at this and say, “Let’s get the managerial appointment right once and for all, A big name, somebody who has a good track record and the big players will want to play for him, lets get rid of the director of football and let the manager sign the players, Apparently some Englishman done that for me a few years back but we don’t talk about that”. You know why he won’t? Protection. Daniel need’s people between him and the fans, like the Godfather when the guys being interviewed in court can’t tell the judges where their orders come from, its all about protecting the highest person on the pyramid. Results rubbish? Sack the manager. Signing’s rubbish? Ciao Franco.
Daniel has always wanted this European model of management structure, it may benefit some clubs in some countries where everyone works towards the same goals but it hasn’t worked in England and it definitely hasn’t worked at Spurs. So why persist? Because Daniel is protected, his boss Joe Lewis is protected along with all the shareholders that get their blood money every year after another star is sold. Everyone’s making money so everybody’s happy. Apart from the supporters. the heady nights of beating Inter and AC have been replaced with trips to Tripolis, Dnipro and Sherif Tiraspol. Berbatov, Modric and Bale have been replace by Pavlyuchencko, Dembele and Nacer Chadli respectively. We have another manager/victim now in Mauricio Pochettinho. How long will he get? Some of the signings made in the summer window were more akin to an overachieving team who had first qualified for Europe but didn’t have the pulling power to grab a big name, not a Spurs team hoping to finish in the top 4. Even the excellent signing of ‘keeper Michel Vorm has had it’s lustre taken away by the smart Spurs fans knowing that in the summer that means bye bye Hugo, send us a picture of your Champion’s league medal when you get a minute.
While I won’t knock Daniel for building the new Training ground and hopefully one day building us a magnificent stadium, he’s not doing it all for us fans. He’s doing it because one day when the club is sold, it will be sold with a modern stadium and an excellent training ground therefore obviously increasing the value, but one thing he will certainly be hoping for when he/Joe Lewis finally sells is that he can sell the club on the fact that we are in the Champion’s League, but if he continues to meddle in everything that actually goes well. He’ll face an uphill struggle to sell a club with a shiny new stadium, a beatiful training ground and a trip to Bosnia.