Tottenham Hotspur are not a bad team. For a large part of the last decade they’ve been a pretty good team. The problem is they desperately want to be a great team. Right now not only are they not the best team in the Premier League, they’re not even the second best team in their own city.
In the 52-year old Daniel Levy they have a chairman who has an unwavering confidence in his ability to change that. 13 years into his tenure at White Hart Lane and at the very least some doubts over his ability to do so should be raised.
Is it wrong to solely blame Levy? Possibly, there are a myriad of things which need to line-up at the right time for a club to be successful. That being said the fact that he looks like a movie villain and enjoys sacking managers strongly suggests he is an evil man with dark intentions.
Spurring Them On
His unknown nefarious plans aside there’s no doubt he has improved the club’s fortunes. In the nine years of Premier League football before Levy arrived Spurs finished no higher than 7th and had an average finishing position of 10th.
In the 13 years under his charge the average finishing position has been 7th. Over the last five seasons that average has improved to 5th, including two 4th place finishes. One of which secured the club’s first Champions League qualification which they made the most of by progressing all they way to the quarter-finals. Progress has been made but it hasn’t been rapid.
When you take a look at the finances it’s a wonder how Levy is still so secure in his job. Since the start of the 2001-2002 season up until last season Tottenham have spent £634 million on new players. Granted they’re still some way behind Man City (£831m) and Chelsea but they have an almost identical outlay to Liverpool (£634m) and Manchester United (£640m) and are £270m ahead of Arsenal (£371m).
This considerable splurging, regardless of the money recouped, has garnered one Champions League outing and a League Cup win. A competition which Birmingham, Swansea, Middlesbrough and Blackburn have all won under Levy’s watch…without shelling out over half a billion on new players.
Levy appears to have a reputation as an expert talent spotter, selling Gareth Bale for a £70m profit will feed in to that, but the four most expensive players he has brought were either failures or have yet to make a significant impact.
Spurs’ Top Four Signings
- Erik Lamela (£26m): 17 games, 1 goal
- Roberto Soldado (£26m): 36 games, 11 goals
- Darren Bent (£22m): 79 games, 25 goals
- David Bentley (£20m): 62 games, 9 goals
Then there are the managers. Daniel Levy has sacked three consecutive managers who were actually enjoying success. Tim Sherwood (59.09%) and Andre Villas-Boas (53.7%) were pushed out despite having the 2nd and 3rd highest league win %s in the club’s history. Only Frank Brettell, who managed the team in their inaugural season back in 1898-99, has a better record with 62.79%. Harry Redknapp played a large part in his own departure by courting the England job whilst still employed at White Hart Lane but Levy didn’t hesitate to sack a man with a 58.55% overall win rate. The 7th best in the club’s history.
Levy’s next choice, Mauricio Pochettino, arrives having enjoyed a successful season with Southampton. A successful season where his side had a 38.33% winning percentage across all competitions. An improvement on the 32.92% from his three seasons with Espanyol. The argument is that these were smaller clubs with fewer resources than Tottenham and once the Argentine applies his entertaining brand of football to the Spurs squad everything will finally click in to place at White Hart Lane. Just like they were going to do with Harry Redknapp….and Andre Villas-Boas.
If Pochettino fails, will Levy have any excuses left or will he have to start looking for a white cat and nuclear bunker?