Gone midnight, September 2nd.
Dear Mr Levy,
I’m conflicted. I can’t seem to make up my mind whether everything that’s happened falls on the side of good or abject disdain. As I sit here in the dirt, I find myself thinking if I’ve actually, in some misguided way, done you a favour. Was I better off just letting things run their course to help cement your legacy to the bottom of the sea of failure? Or was I right to be pro-active, stopping the car and it's driver from reaching the Lodge? Am I seeing this from the wrong perspective? Is there an unbinding connection between the two of us? Are you Palpatine to my Skywalker? And if so, why is Jar Jar Binks our director of football?
My car is parked down the road, a safe distance from your home. The boot is locked. And what’s in it is safe and sound, and still breathing. Though will need to be returned to it's rightful owner later on. I’ve been sat here in the hedge, camouflaged, for about an hour. Green paint covering my face. I’ve been contemplating, reciting passages from The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Helps me meditate. But now I find myself whispering into my microphone, dictating my thoughts. My trusted PSP-10 Cybereye second generation multi-purpose night vision system with head-mountable (cushioned for comfort) and additional camera-adaptable, c/w 2 stage IR illuminator functionality allows me to see through the darkness and into your kitchen window as you make your cup of Earl Gray. This might not be Baghdad, but I know how a reconnaissance marine must feel when they are this close to an enemy. The desire to strike down evil is strong. But I resist. My mind uncertain.
I’m using the hands-free on my Cybereye to zoom. It’s definitely the best value for money NVG on the market. Although battery life could be better. And some kind of anti-squirrel alert mechanism would be handy. Vicious little buggers. Boy do they cry like bitches when they get dicked with pepper-spray. Ever since that incident at the Lodge with Berbatov and the squirrels, I’ve had them on my case. I think squirrels everywhere have issued a Fatwā on me for kidnapping some of their brethren and force-feeding them Red Bull as part of my unsuccessful attempt to induce injury on Dimitar, in Operation Nuts.
Sorry. Side-tracked. All is quiet. It’s 02:13 am. It’s a peaceful night. I think it’s starting to rain. I still have a little bit of coffee left. Not that you would care, all comfy and warm indoors. Sitting in your lush kitchen, dunking your ginger nut biscuit into your tea, in your red and white pyjamas, plugging in your laptop. Why do you look so smug? Have we been successful on this final day of the transfer window? Have we? I’m not asking you that question, I’m asking myself. Because I don’t know whether to use my midi-chlorians for the greater good and force you out or to simply embrace the dark side and help the club, even if it means helping you avoid disaster.
Let’s start with Sunday.
Chelsea v Spurs.
A lucky 1-1 survival at the impenetrable Stamford Bridge. Bent once again on his own upfront. Zokora, the enforcer, in a 5-man midfield that included Bentley, Gio, Modric and Jenas in his usual position. So, a 4-man midfield. The defence was tight. The keeper more than capable. But the midfield once more unbalanced resulting with Bent having to make do with his shadow as a partner, heading the ball from Gomes long kicks to nobody. In the first half, we were ineffective. Like an erect porn star with no testicles, where was the moneyshot going to come from?
In that same half, the opening goal came from Bent slicing the ball into the path of Belletti who scored and our equalizer came from Lampard directing the ball into the path of Bent who slotted it in. Darren with an assist and a goal. Not bad for a man on his own, isolated and alone. In the second 45, did we dig deep and defend well to frustrate them or did they simply perform poorly and due to our complete lack of inventiveness and urgency, failed to capitalise in any shape or form?
For all of Zokora’s running around, one misplaced through-ball and he looks to the ground, ignoring the fact that there's still a ball to win back. There he stood, staring at the ground where he lost the ball. Waiting for it to open up and eat you Didier? We live in hope. Tactical changes, we saw Lennon came on for Gio and Huddlestone for Gunter, which resulted with Jenas slipping into the right-back position. It was like watching Duncan Edwards. At least the second half resulted with Modric supporting Bent a little more effectively. All a little bit better than the first. But not great.
Two mistakes, two goals, score draw. Second from bottom in the table. One point from a possible nine. 50 goal front pair partnership gone. Wonderful stuff three games in.
Pavlyuchenko wasn’t signed in time to play in the derby. But apparently he’s injured. Great signing then. A player who has scored some goals in Russia in the past couple of years and a brace against England and three in the Euro’s. Doesn’t sound like you’ve done much scouting on this one, have you? Just watched a bit of tv recently. Will he compliment Bent? Is he a replacement for Keane? What does he do exactly? Can he play in the Premiership? Is he suited to the English game? How long is he going to take to settle? Will he be able to give us what Keane gave us? Or Berbatov for that matter? What’s his first touch like? Does he have tricky feet? Why hasn’t he scored yet? What’s wrong with this bloke? £14M for a player who seems incapable of answering any of these questions from the off. His name is too long for him to be any good. Did someone say Rebrov? No, then I’ll say it. Rebrov. Rebrov. Rebrov. Rebrov. Rebrov. Rebrov. Just slightly taller, not Ukrainian, but with the same goofy smile. And more expensive.
And don’t think I’m going to skip pass Didier Sickora’s new contract, much like most players skip past his non-existent presence in the centre-circle. You offered this sham a new improved four year contract? Does he have pictures of you in a sexually prerogative pose with your car’s exhaust pipe? He joined us from St Etienne following some fine displays at the World Cup. Those are your words from the official site. Some fine displays. Can you possibly define that for me? Did we sign Zokora because Comolli and your good self thought:
“Mmmm, ok, we lack an engine – a true midfield warrior with a silk touch. We don’t have a Gerrard or an Essien, and we sold Carrick to Utd and we keep failing at stealing other clubs academy players whom we can then develop into world class players, so let’s really go all out here. Let’s fill a hole that has turned into a pit of mediocrity by spending some money on a...wait for it...yes, you got that right....a fine player. Yes, a fine player. Not an excellent player. Definitely not a potentially brilliant player. No time for experienced and proven either. We need a fine player. Only needs to have had a handful of fine games. Because that’s what’s missing from our midfield. Doesn’t need to be capable of passing, its fine. As long as he can give free kicks away in dangerous areas, and has that fineability factor we so desperately lack need”.
Liverpool have the dynamic goal-scoring Gerrard. Utd have the orchestral Carrick and the hard-working Hargreaves. Chelsea have the sublime Essien and we have the fine Zokora who had some fine games in a World Cup. Even Arsenal have a better DM than us and they don’t actually have one. What does Zokora do? He runs with the ball in a straight line then shoots widely over the bar. He’s not too far off 100 appearances for Spurs and in that time he is best remembered for that miss at Wembley. We’ve spent a lot of money on Modric – so how can we expect him to blossom and begin to create and score if he has to look over his shoulder in case Zokora tackles him by mistake? Adding Jenas into the same midfield is just taking the fucking piss. That’s like two Zokora’s lined-up to help you out. No wonder Modric looks so pale and fragile. He can’t sleep or eat, all nervous and scared. A day earlier, Kaboul was clearing a certain goal off the line for his new club. Take that Comolli! Four years and counting, your search goes on.
We won’t win a thing with a lightweight midfield. Grit, determination and steel. A holy trinity that has evaded us for the past 30 years. Can that possibly change before midnight, September 2nd?
Do I have time to talk about Jenas? Of course I do. Let me talk about Jenas while you browse the ‘net and enjoy your tea. Reliable. Professional. Disciplined. Vice-captain of Tottenham. Ramos is apparently ‘bringing the best football out of him’. A major improvement in form since the Spaniards arrival. Twenty-four year old Jenas. Still young. An untouchable.
Let me tell you something about Jenas. The greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing the world he existed.
Reliable? Reliably inconsistent.
Professional? So is Titus Bramble.
Disciplined? In the art of choking.
Jenas is all hype. The epitome of our club. Our heartbeat, the foundation of what the team should be built on has two players in key positions made of plastic, melting under the spotlight.
But maybe it’s not all down to Jenas and Zokora. Berbatov’s bad influence has been cited by Ramos, and rejected by Woodgate. Mixed up the hymn sheets there chaps? Also, the gospel according to Juande, has Chelsea down as built to be champions or contenders in every trophy they care to enter, signing top-echelon stars from any team in the world, true cream of the crop stuff. And that we are not in their league. We are in a different league. Two clubs moving in slightly different directions. An admittance of frustration? I’m sure Ramos is laying in his bed wondering what happened to that expected flurry of furious transfer action before the window closed a few hours ago. I know I am.
Corluka, who actually passed a medical and wore a Spurs shirt for publicity photos a few weeks back finally, officially, signed on the dotted line. Cometh a new right-back to add to Hutton and Gunter. Who can also play in midfield and at centre-back. Not very well going by the tonkings City have got when he’s played outside of the RB position. £8.5M to ease Modric into London life? Where will he play once Hutton is back from injury is a mystery. I’d slot him into the DM position. Hell, why not? May as well give it a go. Got no one else.
Hmm. IP masking and proxy servers. Bit techie aren’t you Daniel? What are you browsing that amuses you so much? Need to move a little to the left, and zoom in for a better look.
So going into the final day, we found ourselves needing a DM and two forwards. Arshavin has now disposed Diego on the ‘most epic of epic Spurs transfer sagas’ list. It’s on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off. Zenit purchase Danny Miguel for £24M. On, off, on, off. There is utterly no point in trying to run through a timeline of events concerning this summer fiasco. Zenit, moving the goal posts on the value of their player. Spurs, on the face of it, ducking out of paying a few extra million. The player quoted as wanting to join us having spoken to Ramos. Agent talk that the deal is alive. And so onwards again with off, on, off, on, off, on. Never can you trust club officials to speak the truth, much like agents. So we were left in the hands of the ITK’s posting their information on message boards, everyone praying that the deal would go through.
‘Arshavin is 97.45% done. Actually, it’s more 97.22%, but if you’re in GMT then consider it 98.23% when the clock strikes quarter past now. Agent confident. We’ve made a bid. Medical the problem, due to time constraints. He’s apparently in Russia, where I’ve been informed, Zenit are based, but don’t quote me on that. 82% certainty of Zenits current location’.
Then Zenit tell everyone no deal. But apparently, they are fibbing. The ITK’s still claimed it was going to happen. Bid was made, but rejected. Spurs had apparently missed the window of opportunity to seal the deal. A three month window. Arshavin won’t be leaving in this transfer window. Obviously, as an ITK, if you read between the lines, this actually meant the deal is being done or more likely, Zenit are teasing Spurs for more money. I’m guessing the clue is in the word ‘rejected’. Who would have guessed? Once the ITK information grapevine evaporated, we found ourselves looking down into the barrel of a shotgun, about to fire a bullet of disappointment through our imagination.
No link up of Arshavin and Pav. We miss out on an attacking midfielder, something we are crying out for. So much effort to bring him in wasted. Falcao, Milito, Garcia....nothing other than cryptic promises from club insiders. The Veleso link also died, but then it just sounded like a rehash of an old story. No DM either then.
In the midst of all this, over at Middle Eastlands, the Arabs had landed. Suddenly, City were bidding for anyone and everyone. £30M+ for Berbatov. Villa another target along with the German Gomes. The new owners, showing intent and PR. We accept a bid for Berba. You are unlikely to say no, are you Daniel? So off he goes to meet Mark Hughes, but on the way up there he is greeted by Ferguson and co, rushed off to Old Trafford and has a medical and agrees personal terms. Without our permission, Berbatov meets with the manager of Manchester United. The delirium of City potentially hijacking the transfer fades into reality. Utd will get their man.
Zoom functionally at optimum. What the hell are you laughing at now Levy? What is that site?
So tick tock. It’s about twenty to eleven and no fee had been agreed with Utd at this point. City were on the verge of confirming Robinho as their man, having bid for him too. They do what we failed with Arshavin in the space of an afternoon. Midnight passes. And soon we are told that Berba has gone for £30.75M.
Now. Here’s where my confliction arises.
You have turned us into Utd’s bitch. A feeder club, supplying finely tuned players making a jump from UEFA Cup to Champions League. We hiss and fit, but always give in. Arnesen to Chelsea. Keane to Liverpool. And now Berbatov to Utd. Gone, is our complaint to the FA about their conduct. Barry is still a Villa player. Ronaldo, ironically, still at Old Trafford. But we lose Keane and Dimitar in quick succession. And as a further kick in the balls, while we’re already writhing in agony on the ground, Utd loan us Frazier Campbell, he of 15 goals for Hull City, fame. We are embarrassingly shambolic and weak. Spineless and greedy. Business before football our philosophy. Another attempt in ‘standing tall in the face of adversity’ shat on, as we allow Utd to bully us.
Remember your statement on the website when you first told the world about your complaint and Keane and Berbatov’s desire to leave? You mentioned seeking out quality replacements. You knew this was on the cards, yet gone midnight on transfer deadline day, we have a Championship quality forward joining us. If you wanted to do what Martin O’Neil and Ferguson did to Barry and Ronaldo respectively, and that’s ignore their announcements of wanting to leave, then it sort of fails to work if you actually end up selling both players. Just say no to the players. No to the pursuers. But then, a man with no principles simply can’t say no....no to money. Both Keane and Berba were on long term contracts. You do the math. You work it out. It’s happened three times, which means it’s surely going to happen again. And again.
Three long months to nail this player conundrum and we leave it till the last day to tidy up. If you look at what we’ve managed to lose since last season:
Almost £60M made. With just £14M spent on Pavlechenko. A lot of change sitting deep in your pocket. Where was our Robinho bid?
All this deflected, momentarily, away from the fact that no DM was forthcoming either. Not sure I’ve mentioned that. So no ‘top class’ forward to help Bent and Pav. No DM. Just a player Ferguson deems not good enough to retain in his squad, for a year at least while he looks on to see if he can handle Premier life.
City, with a rejuvenated SWP and a Brazilian wonderkid, are looking a better bet than us for a crack at the top 4. Why do we wait until the last day? If you want a player, sign him when you want him. Waiting till the last day means you have no certain targets, which means Comolli isn’t doing his job.
One experienced striker available in Europe (Bent), joined by an inexperienced Campbell. Pav cup-tied. One injury and we are screwed.
Great, finally, you’re making another cup of tea which means I can see your laptop screen clearly......Oh. Look at that. You appear to be slumming it online. How drool.
So, anyway. That’s one perspective. But as incompetent as you are leading the club in signing players we need, excluding that, the Dimitar Dilemma is far more straight forward than the knee-jerk explanation everyone is crying about. Hysteria won’t blind my eyes to the obvious.
Ronaldo and Barry have never refused to play for the clubs. They are professionals (although time will tell how professional they are). Berbatov, ‘not in the right frame of mind’, has refused. It’s not been said out loud, but if you make yourself unselectable through sulking, then it counts. And that, regardless of who you are and what you may have achieved or how important or good a player you are, makes you a certified outcast. Keeping a player of this ilk is an insult to the club and fans. He's been sulking since last season over a move.
Keane, respectfully, asked to leave and was allowed to do so, because at £20M you have to bite Rafa’s hand off.
So how did the Berba move pan out? How did you mastermind the transfer of the century? Simply by using the old trusted “tapping up” accusation trick as a scare tactic and bargaining chip. You did it with Chelsea. You did it with Liverpool. And you did it with Utd.
No fee agreed With Utd before 11:40pm on Monday. Fee agreed with City. Yet over at OT Berba is having his medical. What business did he have being there if there was no permission granted? No matter. The fee would be bumped up for Utd to pay extra for the privilege of avoiding a tribunal where they could have potentially lost points for their illegal approach. Sure, people can blame the Arabs for bidding £30M if they want, but the facts can’t be disputed, even if SSN and everyone else want to avoid saying it out loud.
See, I know your game. You drive the biggest price you can when flogging players and you threaten legal action. Utd must have forked out around £6M in ‘admin fees’ for the Bulgarian. Hush money. Immunity.
Why didn’t Fergie just pay the original £28M or so you wanted? Because he thought he could mug you off. He thought come deadline day, you would cave in and sell him in a cut-price deal of about £20M.
I can see it. Everyone, if they can be bothered to look can see it. Deciphering the Da Levy code is easy. You know that pushing a complaint through to the Prem League or FA will come to nothing because dare they even try to shake up a member of the Top Four ™. But in this case, more so than the dossier that apparently doesn't contain enough evidence, on the basis of 'no permission granted', the authorities would have to investigate how this transfer run its course. You dropped the original tapping up complaint, and got paid off for last night’s approach.
£5M or so from Chelsea for Frank. £1M from Liverpool to the Spurs Foundation and a hefty £20M fee. And a massive fee exceeding £30M from Utd. And what if City had not bid? No matter. Spurs would not have accepted a bid from Utd, had it not meet the estimation. So the entrapment would always happen. And you knew it. It was guaranteed on deadline day that Berbatov would travel to OT and would talk illegally to Utd.
Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe for the past several months you’ve been working behind the scenes to bring Frazier Campbell to the club and used the Berbatov situation as a smoke screen in securing the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’.
You truly are a Dark Lord of the Yidth. And there is my conflict. You got rid of a bad apple for a lot of money on your terms. You did 'good'.
But you failed to strengthen the team further during the last day of the window. Doesn't matter about the summer transfers, it's the last day that counts more.
In 2006, we sold Carrick to Utd. You got as much as you could out of Utd, but we were left scrambling for a replacement. In 2007 we needed a winger, a DM and a CB – and got Kevin Prince-Boateng and Kaboul. And in 2008 we sign three ‘playmakers’, one defender and two forwards. Doesn’t sound bad, but it’s an ask waiting for Pav and Bent to do a Berba/Keane combo, and it’s a bigger ask to place our hopes on Bent and Campbell in the UEFA Cup. One up front or two upfront? And still no sodding DM.
I’m sure the panel of pricks over at Sky Sports will be gutted you didn’t part with Berbatov for £20M.
But the fact is, as good as you are in deception and treachery in transfer politics of outgoing players, you are failing to usher in the totalitarian Tottenham Empire. The team, in key areas, is still weak. And your public perception leaves doubt in peoples mind.
Allow me to quote you:
“In case anyone is under the impression that we are a selling club, I should like to once again stress the policy and position of this club. We are building for the future - we are NOT a selling club.
There is a world of difference between a player who has a short period left on his contract and could look to leave on a free transfer, and a player with a long contract.
If, as we do, you have players on long contracts and the finances of the club are strong, you have no need to sell.
I am happy for anyone to judge this club by who we sell and who we don't. Our ability to attract and retain top-class players is key to our ambition to compete at the highest level - regularly in Europe and with our sights set on Champions League qualification."
Carrick. Keane. Berbatov.
Do you understand now why I’m conflicted and confused? 9 in, 9 out this season. For the money made, I expected more. More attacking midfielders and strikers. And a world class defensive midfielder. Sure, everyone was fine pre-season with the squad, but three games in, it’s obvious we are simply not good enough. Is Ramos truly content with having Pav, Bent and Campbell as his strike force? Should we expect more managerial turmoil soon? Will Poyet who looks unhappy in post match interviews walk?
And what do you plan to do with all that money? Fill your indoor swimming pool with the cash and dive in head first, rejoicing a healthy profit margin? I’m sure a debauched orgy with the directors and shareholders will follow at some point. Bagels sprinkled with cocaine and hookers wearing nothing but Spurs home kit socks.
Before I arrived here, to your manor, and positioned myself in this here undergrowth, I spent the day out and about. Quietly policing the vicinity around the Lodge. Out of sight. Waiting. Watching. We wouldn’t just want anyone turning up to Chigwell. The bloke in the tree wasn’t going to pose a problem. I found him mumbling, in some kind of trance, saying ‘Klass-Jan Huntelaar’ over and over again as he rocked backwards and forwards. He was no threat to my plan.
So I waited. And when required, for which I was, I did what needed to be done. I made a judgement call. I got rid of a newly arrived unwanted guest heading towards the Lodge.
See I bleed Tottenham. But you, on a night when Spurs fans are bemoaning the lack of £20M superstar signing, you’re posting on a message board and laughing your silly little bald pale-face off, enjoying yet another homebrew and biscuit. And what kind of username is w8campbell anyway? Could you not think of anything more original?
Fuck this. I’m out of here. Operation Shit Through Levy’s Letterbox is a no go. I repeat a no go.
You are devious Levy, like my good self. But you are not ‘complete’. You have far too many flaws. You do the hard stuff easy, but fumble with the simple things. I’m conflicted no more. We all know what happens to Palpatine.
Doing what needs to be done is something we both strive for. You got the money you wanted for Berbatov but you failed to assist Ramos and Poyet with additional players. As for me, I did what had to be done to avert a potentially catastrophic disaster.
And it’s in the boot of my car. The big soft lump. I did you a favour, that’s for sure. Because if I allowed the medical to happen, it would have been a mistake too far.
Time to switch the microphone off. I’ve got a long drive to Wigan ahead of me. I have something that belongs to them.