Doomed

Dear Mr Levy,

There used to be a football club over there that replaced the football club that replaced the football club that was replaced by the one that Keith Burkinshaw referred to. It's all fairly irrelevant as Tottenham have now been eclipsed by a supermarket. No need to fret, your legacy as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur will be remembered for more than just a wasteland of empty promises and extortionate ticket prices. You'll be remembered fondly for that other stuff you did. You know. The things. When you did them and they happened. That was really good. No one will forget that.

I know you so well Daniel. More than most. I've watched you wake up in the morning. Shower. Shave your immaculate shaped head. Apply polish. Moisturise your small yet sturdy frame. I've often wanted to join you for breakfast as you sit down to eat your fried baby seal hearts with toast. That's what you eat right, Daniel? Endangered species? Mainly football managers. You hunt them down yourself, reel them into a false sense of security and when you hunger, when you smell blood, you kill. Then you eat. Then you repeat.

You sit with comfort in your kingdom with riches so vast you can sleep through countless seasons knowing your desolation will never come.

What happened with the break through in the Bahamas? Was there ever one? Heatstroke perhaps? Back in gloomy north London did someone gift wrap an epiphany that forced you to realise you had sanctioned another mistake?

Was there degradation in the relationship between you and Andre Villas-Boas? Did you fall out? If so was the falling out because he was incapable of sustaining a cohesive approach to footballing matters and the pressures of the media and fan expectation? Or was it because you meddled. You meddled again where you shouldn't. Did you undermine and you set him up for the fall? Or was he destined to fail regardless and you just did what had to be done?

Either you know what you're doing or you allow others to influence you. Are you a genius or are you an illusion as grand as the one left behind by AVB? Hiding behind numbers with nothing tangible to grip onto? Or is our perception as supporters masked by our own deep rooted obsessions for the perfect season? Always forgetting the progress made because with each step forward the past becomes more distant.

Isn't a 'Director of football' (or whatever Franco Baldini's contract stipulates he's meant to be doing) a go-between / buffer / excuse to add more space between chairman and coach? Leaving you to attend to more important matters like extending the wait for news on the new stadium to another twelve months.

I DoF my hat to you sir because I can only marvel at your decisiveness to scrap the unfinished chapter and start a new one fresh without ever running out of ink. You are dedicated and focused and brutal. You make a mistake, you own up to it by blaming others, deflecting it away as best you can and then replace it with another mistake. At least there's consistency there.

Poor old Andre. Sucked in, spat out. Another career destroyed by Spurs. So he wasn't our finest moment and we'll never know if he had more refined moments in him. You dumped him quicker than I can say Jacques Santini. Or did our Portuguese coach quit too? I can't keep up with all the spin. It's dizzying. Best I sit down before I'm sick on myself and wait for the contingency plan to kick in.

Any minute now. Contingency. Here it comes. It's coming. Just you wait. In the mean time, please enjoy Tim Sherwood.

I've got a question Daniel. He's highly rated inside the club is our Tim. Highly rated by whom exactly? Not by the people you sacked. Can't be the first team players because Sherwood is involved at youth level. Then its got to be the other in-house coaches like Les Ferdinand then. Yes? In that case, I'm sold.

You have been seeking to promote Tim for several years, so the fabled legend goes. I think you've skipped several stages of development though. Little things like experience of managing footballers that play first team football. Several seasons of active involvement in a top league. The ability to man manage international players, some of which are world class.  Hold up, I've confused myself now. Was I talking about Sherwood or AVB? Hey at least Tim played football.

My head is going to explode.

What exactly are we doing?

Do we live for the end of the season or are we looking ahead to three, four or five seasons time? You yourself once said that Champions League qualification is never a certainty or at least it would be an acceptable fate not to attain it from one season to the next due to the competitive nature of the league. Didn't quite expect us to only manage the single cameo during the time since but you appear to understand your reality better than most.

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Your reality is simply this: Football is a business. Its product is the spectacle. It has a mass customer base with the added advantage that said base will not change to another similar product. Customer loyalty that never fades. You also know that any disgruntlement regarding customer service is quickly forgotten when the next upturn happens. Doesn't take much for any upturn to materialise thanks to the downward spirals we have became accustomed too. Anything seems good after the last disappointment.

It's the business model that can not fail. Lose a few games? Have hopes and dreams shatter into a millions pieces? That's okay, because the next man in to take the poisoned chalice will give us all a superficial lift. We'll be too busy levitating to question the deja vu thanks to our factory re-set switch, remotely controlled by you via your headquarters made of marble to match the ones in Highbury.

See, CL football is a requirement. It's not optional. You're able to play it out another season thanks to player(s) sold; our own personal parachute payment. It always remains the priority. You need it. It's part of the business model. We could have skipped all the drama of risk management waiting to qualify by moving to Stratford right? That would have solved all financial headaches. Such is your detachment from the ones that are forever attached to the club because Tottenham chose us rather than how your involvement came about. You we're invited. You are, for want of a better word, a guest in our house.

You know deep down Champions League is what everyone wants even when they are banging on about the glory of silverware. It's our ouroboros. We're eating ourselves Daniel, forever gorging on dreams that never prevail.

Profit not glory?

Ha! I'm sure you're quacking in your boots over a hashtag. It's transparent if you can be bothered to look straight through it. Not the hashtag, the argument relating to the business.

Profit equates to glory. Money equates to glory. At every conceivable level, money rules the roost. Not from the perspective of the great unwashed. Us commoners, we just want flair and trickery as the building block for success. We're fantasists.

The club obviously doesn't have enough to fund the NDP and kick start the stadium build. We obviously don't make enough from match day revenue made by a 36k ground. We obviously always have to invest in young talent in the hope they turn out to be Gareth Bale rather than Jermaine Jenas. We profit on selling our best players because we can't possibly retain their services when it's so much easier to win something at <insert one of the biggest clubs in the world here> and it hardly damages our accountancy in the process.

You are the hardest of negotiators. Supremely proud of your financial astuteness. To the point where you'll hold back paying 500k for a player just to spite the opposing chairman. You've never been a footballing man but if you don't know something about football at this point in your tenure than you may as well be a fully plucked Alan Sugar.

If you do know something about football then surely this would be it:  you'll never going to please everyone but you really ought to try. Starting with that product, the bread and butter of your operation. The football itself. The basic eleven versus eleven fundamentals.

If you're so shrewd and long term with your philosophy then stop turning everything into a short term collapse. Unless of course all you're really after is a single moneyshot so profound and knee trembling that it gives us a financial lift that is incomparable to anything we've ever had before. You aim for the mouth, you're forever hitting the eyes.

That might explain the impatience and ruthlessness...and the countless sticky situations we keep finding ourselves in. Maybe you do know football because it's a good match (the impatience) for how the majority of football fans think and feel. But then we're impatient because of your lack of patience.

Regardless, we had that single moneyshot. It hasn't changed anything. So I'm guessing we need to fluff up and perform every single time otherwise this cycle we find ourselves in will never be broken.

My head is going to explode again.

Which is where my epiphany gently taps me on the back and requests a moments pause.

 

This is as good as it can get because we're only as good as what we've got. And we've got you.

In relative financial terms we are a small club compared to the uber rich, the seasoned CL sides. Still, we are a club with an out reach of potential that has us always chasing it. Perhaps so much so we keep trying to skip ahead instead of working it out step by step. We're not enjoying the chase. We're tired of chasing. We display far too much desperation in getting it right.

I wonder sometimes, when I'm alone in bed naked aside from Chanel No 5, what we (the club) would be like if you were more personal. Friendly. I'd hazard a guess 'mid-table'.

You're a paradox Daniel. You're exactly what we need and everything we can do without.

Even when we make a loss with the books we appear to be able push on, but the flaw is that there is still something missing. A single solitary 'right decision'. A defining moment that plays out on the pitch that would transcend this club off it and then on it again:

A single appointment where there is clarity inside the club (where it matters most).

Unequivocal, undisputed control by the coach or manager or whatever title is bestowed upon him. Then for this messiah to facilitate the fanbase by upholding our traditions for fanciful football whilst bending the end product enough to allow for a winning mentality, a steel and gritty fortitude that only truly great clubs are able to forge. Then add to the mix a transfer philosophy that ties into the above and is supported by the director of football and chairman. A club ethos that binds us all. Simply supported and not distorted.

Is that too much to ask?

It is isn't it?

Of course it is.

Jesus Christ, I'm asking for the perfect formula and I'm asking for it within a season, two at the most. That's what the supporters want right? That's what you wanted with AVB? That's what you and we need. Or at least something that is borderline convincing in that direction.

Tradition and romanticised notions about the Spurs way are only important if they're printed on advertising boards around the ground or tagged onto a jumper you can sell in the club shop. They're avatars and not a true reflection of the less than glamorous reality. I don't know, maybe you're ballsing this up not because you're thinking like a greedy business man but because you're thinking like a fan. Or maybe it's how I told it earlier. You just want more money ploughed into the club and quick.

I'm not naive. I'm not gullible. I'm a realist, be it one with infinite optimism. I know what you are Daniel. I called you a guest. You're a custodian. A caretaker of our football club, our cub. You're also a shareholder with Joe Lewis of the company that owns our club.

...and we're back we started.

Your priority is ENIC and their priority is Tottenham because it's a business and it's all about money. We harp on about modern football and standing and atmosphere and the way it was back in the day and then pretend that somehow everything else is going to stand still and play out perfectly too. Football, clubs, it's no longer about community. It's about world domination. It's about having a slice of the cake everyone else is feasting on.

The client reference numbers and consumers of this world will look on with anger and know the only echo will be of complaint and not glory.

Always looking to the future with promise, that's us. Always within arms reach of something special. For all the negatives aimed at the way you conduct your business we've missed out on the promised land twice by virtue of singular points and last game shenanigans, someone else's cup final win, belly trouble etc etc.

Even with all your misdemeanours and appetite for destructing managerial appointments - it's the football, the lack of the luck on the field that has sealed our fate once too many times. You'll have got away with everything, every mistake if we got ourselves an extra inch on the field of play.

So is this, all of this that I have penned for you in support or surrender?

It's neither.

It's simply a state of stasis that I will endeavour to wake up from, some day, maybe soon. Until then, I am powerless other than to throw myself on the sword season after season and hope one day I miss. I'm numb from the pain.

What you do, the day to day business as usual stuff, the finances. That is expected. Why should you be considered a great man for basically keeping a football club afloat and competitive? Then again, you could have been another Irving Scholar. But you're not and that makes it even worse. That potential, that alleged decisiveness - it's all over the place. It's controlled chaos.

It remains reactive to the business, it's all led by the fiscal. I can only accept this. It's never going to change. You're incapable of separating everything from the actual football.

Even when you speculate to accumulate you get it wrong. We keep failing every test. Maybe that's how it feels because that's how it works thanks to all those other clubs that had the virtue of consistency and money during the Sky Sports era. Took us 10 years to fall behind, will take us another 10 to catch up.

Or maybe we're wasting opportunities for a new era by committing the same errors - all of which are coming from the same place. That bald shiny head of yours.

Doomed if we do, doomed if we don't.

Alan Sugar, for all his faults (not too dissimilar to you, just more mouthy) did get us fixed financially. He promised to find the right buyers for Spurs who would continue that work ethic in retaining a solid base and never repeat the troubles of Scholar. If you and Joe sold up, I wonder how much 'better the devil you know' will be cited in the aftermath?

You win again Daniel because you don't care that us lot on the other side are losing.

 

Yours Spursy,

Spooky.