Tottenham are in the money. Blood money. Not quite, but the colour is the same. AIA (red logo) our new shirt sponsors for the league and everything else from next season to the tune of £100M (little finger to edge of mouth). That's not too shabby a deal and begs the question how much we'd get for stadium naming rights. Tune in again about ten years from now and we might have the answer (yes, it's a long drawn out process, but I could do with more than just leaks and rumours and photos of Ledley King walking down an aisle in Sainsburys).
Such is the slow progression of the Northumberland Development Project you begin to wonder how desperate ENIC are to beef the club up and sell it on. In fact if you believe that's the ultimate goal for Lewis and Levy (why wouldn't it be, they own an investment company and its one goldmine for retirement in THFC) then the long play is hardly out of the ordinary. There is no rush. That ultimate goal is destined. They'd get there faster if they embraced continuity of managerial appointments but the contradiction is the desperation and cut-throat knee-jerking that sees us chop and change coaches every few seasons. Maybe that's unfair. Maybe there is no desperation just impatience and bad footballing decisions compounded by more of the same. They don't quite grasp the concept that even though football is business, it's the football itself that can maximise it. Think big, not safe.
There are rumours out of Italy that Cesare Prandelli (Italian national manager) will be the next sucker in charge in N17. I'm past worrying about this and other tenuous links. How can I have any long lasting association with any individual or any decision making if the over-riding issue is outside of the dugout and inside the boardroom. Levy is very calculated when making public his feelings or opinions. Club announcements (end of season thank yous) all very well written, hitting the right emotive g-spot, inspiring belief. But are they nothing more than well aimed punches of propaganda? Like the time he wrote those letters regarding Manchester United's behaviour with the signing of Berbatov. Go on my son, we all thought. That's probably what he wanted us to say.
Yes, I'm being cynical because I'm exhausted.
Berbatov hardly a class-act with his behaviour, the player orchestrating a move out of the club with comparative ease and Spurs unable to see a scenario play out where they'd block a move successfully and still get the best out of the player. Which links me into to the Juande Ramos interview with Sid Lowe (Guardian).
The Dnipro manager lifting the lid on his time and exit at White Hart Lane. Although when lid is lifted you'll be hard pressed to find anything new in there. However, I enjoyed his colourful story telling that included pastries, McDonalds and fat Tottenham players. More so his comments about how he was made out to be a flop, failing to understand the English game and communicating his tactical philosophy.
It's two-fold. He won us a cup with a semi-final and final that won't ever be forgotten. However our form after Wembley was nigh diabolical. His selections not always comfortable. Not saying the players themselves were not at fault, but it was more than obvious Ramos had no true control over them and the dressing room. He has to shoulder some of the blame. In the end, it was another appointment destined for failure. Sometimes it doesn't work, success on the continent does not always translate to success in England. Ramos highly rated and sought after for his silverware at Sevilla became another coach Tottenham took no time in breaking.
I think what we want, what we long for and how we wish to attain it is clouded with the promise of progressive coaches that are simply not adaptable once in control of any given Spurs squad. Is that because there's too much control? Too many wishing to have control? Or is the control an illusion and the only potent decisiveness comes the way of the blame game?
The whole Bent Keane Berbatov debacle pretty much underlines the clubs transfer ethos and that the coach (especially with a Director of Football at the club) doesn't always get what he asks for. Which is fine if there's a clear understanding of responsibilities, say the coach is there to handle team affairs and deal with players that are signed by a DoF that are compatible with the clubs traditions and ethos - meaning the coach has always got to fit the club rather than the other way round. Take a look around. True success is led by those at the helm that pretty much write up the definitions for control rather than attempting to guess what goes on in the chairman's head.
Still, Ramos expecting Eto'o and Villa is crazy talk. Also as a sidenote with Ledley King I seem to recall him being selected more for the European games than the league.
The point Ramos goes onto make (he had more points in the interview with the Guardian than Spurs had when Redknapp took over) is the fact that after he's gone we spend £51M to fix things up suggesting the squad we had wasn't quite up to scratch. But then arguably a new coach in will want new players to fix those problems that the previous coach didn't quite have a handle on or created himself. Not to suggest the previous coach was completely satisfied with what he had in the first place.
The pre-season that led to his sacking and Harry Redknapp arriving, Spurs looked good, settled. Yes, pre-season counts for little but there was fire in our belly and then the moment the season kicked-off, we fell asleep.
As per usual, blame can be shared between all concerned by those with the deciding decision are always going to be more accountable You hire, you fire, but you started it off by hiring in the first place. Borderline comical to be fair.
We sack Jol mid-game, Ramos already on his way, then sack him after gutting the team of the best players and then get rid of the system (DoF) that is meant to give us stability (especially with transfers) to then go back to basics with Redknapp and sign players outside of any long term objective killing the DoF for good...well, until we sacked Redknapp and replaced him with Andre Villas-Boas, re-introduced the DoF then sacked him because of a multitude of reasons - all feeding into each other - to make his role untenable and to once more step back two years and start over.
It's no wonder it never works out. There's no honesty or transparency with anything we do.
Much is spoken about Levy and his financial dealings and there is no argument from me that he has got Spurs into a position of power without playboy billions or a 60k stadium (the latter being the one I want over the former). But we don't speculate enough (Jan transfer window 2006) when required and when we do (summer, £100M spent but little actual net spend) we sack the coach. Engulfing it all (according to Ramos and a fair chunk of our fanbase) is the undeniable revenue stream made by signing good players with solid potential, making them into world class players, selling them for record profit and then reinvesting to do it again.
Want to make yourself feel sick? Think about all the players we've had and let go. Then build a squad around them.
Carrick. Berbatov. Modric. Bale.
Is that the only way this club is able to afford to keep up with the super rich? If it is, surely top four qualification (the gateway to more money and those naming rights) isn't always going to be easy (as displayed in the past five years) so why the tremendous pressure on the coach appointed? Or is the club after another one-night stand with Europe's elite rather than a long lasting relationship? We seem to self-destruct so often you'd think by now someone would suggest safe guarding the dynamite rather than lighting it up and sticking it down our pants.
Ramos gave us our last trophy. That night at the Lane, the 5-1, was epic. The day out at Wembley was fantastic. It was almost worth having us win those two games and sacrifice the league form that followed. If there is any certainty with Tottenham it's the fact we don't do success that often but when we do it's glorious.
No bad feelings towards Ramos. He was just another victim of the grand olde Tottenham Hotspur experience.