An open letter to supporters from Chairman Daniel Levy - with counter arguments.
Today we welcome members of our new coaching team to the Lane - Juande Ramos and Marcos Alvarez and, in doing so, we bring to an end an unsettled two months for our Club.
Unsettled? That’s a polite way of describing it. Cast your mind back a season and a bit and the Spurs faithful were actually singing your praises. End of last season the Park Lane sang a chorus of ‘There’s only one Daniel Levy’. Compared to the Hoddle days we’ve never had it so good with the press. Gone are the embarrassments of Pleat announcing new signings before they had signed. Respectable conduct. And then it all went to shit. You and Kemsley and the rest of the guilty directors took us back into the realms of comedy with one PR disaster after another. Yes, the red top media tend to go over the top and re-print message board posts and are generally blood-thirsty dogs - but where there is smoke.....
And was anyone really surprised? We are talking about Spurs here. If West Ham United is the Adam Sandler of football we are the Will Ferrell.
Now we all know that the initial dash over to Spain to offer a deal to Ramos wasn’t a knee-jerk. Some say that Jol was flirting with other clubs. Others suggest you were making the club the priority by making sure there was someone to replace Jol if the worst happened, but that would only make sense if the board and you felt that Jol would soon be on his way soonish. Not because he would be presented with a better offer, but because behind the scenes it was all going pear-shaped. Everyone loves Jol. He’s like a big jovial teddy bear with a great sense of humour. You on the other hand, don't look good. Maybe a trip to Clinique is inorder, but even with a dash of M-Lotion, you are not a pretty picture. You are not media-friendly at the best of times. The press however love Jol.
Jol will always be the victim in this story. But the crux of the problem is the board itself. Impatient and suffering from delusions of grandeur you more or less slit the wrists of progress by deciding (it would seem) more than two months back that Jol wasn’t the right man. And by courting Ramos, the self-destruction of performance has seen us win one game out of eleven. Why allow for £40M worth of new transfers? Why not get rid of him at the start of the season?
Apparently Poyet spoke to Sevilla one month ago. If true, this would mean that when Ramos first ‘rejected’ the Spurs dizzying offer it was probably part of a smart ploy. It would be easier to believe that you simply stated to him: Be ready soon to take the helm. Maybe at Christmas maybe in the summer but maybe sooner. And sooner it was. Jol, dead man walking, was never gonna turn things round. His dignity was pretty much gang-raped. And if was tactically naive, then why leave him in charge?
Much has been written and speculated about the Club in the past few weeks. Quite clearly there are always two sides to every story but, in the interests of the Club, we have endured much criticism without responding or retaliating. We have instead issued statements, when appropriate, containing accurate and relevant information.
Accurate? Sorry. You have done nothing other than offer us propaganda and see-through explainations that do nothing to hide the shambolic handling of replacing one manager with another. You obviously believe the DoF structure works and it probably would if you found a technical director and coach who could work hand in hand together. Maybe, just maybe, you have it right with the Ramos appointment – but that doesn’t mean you are not accountable for hiring Santini and then Jol (who happened to be there) who were obviously not cut out for it in the long run. Had they been left to sign players themselves, then who knows.
For you, the supporters, there are two particular issues on which I would now like to comment: Firstly regarding reports about Thursday evening - the first time Martin and I met to discuss his position was after the match, there were no discussions prior and there were none of the reported disagreements. We would not have, in any case, asked Martin to take charge of the match under those circumstances. Media speculation which preceded the game, inaccurately reporting Martin as having resigned, was in no way a deliberate measure by this Club, in no way served our purposes and we have resented any suggestion that this was the case. Leaks (which are wholly unacceptable) and speculation accompanied the game and it is a sad and regrettable aspect that individuals get caught in their midst.
Brilliant bit of spin right there. Let’s look at the timeline. Ladbrokes take so many bets on Ramos being the new Spurs boss they suspend from taking anymore. In the Know’s (they got something right for once) post on various Internet message boards prior to the UEFA Cup match that Jol will be sacked and that Ramos and Poyet are set to join in time for Wednesday's game against Blackpool. That’s some seriously good guesswork there, don't you think? The posts on the Internet message boards are time-stamped. You got leakage IMHO. Prior to the match and during it, rumours spread of Jol tendering his resignation before kick-off. His face was like slapped thunder after half-time. Text messages, obviously reaching players too. The fans began singing his name. Then apparently - according to you - after the game ended you had a discussion he was asked to step down along with Chris Hughton. Basically, sacked. Cue Jol going mental and using colourful language to say his goodbye.
What really happened Daniel? How about this. You and the board have been planning for a good month or so to bring in Ramos. You have been making preparations and probably discussing backroom staff, transfer budget and when to move the chess pieces. The offer made 2 months ago still stood. You know the one? The offer you denied was ever made to Ramos. Anyways, we lose against Newcastle and you make the executive decision to finally get the ball rolling. Someone leaks the information out, hence the sudden rush of money placed with bookies and the fact that it travels fast enough to make it onto football forums before the evenings football kicks off. Chinese whispers has everyone thinking Jol has quit, turning the game into a surreal emotional mess as cameras pan from the bench to the directors box. After the game you sack him and then cue a pretense that we are approaching Ramos for the first time and in the space of a few days he agrees to accept the offer. You pretty much had this in the bag two months ago, waiting for the right moment to execute Martin Jol. It wasn't slick or pretty. It was Levyesque.
Several events clearly did not happen as we all would have wished and I am the first to admit that things could have been handled differently and better.
Yes, you mean getting found out when Kemsley was out in Spain? Yes, what a shame that didn’t go according to plan. Use a fucking DSL connection and webcam next time.
Secondly, I should like to once again outline how the acquisition and disposal of players works at the club. We have a Football Management Group which meets on a regular basis – this is constituted by myself, Damien Comolli (Sporting Director), John Alexander (Club Secretary) and the Head Coach, now Juande Ramos. This group meets to discuss, identify and acquire players in targeted positions and to consider possible disposals. No player is brought into the Club or sold who is not approved by the coaching staff – it would be counter-productive to buy players that won’t be played. It is a system that Juande has worked with for years, which allows him to specify his needs and to concentrate on coaching the team whilst Damien and his scouting network seek options. This process clearly relies on accurate briefing and good decision making. It has a collective responsibility.
If true, then who takes the responsibility and blame for buying players this summer that do not directly and immediatley improve our squad? Bale is a fantastic signing, but still a teenager. Kaboul is also young and inexperienced and placing him alongside an out-of-form Dawson is just asking for trouble. Bent was unnecessary and a waste, unless Berbatov is being shifted out. Did you all agree that these were the signings needed to help cement the 5th spot and push for 4th?
If so, then Martin Jol along with your Brain Trust are all fucking idiots. But I’m inclined to believe that players get bought over the managers opinion. And if I’m wrong on that and Jol wanted those players, then surely Comolli isn’t very good at this job (along with the rest of you). If ordinary fans can see we need experienced cover for our defence and a creative midfielder along with a hard-tackling ball winner – then the chairman, the director of football and the manager should be capable of doing the same. The fact that there is so much attention on the director of football structure and media coverage on the fact that nobody is certain who signs the players – you should be able to figure out that there is a serious problem at hand. But then you know that. Its the reason why Jol's time at Spurs began to dissolve.
I mean, come on now. Collective responsibility? If that’s the case, then you need to sack Comolli too. I’m guessing your above explaination of the acquisition and disposal of players is how you wish for it to work from this day forwards. I hope you strike lucky this time. For all our sakes.
In conclusion, you, our supporters, should know that your Board has always had, and will always have, the long term interests of your Club as its sole focus.
Yes. Of course you do. But that doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. You sack and employ new managers. You approve new signings. The buck stops with you. While Arsenal have had a decade of consistency we’ve had 11 managers, all of which have failed. Maybe we are trying too hard. We are not a big club. Get to grips with that and start to re-build with some common sense and patience and we might be able to make geninue long-lasting progress. Stop thinking with your head stuck up the arse of the typical Spurs fans expectations. And look at the bigger picture. Its not easy for anyone to take the place of one of the top 4 clubs. Whoever does may end up swapping it again with the team they displaced or another team that manages to sneak in for one season of making the grade. Build the foundations. Remember, the five year plan? It goes to shit within three years because you feel the need to chop and change. And yes, that's also the responsbility of the dreaming Spurs faithful. It seems that the appointment of Ramos might just save your skin. But I'm not going to hold my breath just yet.
In the past six years we have accommodated many changes, some of our own instigation and some that were thrust upon us by circumstance. I consider it the mark of the strength of an organisation as to how it deals with change, realigns and moves forward. We have made the changes, popular or unpopular as they may be, that we felt were necessary and right. New possibilities now face us, please lend us your support as we move forward together.
How about we try not rocking the boat this once? Do you think you can manage that? Yes, the fans are too blame always thinking and believing the ‘Messiah’ has arrived with every new managerial appointment. In our 125th season you have managed to make it one to remember for all the wrong reasons. Can't wait for the DVD release.
Give yourself a pat on the back.