Hi all, I have another article by Don Scully for you. This time Don discusses whether sacking Mourinho would be pointless as the club’s problems lie elsewhere. In some places, his article is tongue-in-cheek, in others, he makes serious points. Don Scully looks at all the managers under Levy’s reign and his motives. Does he have the team’s best interest at heart, or is his focus on the cash cow club, his, the boards and shareholders monies? Agree, or disagree but we would like to hear your views? Thank you, Glenn
This article also appears on the website spursnetwork.com, its Facebook page and other Spurs Facebook pages.
Sacking Mourinho would be pointless.
By Don Scully
Sacking Mourinho wouldn’t solve Tottenham’s problems. The club’s problems lie with Daniel Levy (& Joe Lewis), nobody else.
Ever since Levy (& Lewis) took over the club 20 years ago (from Alan Sugar), their focus has been on profits for themselves, their board and the shareholders. After that, the emphasis would be on building a state of the art stadium (a cash cow), and then, and only then, any meagre leftover crumbs would be handed down to their manager.
Granted, I accept the building of a state of the art stadium for the 21st century (and sacrifices have to be made). But now they’ve built it, Levy (& Lewis) need to build a team to go with that stadium. At the moment, we’ve got a top of the range Rolls Royce, but with a Vauxhall engine in it (sputtering and spurting away).
Daniel Levy is looking for naming rights and wants something in the region of £20 million per year to advertise a companies name. At the same time, anybody who wants to invest in Tottenham also wants to invest in a team and stadium with potential (which will help promote their name). At the moment, it would be a lopsided deal (in favour of Levy and not the company).
A couple of reasons why Daniel Levy hasn’t invested as other top clubs have:
- He believes such huge transfers isn’t sustainable.
- He also believes that he should put any profits, before any team building, into the boards and shareholders’ pockets first.
Both would be false economies.
Levy has stated that it isn’t sustainable for top clubs to keep splashing out vast amounts of money for players’. That is ok if other clubs shared that philosophy, but they don’t. They continue giving their football managers a large war chest to compete in the transfer window (hoping to win as many trophies as possible, including the Premier League). So, while Levy is standing by that tight-fisted-belief, we slowly drift further away from the top teams. As we are witnessing at the moment. To be a top-four or even the top one club, we have to compete on an equal footing (invest more in players). In other words, we must make similar financial purchases as Chelsea, City, United, and Liverpool do. Levy goes into deals for top players, but quickly ends up with an inferior product because the price was too high for their original choice.
As for “false economy”; if Levy invests as other clubs do and achieves the gold standard (trophies and high league position), it will create more wealth for the club. Being stingy will result in falling standards, as we are witnessing at the moment. Sacking Mourinho wouldn’t solve Levy’s stinginess; it is a mental blockage on Levy’s part.
Levy should start considering that there are defects in his business way of thinking. He has been at the club now for 20 years, and in all that time, he has only managed one trophy under his watch (League Cup in 2008). He should ask the question, why? And why has he gone through 13 managers without any trophies?
When he came to the club in 2001, he inherited an Arsenal man as the club’s manager, George Graham. Understandably, he replaced him with David Pleat (temporarily) until he could figure out who he wanted to manage the team for a pittance. A stroke of genius, he hired a Spurs legend, Glenn Hoddle.
Hoddle and the team began the 2002–03 season in excellent form, and Hoddle was named Premiership Manager of the Month for August 2002 after we ended the month top of the League. Sadly, we finished in a disappointing 10th place at the end of the season. The pressure began to build up on Hoddle, and Levy started to wield his axe and sacked him in September 2003 after a slow start to the season, in which the team picked up just four points from their opening six league games. He was at the club for approximately two years.
Back came Pleat as caretaker manager. This time around, Levy looked to the continent for his manager. Finally, he picked Jacques Santini (who?). Santini took the managerial position at Tottenham after Euro 2004. He then surprisingly announced his resignation after just 13 games. Officially, Santini left England due to personal problems, but it was widely reported that a series of disagreements with the then Sporting Director Frank Arnesen, which led to his departure. Whether we can blame Levy on this is a moot point.
Martin Jol was next up. He was a popular figure at the club. He was our manager for approximately three years. Because of the large amount of money that had been spent (a significant amount by who’s standards?), the team were expected by Levy to challenge for a top-four place in the 2007–08 season. After we lost our opening two games, Club Secretary John Alexander and Director Paul Kemsley were photographed in a Spanish hotel with Sevilla FC manager Juande Ramos, who then claimed that Tottenham had made him a “dizzying offer” to become their manager, though this was denied by Levy (he would, wouldn’t he?). This undermined Jol’s position, and he was eventually sacked by Levy on 25 October 2007 during our 2–1 defeat to Getafe CF in the UEFA Cup. News of the sacking was known around the ground before the final whistle was blown before even Jol had become aware of his fate. Jol confessed that he first became aware of the decision when his nephew told him of a text message he received saying Jol was to leave the job. This was an early sign in how Levy wished to be known in how he operated. Ruthless, vicious and quick.
Clive Allen & Alex Inglethorpe were asked to take charge while Levy looked for another replacement. That replacement was, and up until now, the only man to win us a trophy under Levy’s watch, Juande Ramos. After a promising pre-season, the 2008–09 season saw Ramos lead us to our worst ever start to a league campaign, with the team placed bottom of the table after acquiring just two points from our opening eight matches. Levy jumped into action and did what he did best, kicked Ramos in the proverbials. In other words, Ramos was sacked on 25 October, along with assistant manager Gus Poyet. He was at the club for less than a year.
After two European managerial failures Levy looked for a replacement closer to home and an Englishman. Harry Redknapp was announced as Ramos’s immediate replacement. Upon becoming manager, Harry’s revigorated team defeated Bolton 2–0 and register our first league win of the season.
Harry was at the club roughly for four years. Despite leading us to our second fourth-place finish in three years and missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification only due to Chelsea winning the competition, Redknapp was sacked by Levy on 13 June 2012, after failing to agree terms on a new contract. Levy, again, wanted to flex his muscles and show everybody how God should behave. Harry left the club with Tottenham in a healthy position (5th).
André Villas-Boas & Tim Sherwood, in quick succession, came and then were quickly fired. This led the way for Pochettino to be another one of our managers to go and fail because of a lack of funds. After taking us to the European Champions Final, but had problems in the League, he ended up as another casualty of Levy’s iron-fisted management style. He was at the club for 5 years but gone in a blink of an eye. Pochettino also started asking for proper funds, and that quickly put him in Levy’s bad books. Funds were ok, but not at the expense of his and the club’s wages/ profits and shareholders bonuses. He had to go. Levy then looked around for somebody who was gullible and was desperate for work (somebody who had been out of work for a while but had a winning reputation). Somebody who would be so glad of a job that he wouldn’t expect too much in the way of funds to build his team.
Pochettino was replaced with probably the highest-profile manager we’ve ever purchased at Tottenham. However, like all the other managers who had dared to tread before Levy, Mourinho was/ is also starved of funds and was expected to do miracles with the team and win something with meagre handouts. At the same time, get the club into the top four to make even more profits for Levy, Lewis, the board and shareholders.
Daniel Levy is one of the highest-paid Directors in the Premier League, if not the highest-paid. If he put himself, the board and shareholders after the team’s interests, by his thinking, they/ he would probably see a reduction in their/ his free-flowing-lolly. Priorities, priorities, old boy (that is the way of thinking)!
Anybody who comes to the club is expected to achieve a higher standard than Chelsea, City, United, Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier league with fewer funds. Sacking Mourinho won’t change this philosophy. We have a world-class stadium with a pint-sized mentality board (where the team is concerned). We may be lucky and win a trophy here or there while Levy runs the Titanic. We might even do an Ipswich Town, Derby City or even a Leicester City (win the league on rare occasions), but until Levy & Lewis loosen the purse strings, we will never be in the same class as Trophy hoarders Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, the two Manchester clubs and anybody else who has a Chairman/ owner who wants consistency and glory for his club (i.e.trophies and Premier league titles).
All said, without cracking a smile or a hint of irony (well, not much!).
Anyway, I’ve digressed a bit, the point of this article was that sacking Mourinho and replacing him with another Pochettino-look-alike (in other words, wet behind the years; no trophies to his name) would be pointless, and we would still be where all the other managers had been before Mourinho, up the creek with no-fucking Trophies or funds (but expected to compete with the best).
What are your thoughts? Do you think sacking Mourinho (if we don’t make the top four) would be the answer? Or is Levy the problem?
I have been following Spurs since the sixties and works in London. He co-manages my Spurs Facebook page. My job is a professional writer and has work connections to the club.
I also have my own blog and have written for SpursWeb app & its website.
If you wish to read more of my work/ blogs then please click the links below