Criticism of Daniel Levy is unfair and short-sighted.
By Peter J Arnold
As I said in the title, criticism is unfair, and I will tell you why.
When Levy/ ENIC took over, we were wandering all over the place with no direction. Since we joined the Premier league in 1992, we have only won two trophies (the League Cup 1999 & 2008). That is two trophies in nearly 30 years. In that time, we have been on the bring on extinction but brought back to life by Sugar and Venables partnership.
In 2001 ENIC took over and started a process that would put us back on the map, as we were pre-Premier League (but it will be much more than that). We are now at an intersection, and I believe that intersection will take us upwards to Glory and trophies galore. Joining the European Super League shows you how far we have travelled from near annihilation. Granted, it all crashed down in flames, but that was because it was mishandled (no relegation and permanent membership, is not the British or European way). But that is not my point. We were invited to participate because we were considered amongst the elite (even though we had fewer trophies than the rest). I have no doubt that that competition has been put on the back burner for a later date.
I accept that the handling of the Super League and our slide down the league table has made the Board unpopular, and certain sections of the fans have tried an uprising (and failed) to remove the Board. But fickleness is nothing new in sport or the world in general.
But let us look at the positives.
A brand new spanking Super stadium that puts all other stadiums in the shade. A money-making machine that can have all sorts of entertainments under its roof. Including conferences and a lot more. The money will come rolling in.
I accept that prices have gone up, but that was inevitable. Football started off as a working man’s game and gradually – from the introduction of shelters, seating, and then elite Boxes’ – turned clubs into a more luxury place for wealthier clientele. But going back to the beginning, even then, a section of the community could not even afford to get into stadiums. But what matters is bums on seats, and so far, our stadium has always managed to fill the seats, with another 80,000 or more on the waiting list.
When Levy & Lewis joined the club in 2001, they took us from where we were then to where we are now; despite recent lows, it has been an extraordinary achievement.
Before Levy took over, we also must remember that we had not finished above 7th in the Premier League era and had a single trophy to our name over the same period. On the other hand, since 2005 we have only finished below 6th three times, the previous two coming before the 2010s.
Docile fans forget that we have had European football every year for the last 10 seasons. Now, anything less than Champions League football is seen as unacceptable. Granted, we might not have made that competition or even the Europa League in recent times. Still, we are in the new Europa conference league, which even Arsenal could not manage to achieve.
But I understand the frustrations of the fans. We have started to have high expectations, but those high expectations are there because of the previous successes under Levy.
Then there is the criticism of Levy about his “tight-fisted” grip on the purse strings. But that is not surprising as Levy and ENIC have just built an amphitheatre for those that have a few extra shillings in their pocket. Once that debt has been paid off, then we can challenge and surpass the other elite clubs.
But we still did not do too badly in the transfer window as the players we had purchased managed to keep us in Europe and quite a few years in the echelons of elite European football, and those days will return. Oh, and we must not forget that we also challenged for the ultimate prizes, getting to the European Champions League Final and coming close to winning the Premier League.
As well as transfers, keeping players signed up to long-term contracts has been another critical success, with this summer being a key example. Take Harry Kane; it has been stated that he wants out, but Levy and ENIC hold all the cards because he has a very long term contract with us. He was happy to make long time commitments with us; in return, he got higher wages. So it will not be surprising that Levy will take those, who want to buy him, to the cleaners if he leaves.
Now let us look at the Glaziers, who pay substantial bonus payments into their own pockets at United; our Chairman has worked diligently to secure our future. Even through the pandemic. What I am saying, the amphitheatre is the door to our future and success, including Glory and an abundance of trophies.
I accept Levy has made mistakes (who has not?), but with his help, we are building an empire to challenge the elites and eventually be true kings of football. We are just going through a new chapter in the club’s history; that is, going from light into a tunnel of darkness, but will eventually come out of that tunnel into a brighter light and a new future. The benefits that Levy has got for us outweighs the negatives. And as for some fickle fans crying “Levy/ ENIC out”), well, they (Levy/ ENIC) are better than the devil we do not know (who might purchase our club). Maybe another Glazier’s are waiting in the wings to strip us bare.
By Peter J Arnold
My name is Peter, and I have just joined this wonderful Spurs website, and I am looking forward to writing down my football thoughts and then presenting them to you. Agree or disagree; all views are valid and should be respected.
It was the famous philosopher Voltaire who said, “I might not agree with you, however, I will defend your right to say it”. Free speech. I am a journalist by trade for a local news outlet. I’ve been a Spurs supporter since the 90s.