DANIEL LEVY: the boss has a dream as Spurs get back to basics
Spurs chairman talks exclusively to Ham&High sports editor Patrick Mooney on his big plans for the future DESPITE Tottenham s recent troubles – on and off the field – chairman Daniel Levy believes the club is still one of the Big Five in English footb
Spurs chairman talks exclusively to Ham&High sports editor Patrick Mooney on his big plans for the future
DESPITE Tottenham's recent troubles - on and off the field - chairman Daniel Levy believes the club is still one of the Big Five in English football.
Spurs, along with Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton, used to be considered the traditional Big Five. But while the other four clubs have all won league titles in the past 21 years - and qualified for Champions League football since the start of the Premier League - Tottenham have failed to keep pace and have been replaced by Chelsea.
Levy, who has been a strong supporter of the coach-director of football management structure much favoured on the Continent, was forced to sack Juande Ramos and sporting director Damien Comolli after the Lilywhites made their worst ever start to a league season.
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Now, after returning to a more traditional style of football management by appointing Harry Redknapp as manager, with control of transfers, the buoyant Levy feels the future is still bright for the Lilywhites.
"As far as I'm concerned we still are in the Big Five - it is just we are No 5," Levy exclusively told Ham&High Sport. "What this club is striving for is to be in the top four but so are a number of other clubs. It is exceedingly difficult and it is almost like a monopoly year-in, year-out, with one of two exceptions. We just have to keep trying and must not give up."
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Levy, who rarely gives interviews, was in a bullish mood as he outlined plans for a new 60,000-capacity stadium near the Lane and the release of the club's healthy financial figures.
And under Redknapp, Tottenham, who without a win in the Premier League this season, have collected five points from the past three matches, the latest being the shock 2-1 win over leaders Liverpool on Saturday.
Yet, such is the tightness of the league this season that Spurs are back at the bottom for the visit to Manchester City on Sunday after wins for fellow strugglers Bolton, Stoke and Newcastle.
Yet, Levy, who also sacked Martin Jol after the Dutchman delivered successive fifth place finishes before appointing Ramos, does not believe much has changed since then.
"I don't think anything has changed," he said. "I think it was unfortunate that our league performance last year was not good. Obviously, we did win a cup, the Carling Cup. This season it is still early and a lot can happen before the end of the season as we have seen over the past week or so."
Levy may have changed the management structure but he feels it was the people not the system that let him down. "It is not about the management structure, it is a about people," he explained.
"When I made the decision to employ Harry he is a person who is used to operating in the transfer market. He is not a traditional coach that only wants to coach, he wants to do both. Therefore, it would be inappropriate in those circumstances to have somebody else employed by the club who were doing a lot of the transfers.
"There has been a lot of negatives about sporting directors but don't lose sight of the fact that we have been in Europe three years running with a sporting director. It is not about a sporting director per se, or a coach or a manager, it is about individuals. And if you have the right individuals, hopefully it will bring you success."
While Levy acknowledged that Tottenham face a hectic period , with matches in four different competitions he hinted that Redknapp would have to work with the players he has and would have little money to spend in the January transfer window. "We had conversations about the January transfer before he [Harry] took the job and our position is that we don't intend to do very much in the January window," said Levy.
"We spent an awful lot of money and it is very easy to disregard players and say 'let's go and get somebody else.' That is not really what Harry is looking to do either. He thinks he's got talent here and he wants to improve upon it.
"I think what is going on in the real world is affecting everything, including football. So it is not specific to Tottenham. I think if you look over the history of the Premier League you will see that Tottenham is one of the biggest spenders. Now we have a squad hopefully that is a very good squad and that will come through in the results. If there are changes I don't expect them to be significant."
Levy says he is aware that several clubs such as Manchester City are awash with money after being taken over by foreign investment. But he believes that money does not guarantee automatic success.
"Just because there is a foreign owner it does not mean it is going to give you success," he said. "You only need to look at what this club has spent over the last three, five or 10 years compared to Arsenal. IIt says it all.
"We have spent much more than they have - money does not guarantee success."
Tottenham will host an exhibition later this month, where the public can view the proposed stadium plans.
SPURS aim to kick-start their Uefa Cup hopes tonight when they entertain Dynamo Zagreb at the Lane. The Lilywhites lost their opening Group D game 2-0 against Udinese in Italy.