THE LEVY YEARS – TAKING US FORWARD OR HOLDING US BACK? PART THREE

mawspurs

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By SC member minesadouble

Of course, it would be wrong to be naive about ENIC and Levy’s motivation. Equally, it would be unfair to accuse them of reckless greed. There are numerous so-called ‘investors’ in football who have risked (and sometimes destroyed) clubs purely in the hope of personally making a fast buck. The primary duty of a football club chairman / owner is never to risk the club. Technically, like any company, a football club belongs to its shareholders, and its directors have statutory obligations to the shareholders, creditors, employees, etc. But, morally, a football club is different to virtually every other commercial enterprise. It ‘belongs’ to its community and its fans. As many of us say; owners, directors, managers and players, all come and go. We are the only true constant.

In my opinion, Levy has made some mistakes (who hasn’t). We can argue about the manager-go-round, the treatment of Jol, the sacking of Harry, the failure to invest during January transfer windows, etc. We can even debate the rise in Levy’s remuneration from £250,000 p.a. in 2004 to currently around £2 million p.a. (still less than the likes of Gazidis, Gill and Cook earn or earned).

But what I don’t think we can do is accuse Levy of is either (i) trying to make a quick buck or (ii) taking undue risks with our club. And Joe Lewis may not have been an Abramovich or Al Mubarak but then he hasn’t been a Glazer or Gillett & Hicks either. The Bale money was reinvested not transferred to the Bahamas.

The fact is that Levy has to try and operate a commercial business in an industry that often defies commercial logic. The new FFP rules are designed to help Spurs compete with the likes of Man City and Chelsea (deeper pockets) but they actually make it harder for us to compete with United and Arsenal (higher revenues that comply with FFP rules). Spurs have basically been playing catch up since the early 1990s when the Sky money moved the goalposts but Alan Sugar got burned by Carlos Kickaball. The Nineties were our ‘lost decade’.

In 2013, Spurs revenues were £147 million, split into Match Receipts (£34m), TV & Media (£57m) and everything else in Commercial Activities (£56m). Our match receipts are much lower than United and Arsenal and are (I think) the lowest of the Top 6. Like all the Top 6, we basically play to capacity crowds in the PL every fortnight, so our annual Match Receipt revenues at WHL can only really change according to price inflation and cup success.

Although Spurs have gained from the inexorable rise in TV revenues, they do nothing to close the gap between us and other members of the Top 6, who receive slightly more. Our sponsorship revenues (shirts etc.) are rising but we still lag behind the big United and Liverpool commercial deals.

In the future, a new stadium combined with our waiting list for season tickets should enable us to compete on more equal footing (obviously, in the meantime CL qualification and successful cups runs will help too!). But for now, the unavoidable truth is that Levy only really has profitable player trading at his disposal to ‘defy financial gravity’. There is no magic wand.

And this, I believe, is the heart of the problem. Some fans want us to spend millions that we simply don’t have. We don’t generate the cash to splurge on marquee signings (and wages) and we don’t have a sugar daddy to put the money in (even if FFP rules allowed). Of course, there isn’t an absolute ‘shopping list number’ that has to be stuck to. If Schneiderlin had been available at a sensible price, we’d have bought him, but the money would have had to be found from somewhere else, now, or at least next January. And I don’t have time, even in this long article, to get into player salaries, staff costs ratios to turnover, contract amortisation, debt repayments, and the intricacies of the FFP rules. Maybe another day? Suffice to say that these are all complex factors that us fans don’t need to understand in detail but Levy and the board have to.

I will end by saying that I’m neither a staunch Levy-cheerleader nor a fierce Levy-out critic. But I do have some idea what it’s like to sit in a ‘hot seat’ and I think we could have done a lot worse. Heck, my brother’s a Leeds fan! Just go back to that list of 2006 players one more time. Now picture in your mind, say, Crouchy scoring to beat Man City 1-0 in May 2010, or Bale ordering Maicon a taxi, or our shiny new training Centre on Hotspur Way. On reflection, we have made a great deal of progress over the past decade. And I think Levy deserves his fair share of the credit.
 

bsinghd

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#2
Interesting about the gate receipts. Went on tour of the stadium on Monday and the tour guide said maximum capacity of the new stadium can only be 60,000 because the police will not allow anymore than this. Based on very basic maths and assumptions this would generate about £57m in gate receipts.
 

freerob

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#3
Thanks for taking the time to prepare this article.
Like many others I was disappointed that we didn't sign some of the bigger names muted but then remind myself of players we did sign (Rasiak, Reid, Zamora) in the past. We have come a long, long way, & have some fantastic players. Until we have increased stadium capacity & revenue we will struggle to eclipse the other 5 CL contenders but we are still competing which we weren't for many years. Would be good to see Poch improve our style of play, remain competitive to latter part of season, & maybe win a trophy. COYS
 

strader

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#4
Good insight without going over the top with the financial stuff.

Until that stadium is built, we will have ro generate that extra cash from player sales . Its a shame but its the only way we can sustain our current position.
 

Lilbaz

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#5
Interesting about the gate receipts. Went on tour of the stadium on Monday and the tour guide said maximum capacity of the new stadium can only be 60,000 because the police will not allow anymore than this. Based on very basic maths and assumptions this would generate about £57m in gate receipts.
It's all about the corporate. The Emirates makes more from it's 9k corporate than the whole of Highbury did.
 

DiscoD1882

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#6
Well worth the read. We can't afford to be a boom or bust club. We have a chairman that understands that. He has made mistakes. But has also done some bloody good business in the last ten years
 

deadlight

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#8
Interesting read, cheers.

But DL earns £2m!! What does he do to justify that?? (But, what does a professional player to earn £200,000+ a week!?)
 

RickyVilla

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#9
Interesting read, cheers.

But DL earns £2m!! What does he do to justify that?? (But, what does a professional player to earn £200,000+ a week!?)
Probably helps Mavis the tea lady out during lunchtime and rakes the cut grass up off the pitch.
 
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db1

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#10
Great read, you've put down the situation with great reason which is a change to hearing the usual snipes to Levy from those who think he sits in his office counting his money. My brother also supports Leeds like yours and it massively puts things into perspective on how well we are run.
 
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#11
The rise of Man City is a real kicker for me.

In 08/09 we finish 8th (51 points) and Liverpool finish 2nd (86). Then in 09/10 we get our first CL finish (70 points) whilst Liverpool decline is dramatic as they finish 7th (63). We were in the perfect position to pick up "their" CL spot for the next few years as their malaise continued but the Man City machine is in full force and blows us out the water.

Man City's lottery win cost us the next 3 years of CL football which is what £100m+? That would make a huge difference to us and who knows what our team would look like today had we got that extra money.

It's all just massively frustrating. FFP came too late for us.

The new stadium is imperative to give us any chance at all of even keeping close to the teams above us as they operate on a different level to us.
 

Lilbaz

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#12
The rise of Man City is a real kicker for me.

In 08/09 we finish 8th (51 points) and Liverpool finish 2nd (86). Then in 09/10 we get our first CL finish (70 points) whilst Liverpool decline is dramatic as they finish 7th (63). We were in the perfect position to pick up "their" CL spot for the next few years as their malaise continued but the Man City machine is in full force and blows us out the water.

Man City's lottery win cost us the next 3 years of CL football which is what £100m+? That would make a huge difference to us and who knows what our team would look like today had we got that extra money.

It's all just massively frustrating. FFP came too late for us.

The new stadium is imperative to give us any chance at all of even keeping close to the teams above us as they operate on a different level to us.
If FFP had come in 10 years ago we'd have had a title challenge by now.
 

Locotoro

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#15
The rise of Man City is a real kicker for me.

In 08/09 we finish 8th (51 points) and Liverpool finish 2nd (86). Then in 09/10 we get our first CL finish (70 points) whilst Liverpool decline is dramatic as they finish 7th (63). We were in the perfect position to pick up "their" CL spot for the next few years as their malaise continued but the Man City machine is in full force and blows us out the water.

Man City's lottery win cost us the next 3 years of CL football which is what £100m+? That would make a huge difference to us and who knows what our team would look like today had we got that extra money.

It's all just massively frustrating. FFP came too late for us.

The new stadium is imperative to give us any chance at all of even keeping close to the teams above us as they operate on a different level to us.
On the contrary, Man City's spending spree considerably weakened Arsenal and Man United directly by taking their leading players and helped them pick off some of Chelsea's targets too.

They may have taken that extra spot but they also helped us close the gap on the other three considerably.
 

Block D Spurs

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#17
A very good 3 part article, thanks for taking the time and effort minesadouble.. you have earned your drink tonight :).. It puts all the Enic / Levy critics into a position where they can understand how Levy has progressed our club. I have been saying this for a long time on another spurs site, where posters just have blinkered attitudes. Like children who are out with mum and dad shopping, throwing tantrums cos another kid has a toy they want. (comparing this to success Arsenal . city, etc. have had) However, in fairness to these fans criticisms, they may not have the business background to realise the problems Levy & Joe Lewis have at THFC. Agree we need this new stadium asap.
 

Mullers

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#18
You kind of skated over the mistakes that Levy made a bit quickly there sport, so let me just expand on that just a little bit.

I'm not going to start at 2006, I'm going to start at 2001 when George Graham was sacked 3 weeks before a cup semi final with Arsenal.
Sacked for leaking confidential information, a breach of contract, which basically boils down to him saying there is a limited amount of cash to spend on new players and he's not happy with it. Redknapp said a hell of a lot more than that but he managed to stay until 2012.

So clearly as Graham said at the time it was a excuse...a flimsy excuse.
Not long after that the club ran it's affairs in the press.
I have to agree with George's Lawyers here.
http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/graham-hits-back-after-cash-find-26094137.html

We appointed Glen Hoddle, we lost against Arsenal in the Semis and we lost against Blackburn in the 2002 league cup final.

That is failure. We failed.

More to come in part 2.
 

BillyWhizz

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#19
As the man says running a football club as a successful business is a very difficult thing to do and when you look at our profits they're still not that high (in business terms).

ENIC have built strong foundations under the club after an uncertain decade. The thing with investors like ENIC is at least you know they will ensure the club prospers so they can make a profit. It might be a less romantic way to improve but I'd rather have it this way than let some lunatic rich bloke run us. And let us not forget, the man is a Spurs fan!

Unfortunately for Levy you don't get the credit until it's happened, which for our club in the current climate takes time. One day we'll all look back at him and his work favourably and he'll be remembered for turning Spurs into a very successful and self sustainable club.
 

Mullers

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#20
Glenn Hoddle was sacked by Levy after he took four points from 6 games.
"Following two seasons of disappointing results, there was a significant investment in the team during the summer, in order to give us the best possible chance of success this season," the statement said.

"Unfortunately, the start to this season has been our worst since the Premiership was formed.
"Coupled with the extremely poor second half to last season, the current lack of progress and any visible sign of improvement are unacceptable.

"It is critical that I, and the board, have absolute confidence in the manager to deliver success to the club.

"Regrettably we do not. It is not a decision we have taken lightly. However, we are determined to see this Club succeed and we must now move forward.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/3127616.stm

Hmm so you say you had two seasons of disappointing results but you don't sack him at the end of the summer, you put 'significant investment' in the team and then lose confidence 6 games in.
Okey dokey.
So we make Pleat manager until the end of the season and finish 14th. I'm pretty sure Glenn could have done that, did they have more confidence in Pleaty than they did Glenn? I guess so.