Last night was a painful experience for fans of Tottenham; not only were they beaten but a rampant Manchester City side demolished them. Spurs may well have been on the wrong end of a number of key decisions, but the gulf in class was marked and fans have a genuine reason to be concerned.
It would be wrong to treat this result in isolation, it is just one amongst a number of calamities for Spurs this season, both on and off the pitch. It is sometimes easy to forget that the people that run this Premier League club are some of the brightest commercial minds, but clearly business acumen and an eye for running a successful football club do not go hand in hand.
The way the club has been run this year has been nothing short of bizarre, and the countless errors in judgement and footballing oversights are continually catching them up. More worryingly perhaps is that we have been here before with Spurs, the last 10 years are a testament to their inability to have any long-term direction or strategy.
Managerial wise there have been two definite themes; the classic English simplistic approach favoured by both Redknapp and Sherwood and the thorough more professional continental guise of a Ramos or AVB. Rather than focus on one and back it to the hilt, Levy seems intent on flitting between both schools on a whim; his long-term vision appears non-existent and his loyalty to manager’s somewhat questionable. The Ramos case is different, but Redknapp was sacked after a 4th placed finish and AVB with the best win percentage of any Spurs manager ever; surely something is wrong here?
Narrow minded short-termism is for the fans that pay their money and have an unwavering emotional attachment to their respective clubs; the blinkered approach should not extend to the boardroom as well. The appointment of Sherwood simply illustrated how poor the planning is at the club; with no clear replacement available post AVB they had to settle for 3rd or 4th choice on a pretty drab shortlist.
Then we have the Baldini debacle, which forms another part of Levy’s struggle with the continental management structure; anyone remember Arnesen and Comolli? With Baldini over the summer it was as if Levy gave him free reign over the Bale millions, opened up the Football Manager database and said go on being us in the best you can find, regardless of who they are or where they play.
The miscommunication between Baldini, AVB and Levy is stark. By mid August AVB had what looked like a new team, with a collection of talented recruits all expected to slot in with apparent ease. It isn’t the fact that these players aren’t good, in fact I actually think they all represent significant quality, but it is as if Spurs have been playing a Video Game. Sure a few may have been on AVB’s wish list, but 7 new players is clearly ridiculous. Did AVB ever want Chadli, was Capoue ever part of the long term ‘project? I somehow doubt it.
I don’t have anything against a continental management structure; it can often work very well. But when there is clear miscommunication and misdirection, you are setting yourself up to fail almost immediately. In fact a break down in relations between Baldini and AVB was largely what apparently triggered the eventual collapse of his tenure.
Levy seems unable to learn his lesson, maybe he is too stubborn by half but surely an intelligent mind like his can see the problems. For an international footballing institution, the show run by Spurs is amateurish at best.
Football is a results based business of course, but constant change and upheaval is never going to be the answer. Levy needs to work out what he wants and the best way of achieving it, and once he has done that he needs to back them with the kind of support and loyalty that he has been given whilst Chairman of Tottenham.
At the moment Spurs are fast becoming a laughing stock, and I don’t think Joe Lewis and ENIC foresaw this as being the ultimate aim. A goal difference of -1 and a place still in the running for 4th underlines what a crazy season it has been, and in my opinion the club really haven’t helped themselves in the slightest.