Is White Hart Lane really holding Tottenham back?
When the January transfer window closed three weeks ago a lot of Tottenham supporters were asking questions of Daniel Levy as to why he didn’t ensure at least one striker was brought in to maintain the Champions League push.
There was the feeling that a huge opportunity to strike a blow to their rivals, for the rest of the season, had been lost.
Levy softened the blow at least by making sure that Lewis Holtby arrived six months before schedule, coughing up the necessary £1.5million fee to attain his services.
This though was not enough to remove the nagging doubts amongst Lilywhites supporters. Their chairman had to have a reason for why he did not go for broke and sign the missing attacking piece to the jigsaw alongside Defoe and Adebayor.
An explanation that seemed to fit the bill would be that Tottenham simply had to spend within their means financially. A lot of fans had reluctantly accepted that Levy was a businessman who had done a great job over the years, so they had to understand his judgement.
There had to be a longer term view and most would have warranted Levy using the stadium as an excuse for not generating enough income to provide money for the transfer kitty. But would such an argument really hold any real steel?
White Hart Lane has been seen as one of the main contributors to Tottenham not quite being able to consistently hold their seat at the Champions League table in recent seasons. The 36,320 all seater stadium may sell out every week, but it does not provide anywhere near the income that their neighbours at Arsenal down the road enjoy.
It is a sore wound that while the Gunners netted around £5million for the last derby match at The Emirates when the reverse fixture is played at White Hart Lane in March the estimated return will be around half that figure.
This is no secret but is this any excuse for failure if Tottenham fail to finish amongst the top four and once again tussle with Europe’s elite clubs this season? No, certainly not.
I am sure nobody affiliated with Tottenham Hotspur will look down upon having a long term view, but isn’t using the stadium as a weapon to not spend just a smokescreen for the fact that Levy has left AVB with not enough tools to succeed?
In terms of net spending Mr Levy backed Harry Redknapp in his last two seasons at the club to the tune of over £50million. This season AVB has just £500,000 in net spend.
The performances on the pitch have not suffered as a result. The Portuguese manager has managed to bring the very best out of Gareth Bale, but he has also managed to bring on players such as Sandro this season too, much to his credit and not his chairman’s.
In the summer, Levy showed his capability to have foresight. He did this by sacking Harry Redknapp and seeing that a vibrant new manager would revitalise the club when a time desperately needed it. He gave Villas Boas a Premier League platform to flourish which he has gone on to thrive upon.
It is though possibly more interesting that Levy showed his ability to see into the future of the club in the transfer market too when he sanctioned the signing of Hugo Lloris.
At the time, signing the French international may not have been a pressing need but he was willing to take the gamble and sign a world class keeper for an £8million fee.
This January, Levy was required to make the same courageous move in ascertaining a striker. AVB may have said that signing a striker was unlikely but it didn’t mean he wouldn’t have wanted one.
It may turn out that Tottenham have enough quality in their squad to get over the line and into the Champions League places. If this is the case it will be down to the superb man management of Villas Boas. Levy would have to thank his lucky stars should this happen.
Whatever the outcome, the issue of White Hart Lane won’t go away and ensuring a solution so the club can bring in more money to be able to fund transfers is pivotal, but this is not the current underlying issue.
If Daniel Levy wants to support AVB for the long term he may want to seriously consider protecting his boss by ensuring the nucleus of the side stays put, as well as ensuring that he backs his manager to the hilt in the next transfer market.
Should Levy continue to take such unecessary gambles on transfer issues in years to come it won’t be White Hart Lane that scuppers their Champions League ambitions. It will be losing his star players who fail to see their future in North London and a young and talented manager in the form of Andre Villas Boas.