Tottenham Hotspur make their seasonal trip to the Emirates next month for the first installment of this term’s North London derby, whatever the outcome on the pitch, they will have taken something of a beating, off of it.

On November 17th, supporters will be desperate to see Andre Villas-Boas’ side steal a march on Arsenal in the race for Champions League football and beyond. But for however much Spurs may try and match the Gunners on the pitch this term, off of it, there is simply no competition. And until that is rectified, Spurs are potentially hitting a glass ceiling in their development that is getting harder to break through with every passing season.

Although Arsenal went and eventually succumbed to Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea 2-1 at home, towards the end of last month, it wasn’t all doom and gloom in the red half of North London. Indeed, the match against the Blues represented the first ‘Category A’ game of the season at the Emirates, a price bracketing for the most desirable games of the season, with a minimum price tag of £62.

The Mirror reported that matchday income from the game – a few hundred seats short of a sell out – was near on, a staggering £6million. Spurs fans are set to contribute to at least matching that figure next month.

And no one should be under any illusions of quite how gloomy that reality check is for the Lilywhites. The most recent published accounts this year (which encompass the 2010/11 season) showed that Spurs made a relatively paltry £43.3million from matchday revenue, over 27 competitive matches played – working out at about £1.6million a match. If we include the fact that this figure includes Uefa Champions League matches, you can expect that number to shrink slightly when the next accounts are released. For those wondering, Arsenal made over double what Tottenham did for the same time period in matchday revenue – a cool £93.1million.

The elephant in the room here is of course Tottenham Hotspur’s dire need for an increase in stadium capacity, in order to compete with the likes of Arsenal and beyond. At just over 36,000, White Hart Lane simply cannot compete with a cash cow like the 60,000 seater Emirates Stadium – in both purely spectator terms and the holy grail of corporate hospitality.

With White Hart Lane selling out every week, Spurs have nearly hit the ceiling in terms of squeezing any more money out of their hallowed old ground. Their cheapest adult season ticket increased a further 5.79% to £730 this season, hopping above Liverpool as the second most expensive in the land. Even with 30,000 fans waiting for the chance to snap up one of 23,500 season tickets on a waiting list that seemingly refuses to budge, it appears difficult to see how much further the club can push prices up.

The statistics, in this case, have been written on the wall for a long time, but it’s putting them into context that appears slightly more difficult.

Tottenham cannot progress any further without some form of serious investment, most likely from foreign shores. And although it may not necessarily be in the guise of a Manchester City style buy out, the sort of capital the club need to raise to fund their Northumberland Development Project, still constitutes an enormous amount of investment. Daniel Levy and ENIC may well be looking for a naming rights partner to raise the money, but with The Telegraph’s Paul Kelso reporting an asking price of £400million spread over two decades, today’s economic climate renders that a very giddy amount of money indeed.

Some fans may shrug their shoulders at the level of investment and you can suggest that Spurs aren’t doing two badly for themselves at the moment. They’ve finished fourth twice in the space of three years, had a tasty little Champions League run and they’re looking to make another assault on European qualification this year.

The catalyst is however, in terms of need for development and the need for survival, the dark realm of Premier League wages. Some fans still seem to protest that Daniel Levy has stashed a chunk of their Champions League money under the sofa somewhere. What they don’t often consider though, is the extra £24million swell in wages, from 2010 to 2011. For all the jiggery-pokery of the summer transfer window and the smokescreen of Luka Modric, Tottenham Hotspur in fact made an initial net LOSS of £545,600, during the summer. Yes, that doesn’t factor in the Roman Pavlyuchenko sale in January, but this isn’t some form of Levy-defending propaganda. The club are operating upon their very limits.

With the new Premier League domestic television rights alone, securing up to £3billion to be shared around with clubs, Daniel Levy can afford to push the boat out on handing players like Gareth Bale a lucrative new contract. But such is the nature in the way broadcasting money is split between clubs, everyone is afforded a similar financial reprieve. Spurs have simply chosen to spend a chunk of theirs on securing their most valuable asset.

Perhaps in some ways, the best way of analyzing your own strength is upon the strength of those around you. There was a school of thought with some Spurs supporters, that the club was only ‘two or three players away from challenging for the league’ last season under Harry Redknapp. If we accept that the notion doesn’t involve the weakening of the squad by selling any players, that means that in wages and transfer fees, the club would have had to find that money from somewhere to acquire those players. Spurs made a £7million operating loss last year, just for a bit of added context before we finish.

From the last available accounts (2010/11 season), Tottenham Hotspur finished fifth. The difference between their wage bill and Arsenal’s, who finished one place above, was £33million. The difference between third placed Manchester City’s wage bill and Spurs? An increased £83million. And to wrap up, the contrast between Spurs and second placed Chelsea’s wage bill was £98million.

Although 2011 champions Manchester United’s was a little lower, you get the point. The cost between bridging even one place in this league can be phenomenal and Spurs are running out of room for financial maneuver. Yes Financial Fair Play will help, but they cannot make serious developments without the construction of a new stadium. A fourth placed achievement this term would represent a stunning achievement and have fans celebrating and three points on Saturday would go a long way to achieving that in the short term. In the long term however, it would be the announcement of a naming rights partner, that the club needs just as much.

Do you feel Tottenham have hit a glass ceiling in being able to move further up the league? How do you feel about the implications of a foreign naming rights partner? Let me know how you feel on Twitter: follow @samuel_antrobus and bat me all your views. 

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  • Sam Antrobus
    2 years ago

    Clearly some irritated gentleman bashing out the comments here, but I’ll give it a good go addressing all your grievances here. THFC4EVER, I like your name, very original – I am well aware the key to breaking that glass ceiling lies NEXT to White Hart Lane. However, without securing a long term naming rights deal, it won’t get built. Fact of life. Unless you’d like to tell me how else it’s going to get funded?

    Dub Yid. As I said, I’m well aware Spurs are building a new stadium, as I would imagine anyone with a pair of eyes who’ve seen the buildings magically disappear around WHL have. Although turning the process into bricks and mortar won’t happen without a naming rights deal. Not entirely sure where the stupidity is in that. And while you have a good point, my counter argument is that they still finish above Spurs. Every season. I’m not necessarily suggesting that the gap in wage expenditure is that important, but a £33million disparity isn’t quite peanuts. You may pass it off as opinion but without increasing our revenue, we will eventually loose pace with the Gunners. Maybe not this season, but it will happen. As I said, it’s just opinion.

    ‘sickof cretins’, thank you for another fantastically well informed comment there. Of course, your main gripe here in question was one of opinion – not going to bite to your ‘ill-researched’ jibe, I’d challenge you to take me up on any of the statistics in this piece. I thought it was relatively obvious that devils advocate was being played in the comparison to foreign ownership. Of course they don’t wield control in ownership and of course, this is now the business driven footballing world that we live in.

    But Manchester City would never have won the Premier League title had it not been for several hundred million pounds worth of transfer investment. Equally, Spurs can never challenge for a title, unless a (most likely foreign) company, stumps up several hundred million, to fund a means to increase their matchday revenue, hence ability to pay the top wages. Of course it is different and that is the essence of business, it’s not something Spurs can be faulted for. Daniel Levy is a genius and if/when he secures it, it could well change the face of the club forever. But a foreign company stumping up £400million or a rich oligarch stumping up £400million. It’s not quite the polar opposite.

    Reply
    • Jamie
      2 years ago

      I actually agree with the article, and not sure why everyone is getting their knickers in a twist. It’s to Spurs credit that the club has been more efficient and adept in the transfer and wage market than Arsenal. One point behind last season for £33m less on wages. We are keeping up despite the disparity, but we are only one David Bentley away from blowing it, whilst Arsenal have room for error and to take punts or out muscle us for a particular target. We have to close the gap to compete in the long term, that much is obvious. Otherwise we will become a forced selling club when players get to 2 years of the end of their contract i.e. Bale in 2014. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just kidding themselves. But on the positive side, I believe we’ll get the investment. We’ll wait to secure a partner, but worst case scenario Joe Lewis has the means to under-write a loan during construction, and as a business case it’s a no brainer. We’re just holding out for the right terms as we always do, and on finance where Levys concerned, we’ll get it right.

      Reply
      • Jamie
        2 years ago

        …oh yeah except for the last bit…you’ve lost me at the Oligarch comparison. Spurs or Arsenal borrowing money to build a stadium, which they pay back, and then increase revenue – bears absolutely no moral or sporting relation to City or Chelsea running at £100m Operating losses. If City and Chelsea fans are happy with that, good luck to them, but to me it’s not Sport. When they get their houses in order and bring through some home grown players and still win, history will recognise them better, but for now I don’t really class them as neither Sport nor a business. Just what happens when the worlds richest men throw their money to indulge a hobby. I’m sure it must be fun, but it’s not sport.

        Reply
  • Ollie
    2 years ago

    Firstly arsenal have sold a few players for a lot and not spent much so that would make their finances a lot better obviously. Now tottenham would have spent money on the new training ground now finished which cost about 30million I think, so that may be reflected in the accounts. The stadium is currently underway with building work having started, this may also be in the accounts along with the purchasing of property on the ground site and the planning and legal process costs a lot. Tottenham also have been spending a lot on the brand to have a global reach and create the strategy that Madrid have of a global reach, so long term we could be bringing a lot. now finally to sponsorship, it is believed we have a deal with Qatar airways for stadium and that could be why be have short term contracts with kit sponser autonomy and investec.

    Reply
    • Sam Antrobus
      2 years ago

      Ollie, cheers for the comment. I think the figure for the training ground is near or near abouts spot on, if not maybe a tad more and you raise a good point about the purchasing of property. When ENIC were taking pelters from a small minority post-Redknapp-gate, many forgot that Levy and co have spent £80million+ on buying up land around the ground over the past ten years. It’s been a long old slog.

      I believe building work has started on ‘Phase One’ and McLaren Construction are putting that up for Sainsbury’s. It’s the Qatar Airways deal that is the real gamebreaker, as you mentioned. That rumour’s done the rounds, but I’m really not so sure how many other companies of that ilk are currently up to putting so much money up.

      If anyone can seal the deal, Levy can. If the Telegraph is to be believed though, £400million is a hell of a lot of money. I hope I’m proved wrong, just not sure whether he will attain quite that number.

      Reply
      • Mike
        2 years ago

        Training ground was £45m in building costs alone ie not counting land purchase etc

        Reply
        • Jamie
          2 years ago

          Mike that’s right, but we’re also working on a deal to sell / develop the Lodge which is not green belt so much easier for planning. Eventually we’ll have some money back from that. Hotspur way was greenbelt, amazing we got planning, hence all the eco/sustainability and community projects stuff on the website this week.
          Sam – bear in mind that £200m over 10 years, or £400m or 20….£15m – £20m a year is about the going rate for a stadium name, and commercially we’re touching on being a premium option for sponsors. The sponsor pays that monthly or annually, then we only have to sign a deal and the banks and pension / hedgefunds will be que-ing up to lend us the £200m in this market as there are very few good investments of that scale. With that tied up sponsorship pays for the stadium, whilst our increased revenue goes into the team. We’re just jostling for the best offer and terms, and rightly so it’s the biggest deal in our history.

          Reply
        • Sam Antrobus
          2 years ago

          Cheers for your comments Jamie, very insightful. The training ground was a long old slog wasn’t it and as you say, I’m pretty sure the club was declined planning permission first time round; will be interesting to see how much the club get for the Chigwell site and how much they can offset the Enfield costs.

          You make a good point that even in this climate, the banks shouldn’t be too unkind in helping us out the rest of the way. It’s more of very generalised worry I have in that, I’m quite clearly no marketing expert, but it feels like Levy is asking for quite a bit. £200million just seems a bit more feasible than Kelso’s report of £400million. And obviously the longer it goes on for, the longer the wait to start increasing matchday revenue.

          But there must be something in the pipeline. I’m not sure the supermarket would have gone ahead if Sainsbury’s didn’t think a stadium was going to be there soon?

          Reply
        • Jamie
          2 years ago

          Yes we were declined planning for the training ground a couple of times I believe but eventually got it through. I actually think from the the moment we sign a loan and construction contract our position begins to change both in our standing and financially.
          As mentioned Joe Lewis is in a unique position to be able to underwrite a loan if he wishes to, he can borrow against his own cash, but leave it in the bank, which is a common Developers trick. But why do that if he doesn’t have to? It holds him back from doing other deals, so why not see what the club can attract on it’s own two feet? I would. The way we’ve approached the stadium has been very smart. Sainsbury’s and the housing will give us some money, as will the grants we’ve received. The £400m figure actually includes Land which we’ve already paid for, and associated infrastructure which is covered in the grant, our section 106 obligations of what we have to pay for the road and rail stations are almost zero – so realistically we’re talking about closer to £200m to raise. Our own and every other PL clubs TV money due to almost double to £50m a season, loan against increased revenue, and naming rights all together mean we’re brilliantly positioned to deal with the stadium and not skip a beat with the team as everyone fears, but that’s why we’re biding our time I suspect. I hope anyway!

          Reply
  • Ollie
    2 years ago

    Joe Lewis could quite easily pay for it himself as he is worth 2.5billion and he is getting old and loves tottenham. But this obviously won’t happen but we can dream

    Reply
    • Jah Gooner
      2 years ago

      Dream? Lol, i thought you monkeys only had nightmares. lol

      The Arsenal (13 times)
      Spuds (2 times)

      Do the math ladies : )

      Reply
      • Mint
        2 years ago

        hahahaha and that says it all really.
        Spuds will NEVER be as big as the Arsenal… forever in our shadow :)

        Reply
        • Jamie
          2 years ago

          You guys seem to be stuck living in 2004, sad really.

          Reply
  • willo
    2 years ago

    Nice article. Well researched, well written and FOYS.

    Reply
    • Jah Gooner
      2 years ago

      hehehe : )

      AFC

      Reply
  • Jah Gooner
    2 years ago

    Who cares, Totteringham are utter rubbish and always will be, keep on playing catchup ladies..

    ..forever in our shadow : )

    AFC4EVA

    Reply
    • Jamie
      2 years ago

      Weird how we’re 2 points above you in the league then I guess?

      Reply
      • Jah Gooner
        2 years ago

        2 points..l m f a o! Go get your “mind the gap” tshirt out the bottom of your draw, you know the shirt you buried there after being humiliated once again last season after you bottled it. You poor deluded spuds. lol

        Up the Arsenal, the kings of London..fact! : )

        Reply
        • Jamie
          2 years ago

          I can’t compete with such brilliant debating skills as signing off with “fact”. That’s solid. I’ve heard some of London’s leading Barristers have taken to using it in their summing up speeches. You best us last season, we beat you last season. You finished one point above us, fair enough, but have one nothing for 7 years. Your smugness and gloating is completely diss-proportionate to your standing in Europe, which is in steady decline. You can “LOL” and “LMAO” as much as you like, but this doesn’t change these…FACTS. Oh, see what I did there?

          Reply
  • Tony
    2 years ago

    Training ground £45m, property around WHL £65m, planning permission/architects fees £25m- source Mr D.Levy (believe that some of these figures appeared in the last accounts).

    Martin Lipton (a Spur on an Arsenal rag) reported on Talksport 2 weeks ago that the sponsorship deals and naming rights are ready to be announced before the end of the year.

    In addition to the possible deals mentioned above (Qatar, Investec etc)there have been two other sources of funding mooted. First the reason for going private a year ago, was so that ENIC could possibly sell a stake(perhaps 25%)of the club. Secondly, there have also been rumours that ENIC might provide some of the funding themselves, although I personally doubt that- this has never been their policy in the past.
    In addition there will also be 280 dwellings built as the final phase, and none of them now have to be affordable housing.

    Reply
    • Mint
      2 years ago

      You’re a 2bob club. Levy buys the players and then blames the manager when u get nowhere… thats league 2 management. hillarious

      Up The Arsenal

      Reply
      • JayMon
        2 years ago

        I’d be worried as an Arsenal fan if you only managed to finish 1 point ahead of a “2bob club”.

        Reply
        • Jah Gooner
          2 years ago

          lol, poor delusional spuds, its a beautiful thang.

          1961 < loooool

          AFC

          Reply
  • john
    2 years ago

    stop saying “off of”

    who are you? scott mills?

    Reply
  • Ghandi_From_The_Lane
    2 years ago

    You Woolwich Goon Mugs just don’t get it do you ? I will make this as simple as I can for you Gooner thickos .
    We’re better than you and it’s not about trophies , never has been. Do some research into your squalid Henry Norris history then take a pause and think about why it is you chose to support the pro-war scum from Woolwich.

    Reply
  • moncler3527
    1 year ago

     Récemment, les Franais En France, ils franaises de haut niveau vers le bas moncler 2012 marque veste a dévoilé sa nouvelle moncler alpin moderne caractéristique. Ce nouvel arrivant est le sera la pourrait être le produit de l’ du dans la coopération entre Moncler et Hiroki Nakamura l’primaire de Visvim. Cependant, quand vont-ils elles seraient mis en vente n’a pas été ne sera pas encore décidé. Il ya un peu Il ya beaucoup de photos de l ‘ au dans les vestes plus récent moncler en ligne.

    Reply
  • Jah Gooner
    2 years ago

    Calm down spuddy. lol

    AFC

    Reply
  • Jah Gooner
    2 years ago

    Uh oh, you ok spuds, truth hurts eh, rofl.

    AFC

    Reply
  • William
    2 years ago

    ? We have better players than arsenal and we have not built the new ground yet. When that is built the game will be over for arsenal. Truth hurts????

    Reply
  • Mint
    2 years ago

    take your meds Willie you’re having one of your turns

    Reply

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