One reader has plenty to say about the dire situation at Tottenham, while Manchester City are sarcastically (we hope) labelled ‘bottlers.
Send your views in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
8th place, 14 losses, a goal difference of +7, 3 managers, and no European Football. If the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a modern day colosseum, it’s the fans who are being fed to the lions.
So many things are wrong with Spurs right now and Daniel Levy is at the heart of the ineptitude. Strap yourself and file this one under ‘rant’…
Firstly the stadium. It’s brilliant. It’s a huge money maker for the club and there is nothing wrong with all the commercial deals to maximise the return on investment. But it’s still called ‘Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’. We’ve been teased the bluest of blue chip corporations putting their name to the stadium but the chatter is always that any prospective partner’s valuation falls way short of Levy’s.
This is the least of the fans issues but it’s the beginning of a pattern… Levy’s high opinion of himself / the club not matching up with reality.
Now let’s talk managers…
Pochettino, Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo, Conte.
Ask Levy about the logic and he will say that after Poch, he wanted a winner to take us over the line, that NES was a blip, and Conte was meant to do what Mourinho couldn’t.
Again, Levy has wildly misjudged what kind of club we were and are.
It wasn’t Daniel Levy or ENIC that established Spurs as a ‘big 6’ club. It was Pochettino. This was done firmly on the training ground. Pochettino was and is a player improvement coach. He didn’t need a team full of superstars, he wanted to mould and develop a team, and to improve individuals. It was Levy’s total lack of any kind of investment that killed off Poch.
If you have a team full of superstars or have the budget to buy one, sure, give Mourinho or Conte a call. But that has never been what Spurs are about. The fact that Levy thought Spurs were a match for Mourinho or Conte’s styles and needs is crazy.
Spurs need a manager / coach that will develop players first and foremost. We can’t compete otherwise. We need to be the smartest guys in the room to be able to match the riches of the other big clubs. Instead….
Recruitment. And I’ll start with the manager search.
Supposedly Spurs didn’t have a favourite after sacking Conte. Instead it was a pool of managers we were interested in engaging with. Levy seemingly thinks that football manager recruitment works like Tinder.
The ‘I didn’t fancy her anyway’ tactic used to avoid any disappointment or embarrassment of a failed attempt is as transparent as it is stupid.
What happens instead is that no one feels wanted. If someone tells you they have multiple other options and they’re just feeling you out, then a natural response is to wait for someone who shows that they actually want you.
This is Levy’s ego at work again thinking managers will fall over themselves to get the role, whilst being oblivious to the fact that he’s a huge reason why managers don’t want to join us.
On to incompetence over ego. Player transfers…
Djed Spence and Arnaut Danjuma were ‘club signings’ that Conte had absolutely no interest in. I’m not sure how this happens at a club like Spurs who don’t have money to waste. If you want to bring in club signings, there’s one manager that you should absolutely not work with, and his name is Antonio Conte.
All this does is make the fans think no one knows what they’re doing whilst making the new signings quickly disengage, which could potentially result in poisoning the squad atmosphere instead of bounce that new signings should bring.
The biggest cheers in some games this season was when Spence or Danjuma got subbed on for 2 minute cameos. The fans stopped believing in Conte and the vitriol towards the board just ramped up another notch.
Then when a pure Conte signing was actually made, it was a £40m specialist wingback in January when everyone in the world knew the manager wouldn’t be at the club at the end of the season and the wingback system would likely go with him.
The only logical takeaway is that there is no strategy at Spurs. No footballing identity, no forward planning, no boardroom accountability.
Levy’s public backing of Paratici was weird and misplaced given the seriousness of the ban in Italy (which consequently has significantly impacted the new manager search), the furloughing of staff during the pandemic was wildly misjudged, and his interactions with the fan base is aloof at best and condescending at worst.
Believe it or not, this isn’t a ‘Levy out’ rant. It’s a ‘get Levy the hell away from all footballing decisions‘ rant. If his ego can’t deal with that, then he needs to remove himself from the equation as currently it’s his decision making that is the reason that Spurs are in this spiral.
Spurs fans want to see accountability and transparency. Decisions don’t always have to perfect, but the club needs to show they are moving and pulling in the right direction. Levy is currently making 1 good decision in 10 and expects the fans to be grateful for that because we can have some decent food a craft beer at half time.
This is my ask of Levy and ENIC… make Spurs a football club again. Make that the priority. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, then you don’t deserve to be custodians of this club.
David, Mile End
Do City have “the minerals for that type of battle”?
I assume Terry, Texas hasn’t watched any City if he’s unsure whether City’s players have “the minerals” for a battle. Just last season they outdid Athletico Madrid at their own game. Out fought, out thought and out played them despite an all timer effort from Athletico to defile the beautiful game.
That is just the most obvious example, but the idea City aren’t up for a “battle” really is a load of old nonsense.
City are definite bottlers
In response to Tom, haven’t City been bottling the Quadrapule for the past five years? Every year there is talk of a quad only for them to capitulate at the latter stages of all the competition. Each year they are touted as favorites for every competition including the World Cup ,which they never win.
In the same vein do we then say Liverpool bottled their quadruple last season?
Posab (Man U bottled the quadrapule too this season) Botswana
I’ve just read Will Ford’s article on the Mason Mount to United debacle and fully agree with him. Then I read this.
“Man Utd are weighing up the possibility of including Harry Maguire in a deal to sign Mason Mount from Chelsea this summer.”
I didn’t think Chelsea could become even more of a laughing stock than it already is but here we are. That sentence a year ago would have been laughed off as ludicrous. United’s worst player plus cash for Chelsea’s best player. Now that seems immensely possible.
Poch coming in gave me a small sliver of hope for around 3 seconds. Then I remembered who owns the club. Next season will be s**t. As will the one after that, ad infinitum while the current owners are in place.
Will (F**k Boehly, F**k Eghbali, F**k Clearlake.)
I’ve seen a few of these mails recently about commentaries such as Anthony (Defo don’t need Merson’s opinion on anything), Dublin’s suggesting that they can’t watch a commentary where there is any disagreement with their opinion. Anthony even said: “I’ve taken to watching MUTV before the match, and at half time, just because at least we want the same team to win, it’s not really that much to ask that it should be an option.”
Really? When did this become a thing? I am Liverpool fan but I am intrigued to hear what Neville and Keane, for example, think about Liverpool because, and this is the key point, they’re NOT biased towards Liverpool. They are going to give an approximation of truth that is not tinged with bias. Although clearly they could be biased the other way, but that’s the point of pundits surely? To give an opinion, whether you agree or not.
When I’ve watched LFCTv on the odd occasion, all I see is the likes of Jason McAteer trotting out pleasantries so one eyed, it’s pretty pointless. You get more useful analysis in a local pub.
Simon, North London Gooner should be listening to Gary Neville, because he consistently said City would grind Arsenal down, and he was spot on in that regard. Can’t he take an opinion different to his own. One of my favourite aspects of the past few years has been listening to gary Neville heap praise on Liverpool although it must absolutely kill him to do so. Because he has no other option. That’s the beauty of it and you won’t find that on MUTV will you?
I don’t want to go down the snowflake route and say that people are so soft now they can’t even countenance an opinion that differs from their world view, but it seems to be increasingly true. Do we want our football to become like US politics where the Democrats truly believe the Republicans are satanist facists and the Republicans believe the Democrats are baby murdering communists who don’t know if they are male or female?
My advice, listen to an opposing opinion to your own from time to time, perhaps learn something and stop behaving like a toddler; you big babies.
Anthony Taylor abuse and refereeing
I’m sure many of us will have seen the disgusting abuse directed to Anthony Taylor and his family at the airport in Budapest and while I don’t agree or condone the abuse, it feels as though it is a problem FIFA and UEFA have created of their own accord firstly by insisting on opaquity of refereeing decisions by keeping football officiating behind a metaphorical rood screen and not broadcasting the discussions that referees have.
Secondly by refusing to countenance that they have anything to learn from any other sport. Thirdly by making referees almost entirely unaccountable. Fourthly by not having any kind of panel to overturn poor/inexplicable in-game decisions. And finally by continuing to allow a degree of inconsistency whereby players, managers and fans are uncertain where they stand and have legitimate grounds to complain based on precedent.
For example, during the Manchester United vs Real Sociedad game at Old Trafford last autumn, Martinez was penalised for a handball after the ball ricocheted from his thigh up to his arm which was beside his body in the process of blocking a shot and a penalty was awarded to Real Sociedad, costing Manchester United any points from a drab match Sociedad did nothing to deserve. Very few people thought it should have been a penalty, but a penalty was given.
Months later, when Manchester United played Sevilla at Old Trafford, Bruno Fernandes was adjudged to have handled the ball illegally in similar circumstances albeit outside of the area and a freekick was awarded to Sevilla and a yellow card was issued, banning him from the vital next match. Again, it was widely considered a ludicrous decision.
Now on to the final where Matic (for Roma) crossed the ball into the area and it hit a Fernando’s arm which was held at a normal angle to his side but considerably more “out” than Martinez’ or Fernandes’ arms were, when Matic was further away from Fernando and had more time to move his arm out of the way. No handball, no penalty, no yellow card. As a fan, you would have to say that of the three incidents, if any of them were actually a handball it should have been Fernando’s handball, yet this was the only one not given and it’s puzzling – and I urge anyone to watch all three and disagree.
So of course fans are going to be angry when it costs their team the final. Of course fans aren’t going to understand when it’s so inconsistent and nothing is done about it. Of course fans are going to be confused when they can’t hear the rationale during the decision making process. And of course fans are going to be pissed off when such a nonsensical decision which on balance of probability cost their team the Europa League. Further, it gives weight to conspiracy theories about how referees favour Spanish teams. Fans regularly see Spanish teams given favourable decisions that are not applied equally or consistently to teams from other nations and they come to their own conclusions rightly or wrongly.
And I want to make it absolutely clear I’m not condemning Anthony Taylor for all of this – though the Roma penalty incident clearly is down to him ultimately – or condoning the fans’ and Mourinho’s behaviour towards him but I am absolutely condemning football’s governing bodies for creating a framework within which he works that is so inconsistent and inadequate.
Football needs to have a long, hard look at how refereeing is carried out, look at how it’s done in other sports, and reform. They absolutely should make it more transparent, they look to bring in refereeing models from other sports, notably rugby, but they could also learn from the applications of technology to other sports. They should bring in panels to overturn in-game decisions that are clearly wrong or inadequate. For example, if they replaced VAR, which only looks at specific incidents from my understanding, with rugby’s TMO system with the power to bring the referee’s attention back to unseen incidents, with the power to voice their judgement on a situation, and if this discussion was broadcast this would be infinitely superior to “the referee says so, like it or lump it.”
Mourinho’s behaviour the other night was nothing short of appalling.
Funny though, I don’t remember similar outrage being directed at Klopp, when he did (and does) very similar things. But then he’s the fun, smiling guy isn’t he? What a joke.
Nah, nah, nah
I did not watch the antics, or even the match, but I have seen in this mail box that Mourinho is apparently either the Trump or the Ronaldo of football management, and I would like to add a third option, Ric Flair. A master of the dark arts, check! A multi time champion, check! One of the biggest characters in the game, check!
Sure, we can all agree that he’s been a massive prick for the last twenty years. But if you’re only getting mad about it now that shows a massive amount of recency bias.
Remember when Thierry Henry admitted to a deliberate hand ball that knocked Ireland out of making a World Cup?
Remember the 3(?) times Luis Suarez bit someone one the field?
Remember when di Canio pushed a ref? Or when Cantona kicked a fan?
Remember when that guy did what he was supposed to?
We remember the moments, and Mourinho has just given us one more. Personally, I’ve hated the so and so since he knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League in 2004(?) But the truth is he, personally, has made football more interesting in the last 20 years. Whether you supported his team or, more likely, wanted to see him lose. He made it more interesting, he made you watch you otherwise wouldn’t have. If you want a nice guy football manager, watch Ted Lasso, if you want football played to win , watch Mourinho, (it’s even more entertaining when he loses!)
Mr Andrew Hill (Guatemala)
In response to…
I had to have a quick response to William of Leicester and his pathetic attempt to protect Mourinho or at least absolve him of his actions. You can’t compare Mourinho’s actions with other managers. He is on another level of sh*thousery. End of. I think the d*ckhead is you.
It’s interesting that the Saturday 3pm discussions keep arising. Feels like the Premier League keep inflating this one. As you all have seen the UK tv rights have flat lined whilst the rest of the world continue rising but at a slower pace. Therefore the only way to keep the goose laying eggs is to allow 3pm kick offs to be screened.
If they get sold as a separate package it would even up the tv distribution percentages as all the big games tend to be moved to Sunday but this way all games are televised so I think the ‘other’ clubs would be happy to vote for it.
Appreciate the issue with ‘local’ football but if the Premier League agree to donate 15% of the money to the lower leagues I can see this happening. Lower leagues could also move their games to 1pm \ 5pm. Appreciate the ‘arrogance’ of moving lower league football but I also think it’s a bit disingenuous to fans in the championship, league one, league two assuming those fans support premier league teams and only go to these games for ‘something to do’.
Screen 1 game on terrestrial tv to keep the government happy and the rest can be televised on Sky or a new Premier League channel stream which might be a nice way to set up the future Global Premier League channel (I’ve already copyrighted The GPL…)
It’s happening, get used to it.
Hong Kong Ian (KLF) LFC
Thank you to Lawrence SA for perfectly backing up the point being made by Sam and Dara in the mailbox. I’m not deriding Lawrence for supporting a club in a league on a different continent (I follow the San Francisco 49ers for example), but his mail made it clear that he doesn’t understand that the extensive football pyramid in this country is one of the major selling points of football here.
Also have to point out that the recently jailed people were not ‘essentially providing a public service’, they were enriching themselves to the tune of millions of pounds by providing an illegal service. I’m not going to claim I’ve never accessed a similar service, but let’s not make out it’s some kind of ‘power to the people’ thing.
Just to expand on Paul Murphy, Manchester’s upcoming excitement. Personally I can’t wait for the deluge of expected team lineups to flood the Mailbox around late July. Bonus points for including rumoured players along with any actual signings, not to mention both first and second/cup teams.
Remember metatarsal injuries? Don’t hear much about them these days. Go science!