Daniel Levy and Tottenham have f***ed themselves…

Date published: Friday 21st May 2021 10:02 - Editor F365

Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com…

Spurs’ self-sabotage
Over the last few years Spurs have lost three cup finals, failed to back and then sacked the best manager we’ve had in at least thirty years, failed to make any signings through two consecutive transfer windows and neglected the development of promising youngsters (Walker-Peters, Foyth, Sanchez, Winks, even Edwards) resulting in them leaving or stagnating. The club routinely makes the wrong decisions – of the seven (seven!) first team signings bought to replace Gareth Bale only one (one!) was an unqualified success in Christian Eriksen, although Erik Lamela will always have a special place in the heart of every fan for his unending effort, peerless s—housery and an aversion to using his right foot so strong it brought about not one, but two rabonas.

Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Ruben Dias, Eden Hazard, Youri Tielemans, Bruno Fernandes, Paulo Dybala… Glamour players and proven winners now, but all of them promising young talents when Spurs were linked to them over the years, and for one reason or another we ended up not signing them. Instead we signed Kevin Nkoudou and Vincent Janssen.

The club is broken. Not in the financial sense – we have one of the lower wages:turnover ratios, and with the NFL returning and Guns n’ Roses concerts and so on the new stadium will pay its way in time. No, the club is broken because, having come within touching distance of true success – successive title challenges, Champions League runners-up – we failed to capitalise on a position of strength by making bad decision after bad decision. Sharper signings in 2016 or 2017 could have made the difference, could have given us players to rely on that weren’t Kane or Son, could have taken the creative burden off Eriksen or preserved the failing bodies of Wanyama and Dembele just a little longer. (Perhaps the most common ‘What if?’ I have about this time is wondering how things might have been different if Dembele had been available for the Champions League final against Liverpool – no first minute penalty, for a start.) Even the best decision by the club in recent times, hiring Pochettino, came about due to first choice Louis van Gaal opting to join Man Utd instead.

And now we’re here: Our best player for the last seven years is said to be agitating for a move, understandably. Our squad is cluttered with deadwood, and is in dire need of the overhaul Pochettino said was necessary two full seasons ago. We keep letting leads slip. We look like we’re a mile behind the likes of City or Chelsea despite being so close to them for so long. We were desperate enough to roll the dice on Mourinho and came up with a pair of ones. The hunt for a manager is being conducted in the full and merciless glare of the media spotlight. We’re likely to fall behind Arsenal again, just to add a rotten cherry to the top of this whole rancid cake.

A few weeks ago I wrote in noting the similarities between our current predicament and the post-Villas Boas/Sherwood circumstances that led to our hiring Pochettino. Given that Graham Potter is genuinely now one of the favourites for the post, I really wasn’t too far off with my expectation that we’d be likely to go for a manager at a south coast club. But I think I was wrong about the exact point of history that was repeating itself – a first League Cup final in a half-decade followed by a general malaise and under performance, then the departure of our best forward(s)… This is Spurs in 2008 all over again, and I fear that it’ll take a feat as amazing as Harry “two points from eight games” Redknapp managed back then to make us much better next season.

But first we have to make the right decision about our new manager, and I just don’t have any confidence that this club can manage that.
Michael C (Spurs… although some days I wonder why)

Sell ’em all
There is not really any player in the Spurs side who, as of now, I’d say must be kept. That isn’t to suggest flogging 18 players and buying 18 but it really does tell you just how inept the club has been at the old buying and selling part of football. Even Son, great as he is, is edging closer to that pivotal contract duration. Does Levy learn his lesson and sell Son for optimum value? Kane, too – if he’s set on leaving then he has to go but his value is easily a PL record signing and by some margin.

Spurs have spent a fair wedge of money but it’s almost always on the wrong type of players, and spending vast sums is never, ever a guarantee of success where due diligence and a smart scouting system are far more reliable.

During the Poch heyday there was a clear and defined squad of players playing in clear and defined roles. This has gradually merged into having two wing backs but playing a back four. Two creative midfielders incapable of being fit enough to play for any duration of time and a handful of players who are just a bit ‘meh’. Levy isn’t going anywhere but the sooner he’s no longer in control of who the club signs and sells the better.


‘What’s the f***in’ point?’ – Five players for Spurs to build around

The needlessly short list of five players Spurs must ditch


Kane in top three?
From Winners & Losers: “and he’s one of the three best strikers in the world (at least).”

Off the top of my head:
* Mbappe
* Haaland
* Benzema
* Lewandowski
* Messi
* Ronaldo

I guess you could argue they’re not all traditional number 9s but who would you take out?

Kane is a wonderful player but one of the top 3 strikers in the world? It feels like a stretch.
Joyce (just thought of Lukaku and Salah as well)

Six conclusions
As we run up to the end of the season, I thought I’d try and think of a 16 conclusions style article but basically come up with 6….

Missed moments
Obviously some fans got to see the Leicester FA triumph, but it’s a shame thousands missed out. Similarly the Sheffield United fans who missed a good portion of when they were brilliant, and also an entire season of premier league away trips. The West Ham fans who missed the blip of Moyes great form. Brighton’s fans if Potter goes. It’s not that you miss ‘x’ number of games in the stadium. It’s that some fans have missed key moments that easily may not be repeated. Not everyone’s pain this season has been equal. Hopefully never again, and next season the opportunities will be back.

Truly a bloody shocker for VAR
As is starting to come through in the comments and mails, there is a growing realisation that the laws are entirely (and intentionally) subjective and adding in extra eyes does not remove that subjectivity. Similarly, applying science to decisions that were never meant to be scientific (location of armpit; how big is someone’s knee) does not remove debate, nor address why the law was created. Those still hankering for VAR are becoming akin to those emaciated nymphs the police find in the den of a serial killer, clutching a bag of severed cat heads and lamenting how we all just don’t understand their idol’s genius.

Not much better for the broadcast media.
The Karen Carney & Leeds shambles and Des Kelly V Jurgen tiresome affair highlighted that the broadcast media have the most thinnest of skins, and a phobia verging on terror of anyone actually wanting to discuss the things they say.
If you take Karen’s situation, it would entirely have been fair (and probably warranted) had the broadcaster pointed out that women do not have a safe environment to contribute to football online, so putting a female correspondent under the spotlight is not kind, nor sensible. That would have a hugely positive outcome in that it would have fostered the debate about how to create that safe space. But they didn’t do that, the line peddled by them, and on various podcasts such as the Guardian, was basically ‘oh it’s hugely unfair to take a sentence out of context’ …. When their entire business model is to do just that. Don’t talk about the game, talk for days and days about something a manager might have said in a press conference months ago, and more often than not didn’t actually say in a press conference months ago but intentionally misinterpret some non-existent controversy so as to fill the gaping void their lack of insight or innovation leaves between games. Please oh for the love of god do not do to us what we gleefully do to others. sigh

Similarly with Klopp. The press were quick to support their popular frontman as Klopp had the temerity to suggest BT holding to a contractual agreement rather than responding to club requests to delay games meant they didn’t care about player wellbeing. But literally, they cared about a contractual agreement rather than player wellbeing. How keen they were to tell Klopp to take it up with his own directors… But Klopps said, on camera, that the clubs view was that this contract was signed with the expectation players had a full pre season, with longer gaps between games, and with a winter break. None of those things happened so could we review the contract? No? Okay, so you care about a contract rather than player wellbeing? How dare you say that! Even when it’s done without shouting, just the off the cuff quip of “player x now out; congratulations” is met by bleeding hearts and gnashing of teeth you can see they don’t like getting push back. An industry with an ever shrinking backbone.

Hopefully the last we’ll hear about him in domestic league terms. Though perhaps United fans may soon get the moment of clarity we have in that, if he joins a foreign rival next year, and the opportunity arises to play that team they’ll actually *want* Pogba to play. This myth that he is inconsistent when in all reality it is entirely consistent that you hope the opposition play him as he’s terrible at retaining the ball, often in poor form, requires others to be shoe-horned out of position to accommodate him, and when the going get’s tough very rarely shows up. Juve didn’t miss him, United won’t miss him. France won the world cup with Kante, Mbappe and their defence. Teams win trophies, and this chap is often the weakest member of those teams, yet claims the sole glory. When he’s in the opposition ranks, he’s the player you target. And if that’s the case, he’s not a great player.

Liverpool and the Europe
Genuinely had got to the stage where I was looking forward to the Europa, and it might have been great to give opportunities to Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Minamino, Curtis Jones, Kostas, Nat Phillips etc. Obviously the champions league is the place to be. But those saying LFC potentially / hopefully making the top four is a critique of the league is somewhat unfair. Liverpool’s form when they had a handful of injuries (top of the league at Christmas pre the shambles; potentially 8 wins and two draws post shambles *fingers crossed*) suggests there’s not a vast rebuilding required, nor that they are a bad side. It’s unlikely they’ll have north of 7-8 first team players out again for 3 months.

Incidentally, can someone explain the ‘Klopp’s fault as he played Fabinho in defence’ argument? When he was in defence, the team was top of the league? It was when Fabinho was then out injured, and Milner, and Jota, and Thiago, with Henderson in defence that the wheels feel off. What am I missing?

Spurs continued success and their trophies they haven’t actually won and the great football that was grossly overstated really is boiling my pi55

Cheers for the coverage of the season F365, and the new articles you’ve tried (though never clicked the ‘p’ of the week). At least you’re trying new things.

Big Weekend: Battle for Europe, Arteta, Kane, last-day deciders

Murky world of transfers
I didn’t want to get into a tit-for-tat with Oliver (who writes some great letters) and this morning’s email on Webster clauses mostly covered what I was going to say. It is, however, a little more involved from a business perspective, than even what was covered.

Many confuse buy-out and release clauses, but the latter is inserted into a contract, often with other provisions, not as a mandatory release of the player on meeting said clause but to allow the three parties – buying and selling clubs and player, to get into talks. We saw with the Luis Suarez case where the buyout clause was triggered but was not successful, while in the case of Joe Allen, it was. But in Joe Allen’s case, the clause also identified it had to be to a club in the Champions League.

But the buy-out clause poses additional challenges. The player must trigger it and pay it. Of course, some may say that the buying club will simply pay the player, so all well and good. But the player will have to stump up the money first and I would assume if they have been pre-paid or engaged in some form of contract beforehand, would be on legally fragile ground. But the upshot of that is that tax has to be paid on at least one of those transactions, perhaps both. Increasing the costs. Not to mention any agent fees.

Another aspect of this is that player contracts are much more complex than simply a weekly wage, massive though it is in many cases. It includes media rights, bonuses and more. It could be legally claimed by the club forced to sell that those amounts need to be paid – beyond the wages, not only inflating the fee but the tax implications and even bigger sum for the player to negotiate with a bank, etc. Like a bridging loan, so with fees and interest on top. It would likely go to court and get tied up for a very long time, and UK law does not like those clauses. In Spain, it is different, as their is a legal precedent that can be used, which is why we see very specific buy-out and release clauses, usually for some exorbitant amount for the top players. Their big, but then the players are negotiating big salaries. Goes hand in hand.

There also becomes the possibility of a stigma being attached to both the player and the buying club if successful.

The Webster ruling is not like the Bosman ruling. The fact clubs were trying to tie a player to the club once the contract had expired was clearly wrong and a hangover from long past when clubs controlled everything, player wages (capped), where they played and if they played. It is clear to everyone what it means and we have seen many players take advantage – Can, Milner and soon Wijnaldum – some in some out. Some big names as well – Lewandowski, Ibrahimovic, etc The fact clubs can use it both ways shows how it is ingrained in the sport. How many Webster cases have happened? I dare say, we will see some happen but not sure a top level player would take the plunge. Their playing years are short, their top level years, shorter still. Not sure they would want to risk the legal battle.
Paul McDevitt

Respect Gini
Just to add on in defence of Gini, has it occurred to anyone that the reason he wasn’t celebrating Allison’s goal was that he was pissed at being dropped from the starting XI, just like he was in that classic against Barcelona when he came on fuming at half-time and scored two pivotal goals, and just like Mane a game before when he was dropped and refused to shake Klopp’s hand? Klopp has assembled a team of ultra-competitive leaders who want to play all the time. Gini is at the top of that pile, and bursting to do all the dirty work without any recognition. If that is not commitment, I don’t know what is. Look at how in the last 10 minutes of any game, while everyone else fades around him, he somehow ups his sprints and begins to appear all over the pitch.

I never for a moment doubted his professionalism and love for Liverpool, and am really sad to see him go. Show some respect, fellow Pool fans.
weech, Singapore


CL places, Golden Boot, St Totteringham’s Day – What’s still to play for…


…In response to Ferg from Cork. While I did not boo Owen myself upon his decision to join united I did understand why people did it. He left the club at a time of intense need and Rafa only asked him for a season (incidentally if he’d stayed he’d have got the trophy he left for). That was one notch down the Liverpool fans respect ladder, and to then join united meant he fell down every rung.

Is it fair given everything he achieved with Liverpool? Maybe, I mean he did always value England far more than Liverpool (why Robbie was always preferred to owen for a lot of fans) the impression Owen gave often was that Liverpool was his starter club. A lot of fans didn’t like that. The implication in treating Liverpool this way then joining united was that united was the “finisher club”

Again I didn’t entirely agree because as my previous email stated I’d much prefer we appreciate what we are given than mourn what we lose, but I get why other fans didn’t like it.

I also think drawing a comparison between Gini not celebrating that goal with everyone celebrating the winning goal in one of the most exciting matches in premier League history is a bit unfair. They’re not comparable. We also don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes in ginis life, best not judge from behind a TV in my opinion.

Finally there are players who don’t really celebrate, either their goals or their teammates or have a subdued celebration, it doesn’t mean they’re a problem. Henry was quite subdued most of the time. Fowler scored against us once and didn’t celebrate at all (might have been for city) does it mean he’s disrespecting city? Of course not.

Anyway, it wasn’t a personal dig at you there were a few people who expressed a similar sentiment. I just find it a bit classless. These are people at the end of the day, the digital distance between us and them sometimes makes us a little callous toward them. I’d like people to remember they’re human beings at the end of the day.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Georginio Wijnaldum

This means more?
I’m trying to work out how it is that Liverpool have such drama follow them around, and I can only conclude that it does indeed mean more to the club and the fans, more so than any other team.

Nah, not really, I’m just trying to make some of commenters on here have a stroke so I don’t have to read their inane shite. This means more is just bullsh*t marketing designed to elicit a response and to that end, it’s worked.

However, you (whoever you are) would have to admit that for some reason, drama and great stories follow the club around. Alisson’s goal was truly amazing, and the story of Nat Phillips, culminating in his MOTM display and goal (should have had two) is straight from Roy of the Rovers. And the drama continues – we’re playing Palace at home to qualify for the Champion’s League (yeah I know, not a trophy and does not make for a successful season, but it makes such a difference with income and the transfer market) against Roy Hodgson, possibly in his last game as a manager, and you know that he would LOVE IT if he derailed our season completely after the appalling six months he had at the helm in Anfield. And he might.

And in other news, John Terry could help f*ck Chelsea.

And Spurs might even beat Leicester (although they won’t because they’ve taken being Spursy to new heights this season).

Oh and Sam Allardyce. A less likeable manager I can’t think of, and I can think of Neil Warnock. His bitterness in both post-match interviews this week has been a sight to behold. You fucked up the England thing Sam because you were drowning in hubris. You only have yourself to blame. Do yourself a favour and retire and enjoy the millions you have been paid, pretending that you are indeed to Red Adair if it makes you happy. Maybe spend a few quid on a bit of therapy, too. The game has moved on and so should you.
Mat (is there a more abused fan than a Spurs fan?)

Postcard from Brussels
Simon Mignolet has a champion’s medal for the second season in a row after a dramatic match last night. The goalkeeper let in 3 goals against Anderlecht (including one in the 94th minute) but Club de Bruges also scored 3 and were crowned champions ahead of challengers Genk.

So expect to see Bruges in the Champions League next season.
Vincent Kompany now takes his Anderlecht side into the last game of the season, against Antwerp. The winner will qualify for a Europa League spot.

Bruges have been deserved winners. But in Belgium’s league you always feel that anyone can beat anyone else.
Paul in Brussels (excited about Trossard playing for Belgium)


Penalties and force
The laws of the game state:
“A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

– pushes
– strikes or attempts to strike (including head-butt)
– tackles or challenges
– trips or attempts to trip”

They go on to explain that

“Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No disciplinary sanction is needed

Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned

Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off”

So, to answer Oli (AVFC)’s question then the Kane penalty can be given if the referee thought that Cash wasn’t paying attention to Kane’s safety, but Lloris was. Essentially it could come down to Kane screaming and Lloris putting his hands up.

And to answer Pete’s question you could make the argument that the “necessary” force to put into a headbutt is much lower than the force to move your hands.

Both issues show a major problem with VAR that “considered by the referee” leaves so much room for interpretation that you can argue all these decisions either way quite easily.

P.S. I never understand why, given that pushing some is the same in the laws as tackling someone, players don’t “carefully” push a keeper over his line at a corner.


…The difference between the Kane and Watkins penalties is that one was given on the field and the other wasn’t. The mistake OIi (AVFC) makes is thinking that VAR is there to eliminate inconsistencies. It is not. VAR is there to correct a clear and obvious error. These were both debatable decisions that ideally should be treated the same – but VAR did it’s job in both cases by not intervening.
Tom, South Stand Spur


Space balls
Great email from Quarantino, Chairman of the Bored, ITFC. Particularly liked the line:

“….gets celebrated like an X-wing fighter tripping over an AT-AT”.

May he live long and prosper – to infinity and beyond.

I’m sure there won’t be 1,054 emails crying out in pedantry.
Bill, Aberdeenshire

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