SN Blog 21 – Are fans losing faith?

Often after a bad result fans will have a moan, it is okay, we all do it as we all want and expect more from our team.  It is when we no longer moan that is the worry.  I remember under AVB I did not moan anymore, I had really lost all connection with the team and then Sherwood did his stint and I was just shaking my head weekly.

So moaning and being frustrated I view as a good thing, however there is a difference between moaning and being annoyed at a result in the moment and then actually believing that “urgent change is needed” and it is the type of thing I am seeing more and more.

Mauricio Pochettino

So if you will indulge me I would like to go through a few of the reasons I am seeing that we need to make changes and explore them in a bit more detail.

Team selection.

With every game we on our page post the team news and without fail you will hear questions over selection or formation.  That for me is normal, that for me is pretty standard of every club / nation and for every manger who has ever picked a team.  However, recently there is a running theme and that is the inclusion in the starting 11 of one Moussa Sissoko.

Sissoko was signed for £30m (yes lots of debate on that being the total fee but yeah, we are paying it, yeah we got done here) and has been a flop.  His form from the European Championships in the summer of 2016 which prompted us to move for him vanished as soon as he arrived and he has simply shown no ability to be in our team, or even a Premier League footballer.  Even when he does something good you look at it and wonder how much luck was involved / law of averages.  I mean, a broken clock is still right twice a day!


So when he is named in the squad or in the team there is a collective groan.  If we win the game those complaints are gone, if we draw or lose and suddenly Sissoko and Pochettino are attacked.  Justified?  Perhaps… however lets think this through.

Not one fan goes to every training session and watches the players.  Not one fan talks to players every day and not one of us has ever been in a position of managing a Premier League team with a set squad of players that you have to use.

By all accounts Sissoko works hard, trains well and is a well liked member of the group who has helped new players settle and was quick to settle himself.  He by all accounts reports first most days and often stays on to work on individual goals.  If you were a manager and you had a member of your team / staff working that hard what example would it set the others if you dropped him out of all consideration?

Be it a confidence problem or simply he was never that good Sissoko for me is a player who needs to leave us, the Premier League and play in a league where he gets a bit more time on the ball and then the chance to enjoy his football again.  For all the abuse we all throw his way for being poor he is a human with eyes and ears who must know he is not playing to a level he expects of himself or wants.

Back to my original point here though is if Pochettino is picking him it is because he is working hard and is a good member of the group.  Sometimes things go badly for a player and then suddenly click, it is possible Pochettino hopes to see that happen.  Personally, as I said above I think it would be best for all concerned if he moves on however I do understand at least why he is involved on a regular basis.

I did also mention Pochettino is stuck with him and that is also true.  Sissoko did have some offers in the summer to leave but all were season loan deals with an option to buy and we as a club wanted him to go on a permanent transfer and were wanting to recoup as much of the £30m as possible … Levy eh …. and once it became clear that was not going to happen Poch brought him into the squad and made sure he was able to play a part as best he can.

Never won a trophy.

This is one that always makes me laugh.  People believe Pochettino should be gone from Spurs as he has never won a trophy in his managerial career therefore will never win one for us?!  People do realise nobody has won a trophy in their career until they do?  …. Maybe if he had played for Barcelona and inherited the greatest team in history as his first managerial position he would have trophies… or maybe if his first job had been in Portugal with the biggest club who walk the league, or maybe Celtic… but no, he was a loyal player to a club he loved and went on to manage them in Espanyol and then took on the ultimate challenge in club management, The English Premier League.

Not at a super rich club but a team who were mid table at best in Southampton and his work there in a year earned him the chance at a bigger side in Spurs.  Now we as a club have not won a trophy since Woodgate headed us a winner in the League Cup and yet our fans still seems to behave like we are ‘berty big bollox’ when it comes to expectations.

I expect us to win every game.  Every trophy.  Every season.  I realise that is highly unlikely but I dare to believe every year that this year, THIS YEAR, will be our year.

Daniel Levy never spends any money.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is considering the appointment of an eighth Spurs manager in 12 years

So let us clear something up which I think a lot of people forget.  Daniel Levy does not own Tottenham Hotspur.  He is an employee of ENIC (Joe Lewis) who own the club.  He is an employee who is chairman and works within a budget set to him.  Does he have shares?  Yes he does, like most corporate chairman that is part of the salary package which got him in the job.

He as chairman has backed every manager he has ever appointed.  He has sanctioned more signing sand spent more money than any previous chairman in our history (this stat is skewed as obviously the transfer market now a lot more expensive than the 60’s).

However upon making the change from AVB/Sherwood to Pochettino he made it clear that the club could no long continue spending at the rate we had due to the new stadium.  In their initial meeting he made it clear that the club would need to become smarter in the transfer market and as such Pochettino insisted that Paul Mitchell (former head of recruitment at Southampton) be brought in to assist.

The reality is, ENIC do not put any money into the club.  Owners of Man City and Chelsea when they were buying the league do/did.  Daniel Levy therefore can only spend what is in the clubs accounts from sale of players / accumulated profits.  I am critical of his ability or rather inability to do a deal early but when it comes to money available we need to look at the actual owners and not Mr Levy.

Profits before glory?  You have all heard that before no doubt?  Possibly even thought it but here is something to balance that.  Do you think Man Utd would be the biggest club in the world if they had not had their era of glory in the Premier League?  … would 70,000+ fans be in Old Trafford every week if they had not won a trophy in 20+ years or won the league in 50+ years?  The answer is no and that is why the profits over glory idea is a nonsense.

You do not even have to be a football man to get that.  Win things = greater profit.  Business terminology for those at ENIC is speculate  to accumulate. I simply do not know if ENIC will ever get this or if our clubs only chance of really competing is when ENIC sell us and hopefully we get owners who do see the sense in going after glory!

Long term success is not built in one season, two or maybe not even three not without massive money being injected into the club and that is just something that will not happen with us (with current owners).  However what we do have is a squad hungry for success, a manager who is also desperate to prove himself as a winner and a board and chairman who have finally realised their vision of Tottenham having the best stadium in Europe.

I do not want Pochettino gone.  I want him to stay and finish the job he has started because that is all this has been so far, a start.  Now we are entering the next phase.  A new stadium, new opportunities and (with everything crossed) some glory glory years with trophies, parades and the odd statue being thrown up of our heroes.

Keep the faith my friends. -SJ

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