Search This Blog


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

An open letter to the board of Tottenham Hotspur


Thank you for your patience in waiting so long to hear what I think of the club's current situation. It's only when I'm away on holiday that I have the leisure to turn my thoughts to such a serious matter. This post is being composed while keeping out of the afternoon sun.

You will be relieved to know I am not one of those supporters who believe that football nowadays is run too much like a business. I am more likely to side with those who think it is not run enough like a business.

The Chief Executive Daniel Levy will also be relieved to hear that I do not hold him responsible for the team's lacklustre, inconsistent performance on the field this season. Football is chaos and all narratives are written to justify the score at the end. As William Goldman said about Hollywood, nobody knows anything.

And yet. I suspect that, in seeking to maximise shareholder value, the board hires people experienced in the game, people such as the present Director of Football Signor Baldini. The hiring of such people should ensure that the club's player purchases are more sound than they would have been had they been made after consulting a random selection of supporters in my local. This, in case it helps to know, is the Dog & Duck in Winchmore Hill.

If we are to believe the back pages of the papers last summer Signor Baldini presided over the purchase of a number of players for a combined figure in excess of £80 million, the windfall that came in as a result of the once in a century sale of a genuine superstar. That, as PG Wodehouse would have observed, is a lot of lettuce.

I do not intend to criticise those players individually. I shall simply suggest that even they will have been disappointed at how they have failed individually to adapt to a new league and failed collectively to gel into a proper team. None of those players has enhanced his reputation and increased his value. But I would prefer to focus on what this has done to the balance sheet. The company's finance director must be dismayed at the fact that in less than a year that eighty million pounds of player value has been transformed, by a process of reverse alchemy, into about fifty million pounds. That is worrying for any company.

Here I would like to help. I think it would be unfair to put Signor Baldini under the pressure involved in going out on another buying spree this close-season. It seems only fair to let him have the summer off to recharge his batteries. Yet the work must go on. If you would care to send a list of the club's transfer targets together with their asking prices and an estimate of the funds available, then you will be pleased to hear that I have organised a sub-committee of Dog and Duck patrons who would be happy to do the actual choosing. Our services will cost the club nothing, not least because we have our own pin.

In passing, can you please mention to Signor Baldini that I have a four bedroom house for sale not far from the Dog & Duck? It is worth £25 million. I have a queue of eager buyers.

Yours in Spurs.