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Tottenham vs Chelsea : The Tragedy that means football is losing her soul

1.17K   //    12 Jul 2011, 20:58 IST

???If you’re a Spurs fan it’s a common occurrence in recent years that the summer transfer window has bought with it despair as a player we have idolised becomes a turncoat and wishes to leave us for greener pastures. Unfortunately since the formation of the Premiership, this has been the way for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, whilst others have leapt forward we have stagnated.
For the club that for the best part of a century were the trailblazers and aristocrats of English Football, the swashbucklers in a league of artisans.  If in North London football terms Arsenal were the geeky kid from private school with the stiff upper lip and difficult social skills, Spurs were football’s equivalent of Rock and Roll, the glamour club, flash and brash, playing football with style and elegance, putting glory before results. Its unacceptable and unbelievable how far we have fallen that now a player like Luka Modric perceives a move to the plastic soulless nothingness that is Chelsea FC as a step up.

If Tottenham Hotspur, or at the very least the previous incarnation of our club, represent the romance and beauty of football and why we fell in love with this beautiful game, our West London counterparts represent everything that is wrong with it and why so many people are disillusioned with modern day football. A club that ran itself into unbelievable debts and was on the verge of collapsing only to be bailed out by a dodgy Russian oligarch with an ego bigger than the iceberg that sank the Titanic and then promptly went on a spending spree that eventually bought the Premiership.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t begrudge Chelsea their success, for the fans who have been with them when they were garbage and their heroes were the likes of Mickey Droy you can’t argue that they don’t deserve to see their club succeed, because Chelsea’s dark times have been far darker than when we at Spurs have been at our lowest ebb.

The other side of the coin, is its not exactly Chelsea’s fault that a situation like this has occurred, its the football authorities who failed in their roles of regulators as they got intoxicated by getting rich quick, as the satellite and corporate revolution gathered pace, football became less about competition and more about money. Chelsea and Manchester City aren’t braking any rules by having rich owners, at the moment, so why should we complain.

Its also equally important that the key contributors to Tottenham’s current predicament are the people who ran Spurs themselves, both Alan Sugar and ENIC are fine business people but they lack spark or innovation, the desire to really push the boat to move the club up to the level it should be at but at the same time charging amongst the top three ticket prices in the country.
So who is to blame in this latest sorry saga, well lets look at the three protagonists.

Luka Modric
A little over two months ago our Croatian star was insisting to everyone who wanted to listen, that he could achieve what he wanted to at Spurs. He now seems to be at war with the chairman, determined to push through a move to Chelsea, if the quotes that are coming through are accurate, my personal take is that they were given by his agent but Luka would have signed them off given that there is no denial.
So he has gone from hero to zero in a matter of months in the eyes of the Spurs faithful. If he does stay on at the club and I still believe that is possibly the most likely scenario, given Levy’s comments, his status amongst the fans is greatly diminished and its very hard to see him getting much support if he is in our starting XI on the first day of the season against Everton.
And that’s the sad thing here. I am as frustrated as Luka at our inadequacies and in many ways understand his desire to move on and win things but why disrespect the club so publicly. There is no doubt in my mind that Chelsea have played their part in this, deliberately getting him to force a move through. Its par for the course for this pathetic and loathsome excuse for a football club. New money can never buy you real class.
He is banging on about a gentleman’s agreement but ignores the fact that he signed a six year deal to stay at the club, why take the benefits of a long contract (insurance against injury etc etc) if you want to bail at the first opportunity. If you want the transfer so much Luka request one and lose out on your loyalty bonus. Prove its not about the money.
Why didn’t you get a buy out clause inserted? Let’s face it Luka if you hadn’t missed that chance against Arsenal at 3-3 or that sitter against City, it could have been a very different season and we could have been in the CL. By such small margins are success and failure measured.
Also whatever he believes keep it private, he lives in London, he knows how this city is so dominated by Spurs fans, compared to the dearth of Chelsea fans, does he seriously think it does him any favours coming out with some of the garbage he has about Chelsea recently. All he has done is give a few plastic fans out in Indonesia reading newsnow a bit of hard on and let’s face it they would have been Darlington fans if Abramovich had bought them instead of Chelsea.
Because that’s the crux of it, he is moving from a club which is a true bastion of English football, one of the great clubs of England to a soulless one.
A club which has 70,000 people on its waiting list, a club where you need in excess of 460 loyalty points just to get a ticket for an away friendly to Brighton , to a club like Chelsea that is advertising the fact that season tickets are available to fans with zero loyalty points.
Clubs like Spurs create legends, Chelsea just jump on the bandwagon.
So can I sympathise with Luka, yep. Do I agree with the way he has gone about it, no. Luka Modric unfortunately now sums up modern day football and footballers. Someone who has no desire to stay and build something but instead wants to get rich quick and jump ship when the nearest dodgy opportunity presents itself.
However he’s not the only one to blame.


Daniel Levy
The vision of slap- headed chairman for the most part fills me with a bit of quiet fury. In my eyes he’s possibly the biggest reason holding Spurs back. Yes he’s a Spurs fan but he’s also extremely one-eyed and belligerent as far as I’m concerned. His desire is to drive through the best possible financial deal whilst not being aware that finance and football aren’t necessarily the best of bed pals.
Luka has allegedly said “Levy was arrogant and that he refused to listen. ” Great work there Danny , if that’s true, just get Luka’s back up why don’t you.
A conversation is precisely that, a dialogue. As I have said Luka’s reasons for questioning whether he should stay at Spurs are in my opinion valid. Instead of trying to convince Modric to stay, Levy bulldozed him and has now got his back up.
The cold hard fact is that Levy is unwilling or unable to take Spurs to the next level. When the chance to attract the best players presented itself in the last two transfer windows, Levy did nothing. I understand we are restricted by the capacity of our stadium but what is the solution. He drew up a plan for the NDP, then promptly dropped it and declared it unviable when he saw Stratford becoming a possibility and now we are inn no man’s land, with a new stadium no nearer since the day Levy and the rest of ENIC came on board in 2001.If he can’t move the club on, admit failure and sell up and for a realistic price, not the £500 million that the club is being touted for. How much time did he waste in January by taking his eye of the ball with the Stratford pursuit when we should have been addressing the limits within our own playing staff.
And still Levy procrastinates, we have done nothing this transfer window. Why would a player of Modric’s quality want to stay when he sees a club that so blatantly needs a world class striker, bringing in a geriatric goalkeeper. Ok I know we bought that kid from Barca but lets not kid ourselves he’s the answer!
Levy has left himself with very little room to manoeuvre with his unequivocal statement that Modric won’t be sold. But that’s only part of the problem, the other issue is how does he move the club forward and that requires investment both in players and also to make our wages more competitive. Or instead the club have to be more honest about their goals.

Harry Redknapp
So what role has our manager had to play in this whole sorry mess. I’ll be straight up I am no fan of our Arsenal supporting, West Ham managing gaffer. For me, as with many other Spurs fans, I simply never thought Redknapp was good enough for my club. We are Tottenham after all, however one must concede that for the most part he has done a job that has certainly been above expectations. However with that we have had to increasingly put up with the self publicising propaganda that Harry specialises in.
Apparently for the club that is London’s most successful European side (not to mention England’s third most after United and Liverpool), the first club in the modern era to win the double,
the first English team to win a European trophy, the only non league team ever to win the FA Cup, etc etc , we as Spurs fans have never had it so good. and this is as good as it gets. Erm Harry you’re not on the North Bank of Highbury watching Arsenal or on the touchlines of the Boleyn managing West Ham. This is Tottenham Hotspur and we rise far above that small time nonsense.
However on the plus side he did impress me initially with the way he went about dispelling the rumours around Modric but now he seems to be increasingly defeatist in his tone. He has left the ball firmly in Levy’s court , what has he done personally to convince Modric to stay?

With his impending court case on the horizon could he be accused of taking his eye of the ball.And of course the biggest concern does he have any idea of what needs to be done to improve us. He’s becoming increasingly more negative, babbling on about how we can’t compete on wages. Its starting to grate.If we compare Redknapp’s public drivel with Arsene Wenger’s more measured private stance, its obvious which one is far more preferable.
What Next?
To be honest none of the three major protagonists in this ordeal (and for a Spurs fan it is an ordeal) come out of it particularly well. However in my eyes its the regime at Spurs which is always reactive rather than proactive. We are victims rather than masters of our circumstances and let those dictate us.I think Levy lost heart once Stratford fell through, there was his massive chance to make a sizeable profit on the club and it didn’t happen.Since then we have almost become rudderless and it seems the owners have no idea how to move on.
I don’t believe Modric as a player is indispensable, its the statement it makes about our football club. If we sell our better players to a competitive rival and especially one like Chelsea, we lose all credibility. Before Luka Modric there was Berbatov, before Berbatov there was Carrick, before Carrick of course there were boyhood Tottenham fans Teddy Sheringham and Sol Campbell. Spurs in the Premiership era are a selling club and for it to change the ambition must change.
London football is a battleground, so many clubs trying to win the hearts and minds of the population. A Club’s core support and its very lifeblood is its local support and we are in danger of losing of this battle. London football fans are possibly the most lucrative market in world football and its a battle Tottenham must win.
Football is losing its soul, what chance can a club ever hope to compete if the players are picked off the moment there is relative failure. Is the only answer for a club either to join the bandwagon of rich owners or sell its heritage and move to East London to bring in the corporate revenue. Or is it time for the football authorities to say enough is enough and competition is being stifled.
Is it time for Spurs fans to tell Levy if he can’t move the club forward, he needs to move on.
Tottenham Hotspur represent football’s soul, a reminder of a past era when romance and glory meant more than TV and balance sheets, Chelsea represents its greedy bloated stomach. At this time football’s soul is in danger of being lost forever to the money men.
I for one hope that its not too late

The Original Post can be found in my Spurs blog The Glory Game
A little bit about me. I'm born and bred in North London and work in Portfolio Management in an investment bank in London. I'm a Spurs season ticket holder, having been born minutes away from the ground and taken to my first game at White Hart Lane with my dad when I was seven. I have my own blog on Spurs and like to blog about mainly Spurs but sometimes on more general football issues as well
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