By Tony Attwood
Of course I am an Arsenal fan, and so of course when I come to write about Tottenham there is bias. There’s no way around that. But I don’t believe because of that we should hide away from trying to discuss the affairs along the Seven Sisters Road, in as rational way as I can manage.
And from that starting point I would say two problems beset Tottenham. One is money, and that in part comes from the failure to find a stadium sponsor, as those with the money ask why this has happened. The other is finding a voice and position within the international sporting community – the sort of voice that the City Group provides for Manchester City, the Kroenke family provide for Arsenal, and Red Bull provides for Salzburg, Leipzig, New York etc etc. Or if not that, the voice of an independent club that wins things.
Except the Trophies and Honours page on Tottenham’s website shows the last entry in the major trophy section was the league cup in 2008. Before that it was the FA Cup in 1991. Although to be fair all clubs go through lean spells. Between 1953 and 1970 Arsenal didn’t win anything – it can happen.
In the past the way out of this situation was to try and find a manager who could play the club out of the period of not winning stuff, and certainly Tottenham have a manager of high repute, but now it appears the way forward might be to find someone to invest another fortune.
Which is why Tottenham and Qatar seem to be talking about investment with Daniel Levy meeting Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain, chairman of beIN Media Group, chairman of Qatar Sports Investments, and member of the organizing committee for the FIFA Club World Cup, and chairman of the European Club Association.
So a rather rich and well-connected man, used to getting his own way, as when in March 2022 he burst into the referee’s room after PSG didn’t win a game and allegedly told the referee he would never work again. The disciplinary hearing into that matter seems to have been delayed, and delayed, and …
According to the Telegraph, “Last October, QSI bought a 22 per cent stake of Portugal’s SC Braga for around £90million,” and the suggestion is that PSG want to follow the Manchester City model. After all PSG has won the league in eight of the last ten seasons, so that is getting to be a bit of a foregone conclusion.
However Uefa is against teams that could play each other in a European competition being under the same majority owner, so minority investments to boost a club’s finances would seem to be the order of the day, and according to the Telegraph, “More than 300 clubs around the world are part of multi-club ownership groups but QSI’s only interests are in PSG and Braga.”
Meanwhile Manchester United and Liverpool are also both openly on the lookout for new buyers, but there is a limit to the number of multi-billionaires with an interest in football in the world.
In September 2021 it was reported that Levy valued Tottenham at £3.5 billion but according to the Telegraph, “That fee was branded laughable by some industry experts.” Although Chelsea did manage to get that price for the club. However, the recent failings in Chelsea, and Tottenham’s inability to add a league title in over sixty years might count against the club a little, despite its ability to put beer into plastic cups from the bottom upward.
Chelsea’s number of trophies in the 21st century does put Tottenham in the shade somewhat. Although the failings this season, which seems to be a replica of 2015/16 when the club finished 10th in the league might show that even Chelsea as a model of a club with unlimited income doesn’t always produce the goods as PSG does.
If Tottenham could get Google as its stadium sponsor, as has been suggested in some quarters that could turn matters around. But three wins in the last eight league matches also says that despite the stadium and the mega-investment the club is still not 100% on the right track. Indeed even the media which were so entranced by Tottenham that virtually all mainstream pundits put them as a dead cert for the top four this season, are beginning to wonder.
The club does have Conte who is very much admired among those with the power and money to attract managers, but having a manager who is so highly rated can cut two ways, and it can also be argued that if Conte can’t get Tottenham to win on a regular basis, with Kane and Son in the side, who can?
The Qatar investment corps might take the risk, but after the media kowtowed to them through the world cup Qatari officials now probably believe they can do whatever the Qatari equivalent of walking on water is. But just because the media didn’t want to report the problems with the world cup, that doesn’t mean that might not turn on the Qataris if they start buying into English football in a big way.
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