new money - a battle for spurs ?

26.08.2007

So, ENIC announce that all shareholders who accepted their offer for club shares will get paid out, according to an announcement on the Stock Exchange.

Will the company holding the bulk of the shares in the club try and take it private ?  They said at the time of the offer to buy shares that was not their intention, but who knows.

We have seen Newcastle United be de-listed after discount sports retailer Mike Ashley bought out the Shepherd and Hall families to take control of the club.

But Ashley is a Spurs fan.

And a big mate of Paul Kemsley, who is a Spurs Director. 

Who made his money from property and runs Rock Investments.

Which is half owned by Joe Lewis through a vehicle called Rapallo, of which a certain Daniel Levy is an executive director.

And Lewis and Levy are both linked to ENIC and Tottenham Hotspur.

Another mate of Kemsley is Harry Redknapp, who he part owned a horse with.

Harry Redknapp claims he was offered the Spurs job in January 2007.

So where is this circular route taking us ?

Maybe nowhere.  But maybe it is a way of getting Ashley on board to inject some money into the club to make them a force to be reckoned with.  A denial came out today that Kemsley has no intention of taking over with Ashley, but then, other papers reckoned that the man who bought Newcastle United three months ago for 133 million and has since pumped in 30 million to reduce the debt at the Geordie club, has done so to make it more saleable and rumours are that he has set a price of 220 million.  This will give him 50 million profit and given that he has a history of making quick profits from company buying and selling, the Chinese and Icelandic bidders for the club might tempt him if they hit the right price.

This will give him the money needed to buy into Tottenham and with stories hinting he might take the company off the Stock Exchange, it would make it much more desirable should he wish to do the same as he has at St. James' Park. 

Among all this wheeler dealing, what we need is stability both on and off the pitch.  While stories of Jurgen Klinsmann heading an American consortium to take over at White Hart Lane might sound tempting, he will be running the club ... not just the team and reports suggest that any arrival will see the departure of the whole of the management structure and a new system introduced at the club, which Jurgen would have complete control over.  It might be the change the Tottenham need to take them to the next step, but how far will we slip down the ladder waiting for it to have an effect ?

An interesting article in today's Observer details some of the machinations which have been going on behind the scenes that have lead to the current untenable situation.  Many of the insights are attributed to sources within the club.

Mentioning the chairman and Kemsley dabbling in team selection and giving full backing to Damien Comolli over Jol, who they have reservations about shows how the Head Coach's position has been undermined.  Additionally, they claim that Donna Cullen (former Head of Communications and now Communications Director) often edits the Dutchman's programme notes, causing a rift to have developed there.

The article reckons Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy are setting Tottenham up to sell it off.  A new ground with Champions League football will make THFC a much more tempting (and more valuable) proposition if they do want to move it on.  With Kemsley given the task of sorting out the club's property portfolio, he has also been given a position which allows him to be more active in the footballing side of the company.

With the major sticking point still burning in the back of all the players in this farrago's minds, Michael Carrick comes back like an unwelcome ghost to drift through the midfield against us.

It was his sale which appears to have caused much distrust in what was going on at the club.  The Observer say he went to see Levy about negotiating a new contract late in the 2005-06 season.  Being on wages of 25,000 a week, he asked for it to be raised to 40,000 and was more or less told that he could leave, as the club would not pay him that amount of money.  At that stage he had wanted to stay, but as the board would not budge on their offer, the interest from Manchester United became apparent and Carrick started to listen to what they had to offer him.

While it is believed that Damien Comolli had advised Levy that Tottenham did not need Carrick, as he could secure the services of Didier Zokora, who he felt was a better player, the bids went up for the Spurs midfielder until it got to the stage where Levy made a last minute offer of 50,000 a week, by which time it was too late and Tottenham had to settle for the 18.6 million from United.  The story that came out of Carrick wanting to leave was true by the time the transfer happened, but only because he felt that Manchester United wanted him more than Spurs did.

It wasn't simply the sale of Carrick which caused the distrust, but Jol had signed an extension to his contract only to find that the man he was building a side around had been off-loaded without his knowledge.  The relationship between Head Coach and Sporting Director have been fraught at Tottenham, but for it to work, there has to be respect, co-operation and communication.  It appears from the Observer story that there is little of all three.

The summer saw Jol wanting to pursue the purchase of Stewart Downing to balance the side (although goodness knows why).  The deal was near completion when Levy insisted that payments for the winger were to be made in instalments and negotiations came to a halt.  Jol's focus switched to Martin Petrov, but the club's unwritten policy of not signing older players with little or no resale value put a halt to bringing in Dimitar Berbatov's Bulgarian 28 year old team-mate.  Thus he was free for Manchester City to snap up.  The paper reveals that talking to agents, they find it difficult to do business with Levy, as he thinks he is a master negotiator, while they have a different view.

In the article, it claims that the Dutch coach is not overly impressed with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and seeks a new left back (although Bale might well be the one to feature there) and he wants replacements for Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe, who he feels do not conform to his view of how professionals should apply themselves.   The writer claims that Defoe's record away from home is not what is expected of a Premiership striker.

I think that last section might have come from last season, when Defoe played few games away and was unlucky on a number of occasions, but more from the way the team played outside White Hart Lane.  Lennon had a cracking season in 2005-06, but last season, injury and lack of form hampered him, thus making him less effective.  When he returns fully fit, it will be a key ingredient of any success the club has as to how he performs.

There is no doubting that some areas of Martin Jol's management need some honing.  Substitutions and the way the team play away from home are two that immediately spring to mind, but if there are factions at the club who do not feel secure with him at the helm, you imagine it is only a question of time before he goes.  One way or the other.

But for what he has achieved already, he deserves to be backed and given time to build,  It may be that Spurs so not replicate their successes of the last two seasons, but we are still a long way behind the teams who have Champions League experience and the money that being in that competition brings year on year.  Lots of players come to Tottenham because they see the potential for success on what Jol has done.  Without Jol would the club have to start all over again and where will the money to fund a new manager's spending come from ??

At the moment, it looks that there is only one thing the club is good at ... and that is shooting themselves in the foot ... neither another injury we need nor the bad news associated with it.

 

STERLING PERFORMANCE

NOTE : Incidentally, while it has no bearing on the matter, when Mr. Kemlsey sold 27-35 Poultry, the Grade I listed former headquarters of Midland Bank after just five months for a profit in excess of 30 million, the financial institution which gave him advice was Olswang - a company which has among it's employees a certain Espen Baardsen, although it is not thought he had any input in this deal.

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