sol's a stayer

02.01.2001

So, Sol Campbell's comments on New Year's Day hint that he will be staying at White Hart Lane for the foreseeable future.  Or do they ??

With ENIC taking over at the club, perhaps Sol has had a change of heart. Perhaps he sees a company more in tune with the footballing world than the previous chairman and that they might be able to take Tottenham forward quicker.  It will need investment from ENIC to do so, but part of the growth of the club will be to retain those players who are among the most capable at the club and that includes Sol.  With Stephen Carr already signed up on a longish contract, it is now up to the club to tie up deals for Anderton and Campbell as well as the youngsters who are coming through the ranks at the moment (i.e. King, Thelwell, Young, etc.).  This will establish the basis of any future Spurs sides in years to come.  What is then required will be the attraction of top class players to further improve the quality of the squad to take Tottenham on to that next level of progress.

But looking at Sol's comments carefully, he says he would like to stay at the club and will still be here in the summer, but does that mean that he only sees Spurs as his short term future.  Many have speculated that he might sign a  short term deal for one or two seasons to see how things go before heading abroad when he still has a few years left in his career ?  He would be looking for more stability at the club and has made mention of getting things right from top to bottom.  Now that Sugar has been deposed as Chairman, do his comments mean that he would want GG to go too ?  Sol's influence at the club should not be underestimated.  Remember him saying that he wanted to play for a coach he could learn from, just days before Christian Gross was sacked by Spurs ?  It would be interesting to know how the players get on with GG as none of the Arsenal players regarded him as someone they would choose to spend time with - hence his nickname of "Gadaffi".  Do Spurs players feel the same ?  In the public arena they all toe the party line in comments about the team and criticism of the manager, but who knows what they think in private ? 

Sol's words could also be interpreted as a demand to make sure that players are on proper wages - a situation both he and Carr have experienced and one perhaps he does not want to happen to the youngsters coming through.  No doubt, since clubs were aware that he is available on a Bosman this summer, he has been bombarded with offers and whispers about what he could earn at other clubs and his desire to stay at Tottenham will be tested by those temptations.  There is also the honour of wanting to win things with Tottenham and it can only be by getting a wage structure that would accommodate the best players that Tottenham might be able to challenge on the transfer front and eventually the trophy front.

More likely than those factors, perhaps Sol was alluding to the need to sort out the Pleat/GG situation ??  Now Sugar has been removed from the equation, the roles of Pleat and Graham need to be clearly marked.  With one arranging to spot players and the other having responsibility for negotiating with them, there appears to be some confusion surrounding each person's involvement in the other part of the process.  Surely, the manager would want to speak to new players and vice versa.  However, the uneasy way this dual role set-up works means that the new owners probably need to resolve their duties and produce a way of working together to take the club in the right direction.

Beyond those few fundamental problems that the club needs to sort out, there will be the contract itself. Seeing as how the man has said he wants to remain at Tottenham, let's hope that the club don't screw it up by making a mess of the financial arrangements.  If it all comes off, Sol will, without doubt, make himself the biggest hero at White Hart Lane ever.  Past players have turned down moves to bigger clubs to stay loyal to Spurs, but in these money fuelled days, such a decision will be flying in the face of those who see players only in it for the money.  I hope that Sol will be at Spurs next season and that the club can get it right to ensure that he never needs to leave.

Gary Sampson

 

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