Date: 25th September 2018 at 10:03am
Written by:

Members and readers of Vital Spurs might have realised I’m more of a glass half full kind of guy.

I tend to look for the positives and in life, I have been accused of seeing them where none exist – but I guess most of us have a girlfriend/boyfriend story like that in our past where mates end up drinking to your stupidity.

That’s pretty much how I approach football though and reflecting on a summer where Spurs became the first club in Premier League history to not sign a single first team player, allied to ongoing White Hart Lane rebuild issues and all the associated media shenanigans, I can’t help but wonder if something has been lost in the white noise of pro and anti Daniel Levy debates.

Things could certainly be better on the pitch this season. Three defeats on the spin for the first time since 2012 I believe, but certainly under Mauricio Pochettino, is nothing to write home about and as people continue to debate Harry Kane’s freshness despite him breaking his August duck, roughly similar applies to Son Heung-min given the lack of a proper break he’s had.

Those two are certainly not alone given the number of players we had on international duty until the latter stages of the World Cup and that naturally lends itself to bemoaning our lack of strengthening during the window so we had better options to give people a game or two off, without us nullifying our best threats in the process.

But is there another way of looking at how our summer shaped up.

Pochettino has said a number of times he was happy with our failure to get deals done because he trusts the group. Is it wrong to assume that’s manager speak for – the group sinks or swims and I’ll know who to really rely on moving forward?

The follow through is, with a more limited group he knows exactly where to target for improvement in the future and alternatively, from a youth aspect, if needed, he finds out whose ready when they get thrown in at the deep end.

Arguably, Paulo Gazzaniga and his patience could be a direct benefit of that if Poch continues to lean on him, as opposed to maybe bringing in another stopper that keeps the 26-year-old down the pecking order and leaves his career stalled despite his potential.

In terms of Wembley and WHL issues, I’m no expert but I’m guessing it’s Financial Fair Play neutral, given what we have to spend, compared to what we make. The redevelopment of WHL is non-Financial Fair Play relevant as it’s infrastructure, so when our doors finally open we potentially get a massive boost on that front – even if the real accounts have us paying the Stadium off for years to come.

With a match day relevant financial boost from the ground added to what can only be a profit so far from the summer transfer window, Poch already has a surplus on future budgets.

Now presuming the club don’t go and spend crazy money in the January transfer window, by default, we should be in a position where revenue spikes for FFP purposes, along with a steadier transfer spend – as we will surely move on some in January even if we don’t add like many assume.

For FFP purposes that could be a dead year in the cumulative calculation and grant us even greater freedom next summer to identify a key player or two to really see us over the line in terms of challenging and bridging whatever gap remains come the end of 2018/19.

It’s not a particularly sexy way of looking at what most believe was a wasted summer and an unwanted distraction that irks plenty in the fan base, but it is potentially a silver lining if Poch can keep us pushing forward this year, we shed a bit of dead weight to trim us down and continue the youth approach bringing their development on as we prepare the next batch through.

I’m not going to work out our average net spend on transfer deals, but the bottom line is we could double that next season but instead of looking at a few players and spreading it around, we could look at a higher calibre of player in an inflated market and focus that spend in on someone who the gaffer feels can adjust in a way that doesn’t mean schooling them from a younger age and will have a very immediate impact.

It could make a significant difference to our chances and I’m not suggesting that was actually the ‘plan’ in some kind of Machiavellian manner, but given that was how it played out, why don’t we turn it to our advantage…

Or I could be talking out my Arsenal and I need to learn to be a bit more cynical?

I’m sure you fine folks will let me know!


38 Replies to “Is There A Hidden Positive To Our Summer Of Discontent”

  • DW….thank you for your reply on the other thread and also for a well written article here, it will truly get some thinking, as I am, but must admit what part of the “short n sweet debate article” did you not understand, ha! ha! only jesting, keep up the good work snivel snivel lol! COYS

  • Nice one, Danny! Anywhere in the top four will do me this season. I get the sense (not sure where from) that there is money for transfers if it becomes necessary. If not, then I expect we will cruise along with our current attitude of developing youth, looking for reasonably priced players who could improve the squad, and not spending silly money as other clubs, better equipped financially, are prone to do. If we can manage to achieve CL football again next season and, in the meantime, settle into our new home, everything will hopefully (?) take care of itself. But what do I know?! One thing’s for sure …. it won’t help to worry or complain about it.

  • As I am also a naïve positive thinker, I would like to add three more positives to our summer of discontent:
    a) our owners have increased their profit from the club
    b) we are going into Guinness book of records
    c) because we haven’t strengthened our squad this summer we are going to win the title of EPL or the UEFA Champions League given that all clubs that have won those two trophies last decades didn’t strengthen their squads in the summer previous to that success (that’s the main reason Levy and Co didn’t spend money to strengthen the squad this summer).

  • As far as transfers go, were any of the summer transfers to English clubs game changers ? To me it didn’t seem as if anyone was signing better players than we already had. Basically I think of three kinds of transfer. The first is where you can sign someone who is a genuine upgrade to what you already have, I’m not sure any of those are actually currently available on terms we can afford. Maybe that’s why the “spend more money” brigade seem to focus on men with no names. The second kind of transfer is a young player we think we can make into a better player, Sanchez is a good example. Its a long term strategy, sign someone now and it may be a couple of seasons until you see the benefits. The third kind should be easier, a squad player to provide cover where we are short. But we’ve been trying to find the back up for Kane for three seasons now so its obviously not as easy as it looks. Depending on what’s coming through the youth set up you may need to spend money to strengthen the squad, but you can spend money without making the squad any stronger unless you spend it on the right players. If they aren’t available keep the cash until they are.

  • Now for the glass half empty version.
    Things are clearly not right at the club. The best way I can put it is that it appears that not everyone is pulling in the same direction.
    Poch clearly wanted new players in the summer, I don’t think he would have signed his contract if he wasn’t given certain assurances – he got no-one, he clearly wanted to offload some squad players – no one left. Although, we cannot blame everything on Levy, I don’t believe he tried very hard to satisfy Poch’s wishes. I think the recent press conferences Poch have given give some insight into his current mood.
    There are at least three first team regulars who would have left in the summer if the opportunity arose, Dembele, Toby and Rose. I am sure they will all be gone by the summer – this is no basis to build a team. In addition, Eriksen has not signed his contract. Due to his contract situation, I suspect he will be off in the summer too.
    There is clearly something wrong with the team at the moment. They are not playing well. The energy and intensity is gone and there is a lack of variety in the play (still no alternative to Eriksen). The panic that set in after Inter’s equaliser last week showed that the team still do not have the right mentality and the last few minutes of the game against Brighton were truly scary. The lack of game management is worrying. It was also worrying that as soon as Brighton upped the intensity on Saturday, we seemed to weaken and Brighton created a few good chances.
    Then there is the stadium fiasco. There was no way it was going to be ready for the Liverpool game – electrical faults or not. I am not the only fan who believes that we have been conned by Levy – paying £1,500 for a season ticket under false pretences. The stadium is costing somewhere near £1bn. Levy said that the stadium build would not impact on transfers. This is clearly a lie. On the basis that ENIC are not putting a penny into the build, then it is clear the stadium will be funded out of the clubs income – therefore don’t expect any investment in the team any time soon.
    I just hope the the spiralling cost of the stadium force ENIC to sell sooner rather then later and someone who actually cares about football comes in.
    This is all such a shame, we have some fantastic players, we have finished no lower than third in the past three seasons, everything was looking so good but through poor management of the club we seem to be throwing it all away.
    I still can’t wait for the Barcelona game though. COYS.

  • DoncasterHotspur – I love the way you know why Poch signed his contract, I wish I was a mind reader too. You don’t “believe” Levy tried to satisfy Poch’s wishes (which of course with your mind reading ability you know unlike the rest of us). Well if you don’t believe it then obviously that’s a hundred percent sure. The only one you missed was you didn’t “reckon”anything, you know “I reckon Levy …”. As far as the stadium goes welcome to the construction industry. Most of the major projects I was involved in were late and over budget. Contractors lie, once they’ve got the job there’s not a lot you can do about it. Crossrail is currently making our problems look like a storm in a tea cup. As for the financing, presumably from your comments you also have access to the financial information unlike the rest of us. You know what its going to cost, what the extra revenue will be, the amount borrowed and the interest rate. From that you’ve been able to calculate that repayments will be more than the extra income on an annual basis. Wow amazing.

  • jod – so in essence, do nothing and hope for the best. Let’s just accept mediocrity, because “finding good players isn’t easy”.

    Presumably, we’ve got a chairman who is getting paid 6+ million pounds a year to do his job. I don’t think you get that kind of money for “easy” jobs. If you’re willing to take the money, you have to be willing to take the responsibilities.

  • Some of the posts written here today are possibly right then again though possibly wrong, its all about opinions and whether what we read/hear in the media is again right or wrong, to be honest we just do not know.

    DS…”we seem to be throwing it all away” are we really? 6 games in, to me we are or have been having a bad run, it happens in football, things can and do change overnight, also if I am right, if wrong I expect be corrected, we have a better pts ratio per game after 6 games than we did last season.

    Also I am looking forward to the Barca game. COYS

  • Danny – thanks for the article. It’s good to have you contributing, and trying to get VS going.

    This being said, your “optimistic” point of view is very speculative in this article, and a lot of the things you point to are very hypothetical at this stage. Given our track record in recent years, most Spurs fans will agree that we cannot assume anything will happen, at the risk of being severely disappointed. In fact, the cynics will now have come to expect disappointment as a first reaction.

    Firstly, we may or may not see our finances transformed in coming years – there is reason to doubt this given the relatively small ratio that match day revenues represent these days. A lot will depend on sponsorship deals.

    Secondly, it remains to be seen whether that increased income would even be reinvested in the squad, instead of in dividends. Even assuming that we become a lot wealthier, that may be where we stop.

    Thirdly, even with more transfer funds, as long as we keep a very rigid approach to salaries (wage limits etc), we’ll still be at a disadvantage compared to several of our rivals.

    Finally, even when we have spent money, there is still our spotty track record with “expensive” players (Sissoko, Soldado, Lamela).

    In other words, in order to see significant change, it would require drastic changes in the way we operate, regardless of what happens with the stadium. That’s a lot of change at once. And I have my doubts that Levy can change his spots.

    Regarding our long term approach to players, I also think that your example of Paulo Gazzaniga is poorly chosen. How much faith have we put in him, given that we’ve just decided to extend Vorm for this season (he was in the last year of his contract last season), when we could have gone with Gazzaniga as our number 2 heading into the season? Wasn’t it just a year or so ago that we had brought in Pau Lopez (now Spain’s number 3) ahead of Gazzaniga? This leads me to believe that if Paulo turns out to be a great keeper (and even that remains to be seen), can we really say that we were convinced from day one?

    We’ve been opportunistic with certain players (Gazzaniga a prime example) and put faith in other, under performing youngsters for way too long (players like Tom Carroll come to mind). Who is the next academy graduate who will impact our first team? Foyth has the best chance; beyond him, I don’t see anyone making the grade long term (CCV and Onomah included).

  • Joe, I was merely expressing my opinion based on what I see. Levy’s past record in the transfer market (appalling) makes me pretty comfortable that I am correct. Poch asked us to be brave in the transfer market and Levy was ‘t. That’s pretty clear to me. Personally I cannot wait for him and ENIC to get the hell out of our club. If most construction jobs over run (and I have been involved in many that haven’t) then why did Levy sell us the season tickets in May. Surely he had some idea that it wouldn’t be ready. Having seen the progress of the build, any idiot could see it was never going to be ready in September.
    BS – I know we are only six games in but I don’t like what I see from the team and clearly neither does Poch. Even more excited about the Barcelona game – my ticket just arrived. COYS

  • As I said the other day, it appears that we are better off, points-wise, than at the same stage last season. In terms of the teams we have faced so far we have more points against them than last season also. Virtually every comment above is based on speculation and what iffs … and the speculation and what iffs were stretched even further toward the unknown. It all seems pretty pointless and it makes more sense to me to wait and see how we go on the pitch as the season progresses.

    Having just watched the games against Milan and Brighton I really don’t get why anyone is particularly worried. I thought we looked okay and were the better team by far in both games. Obviously we could have done better but this is the PL. It’s never easy. United aren’t doing so great, Chelsea just drew a game they expected to win, and even City have dropped points. And we have the 2pts per game average that usually results in CL football.

    We’re only 6 games into the season so there is plenty of time to completely implode or to get the results we all want. Just do yourselves a favour and try and enjoy it …. at least until the wheels really do drop off!

  • Also …. I can understand people putting a positive spin on everything Spurs because it’s good to feel some joy. But I can’t understand supporters always wanting to put a negative spin on everything Spurs …. because there is absolutely no joy in that. And there’s even less joy looking at all the things that could go wrong in the future, before any of it happens, and then complaining about it. If we happen to drop a few points, then that’s all it is. It’s not the end of THFC or life as we know it. It’s just the way PL football works.

  • A cynic and an optimist stood side by side on the pavement waiting to cross the road. The optimist waits until the road is clear and walks across. The cynic waits until the road is clear …. but never gets to cross because there MIGHT be another car coming. Whatever that means!

  • I have to agree with DoncasterSpur regarding the current situation at Spurs. We have a waifer thin squad with little or no cover for key 1st team players. We lack an on field Marshall as was shown yet again late on at Brighton. The Daniel Levy fan club through it’s chairman Jod says, that we should nominate the players to sign, in spite of the fact that there are scouts and the like paid lots of money and with access to all the data, to find and nominate players, and you know who taking charge of making signings, if he can get them cheap enough. Regarding the stadium build, is it really feasable to believe that the fact that it is incredibly late, and over budget has got nothing to do with the lack.of control of contractor’s activity by the hierarchy at Spurs. To say these projects are always late is untrue. Were The Etihad, Wembley, The Emirates, The London Stadium, The Old Trafford upgrade, The Anfield upgrade all late and millions over budget. Perhaps in those cases they didn’t spend months arguing with a tin pot sheet metal work outfit to shift them, rather than bunging them a decent brown envelope to bugger off to offset delay. An interesting question would be exactly when was it known how late the stadium would be (there is still no announcement), and whether it has been kept quiet to get the season tickets sold.

  • Geof – “as I said the other day, it appears that we are better off, points-wise, than at the same stage last season.”

    While true, that is meaningless if in relative terms, we are worse off. Regardless of our points total, we sit in 5th, with Arsenal level on points and only behind on goal difference.

    If we are doing better than last year, but so is everybody else, what good is that? Whatever points total was needed last year to be in the top 4 will be different this year. If we beat last year’s points total, or even break a club record, yet finish miles off the leaders, how are we competing?

    It’s not about putting a negative spin on anything. It’s about calling it like it is, factually. We can all try to look for artificial signs of progress, but ultimately, the table speaks for itself.

    Whatever we are doing, Liverpool have just had their best start to a season ever and are currently on max points. They are setting the pace, not whatever last year’s table says.

  • I’d say the optimist crosses the road without looking, hoping/believing that everything will be fine. Sometimes that works out, but that’s also the best way to get crushed.

    A cynic will expect to get hit, and therefore wait until the road is absolutely clear before crossing.

    The latter may lack in spontaneity, but probably has far better odds of staying alive.

    Hope the cows are learning something.

  • BS……Maybe the optimist looked and saw the road was clear and had confidently got over half way across when the cynic, having seen the optimist crossing, was concerned a vehicle might come along so ran out into the road and grabbed the optimist and dragged them back only to be run over by a vehicle travelling on the side the optimist had already crossed successfully. 🙂

  • On the whole I’m positive about the no-sign summer policy. After all, the alternative on recent history would be a last minute signing of a Sissoki type for 30 million plus. Well done, this time, Mr. DL.

Comments are closed.