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Chairman sets the record straight

Posted on 18 April 2004  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

With speculation going into overdrive in recent weeks, Daniel Levy has moved to set the record straight on a number of issues in an exclusive interview with www.spurs.co.uk

There has been a lot of speculation in the media covering a host of issues, so thanks for taking time out to talk directly to the fans via the website. First thing's first, the key issue is the manager's situation. What is the latest news as far as you are concerned?

Daniel Levy: I made it clear many, many months ago that David Pleat would be in charge until the end of the season and by implication, that would mean no new manager would be in place until the start of next season. Nothing has changed. I'm not quite sure why there has been so much speculation about the subject recently, I guess it's because we've had a run of poor form and results. A significant number of individuals have indicated their willingness to come to Tottenham. I can tell you that some of the highest-calibre coaches across Europe have said they would like to come and we are certain we will have the right person in place at the start of next season.

The one thing the media seems to pick you up on is that you stated at the AGM that you had a man in mind but there seems to be so many names linked with the job at the moment.

DL: Every day I pick up a paper and there are new names linked with us, the majority incorrectly. However, it is testament to the respect that there is out there for our Club, that we have been approached by managers at the highest levels in the game. We have been sensible and covered our options, so it would be foolish to assume we have only spoken in depth to one person. Sometimes though, circumstances beyond anyone's control affect negotiations. Once again I would ask fans to be patient.

Was there any particular reason why you decided to wait until the summer for a new man? What was the thinking behind that?

DL: The reason for that was quite simply that I wanted to take time to examine what would be the most appropriate management structure to put in place at Tottenham Hotspur and also the fact that all the top managers are in jobs. In those circumstances it would be very difficult for them to leave their current positions mid-season. We needed time and time will tell whether or not we've made the right decision. So, even if I announce the new manager today the fact remains that he wouldn't join us until the summer.

You can't win either way. When we moved up from 18th to 10th in a matter of weeks it was seen as a good decision, now we've had a few bad results, it's seen as a bad one.

DL: The answer is that we can't jog backwards and there is no guarantee that even if someone else was managing this club other than David Pleat that results would be any different. David is disappointed and a number of players in the squad are exceedingly disappointed. I've been at the training ground today (Friday) and talked to some of the senior players and I can assure everyone that they are fully aware that with five games remaining, there are a potential 15 points and they will go into those games with a fighting spirit.

What would you says to fans who might be concerned about the managerial issue at the moment?

DL: Firstly, I'm a fan as well. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I wasn't a fan because I live and breathe it seven days a week. We are all very disappointed this season but let's be honest, we've been disappointed for years. It isn't something that has just arrived this season. That's one reason why I did not want to rush into appointing a manager who might have been available during the season. I want to try and get the best individual possible and that can only happen in the summer.

Turning to David Pleat, has his role changed at all in your eyes?

DL: Again, there have been stories in the newspapers which are completely inaccurate claiming we were having difficulty attracting a manager because David Pleat is here. I can categorically state that with all the people who have indicated they are willing to come to the club, there has never been an issue whatsoever in relation to David Pleat.

We've touched on the squad and, like the manager's position, there has been plenty of speculation regarding the future of a number of players, including recently Jamie Redknapp. What is the situation there?

DL: The Evening Standard ran an article the other day with the headline 'Redknapp faces axe' and if you actually read the article, there was one comment from the club that made it clear that actually we haven't made any decision, not just in relation to Jamie but a couple of players whose contracts run out at the end of the season. That's quite right as well because it would be silly of us to enter into any form of contract discussions until we know our position at the end of the season, what other quality players are going to be available and, of course, the situation with the manager.

You've seen a few of the players today (Friday), how do you gauge the spirit within the camp?

DL: I think they are in fighting mood. They know what they have to do and they are very confident they can deliver.

Turning to you Daniel, as chairman, you are naturally the target of some of the stories in the media. How are you coping with things at the moment? Are you as committed as ever, fed up, thriving on it, what's your stance?

DL: I'm obviously frustrated with how things have turned out this season but I've been a frustrated Spurs fan for a long time. All I can do this summer is to put in charge who I believe is the right person for the club. We've already raised a substantial amount of money in January which means we have flexibility to invest in the squad in the summer. This is sport, so we also hope we have a little luck and really hope that next season is better than we've had for the last 10 years.

It has also been suggested that you are looking to sell up.

DL: That came from one line that appeared in the Daily Mail. I've no idea where it came from and it's complete and utter garbage.

Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans?

DL: The most important thing all Spurs fans can do is get behind the team. When I saw a few of the players today (Friday), although they understand the fans being frustrated and they are the first to hold their hands up when they haven't performed well, they did say what an enormous difference it makes when the fans are behind the team. It's like having a twelfth man and they do find it quite hard when they are booed by certain sections of the crowd. That isn't the best way to get the best out of any human being. I would just like to thank our fans in general though. This has been a difficult season. What has been important has been the resilience shown by everyone and I include the majority of our fans in that.

Thanks for your time, Daniel.

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