We started this season with a new Head Coach and several young players looking to make the step up to the First Team, aware that this was a season where we would need to rebuild, reshape and take time to allow Mauricio to assess his squad and instill his training and playing philosophy.
This is never a quick process yet by mid-season we were seeing some outstanding performances, not least of which in our London derby matches. The number of match winning points we took late in games showed a new mentality and spirit that was testament to the hard work of Mauricio and his staff on the training pitch.
We have continued to challenge in the top six and reached the League Cup Final where we saw our young team put in a spirited performance against a side that would go on to win the League.
Today sees us play our 56th game - one of our busiest seasons for a long time. This has meant that we have been able to give playing time to young players coming through the ranks – and we have certainly seen exciting new talent for the future emerge.
The lift in performance mid-season, however, raised all our expectations, such that we have been disappointed by our more recent results.
Going forward, we have restructured the footballing side of the Club to ensure our sporting philosophy is adhered to – we need to ensure that we have a balance of experienced and home grown players, playing attacking, entertaining football our fans love to watch. Perhaps we had lost our way a little bit in this respect, so this will be our guiding principle as we embark on the summer transfer window.
We are all eager to be challenging at a higher level. Whilst the popular view may be to spend money in excess of earnings or find a philanthropic investor to fund transfers, those scenarios are simply not possible under the new world of Financial Fair Play rules whereby clubs can only spend revenues generated through operations.
That said, this summer we shall look to make changes to support Mauricio’s plans for next season.
In respect of driving higher revenues in order to enable greater investment in players, it is clearly evident that we need a ‘game changer’ to lift this Club to the next level - namely an increased capacity stadium.
Currently we are competing for Champions League qualification whilst driving revenue in the smallest stadium of the top six clubs in the Premier League. The new stadium is, therefore, critical.
Our challenge is to deliver the stadium scheme in a viable manner.
The Public Inquiry and subsequent Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process has cost us considerable money and time delay. I know you are impatient for its delivery - as are we all – and our objective remains to deliver the new scheme for the start of the 2018-19 season. The scheme, will not, however, be without its challenges along the way.
As announced previously, a more effective, timely build programme can take place when the Club moves away from the Lane for a period of one season.
We are currently undertaking due diligence and holding discussions on alternative stadium options. Consideration needs to be given to several factors, including planning, policing, transport and the impact it may have on the Team itself. Clearly all possible options have pros and cons and we are aware that we shall not be able to find one which will please all. It is, however, a short-term, interim arrangement so that we can ultimately deliver a fantastic new stadium in Tottenham for the long-term future success of the Club. We shall also, at the appropriate time, be sending supporters a survey about their matchday activities, in order to better inform decisions for the season away.
At the top of this page you can see an aerial shot taken earlier this week. It shows clearly the beginning of the boundary of the new North Stand as well as the buildings that were subject to the CPO.
An exciting time - although we are constantly reminded just what a huge and complex scheme it is with legal, planning, financial, property, transport, relocation and regeneration issues.
We know that our North London neighbours experienced delays and setbacks during the delivery of their stadium and their challenges were far less than ours with no site constraints and with significant enabling development.
We have already delivered developments that contribute to the uplift of the local area. These include Brook House, a residential scheme in partnership with Newlon Housing Trust, which has 23 floors of shared ownership housing along with a new primary school. We have also completed Phase 1 of the Northumberland Development Project, Lilywhite House, the T-shaped building which can be seen to the north of the stadium site. It comprises a major new Sainsbury’s, the Tottenham University Technical College, officially opened by Lord Sugar in March and our new Club offices that we moved into in February.
We are currently in the process of activating time-lapse cameras to keep you up-to-date as this progresses. We shall be making planning applications for updated elements and running this in parallel with the works continuing on the ground.
It will be our home for many, many years to come so we are determined to deliver it as the best stadium in Europe. I would therefore ask for your continued support as we work to do this. A further announcement will be made during the summer.
On a more immediate note, Brad Friedel retires at the end of the season to embark on his new career in media. I should like to thank Brad and wish him well and am delighted that he will be our Club Ambassador in the States.
We were pleased to hear the news that Jimmy Greaves is recovering from the stroke he suffered a few weeks ago and we wish him well.
Sadly, two members of our Double-winning side passed away this year, Ron Henry and Dave Mackay. If ever we need reminding of winning mentality, leadership and true gentlemen then we need look no further than the individuals from that squad.
Your support has, as ever, been fantastic throughout the season and on all our travels. I wish you and your families a healthy and happy summer and I look forward to welcoming you back for the 2015-16 season.