Sun 19 May 2013, 10:30|Tottenham Hotspur
We should all have wanted to start today with our fate in our own hands regarding Champions League qualification after what has been a great season and one which has once again seen us qualify for Europe.
Our current tally of 69 points is just one point off our all-time highest total in the Premier League (2009/10) and already equals our total points tally for last season which saw us finish fourth, a measure of how competitive the Premier League remains. A win today will see us achieve our greatest Premier League points tally ever.
We started the season with a new Head Coach and Andre was introduced at our new Training Centre shortly ahead of its opening. It is the fantastic facility we planned, it has received much acclaim and praise from all over the world and it is a stand-out marker of the ambitions we have at this Club. Andre and his coaching team, Steffen Freund, Jose Mario Rocha, Luis Martins, Tony Parks and Daniel Sousa have had a great first season and are now well settled at the Club.
Gareth Bale deserves special mention. He has had a phenomenal season. We were proud to seen him honoured with a clean sweep of all three major player awards - PFA Player of the Year; PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year - and Jan Vertonghen was named in the PFA Team of the Year. Gareth is the first to remind anyone who congratulates him that this is a team effort and we have seen some outstanding performances from the First Team.
Tim Sherwood, John McDermott, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand have led the way with our youth development and we have had notable success in a variety of competitions, indicating the strength and depth we have across the different age groups.
Our Under-21s have certainly had a fantastic season, reaching the Barclays U21 Premier League Final. They play Manchester United tomorrow and we wish them luck. We were delighted to see four of our young players selected for England U21s for this summer’s European U21 Championships - Steven Caulker, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend and Adam Smith.
Our loan system continues to work well in developing our players and this season saw Andros Townsend voted Player of the Year and Danny Rose voted Young Player of the Year for their respective loan clubs, QPR and Sunderland.
Looking ahead to the summer, we shall continue to seek to strengthen and improve the team and to retain key players. We also look forward to the return of Sandro and Younes who were missed this season but who are well on the road to full fitness.
Financial Fair Play (FFP) will hopefully see all clubs follow the kind of financial discipline we have followed as we run our Club on a sound financial basis without the benefit of a larger stadium. Short term cost control measures which limit the amount of increased broadcasting revenues clubs can spend to £4m per season and a requirement to break even will have an impact on clubs across Europe.
A large capacity stadium is fundamental to the ability to raise revenue and achieve future growth and success within FFP. Our 36,000 seater stadium has continued to sell out and our waiting list is now in excess of 42,000. Our new stadium plans are progressing and we are applying the same energies to delivering this hugely complex scheme as we did to the delivery of the new Training Centre.
Ledley will be on the pitch at half time after what has been his first full season since his retirement and his first as a Club Ambassador. He has taken to his new role with all the professionalism and presence he displayed throughout his playing career at the Club and we are so very proud to have him represent us in our local community and around the world. He has played an active role both in the regeneration work around the stadium and also with supporters groups domestically and internationally, having recently returned from South Africa and Sweden.
Indeed, one stand out feature of the season has been the growth in our supporter base globally. We have seen a 45% growth in the number of supporter groups and we now host official groups around the world in places such as Camp Bastion, Mumbai, Dallas and Moscow to name but a few of the new destinations. We are also currently adding one new supporter group per week from the States as the popularity of the game and 'The Spurs' takes off over there. Welcome to you all.
And to all our supporters, whether here today, home or abroad, on behalf of everyone at the Club, thank you. You are what this Club is all about.
I know the Lane will be rocking today with your support for yet another final day of the season, all-important win .
Enjoy the occasion and I wish you and your families a great summer ahead of seeing you here again in August.