SunFlash 2 months ago Manchester United, USA 17 3181 Roy Keane, the famous Manchester United captain, was reminiscing about a Premier League game against Spurs at the turn of the century. His thoughts on the situation were as follows: “It was Tottenham at home. I thought please don’t go on about Tottenham, we all know what Tottenham is about, they are nice and tidy but we’ll fuc**** do them. Ferguson came in and said: "Lads, it’s Tottenham" This line has become a popular catchphrase with those familiar with the Premier League over the last two decades. Spurs have repeatedly failed to win any competitions, with their capturing of the "Mickey Mouse" Carbaro Cup in 2008 representing their last trophy. In fact, if you remove England's secondary domestic cup from the equation, Spurs have not won a trophy since the FA Cup 30 years ago, and have not won the First Division since 1961 - 60 years ago this year. All this has made them meme-tier for many football supporters, with bottlejobs and references to ineptitude cast in every corner of both social media and professional media. Spurs, rightly or wrongly, are the little club that couldn't. The English perception of this is simple, Spurs are the club that are always in the discussion, but unable to close. In the 80's, 90's, 00's, 10's, and now 20's, Spurs seemed to need just one thing to go their way and they'd be able to finally take that step and become a major club. From the outside looking in, this never happened. But to say that is to look at Spurs in isolation without taking the rest of the soccer environment into question. Spurs have been tremendously successful in staying competitive in an environment that passively dissuades and actively holds down clubs attempting to take that step. In the Premier League, we have become accustomed to seeing the artificial giants, Manchester City, Chelsea, Wolves, and so on - clubs who made themselves through foreign money and ownership. While these clubs are self-sufficient now, the start-up cost (or down payment if you like) was so high for these operations it will take decades to repay the owners for their investments. While these clubs are now at least in the top 10 every year, and often win the title, they naturally had to replace clubs without such artificial financial "doping." We see this transition play out across all the major European leagues. Clubs such as RB Leipzig in Germany have replaced stalwarts like Schalke. West Ham and Everton, perennial contenders before the Premier League and even for the first decade of it, have fallen behind the pace and show no signs of ever catching up. Some clubs, such as Portsmouth, bet big that they could keep pace - and bankrupted themselves when those bets did not pan out. Yet Spurs are different. For a club that does not rely as heavily on international players (and even those are mainly from the nations in England's backyard: Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc), continues to be owned and operated by the British, and produces a higher level of English prospect from their academy on a re-occurring basis moreso than anyone except perhaps Manchester United - they have stayed remarkable consistent in this time of otherwise massive transition. One could argue they are the perfect club for English Brexit-ers. Spurs, in effect, are run in the romantic notions of how a club should be run according to the vast majority of supporters...yet are at every turn derided for it. Spurs have succeeded where other traditional clubs like Schalke have failed through an absolutely tremendous level of administrative management. In 2000, just before Roman Abramovich arrived on the scene and was followed a few years later by a literal Middle Eastern oil country, Spurs made a revenue on par with clubs like Schalke and Celtic. Newcastle, by comparison, made nearly a third more in revenue. In 2004, Spurs made a little more than half of Arsenal's total revenue, but through a combination of good policy in their administration and high transfer fees received for players, were beginning to have an upward trend. At this point it is probably time to mention Daniel Levy. He has been the chairman of Spurs since 2001 and has overseen the period that I'm about to cover. He has maintained throughout his tenure a very small wage budget in comparison to other teams that had similar revenues. Wages-to-turnover are the economic device used to measure such an equation, and Spurs have consistently had the best in the league. In 2018 for example, Spurs spent 38% of their overall profit on wages. Arsenal, United, City, and Chelsea all spent between 53% (United) and 64% (Chelsea). Clubs who operated at the same "level" as Spurs, such as Everton and Leicester City, were spending 85% of their turnover on their wage bill. This means that regardless of the size of the club, Levy was making Spurs more pound-for-pound than anyone else in the league. Levy has also been, unlike many other club executives at clubs in Spurs' position - able to keep his best players on those low wages and happy at his club. This is done through a combination of fantastic administrative man management, and also through being a total harda ss at the negotiating table. Levy has received massive transfer sums for the player he did let go, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, and Dimitar Berbatov amongst others. Sir Alex Ferguson, described the transfer for Michael Carrick (another Levy special), as being "more painful than my hip replacement." All of these efforts have led to Spurs, over the last financial year I have clean data for(i.e. non-covid), 2018-19, having a revenue of 521 million Euros. This is good enough for 8th in the world and is higher than that of clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, and Juventus. Of the clubs that performed better than Spurs, 2 were artificially doped (PSG and City), 2 benefited from hilariously unequal league TV deals (Barca and Real), 2 were clubs that won big championships are therefore collected large competition bonuses (Liverpool and Bayern), and one was Manchester United which is a huge outlier due to their innovation in the international market (there are more United supporters in India than English people in England. Outlier). Everton, a club that was more or less on par financially with Spurs at the turn of the century, made 213 million Euros, less than half of Spurs. Newcastle, who were financially better off when Levy took over, collected 178 million. Both these clubs made minimal profit due to their high wage bill (around 85%), whereas Spurs' 38% ensured they made significantly more. However, money going into the pockets of owners (trust me as a United supporter) does not improve the club. Levy flipped this on its head when Spurs built their new 1.2 billion dollar stadium. On the surface, this looks like it hurts, but the reality is it enables Spurs to increase the value of their club (which has increased from 80 million to 1.8 billion since Levy took over) without paying tax on their ridiculous profits they make every season, something that had been a bit of a sore spot before. If Spurs maintain their current level of profit (not increase, just maintain), they'll have the whole stadium paid off in 20 years and saved hundreds of millions in taxes. Assuming the new stadium increases revenue (which it will, especially with the NFL giving millions to play games there), it could be done even faster, although Levy or whomever comes after will probably keep the debt around to lower the tax bill anyway. The TL:DR of a very long post is this: Supporters of European soccer in particular think Spurs is are a joke. I do not understand why one of the best managed companies I've seen in any industry, let alone European soccer where mismanagement is everywhere, should be seen in such a way. This hasn't even mentioned the quality of their players, the development they've done (Lloris, Kane, Son, Winks, etc), or the high quality of soccer they've played. Also important is that these trends were here way before Poch. This post is less about what happened on the field, and more about what happened off it.