THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Monday 6 October ~

The time to have a bad run of form is in the first two months of the season. Spurs fans won’t be appreciative of that fact at the moment after their worst start in 96 years, with only two points from their first seven League games. But however gloomy they may feel about their team’s prospects at the moment, no one seriously expects them to go down. There is enough talent in their clumsily assembled squad to get them through this barren patch. But it’s not yet clear whether the current manager will be in charge when the runs ends. Juande Ramos bears less responsibility for their travails than many other senior figures at the club but he will be the prime scapegoat.

After the defeat to Hull on Saturday a group of Spurs fans staged a demo outside the stadium calling for the departure of chairman Daniel Levy and his employers, ENIC, the company who took control of the club seven years ago. ENIC would be only too happy to divest themselves of Spurs if a big profit could be made, although the club’s sell-on value has been diminished in the light of the poor start to 2008-09 which seems to have removed the possibility of Champions League qualification.

A supporters group SOS (Save Our Spurs) supported ENIC’s takeover in 2001 because the previous owner Alan Sugar – who has since become the most improbable TV star of the century so far – had made himself deeply unpopular. This was partly for his dictatorial approach to running the club and, more pertinently, because it wasn’t paying off. Spurs won a League Cup but were otherwise mired in mediocrity – they achieved their first top six finish in the Premier League only three years ago. That the advances made then by manager Martin Jol have since been squandered is largely down to the Spurs board and their interference in the construction of the first team squad; director of football Damien Comolli might be shoved out with Ramos but he should never have been given such influence over transfer policy.

Like another one of the “Big Five” clubs of the late 1980s, Everton, Spurs failed to benefit from the football boom that began in the early 1990s and they have not come close to catching up with the cartel who now dominate the Premier League, although they might be where Chelsea are now had Roman Abramovich not decided against buying them in 2002. Five years on, Spurs might get their own sugar daddy if ENIC sell up to the Singapore-based billionaire who is said to considering a takeover. But that won’t propel them into the top four either, given that half the clubs in the League could be owned by people on the World's Top 100 Rich List by the end of the season. In any case, the way that chairman Daniel Levy mishandled the sale of Dimitar Berbatov hardly inspires confidence in his ability to conclude a satisfactory deal with a buyer. No doubt Alan Sugar would be happy to offer advice.

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