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The State of "The Spurs Franchise"

Following the Liverpool match report, I received the following via e-mail from Joe Doyle, to whom I am grateful for permission to publish his comment on "The Spurs Franchise":- (First published in March 2003)


Thanks as ever for the report. It's been an unrelenting slide since the transfer window closed, as if to prove a point to one and all. I witnessed the 3-1 debacle in Dublin but put it down to the lads being over on the piss but perhaps there was something much more worrying in the apathetic performance. If the great 5 year plan was to be implemented, this was the season to show everyone that real progress was being made. Instead, we are in "Groundhog Day" territory, season over by mid-March (later than normal maybe), following an inept handling of the transfer window.

I had been in the Hod supporters' camp loyally up to the close of the window but the scale of mistake was obvious to all. From having "the strongest Spurs squad" in some players' tenure, we rid ourselves of a Spurs supporting former captain (no real loss), a Spurs supporting striker and a previously world famous striker (the latter pair who could have given us cover but cost 60k a week). As compensation, we signed a Japanese WC player who has not started for Spurs in 6 weeks, a Chinese striker signed too late for this season. It's so easy to be cynical about these players.

Was it a financial decision ? To put 60k a week for 20 weeks - 1.2 million - into perspective. Forgetting about Europe for a second, the difference in payout for Premiership places at the end of a season is enormous. Arsenal finishing 3rd in 01/02 got 25m whilst Everton coming 15th got 14.5m. (Ed:These figures include TV money)Almost 1 million pounds for every differential place. So a straightforward bet on higher places due to better players - in fact finishing 2 places higher would have covered the gamble. Then of course there is Europe. 3 rounds of European action and TV rights must be at least 5 million. Get Celtic/Rangers and you are heading towards the 8-10 million mark. So a 6 month penny pinching exercise versus 80% certain revenue with potentially much higher upside.

Spurs has become a franchise, in the commercial sense of goodwill exploitation. Financial related info is not on the offical site - I tried tonight - are we going private ? Shouldn't PLCs have some financial info on the company website ? Anyway, cynics could argue that the approach of our current franchisees is:

1) Minimal investment is required, but with a couple of astute signings, should send the off-field revenues soaring. Get the Asian boys in.
2) The punters are addicts, incapable of moving to a more successful addiction.
3) Midtable obscurity has been good enough for the last 20 years, not much needed to keep it at that level.

However the Spurs franchise is in real trouble after this season. Without real investment in the summer, loyal fans have had enough "moving in circles" and the spin will not wash any more. Expect to see some empty seats soon. Season tickets will not sell out.

The Spurs franchise could be healthier at the moment. Supporter base is generally increased during the successful years for clubs. In Spurs' case, this would have been the 60s and the 80s. Most of the folks here are thus potentially in their 30s or 50s - and the right age to be suffering failure fatigue which will stop Season Ticket renewals. Most of our children will hopefully stay loyal but what about other kids for the last 10 years ? ManU's reach into London is legendary, whilst even Ars*nal must be picking up the kids interested in open attacking and worse news, successful football. Mr Levy must realise that without short to medium term (4 years) success, the bulk of an entire generation will have been lost, and reliance on family supportership will be critical.

Was it a managerial decision ? Certainly Hod is now on thin ice. The demons are circling and making the TV shows with ever increasing regularity. We are too familiar with his favourites, use of Doherty as a striker, and worse with his intended transfer targets. The joke on the Irish Spurs list is that Keane was a Pleat signing and Hod's actual signing would have been Phillips, with Bunje, Acimovic thrown in. Actually I would throw all 3 out. Now his "silent treatment" makes him out to be a prat when it comes to player relations. This story will go all round the Premiership and make potential signings think twice before joining Hoddle.

Hopefully I will be proven wrong, but the recent financial loss makes meaningful transfer activity in the summer even more remote. I am not sure I trust him to buy the right players any more. Pleat signing them for Hoddle to play sounds better, IMHO. But then where's Blondel been ? Will he get rid of the Yugoslavs who patently will not make it in England ? I am now contenting myself with the fact that Chelsea, England and Southampton had 1 thing in common in the post-Hoddle era. They all did much better. Maybe Glen is simply the "palate clearer" after the sour taste of previous managers, allowing the real food to be appreciated when it arrives.

I just hope there is enough around to appreciate it !


1 Joff Wild writes:- "Why Hoddle should stay"
2 Ian Campbell comments on Glenn Hoddle's Talents and Misjudgements

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