I'm weary of sharing honest opinions on some Spurs fan sites because of the unbridled pessimism that undoubtedly ensues these days. Just about every Spurs community I’ve encountered outside of this one (the best one) is certain Roberto Soldado won’t sign and Bale, Walker, Jan, and Hugo will be sold without any reinvestment. I feel like Chicken Little sometimes. Is that right? Or is that the opposite of right? Chicken Little said the sky was falling or he didn’t? I’ll have to get my fact-checkers on that when they get back from the ALL FACT-CHECKERS EVERYWHERE EVER CONFERENCE being held near the South Pole. I heard they had a record attendance this year....
Furthermore, I am getting sick of reiterating myself when it comes to ledge-down-talking people about the team. So I decided to write this post so I can point everyone in the right direction without offending the anti-Levy pessimists who become angered by the thought of any optimism whatsoever associated with Tottenham Hotspur. More specifically, I started writing about my optimism re: the team on the Chicago Spurs Facebook page and quickly realized that my comment was obnoxiously long. So here I am, back where I started.
I guess first off I need a disclaimer: I only speak for myself and anything I say is merely my personal opinions re: what I feel about the team and what may or may not occur this window. While I am an unashamed optimist in all areas of life, I do not count any chickens (or cocks) before they hatch and fully comprehend the very real possibility Levy will not sign a striker and proceed to sell Bale, Lloris, Johnny Vertical, Moose, Walker and everyone else between Parker and our youth set-up before the end of August. I've been following this team long enough to expect this crap every window and know we are not safe from being gutted whenever Mr. Levy and Mr Lewis decide that the team is too good and must be sold off. I was here for Berba and Keane and Modric and while I’m not old enough to remember selling Glenn Hoddle, I know it happened and he finished his career at CSKA London. I know we have always been a selling team and surprisingly, thats one of the reasons I became a fan of Spurs in the first place. I admire our ability to hang with the big boys despite needing to sell our best players every few years to make up for having a 36k capacity stadium.
That said, I was also around when we dropped a ton on Modric and Berba in the first place and I was here when Crouchie scored that header to beat city in May 2009 to ensure we grabbed 4th place and that last CL spot. In short, I’ve seen the good and the bad from Levy and feel he is one of the best Chairmen/General Managers in all of professional sports. Speaking of which, here is Levy in the Summer of 2008:
"Today's public comments by Manchester United's manager, announcing that he has made an offer for Dimitar and is confident that the deal will go through with time working in their favour, is a blatant example of sheer arrogance and interference with one of our players. It is also probably one of the worst offences by any manager in the Premier League to date and is unbelievably hypocritical given his recent comments in respect of Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid. I have absolutely no wish to sell either player and to date we have not accepted any offer for either. However, when a player's head is turned and their commitment is absent, particularly when they occupy key positions such as that of striker, they become a negative influence in a team dressing room in which they were once a positive addition and influence. This is the situation we now have on our hands, with both Dimitar and Robbie having made it clear that they wish to leave for Manchester United and Liverpool respectively."
Odd how he bothered to file a complaint in 2008 when he wanted to sell but isn’t bothering to do so now huh? You think it might be because he planned on selling those players and wanted 1) and excuse; 2) to get a good deal and 3) embarrass LFC and MUFC as much as possible in the process. Anyway....
Now that that's out of the way, I will state my current opinion that is shaped by official team communications, my perception of player attitudes, and countless hours on twitter and comment boards discussing the team with other serious and knowledgeable Spurs fans.
I believe we are finally moving beyond our reputation as a selling team and Levy is putting together a team that, with a little luck and a minimum of injuries, can realistically challenge for the title this year. We had been moving in that direction and improving every year before ole witch face used Chelsea's CL win two seasons ago as an excuse to force a sale. Did Levy want to sell him? I don't know. I do know that I and every other spurs fan I know wanted to sell him after putting up with 2 years of his bitching and whining for a move to Chelski and then Madrid. I don't blame Levy for that and I was happy to see a lot of the money reinvested in the squad with the signings of Jan, Gylfi, Hugo, Moose, Deuce, Ade and eventually Holtby. I'd trade them for one pasty little troll any day. What else happened last summer? Andre Motherfucking Villas Boas.
‘Arry's 4th place finish wasn't good enough for our aspirations and Levy understood 'Arry didn't have the the tactical awareness/nuance nor player development skills nor the eye for cultivating talent that was necessary to make a team with limited means a serious title contender. AVB comes in and (Btw, I definitely believe what has been said about them not trusting 'Arry to spend money) despite the typical 'brinkmanship' and resulting ‘constructive forfeiture’ of August, manages to put together an excellent team and nearly snag 4th place while making it deep in the Europa League (and claiming some scalps en route) without a decent striker and nowhere near the sheer amount of talent of our rivals. Had we been a little luckier and had the depth to get past Sandro and/or Dembele's injuries, I don't think that elusive point would've been out of our grasp. Yes, Bale played out of his mind and basically carried the team through a stretch last spring. However, I don't know how anyone can fail to attribute at least part of that to Andre's new tactics, coaching style, and the overall confidence he added to the side.
So here we are in July 2013 with a healthy team, several young players looking sharp and ready to prove themselves, key additions to the squad already in place, one of the most well-regarded DoFs in the game in Franco Baldini, and to top it off, Andre is seemingly poised to add the CF we've needed since Berba left. Of course it isn't finalized but the evidence points in that direction and I don't doubt we will wrap it up soon. And believe it or not, we have done all that without overextending ourselves or mortgaging our future. The figures add up and spending £49 mil this window is certainly reasonable to anyone that has looked at the new TV contracts and understood what a team like Spurs stands to gain. (It's at least an extra £30 mil if we finish in 5th and have a similar number of games on Sunday/prime time.). But if you are so cynical from following this team that you need proof this spending isn't too good to be true (I certainly wouldn't blame you), remember that if we somehow fail to equal or better our last couple seasons’ final result, Levy and Lewis know they have an £80 million player they might be willing to let go at a massive profit NEXT SUMMER and recoup potential losses.
And now I get to the Bale part that yous have likely heard before in some form or another. This is what I put on the Spurs Google Group page.
I think it is in Bale's best interest in terms of publicity, endorsements, and building his own brand (both at home and abroad) to keep his name in the papers as much as possible. What better publicity could there be than him being linked to insane transfer fees at the two most famous clubs in the world on a daily basis? He is rapidly becoming a household name in the US and that's rarefied air for British players with Rooney and Becks being the only others. He has publicists and they must've impressed on him the importance of being in the news in a positive light. With NBC taking over EPL rights this year after paying like 5 times what Fox paid for them last year, they're hugely invested in promoting the league in North America and I think the billboard is step one. They understand that most people here only know Man U and equate them with the Yankees. But the people at NBC also know most people outside NY, NJ, and CT hate the Yankees and would be a lot more inclined to follow the EPL if they had a rooting interest. What better team to set up as the anti-Man U than good ole Spurs? They're not uber rich or in bed with oil money maniacs or sheiks and the best part? Two Americans and the best player in the league (which is also why I think we're stuck with Deuce another year at least). Bale's handlers know the importance of him being a global brand and that won't happen if he loses his good guy image by bailing on Spurs at this point. Now he looks like a good guy with a young family who plays for the team he wants to because he cares about loyalty or whatever and that point is driven home to all the fans worldwide that see him play for Spurs when all those mega deals are thrown about. And believe me: most casual sports fans in the US that don't follow the league have heard about Bale apparently snubbing the big boys all summer. If he moves on now, that all goes away.
Its not a given he becomes a star here but just imagine how much he could make in endorsements and his own clothes or whatever if he was a star worldwide. American athletes make a lot more than European ones (even with the exchange rate, Messi makes wages comparable to a decent QB in the NFL) but even they don't really care too much about their salaries bc they make loads more from Nike or Adidas or Gatorade or Pepsi or whoever they have deals with at the moment. Tom Brady is a good example: arguably one of the best QBs of all time and he recently took a pay cut so his team could have more room with the salary cap. Aside from the fact that hes married to Giselle, he can do that bc his wages are nothing compared to his endorsements.
Anyway, I think Bale will be in the news until the deadline and stick around at least another year to try and crack the US market. NBC gift-wrapped it for him now all he has to do is keep playing his ass off for Spurs. I know it may seem like I'm making too big a deal about the US market but I think it is certainly part of his agent/publicist/marketing people's thought process and if he does succeed and starts selling jersey and making endorsements deals in the US, it won't matter how much the big boys can pay him bc it will be a fraction of his other income. And the fans (with their money) are ready to start following the EPL and since they won't be attending too many matches, what do you think they'll spend their money on? Especially since Spurs will be the 'cool' team to like?
At the very least, he will make more by cracking the US market than he would by cracking the Spanish market, right?
I believe deeply that Bale isn't going anywhere at this point in the summer but if haters wanna hate, that's fine. Levy has said from day one he is not for sale and he has stuck to his guns thus far. Had he wanted to move him, he could have already done so and pocketed the cash and left AVB to his own devices. He sold Modric bc he had to; not bc he was living up to our reputation. Do I think he'll sell Bale if he starts acting like he wants to move? Of course. But if Bale wants to leave and starts acting like it, then good riddance. I know some of you won't believe it until you see the window slam shut but that's my opinion and I will stand by it. AVB and Levy are building a legendary squad and we will only sell those players that are either agitating for a move or no longer good enough for a title chasing squad like the one at WHL. COYS!