Director Keith Mills is a name you likely don't hear much about in regards to Tottenham Hotspur. Damn shame really, since the man is just as important a figure for the organization as Daniel Levy is. The Standard spoke today with Mills, as the man shed some light on some of the business going on at Tottenham and spoke candidly about what the club needs to do moving into the future.
"We very much want Bale to stay." That is the first quote from the man, and obviously dominated the interview. The director gave a very grounded reply to the speculation surrounding Gareth Bale. He admits that it's hard to keep a player if he doesn't want to stay, and a contract is meaningless when the player is desperate to move. He also notes that is the main issue. To make Champions League, you need a Bale, but if you don't have Champions League it's not very easy to get a Bale. That appears to be the crux behind the Tottenham spending spree this summer. It appears now is the window for Tottenham to make their move, to go for trophies and Champions League and perhaps at the end of it all, a title.
"There are others in the pipeline." The most illuminating quote of the story, Mills reveals that Tottenham are far from done in the transfer window, though of course most fans realize this. With the move of Steven Caulker to Cardiff, a new center back is needed in the team, with great haste as well due to the injuries in that particular section of the team. While that move likely needs to be done before August 17th, moves in other sections such as left back are less urgent. Mills states though that the focus for AVB, and the club, is another striker. Strikers are high on Levy's and Boas' list, and it looks like many more moves could happen in the last 25 days of the transfer window.
Mills spoke at length about the unique position Tottenham is in to start the season. Noting the managerial changes at Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea, he spoke of unsettlement at those clubs, even with world clas managers moving in, just from the new style of plays that will likely be implemented. Incredibly optimistic, Mills had effusive praise for Andre Villas-Boas, loving how well he came away from the disaster at Stamford Bridge, his use of advanced statistics, and his trust building in the locker room. He spoke well of the new mode of management with Baldini, saying Boas is used to it and it will benefit Tottenham in the long run to go back to the old continental system.
Where Mills was most illuminating in this interview though, was in the talks of a new stadium, and what that means for Tottenham. That is Mills bread and butter with the club. Mills has been touted as one of the more promising executive minds in football, turning down opportunities to chair the FA and the Premier League to stay at Tottenham. He was also an instrumental cog in bringing the Olympics to London last year.
"It's very difficult for us to keep pace with a United or an Arsenal who can bring in 60,000-plus when our capacity is 37,000. We don't have the marketing and sponsorship of the Emirates or Old Trafford. We don't generate their match-day income. A new stadium equals substantial additional revenues which will enable us to fund the quality of players we need to get to the Champions League. And being in that League will produce more money. That's why the stadium is so important."
Mills cast the the blame for the Olympic bid on Boris Johnson' insistence that Tottenham join into the fray, not realizing that Boris would be adamant about keeping the track on the stadium. After bailing from that fiasco, Mills stated that the only thing preventing Tottenham from breaking ground on the new stadium are naming rights. And that is his department. There has been a variety of interest from the Middle East for naming rights for the stadium, but of course, Mills was rather vague about how serious and how big the interest is. "Once we get that, it'll open up the rest of the funding."