May 16, 2015
"This is going to be the biggest, the best, the most successful club in soccer history."
The rumors started creeping up in the build to the final home Premier League game of the season against Hull City. The "Levy Out" brigade might finally have their wish. After 14 years, Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy were finally ready to move on.
Securing planning approval for a new stadium and reaching a settlement with Archway Steel made the club more valuable than it had ever been, and rather to reap the rewards over the long haul, Spurs ownership decided to cash in immediately and incur zero risk of stadium setbacks, footballing mismanagement or a decline in Premier League television rights fees. And it didn't hurt that the incoming offer came from some of the richest men on the planet.
The Koch Brothers saw the writing on the wall in America. They'd kept their empire thriving through lobbying efforts and huge advertising spends, and they could keep doing this for a few years, but they were only delaying the inevitable. Citizens United would be nullified, lobbying restrictions would be put in place and the United States would get very serious about environmental regulations. Probably not in the next five years, and maybe not in the next 10, but it was sure to happen eventually. Charles and David didn't want to ever be forced into reactionary mode. They wanted to plan ahead.
So what to invest in? What better than the only industry with a consistent upwards trend over the last century, which also happened to be the only industry that would never be regulated out of existence? International sport.
"You heard the rumors mate?", I asked Sam, who's had a season ticket next to me at the lane for most of his adult life. His dad's tickets were handed down to him, as mine were from my father.
"About the sale? Yeah, about bloody time. You see we made an £80 million profit last year, but we wouldn't pay up for Poche's targets? Absolute shambles, can't wait for Levy to go."
"Yeah, but what's the deal with these American blokes? And apparently Bieber and One Direction and some other wanks like that are going to be part of the bid?"
'Well, Henry's been OK at Liverpool. The Glazers looked like scam artists but United's doing fine. And even though the Gallaghers are absolute pricks, it didn't stop City from winning the league."
"Guess you're right. I'm just not so sure why everyone's so quick to chase Levy out. I'd like more investment in the squad too, but if we're going to build the stadium debt-free, that's massive."
After that, we watched the game and wondered if new ownership meant that we might actually be able to hold on to Hugo Lloris and attract Morgan Schneiderlin. We did the job at the Lane, squeaking out a 1-0 win in a generally poor performance. A draw at Everton on the final day would secure sixth place and yet another season in Europa League. I was unbothered about the possible new American ownership. It's not as if they'd make the club any more of a commercial outfit than ENIC did, and they'd probably buy more top players.
"Despite what the supporters want to believe, I do care about this club. This club has been my life for over a decade. I'm not handing it over to just anyone. Your bid is impressive, the finances are no issue. I just want to make sure the club is going to be in good hands."
Daniel Levy was apprehensive about letting go of Tottenham Hotspur. He was ready to turn to less stressful work so he could spend more time with his wife and grandchildren, but he wasn't going to allow Joe Lewis to sell the club to just anyone.
As usual, Lewis was happy to let Levy handle negotiations. Levy phoned him and told him how much the bid was for, but that he had reservations about selling the club to the Koch-funded group. Lewis said that he understood if Levy didn't feel their vision was right for the club and that he had permission to negotiate with other buyers, but that the offer was sufficient, and he preferred that Levy accepted it.
"Mr. Levy, we're going to turn this club into the biggest, the best, the most successful and the most famous club in the history of the sport," said Donald Trump, to be president of Tottenham Hotspur should the Koch-Trump bid be successful.
"Yes, Mr. Trump, you've already said that many times. I understand. But what I want to know is how, exactly, you intend to do that?"
"We believe in local kids. My associate Zayn tells me that your young prospects, Harry Kane, Alex Pritchard and Dele Alli are the best, the biggest, the most spectacular in England. We're going to build around them and work to find the best, the brightest, the most talented British players to bring into the academy. And we're going to give Mauricio Pochettino our full support to buy whatever players he thinks he needs. We believe in the foundation you built here."
"What a load of f---ing bollocks," Zayn Malik whispered under his breath to Justin Bieber, so Levy couldn't hear. "I haven't told this crazy old prick anything, Bale's the only Spurs player I've ever heard of."
"Yo, why are we doing this if they suck?", Drake whispered back.
"Because these dudes are MAD rich," said Bieber. "They buy elections and s---, dogg. They're gonna take this team to the f---in' top and let us run it? This is the dopest s---, real talk."
"Well, I have to take your word on that, Mr. Trump," said Levy. "If that's genuinely how you see the future of Tottenham Hotspur, I really have no reason not to follow Mr. Lewis' recommendation to sell the club to your group. I believe we have a deal."
And so, the day before the final Premier League game at Everton, the club announced the sale of the club by ENIC to Koch-Trump Group, with Trump to be president and Malik, Bieber and Aubrey Graham joining as executive board members. The four of them sat with Levy at Goodison Park. A new era was about to begin at Tottenham Hotspur.
"Yo D," asked Bieber. "Did you mean that stuff about building the team around the local kids?"
"Hell no, are you kidding? Charles and David are already lobbying UEFA to overturn the Financial Fair Play rules," replied Trump. "When they do that, we can buy whoever we want."
Zayn and Drake's eyes lit up. This was the greatest moment of their lives.