The website for Beast, a swanky upscale restaurant in London’s West End, describes itself as a “Unique gastronomic experience featuring Norwegian king crab & hand selected dry-aged Nebraskan Angus beef.” It’s not cheap. The aforementioned Norwegian king crab is listed on the menu at £120/kg, and the Chateaubriand cut will set you back £14 for every 100g of meat. It’s expensive shipping those cows all the way across the pond from America’s heartland, you know.
But expensive dinner be damned, Mauricio Pochettino is all about sharing the best with his family. That’s why, according to David Hytner at the Guardian, he treated the entire Tottenham Hotspur first team squad plus the staff and chairman Daniel Levy to a full dinner at Beast on Wednesday, which included steak and wine... and he picked up the tab.
Pochettino’s gesture, which comes before Saturday’s stiff test against West Ham at the London stadium, was to help his team’s morale, and to continue the process of integrating his new signings into what is already a close-knit squad. Poch spoke to Hytner about the meal, and said that things like this are as important as on-pitch tactical training
“It is so important. To know each other better; to speak in a different way. That creates links between them, emotion. And when you must fight in a competition, there’s more of a willingness to help your team-mates and care more for them and care more for the gaffer that pays the restaurant bill! It’s not only about tactics but outside the pitch, too. Putting all the staff, the players and the chairman in a restaurant – that is tactics, too.”
“We always try to find a way to stay together outside of the training ground because it is so different – all that happens is so different. But it is so difficult in England to find a day or a night together. It’s such a busy schedule that we have. We play every two or three days and then everybody is away for an international break. Wednesday was very good to stay altogether outside and laugh and share in a different atmosphere.”
Pochettino is known for his generosity and for his team-building, and it’s one reason why many of his players love him and are so loyal to him. You may recall that for the past two seasons Poch has taken his team to Spain for a mid-season training camp for a change in scenery and to help his players further bond in the Spanish sunshine. Wednesday’s dinner is another example of that emphasis on team unity.
But while some managers use club funds for such endeavors, Poch isn’t above putting his own money down. If you think about a super expensive steak dinner for 49 people... well, I wouldn’t want to see the bill. For Pochettino, however, it’s worth the money to make sure his players and staff have a good time. Here’s a key paragraph from Hytner’s report.
Pochettino had been asked, jokingly, which branch of McDonald’s he had taken everybody to? “No, no, no. When I pay, I pay good,” he replied. “Good restaurant, good food, good wine. Argentine wine, which is the best.”
— David Hytner, The Guardian
There’s been a fair amount of off-season turmoil at Tottenham, from the departure of Kyle Walker to Manchester City, to Danny Rose’s interview with The Sun, to the ongoing drama of Toby Alderweireld’s contract negotiations. A nice dinner may not fully make up for whatever stuff might be going on behind the scenes at Hotspur Way, but it certainly can’t hurt for everyone to be around the same table for a while.