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Thank you, Daniel Levy Haters: A reflection on Tottenham’s summer business

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Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images via Getty Images

Dear Tottenham Hotspur fans,

Did you spend the last 500 days complaining about a lack of signings, just because half the team was stretchered directly from the Champions League final to reconstructive surgery?

Have you been moping about our spectacularly awful Premier League form at the end of last season?

Did you bemoan a year of interminable construction delays instead of being happy with your shiny new stadium, constructed by Daniel Levy as a gift to you?

Do you think football is about more than return on investment?

Are you miserable when good things happen?

Do you still find reasons to remind people that we once replaced Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane with Fraizer Campbell?

Have you spent the last 13 years boycotting lasagna, and, just to be safe, Italian cuisine in general?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you just might belong to a very special community.

Daniel Levy Haters lurk in every Spurs forum, Facebook group, and *ahem* comment section (hello, your local Levy hater here), and for the most part are indistinguishable from run-of-the-mill Spurs supporters. They celebrate the same goals, hate the same teams, and love the same players as the rest of us (Wrong—we hate Sissoko). Beware. Once somebody praises the club’s business or dares to admit they are hopeful about the future, Levy Haters will quickly remove their sheep’s clothing and, in their exceedingly pragmatic way, explain why Tottenham are doomed, Daniel Levy is to blame, and ENIC should be liquidated to pay reparations to our long-suffering fans.

We at Cartilage Free Captain want to thank you. Your duty is not an easy one, but it is important: only you can ensure that nobody gets too excited about the best era in recent Spurs history. Sure the Champions League final was nice (which we lost), and it’s hard to complain about Tottenham’s palatial new home (which could be bigger) but in the grand scheme of things, nothing Daniel Levy, Poch, or anybody else does must ever shake the malaise that has followed the club since 1882. Without your heroic efforts, we might forget that the AIA sponsorship deal, the second-most lucrative sponsorship in the league behind only Manchester United, means Spurs will remain branded in bold red letters for the next eight years.

Sadly, the Carty Free masthead is racking our single collective brain (sounds like a Slack message to me) and we just can’t seem to figure out how to spin this summer’s transfer business into a failure of Daniel Levy’s. So now we come on bended knee, asking our dear readers for help. Under the chairman’s direction, Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Ryan Sessegnon and Jack Clarke (whose TransferMarkt photo bears a passing resemblance to the the disaffected bard King Krule) have each donned the lilywhite (and red) jersey. Two of these players directly address glaring holes (which we should have filled last summer) in last year’s squad that nearly cost Tottenham a top four finish and a spot in this year’s Champions League. The other two are young stars-of-the-future who, like Dele Alli, are poised to be fixtures in Tottenham’s starting 11 for the next decade (assuming they aren’t loaned out for the next several years before being sold at cut-rate prices to lower league teams). Spurs identified all four of these players as top targets back in May. Daniel Levy, like a hulked-out angler, landed all of them. Did Ed Woodward land all of his top targets? Did Roman Abramovitch? (He amassed a youth army and secured Christian Pulisic to prudently plan around the club’s transfer ban.)

Stars like Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen (Europe’s transfer window is still open) have remained at the club in Daniel Levy’s white-knuckle grip, a fact that would surprise even the most optimistic Spurs fan a year or two ago. Over recent decades, our biggest stars seemed to all move on as soon as a “bigger” side came knocking, but it appears that the club have turned a corner. Regardless of the outcome of the Eriksen saga, keeping a core group of truly elite players united at a team that still has not won silverware is masterful (they haven’t signed new deals yet).

Levy even managed to gracefully get rid of Kieran Trippier (who we failed to replace), Michel Vorm, and Vincent Janssen, among others, all players whose time at Spurs had definitely reached a conclusion over the last season. Whether because of age, quality, or squad needs, some excess lingered about the side as the season ended, and Levy negotiated good deals for Trippier and Janssen, while letting other players go for free (yet N’Koudou still remains). The result is a lean wage bill and room for new signings.

All in all, a good summer, and along the way, Levy even managed to pull off a little prank on Arsenal (which ended in them signing our player), as well as knock £20 million off of Real Betis’s asking price for Lo Celso (who missed preseason). Fortunately though, Spurs fans were saved from the horror of reveling in a single summer of good business by the legions of Levy Haters who reminded us that for unexpected financial/tactical/cosmological reasons, what appeared to be smart signings were actually dooming us. Every transfer rumor, ITK, or tweet was followed by a chorus of criticism based on instinct and supposed common sense, but never facts. With their drone about our empty trophy cabinet, complaints about “settling” for second-best, and demands to write blank checks to “get ‘er done!”, the corner of Spurs internet who share the most talking points with Arsenal supporters did a great job of ignoring all of the good things happening at Tottenham in order to make us all feel bad again.

Thank you for your service. We can’t smile without you.

(I can’t smile at all.)