Somewhere on the yacht named Aviva in Fort Lauderdale harbor, Joe Lewis is sipping on a very expensive drink while Daniel Levy is staring at a laptop screen, probably having a Zoom meeting with his new Managing Director of Football. At least, that’s what I’m picturing in my head given the news that Levy was in Florida as recently as last week. Paulo Fonseca seemed like a done deal, so much so that I pre-wrote the article a few days ago in anticipation of an announcement.
Today I deleted that article because of the latest act in the three ring circus known as ENIC’s search for a new manager at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. This one may have broken the entire staff here at Cartilage Free Captain, myself included.
As we went through the tweets from Fabrizio Romano, Alisdair Gold, Dan Kilpatrick and others, my brain officially kicked over from “running a club is damned difficult” to “I’m done with his crap.”
I’ve been a pretty staunch defender of Daniel Levy over my seven years as a writer here. I’m fully convinced the man never sleeps. The amount of work that had to be done to get the new stadium up and running is something I cannot fathom, all while trying to run the day-to-day operations of the club.
That being said, I’m fully on the ENIC Out bandwagon. It’s time for Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy to sell.
The European Super League was the first real crack in the foundation for much of the fanbase, as well as our staff. It was a woeful decision that had tunnel vision written all over it, with the prize at the end being insane amounts of cash. Tottenham Hotspur’s debt is the largest in England now, but we’ve been told to trust the process and that the debt is long term and very manageable. The Super League, however, made me question that. Hearing that we cannot afford transfers without selling players further cemented that thought.
When Jose Mourinho was sacked and Ryan Mason was appointed as caretaker, we made some jokes about Levy being insanely cheap with the search and perhaps promoting Mason from within if he did a great job, but being asked to right the ship with what was going on is a tall task. Mason, to his credit, managed the press well but it’s clear he’s not ready for that level, and that’s okay! He’s just 29 years old and could become a great manager down the road. He kept Spurs in Europe, to his credit, but Spurs needed a seasoned manager.
When Spurs defeated Leicester, all of the beat writers were saying the same thing just hours after the match: the club had been searching for a manager for a couple of weeks already and they wanted to have someone in place within 7-10 days.
That was on May 23. We’re two weeks from July and there’s no manager in place.
The club has kicked the tires on numerous candidates and come close, supposedly, to hiring someone. Antonio Conte became available during the search and perhaps Levy got distracted like he was a dog locking onto someone throwing a shiny red ball for him to chase. Heck, we all got starry-eyed when word of Mauricio Pochettino coming home seemed to be possible!
Both of those moves fell through while we got the announcement of Fabio Paratici being named Managing Director of Football. This should have been a good thing. We even said so! It meant Levy was getting out of the way and letting someone else run the football side of things while Levy handled the business side.
The problem is that in just the span of a week, it seems that Paratici has the same problem that Levy has: He gets distracted by the shiny things. Paulo Fonseca looked done and dusted until today, and then Gennaro Gattuso became available. Alasdair Gold has confirmed this:
So Fonseca became the available top choice. Everything was agreed between him and Spurs. Even yesterday they were sorting stuff for his visa and all the administrative stuff. Paratici and Fonseca had meetings this week in Milan and Como, to prepare for the season ahead.(contd)— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) June 17, 2021
Everything was going through. Then Gattuso left Fiorentina today and everything has gone haywire and Spurs have now switched their attentions to him. Fonseca's people are completely bewildered (sound familiar). A day in the life of covering Tottenham for you there.— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) June 17, 2021
We had concerns about Fonseca, but from the articles you’ve read on this site, we were sold on him. He had ideas and inherited a crappy situation at Roma. Yes, we were hiring the guy Roma let go so they could hire the guy we sacked, but whatever, right? If he’s good for Spurs, it doesn’t matter.
But no, that’s not what happened here. Paratici got his head turned, much like Levy got his head turned before hiring Paratici, and now we may get this f*cking guy:
If your Spurs fandom only began recently, this was during Spurs’ first Champions League run back in 2010-2011 while facing AC Milan. Spurs would win that Round of 16 leg 1-0, but this was a lasting moment as Gattuso attempted to choke assistant manager Joe Jordan. Now, our new Director of Football wants to bring him in after a manager search that has left most of us scratching our heads at best and screaming into the void at worst.
If you want a silver lining, I’ll offer this: Gattuso is a Jorge Mendes client. After the whirlwind that was José Mourinho’s tenure, I’m taking this with a truckload of salt and hoping beyond hope that not even Levy will sign off on this. However, where does that leave Spurs? Graham Potter? Roberto Martinez? Dare I say...Jurgen Klinsmann? It’s a train wreck and the cars haven’t stopped piling up behind the locomotive.
At some point, Spurs will get a manager. I have no idea who that is, when it will happen and what we’re going to pay him. Levy, for all of the good he has done for the club, has burned through that in the span of a few months. Truthfully, the issues with ENIC go back to the summer where the club failed to make a signing. Yes, the Grealish deal was scuttled because Aston Villa brought in new owners who pulled the rug out, but that’s one player. The fact that the club didn’t come close to signing anyone else, coupled with Levy’s notorious reputation for haggling on deals for far too long, has hurt the club.
So, I’m done. I have no doubt that there are those who agree with me and there will be defenders even after all of this. I’ve jumped ship and I want ENIC to sell this club. Years down the road, we will look back and appreciate what the ownership did in boosting the club, but right now? None of that matters. This club is in a tailspin and I am no longer convinced that Levy can do this job.
ENIC, Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy: Sell. It’s the best thing you can do for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.