Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Levy's High Stakes Gamble

Earlier this year, Harry Redknapp was being touted as some modern day managerial genius who was going to breeze into the England job once Fabio Cappello upped sticks. At the same time, Andre Villas Boas was being castigated and pilloried around the globe for his abject failure in man management of the Chelsea dressing room.

Ironically, it was AVB's dismissal that prompted the Chelsea revival that ultimately saw Redknapp kicked out of Spurs for failing to qualify for the Champions League, now he has replaced 'arry at White Hart Lane.

This blog has praised Daniel Levy many times in the past for his shrewd stewardship of Spurs and for his standing up to 'bigger' clubs who come praying on Spurs' better players, Chelsea's pursuit of Luca Modric last year being a case in point.

Redknapp whilst having done a good job at Spurs is not exactly a progressive manager and Levy, aware of Spurs' handicaps wishes to have a coach who is at the forefront of the modern game to give the club the edge it needs.

Despite all this, Levy has engaged in an incredibly high risk stratagem having just fired Spurs' most successful manager in many years and hiring a man whom it is already said is an unpopular figure with the Spurs dressing room. The highly paid pampered stars of the Premiership are a tight knit bunch and the Tottenham players do not like what they have heard from their Stamford Bridge counterparts.

AVB failed at Chelsea due to well documented problems with the senior players. Spurs do not have a dressing room anything like that at Stamford Bridge and also do not have a squad that has to be rebuilt, merely one that needs to be added to which is a much simpler task as those players will instantly be 'his'. There is no ghost of Mourinho in North London either.

There is little doubt that AVB is a considerably talented and clever man, he does however appear to care little for the 'human' side of football. Whilst he can be entertaining and intelligent to listen to, he can also become hugely brittle and defensive when dealing with the press, his star fell incredibly quickly at Chelsea and one wonders where that whole experience has left him.

One thing that does not appear to have changed is his self confidence and self belief which was reflected in his ire with Spurs' apparent courting of more than one candidate with AVB rumoured to be walking away from the talks if that situation was to continue.

It is also indicative of the view of the level of dysfunction at Chelsea that a club such as Tottenham have not been dissuaded by AVB's short and ill fated reign there.
The Spurs job is clearly an attractive one but at the same time he is joining Spurs at an incredibly tough time given their relative recent success, the expectations to finish in the top four and the lack of resources from their stadium size and lack of Champions League revenues.

Both the Manchester clubs will clearly expect to finish above Spurs, Arsenal are for once already spending money and it is hard to see Chelsea being in any way as poor as they were last season. It should also be safe to assume that Liverpool will be more competitive, all of which points to a fourth place finish for Spurs being a tall order.

It would be unfair to write off AVB because of his failing at a club as dysfunctional as Chelsea and with a squad that was clearly in decline. That being said, Levy has taken a big gamble and his status as the best Chairman in the Premiership will rest on how quickly or otherwise AVB settles in - No Nonsense.