Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Levy seems alright ACTUALLY

Now don't get me wrong, I am a big Martin Jol fan - so please don't think I'm converting to the dark side... but, I heard Brian Alexander's interview with Daniel Levy last night on Five Live and my impression of him improved. I'm sure it was because I could hear exactly what he said without the press interfering. I do generally believe that the world would be a more harmonious place if it wasn't for the Daily Mail. But don't get me started on that collection of lies and speculation as I'll save it for a future blog.

So what did Levy have to say yesterday? Well actually, probably nothing that hasn't already been mentioned over the last few weeks and certainly nothing that hasn't been picked up by the various websites in the last 24 hours.

"We wanted Martin to succeed. The outside publicity was unfortunate but, in the end, it comes down to results. You can't have a situation where everybody is talking about finishing in the top four and then being in the bottom three. You cannot afford to take the risk that you may end up in a very, very bad situation. No club is too big to be relegated. We just weren't winning at all and you could look at the players, and there was a point when I think Martin had lost the confidence of the players. That happens in football."

"We didn't offer the job to anybody else whilst Martin was here. That's the truth. When we asked Martin to step down we didn't know we were going to appoint Ramos. We hoped he would come."

"Virtually every club in Spain has a sporting director. We want a coach who specialises in getting the best out of players, which means making the team selections and making all the tactical decisions. What the sporting director does is take a lot of the pressure off the manager. They can go on scouting missions and be in charge of scouts. They also have to be in charge of the medical department and the academy, and it is impossible for one person to do everything to the best of their ability. Having said that, there are always exceptions, such as Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. But the best chance of success is if you have someone looking after things that are outside the first team, and one who looks after the first team. Then, they can come together over the question of transfers."

"Damien Comolli has recommended Juande Ramos. Clearly he will take responsibility if it does not work but I have every confidence it will."
So what was difference this time? Well I though Levy was very articulate, he didn't try and hide from the questions and he played down all of the traditional angst points in a very calm and nonchalant way (e.g. the Comolli-Jol transfer targets 'arguments').

However, what he did say that I thought was quite telling and I'm still not sure if he is being pessimistic or just realistic, was his comments about the 'sporting director and head coach' versus 'manager' debate. Levy explicitly said that the benefit of the former approach over the latter approach is continuity. He compared us to Arsenal and basically said that if we're not going to be as successful as they have been over the last ten years, then we need a sporting director to ensure there is continuity as we inevitably chop and change our head coach. As I say, not sure if I'm frustrated by his lack of ambition or whether he is incredibly astute and realistic. I think it's more likely to be the latter as Levy is known as a very ambitious chairman who I get the impression has aspirations beyond Spurs and football.

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