It’s been a difficult season for so many reasons. Keeping faith in Tottenham Hotspur has become a hard task, but there are positives which we must look to, so we can get a clear idea of where this club is going in the future, under Daniel Levy and ENIC, along with the people closer to the footballing matters on the pitch, the manager and the players. This article will look at what Spurs fans have to look forward to after what has been a disappointing and stagnant year for the club.
1) New Stadium.
The talk of a new stadium has been long winded to say the least, since 2007 we have been promised a new stadium and the development of the Tottenham area, it’s now mid 2014 and little has been done in terms of the building of the new stadium; we have fussed over the Olympic Stadium which wasn’t what the fans wanted, as well as looking to just improve on White Hart Lane, but in recent months the Northumberland Development Project is starting to take off, we have opened the new Sainsbury’s supermarket, as well as the Tottenham UT College, and a date has been set in which Daniel Levy believes the new stadium will be ready by, Summer of 2017. It’s a massive project, which has had it’s hiccups (understatement), but it now looks as though, pending a decision from the CPO on the building of the new stadium, we have the go-ahead to build the next chapter in Tottenham’s illustrious history.
The Stadium was quoted by Chairman Daniel Levy as being ‘critical’ to the future of Tottenham, both on the pitch and off it. The development would mean the 47,000 people on the waiting list for a season ticket at White Hart Lane would be able to come in and fill the projected 58,000 seater arena, this is massive as it gives more revenue for the club and also means that the fan base across the world will increase, as well as increasing the support in England. With this increased revenue, it helps majorly on the pitch, we can become an ‘elite’ team in England, and along with the biggest and best in the Premier League, can go out and attract the best players to play for our team. This is Daniel Levy’s legacy at Tottenham, deliver the club a new stadium and he will be deemed a complete success at Spurs, fail and he will be adjudged an utter failure. Crucial doesn’t explain how much this means.
Daniel Levy and ENIC haven’t delivered the new stadium as of yet, but what they have given the club is an incredible training ground, opened in 2012, the £30 million training centre is undoubtedly seen as one of the best in world football, even the best players who have trained at some of the best training grounds are in awe of the training ground’s facilities and modern look, it really is beautifully designed. What this training centre was, was the first step in what is a long term project, and it shows the commitment Daniel Levy has for Tottenham, we have to give him credit for this. This project is brilliant as it helps youth players get the best facilities in order to succeed at Spurs, as well as giving first team Spurs players the feeling of being at a top club, and being treated well and once again given the facilities needed for success. What the training ground also brings, is the same factor the new Stadium will hopefully bring, it attracts players to the club; if the first thing they see is a top of the range training ground as they come to speak to the club, they will think of Spurs as a big club, with big ambition, if Hotspur Way is where they are based.
Hotspur Way not only gives off a good image to players, but also to other football teams, the media and fans. The image of the club is that it is a top club, that is willing to give the playing staff what they need. And it doesn’t stop there, a new 500 seater stand is set to be built at Hotspur Way, giving fans the opportunity to visit the training centre and watch youth teams play, and see how they are developing, when thinking about it, it really does make you feel good to know that Hotspur Way is the standard we have set ourselves, and gives a good indication the Stadium is going to be of similar calibre.
Another aspect that should excite fans about the future of the club is the young talent we have coming up through the club, and the players that are just starting to integrate into the first team. Our U21 and U18 teams have real talent within them, and they are showing it in these recent seasons, our U21 team has not had the best of years because lots of the players have gone on loan, or have been taken into the first team, for example Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb and Zeki Fryers have this season made the jump from under 21 football to first team football which is brilliant. However the form of the team has increased since Under 18 players have been merged into the Under 21s, so it shows the talent we have at both levels. The Under 21s sit 11th in the Under 21 Premier League, with Fulham at the top. The Under 18 team are a really exciting bunch and their season in the Under 18 Premier League South section has been formidable, they sit at the top having won 16 games out of 24, with only 4 losses. Now we need the coaching staff to continue to integrate players into the first team, whether that’s in training, or first team game time.
Players on loan are also making good progress, Alex Pritchard at Swindon in League 1 has had a great season scoring 8 goals and getting 9 assists from the left wing, earning himself a nomination for player of the year in League 1, plus young player of the year in the whole of the Football League, at just 20 I think he has a big future at Spurs and he’s one to get excited about. Now he’s back at Spurs he could definitely get game time. Another player who we’ve had a glimpse of at Spurs is Ryan Fredericks, the right back played in our 4-1 win over Anzhi while AVB was in charge and looks to have a real maturity in the way he plays, now on loan at Championship club Millwall and getting vital experience learning from Ian Holloway. Other players who have shown great promise at the club are 18 year old Serbian centre back/centre midfielder Milos Veljkovic, who is highly rated by Tim Sherwood and people within the club, 19 year old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb who has been integrated into the first team by Tim Sherwood and despite his flaws, is one of the most promising players at the club, as well as 20 year old striker Harry Kane, who is the U21’s top scorer and has shown he can deliver in the first team recently, and finally 21 year old left back/centre back Zeki Fryers who is now seen as our main left back cover and an option to have at centre back, his versatility, strength and pace make him a great player for the future, and it looks as if his future lies at centre back after an incredible performance against Benfica.
Even after what has been a desperately disappointing season after so much expectation that comes with signing 7 new players, who were all international quality, what we didn’t factor in was how long it would take for these players to gel into the team, adapt to living conditions in England, and also adapt to the pace and intensity of the Premier League. Mistakes were made in the summer transfer window, we know that, but we have signed good players, I believe that and I believe in the players we have at the club, now we need a manager who is going to take this team forward and we need to give these players everything they need to succeed at Spurs. It’s a young squad, with a lot of potential and room to improve, including 42 year old keeper Brad Friedel, our average squad age is 26.4, with arguably our best and most important player Christian Eriksen only 22 years of age. There is potential and it’s another thing that is exciting and gives me hope going into the future with Spurs. We need to keep this squad and give them the ability to succeed.
The players we have are all international quality, every first team player apart from Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton have played first team football for their countries. We have the players, and we have players who will become, if everything goes well, key players in the future. The two major talents being 22 year old midfielder Christian Eriksen and 22 year old winger Erik Lamela, that is where the future of this team lies, we need to make sure we build teams around them. However, even with all this talent, we have weak spots, and we need to clear deadwood and add a left back, centre back, left winger and at least one striker, that gives the manager the team to make the coveted Champions League. Even without Champions League, we will attract players, we have showed that in the last two seasons, signing Champions League quality such as Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela without the competition, and I expect that the ambition the club shows in other areas is enough to persuade players Tottenham is a good step in their careers, but we need a manager who shares that ambition and I don’t think that’s Tim Sherwood.
Obviously, as I’ve said and as Daniel Levy has said, the New Stadium is crucial to the future of Tottenham, but there are many other things that are in desperate need to get Tottenham to that ‘elite club’ stage. First of all, the appointment of a new manager, although I don’t have anything against Tim Sherwood, he is not of the calibre we need at Spurs to take us to that next level; I wouldn’t be opposed to Sherwood staying on at Spurs, either in the youth teams or with the first team, but he is not at the quality we need as a manager. Rumours are all over the shop, and with Louis Van Gaal’s ship almost fully sailed in the direction of Manchester United, it seems the two managers that are available are Frank De Boer of Ajax and Mauricio Pochettino of Southampton. For me, Frank De Boer has to be seen as the number 1 target, he has an incredible future as a manager and has managed Ajax to 4 Eredivisie titles in 4 consecutive years. What De Boer can bring to the table is his ability to work with youth and grow teams into a squad that can compete for trophies, he likes to work with young teams and that is exactly what we are. It may be a risk, but he knows Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen well and everything we have got from Ajax has turned out brilliantly so far, so what is one more! The crucial thing, if Frank De Boer is to be appointed is that he is given time, given time to build his team and ingrain his footballing philosophy onto the team and the club. He plays attacking football and that’s what we demand at Spurs.
As well as the new manager, what we need from Daniel Levy and ENIC is a clear indication of the direction of the club, and now, after hopefully landing Frank De Boer, being able to grow a stable coaching staff as well as a stable squad which we can grow and develop. That’s key, for on the pitch. I have no qualms about Daniel Levy’s dealings of the club off the pitch, he has landed us lucrative deals and if we take his word for the new stadium he is showing his ambition for Spurs, the club is very well run, but now Tottenham need success on the pitch, because that’s where it really matters, to the fans.
Thanks for reading! Tottenham will always be around, but these are crucial times in the future of our club in which decisions must be assessed with precision and care, it’s crucial that Tottenham succeed, and it’s Daniel Levy’s last few chances to make sure it’s him who takes us to glory once again.
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