Typical Tottenham. They can’t even protest against the owners without making a hash of things. The demonstrations sparked by the inexcusable Super League debacle, but symptomatic of the rising dissent against Daniel Levy, were poorly attended. Hundreds rather than thousands of fans protested outside the ground, and that was not helped by a date mix up.
At least the Manchester United fans knew when to turn up.
Time for Daniel Levy to Listen to Fans as Discontent Grows in N17
Growing Pressure for Chairman to Address Fans’ Concerns
Nonetheless, such ‘Spursiness’ should not mask the strength of feeling running against Daniel Levy and ENIC. It speaks to the broader trend of billionaire owners riding roughshod over the wishes of fans, without consultation or consideration. The club has undertaken severe changes, and it is dubious as to whether Levy’s ‘successes’ counterbalance these detractions.
Shiny Stadium over Shiny Silverware
The most striking legacy is of course the new stadium. It was built to enable greater ticketing income and to demonstrate to the world that Tottenham had truly arrived at the top table. But it hasn’t entirely worked out that way.
One can ruminate over the aesthetics of the new stadium until the cows come home. But the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (rights name pending) has taken much of the soul and atmosphere out of former home fixtures. When it has 60,000 fans on their feet, it can produce a terrific atmosphere. But most of the time, the voices are lost to the cacophonous quietness.
Perhaps that is partly the fault of the fans, failing to live up to the atmospheres generated by Dortmund and the Old Firm sides. But the layout of the new stadium certainly does not help. Corporatising the new ‘Shelf’ has diminished the spirit of the fanbase, removing any degree of spontaneity.
Rather than follow simple supply and demand, the greater capacity has only seen rising ticket prices. This has failed to correspond to an increase in the footballing or atmospheric quality. Tottenham have some of the highest season ticket prices in Europe, almost ten times as high as that at Bayern Munich. The frankly ludicrous pricing of £60 per ticket for the home game against Aston Villa demonstrated such tone-deaf economic exploitation.
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From when Spurs departed the old White Hart Lane to now, the side has gone backwards. The top players are all but certain to leave in the summer transfer window, whilst the experience of Arsenal’s move to the Emirates offers an ominous prospect of what is to come.
Levy has overseen the construction of the new training facilities that are second to none. And yet, it does not appear to be yielding results. Players do not seem capable of making their mark at the top end. Nor are there any more youth prospects being blooded than at other Premier League clubs
The appointment of Jose Mourinho was a deal with the devil that not even Beelzebub could pull through on. Abandoning the Glory Glory philosophy, the history of attractive football dating back to the Push and Run side of the title-winning sides of the past was a tough pill to swallow. For a side prided on cup glories, going 30 years without an FA Cup is bad enough. But it has also been 13 years without any silverware, the longest time between trophies since before the 1950s.
60,000 Small Violins: Time for Daniel Levy to Listen to Fans
Fans of lower league clubs like Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool may struggle for sympathy in light of the more existential struggle with their owners. It is tempting to tell Spurs fans that, in the spirit of Chas and Dave, they “mustn’t grumble”.
Fans aren’t complaining about a lack of success per se, any more than football fans bemoan their lot in normal circumstances. It is that fans were promised glorious victory and riches in return for the fundamental transformation of the club; those riches have not transpired, and the transformation has been for the worse.
And then there’s the Super League. There is nothing to be added that hasn’t already been said. But for most fans, the feelings matched those akin to losing a relative or being cheated on.
Tottenham fans aren’t asking for the world. In an ideal world, the much-touted 50+1, or some such scheme, would already be in place. But in lieu of that, simply listening to fans concerns, having a reasonable ticketing price, and fan consultation on major decisions going forward would be a good start.