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The Problem At White Hart Lane

65858818 e26d887f5b1 The Problem At White Hart Lane

There has been a lot made about the lack of transfer activity during the past three windows for Tottenham.  During two of them, they had the draw of the Champions League to lure in players, yet still didn’t pull the trigger on many deals.

It’s easy to forget, but the mood within the corps of Tottenham supporters last year was just as sullen as this year, until the last second signing of Rafael van der Vaart  Other than the Dutchman, last summer only saw the addition of Sandro and William Gallas.

Come January, Spurs are the hit of Europe and within striking distance of third and even possibly second place.  So they needed a forward to make up for the lack of goals from the front.   While stories abounded of Daniel Levy carrying a wheelbarrow of money around Spain begging for teams to part with anybody, it never really happened.  And it never was really true.  Generated by twitter, that story belays the fact that other than a few queries at the last moment, the club didn’t pursue forwards as much as commonly accepted.

And now we see the end of another silly season and Tottenham bought only Parker and loaned Adebayor, but also sold nearly £30 million worth of players.

Spurs supporters are livid with the current state of affairs.  Levy gets blamed the most and is envisioned to be sitting in a pool of money writing sonnets about his hatred of the club he owns.  Some claim he is holding back money for a new manager.  Harry looks perpetually grumpy because he is actually forced to abide by economics for the first time in his career.  Using the media, he gets fans on his side and even more of them join in condemning the diminutive chairman.

Are they right?  The club have spent just £25 million in transfer fees in the past three windows and have London prices for home matches, EPL television revenue and a huge payoff from last year’s enjoyable run in the Champions League.   Where is all of that money?

Well, it’s very simple and it’s the secret that nobody wants to discuss.  Harry Redknapp can’t sell players.  And when he does, it’s usually at a loss.

The fact of the matter is that Tottenham, despite the misconception that they are big spenders in the market, are run very reasonably.  A wage structure that keeps them below 50% of revenues means they cannot afford anybody over £80,000 a week.   Before the owners got smart, West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle easily outspent Tottenham on wages.  And as for transfers, despite the numbers that show Tottenham are the 4th highest spenders since the EPL started, during the Levy era,  the club’s net spending has always been reasonable.  Yes the team has spent a lot of money, but they have always offset at least 60% of that with sales. Between 2003-2011, Tottenham spent £300 million on transfers, but they sold £190 million.  This is roughly £14 million per year.  That meets expectations for a club of their size in this league.

So how have things changed since Harry took over?  The sales dried up.  Take away last night’s £21 million bonanza for Hutton, Crouch and Palacios; and Harry, in the five windows he’s been in charge had sold only £34.5 million in players (most of that was the £18 million for Bent and Zokora).  How much had he spent?  Well going into yesterday, the number was a staggering £99 million.  He had net spent £65 million.  But that’s not the entire story.

Harry started his sells well enough, by making a profit on £8.6 million Didier Zokora (£1.4 million profit).  After that, he lost money on every sale at the club until Peter Crouch made him £500k late last night.   Having negated the Robbie Keane deal, he bought him back for £12 million and sold him on for £2.5 million – losing the club nearly £10 million.  He bought and sold Pascal Chimbonda within six months and lost a million doing so.  He couldn’t find takers for Ricardo Rocha or Gilberto so they left on free.  Darren Bent was bought for £16 million and sold for £10* million based on comments by Harry to the press comparing the striker to his wife.  During his short time at the club, his profit/loss on players he moved out of the club is a staggering £30 million in loses.  That’s right! He has lost £30 million on players.  Granted Damien Comolli deserves credit for some of that, but he was able to sell his own trash before the Harry era.

*A sell on clause  eventually saw all money recouped by the club.  Harry gets full credit on all transfers, but sell-on clauses are done by John Alexander, club secretary, and Daniel Levy.

Last night, Tottenham made £21 million on three players; however, that equated to a loss of £8.5 million.   Hutton and Palacios had been bought for £20 million but were sold for £11 million.

Players sometimes lose money, but for Tottenham that was rare before Harry.  They made money on Tommy  Forecast and Calum Davenport.  Do you know who they are?  I don’t.   That’s not to mention the large profits on Carrick, Berbatov and Keane (pre-Harry).

So Harry came in and spent a large sum of money.  Subsequently he has done little to replenish the coffers.  And when he has sold, it has been at a loss all but twice.

This is why Spurs have become one of the quietest teams in the EPL during the silly season.  With the £21 million just added, despite the loss, they are starting to get closer to normalcy and by January, we should see some activity.  There is a roster spot with Leandro’s name written all over it.

But in the meantime, Levy and Harry, hamstrung by a lack of sales used the loan market and free transfers to make the team better.  The story nobody talks about is how well they have done by getting Adebayor, Gallas. Friedel, Ceballos and Falque for NO  money.   That’s a great defender, a proven Prem forward, one of the best goalkeepers of the past 10 years and two La Mesia products for less that a cup of joe. That’s brilliant!

Note: I used http://www.topspurs.com/thfc-transfers.htm for my main source for numbers.  I won’t claim they are perfect, but they are close.  For example, there is no data on Coulibaly, but he cost £2 million.

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20 Responses to The Problem At White Hart Lane

  1. Raul says:

    Still not sure why he didnt sell Gio Dos Santos when he’s refused to play him in the past. Dos Santos said a deal was lined up but THFC declined it at the last minute.

  2. cgerv says:

    those are “realized” losses, while he is sitting on “unrealized” gains in Lennon, Modric, Bale.

    i do agree, our transfer history over the past few years has been poor. overpaying for decent players, selling bench players (inherently undervalued since no one sees them play). but to be fair, that’s what we have to do when we’re sitting at the bottom of the table in November (under Ramos). we had to spend. id be curious to see what other teams of similar size/revenue/standing have done in a similar window.

  3. pedrog says:

    belay or belie, that is the question.

  4. DoublePivot says:

    @Raul. From my understanding, we had offers from Udinese and Wigan that would have made a profit on him. He refused and wanted to go to Seville for 4 million. Seville wouldn’t budge and since we don’t like them, we refused to cave to their tactics. It was an instance where I was totally behind Levy and Harry. 10 million from Udi vs 4 for Seville because a player’s father wants the other city. Tapping him up didn’t pay, much like Chelsea :)

    • Raul says:

      Thats news to me, but im not sure 4million isnt better than 0million and having him sit on the bench. I hope THFC bounce back, theyre usually a fun to watch.

  5. Trickybrkn says:

    Stories on Tottenham always crack me up… Not like they ever carry any sense of say… reality. They always have a person to blame.. A praise for beloved chairman. ANDDDDD the olde THFC is financially stable.

    FFS Harry is a wheeler dealer. that is when he is best. But he is handcuffed by spud ownership, and that means that you have about 6 months before you start hearing word of his sacking…

    You have a few players who want away, cause they know that they are bigger then the club. You have a back line that tends to get injured,,, and you have Parker’s twirl. Enjoy

  6. Gaz says:

    Levy is a complete jer he migt be good at horse trading players and driving hard bargains ,but he also makes some unbelievable blunders then poohs himself trying to sort it out with Modric hes going to be a bit sorrier then normal though.

  7. Ringo says:

    Great article, really enjoyed it. It’s good to see unique perspectives on the situation. There are too many people regurgitating the same tired, kneejerk opinions on the matter.

  8. nick says:

    you have to think that levy would have accepted chelsea’s final offer (30mill plus a player) if they made it earlier in the window. Don’t forget that spurs always tried to sign cahill till bolton wouldn’t sell cheaply.
    There was no doubt that they had to sell players because the premiership squad can only be 25 players.
    I can understand not spending too much because the champions league money from last year was one time (not guaranteed) so if you buy players and add to the payroll using champions league money you will be screwed if you fail to make the champs league next year. I think they looked at liverpool and realized that they could either sell modric and buy or keep him and pick up cheap players or loan players. Adebayor will be a good signing for them b/c he is playing for a transfer next summer and wants to go to a champions league team. He is decent when motivated.

  9. Kevin says:

    Spurs faithful aren’t “livid” at all.

    Are some annoyed? Yes. But generally, a lot of people have said that this was a good transfer window for us.

  10. DoublePivot says:

    I envy you Kevin. It seems like you have surrounded yourself with very level headed Yids. But I was linked into SO/SC and various other boards and the level of animosity towards Levy is overwhelming there. Perhaps its just people using anonymous posting to be dumber than they would be in real life, but the sentiment is strong and its out there. And I hope you continue to avoid it.

  11. Gianlucca says:

    Didnt lose a first choice player and added 3.
    Cant be a bad window.
    Would we have liked an additional sexy signing? Yes.

    Think we’ll be fine with what we got considering we have no where near the money or buying power of the ret of the top 6.
    When you think only a few years ago Villa and Everton had similar talent to Spurs. That gap just keeps getting wider. Not even close anymore.

    Football today is all about Money. Manu, man c, chelski, the pool all spend lots of it and now theyre all at the top of the league.

  12. SpursFan2011 says:

    The article cracks me up mor of spurs fans hating their own club with a passsion looking to run everything down because life is one long nightmare being a spurs fan.
    Great selective accounting to come up with Harry made a loss,Keane was sold to Liverpool for 20 million then bought back then sold again and in the process made us at least 10 million profit.Darren Bent went for a similar fee that we paid,about 10 or 11 million up front with another 5 or 6 mill in add ons up to what we paid,we got our money back.Maybe if we didn’t have so many of Comolli’s deadwood buys that cost a fortune we wouldn’t be making losses,selling 30 year old Crouch for 10 million is great,we made 30 million profit on sales minus 5 for Scott Parker.Spurs re now selling lazy players Comolli bought that were awful and spent most of their time injured or performing like shit and it’s a shock to the article author we make losses,so do all clubs on some of their players and when we made over 70 million in sales under the DOF genius we spent 80 million in one transfer window when Ramos arrived and that doesn’t count shite like Ricardo Rocha bought the previous window in January yet out of all of our buys most were squad players taht struggled to command a first team place and needed upgrading or selling within a year.
    I never fail to be astonished by the hatred spurs so called fans have for the club,they moan about wanting a bigger new stadium then moan about it’s design,they hate a manager in first full season gets us fourth.He gets claims of he will bankrupt us when he has no control over finances under one of the most prudent smartest chairmen ever in the EPL and then gets blamed for players he doesn’t try to sign like Bellamy,Cole,Hargreaves etc but they can go Liverpool,Lille and Man City yet thats o.k I don’t hear them be lambasted especially Pool for resigning Bellamy.And some people want a DOF back or claim Comolli was good,look at the money wasted at Pool and his signings mostly from England yet it’s the same short sighted non scouting Harry does apparently on match of the day.
    Spurs fan now are overloaded with a bunch of ungrateful cunts that sit on the internet moaning about the club that never go to games yet are all experts in finances and management,nothing is never good enough for spurs,players we don’t sign are one minute beneath us then we should sign them,Harry has no scouting yet has snared some great young talent and some good buys from abroad but they become Levy signings.Harry never plays youth but when he does he doesn’t give a shit,the youth is crap and he cost us games.
    Wind your fucking necks in it will come together,next January and summer when talent is available and we have loads of cash to spend and little players to shift and we arent reliant on sales first and getting rid of big wage earners we can make early moves for top talent not spunk a hundred million on average players like Liverpool did,we don’t have Chelsea or Man City cash or Man Utds power in the transfer market so just accept it,spending money to keep up with the Jones’s is not worth it when looking at sluggish transfer windows with little real quality about for sale.

    • DoublePivot says:

      To be fair,
      I was not hating my club, but exasperated by such hate was trying to find a reason why there wasn’t as much purchase. I will say that I hate straw men, which is your arguments to a fine point. But sorry if you misinterpreted it as such.

  13. Gary says:

    SpursFan2011,
    So you think Pool have wasted money on their English talent. By the way, Charlie Adam is Scottish not English. Anyway, I wonder how you will feel if this same Pool team finished above Spurs.

  14. brian c says:

    Some things, like with Keane, are tough to quantify as they age, they do lose value. It’s impossible to really compare Robbie Keane in 2003-04 for example to the Keane in 2011. He’s 30-31 thereabouts (I can’t honestly remember) and players of that age aren’t worth much to start. They gave him to LA to free him off their wage bills.

    It’s apples to oranges and not all transfers are equal.

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