In Emergency Break Glass

Spurs are in a position to do what they have never done in my lifetime. Knock on the door of being an elite team in the modern era. We have been here once before, of course. At that time we had a certain Mr. Alan Sugar in charge. It takes just 5 minutes of watching the apprentice to work out why that failed. The man is insane. An egomaniac.

There is an argument that before the late 70s and early 80s there were no truly ‘elite’ teams. Almost anyone could win the league and almost anyone could go down. The fact that a certain team that got promoted from the second tier went on to win the top tire the following year tells you what things were like back in the 1950s.

The 70s and 80s were a boom time for football but few envisioned just how big the 90s would be. Alan Sugar was not one of those few. His Tottenham was a selling club. He was the architect of midtable mediocrity and whereas that was preferable to the joyless conclusion of the Leeds experiment (a club that saw the boom too late and pushed beyond itself to catch up) it also failed to allow Spurs to keep on the heels of what became the genuinely large clubs: Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

So the 1980s experiment was to fail. A bit of good luck and decent management took us as far as the door and we saw 3rd. When the choice to take a risk and pay the doorman was put in front of Alan Sugar he declined. It was nut a club he particularily wished to join, at least not enough to pay the entrance fee.

Now we have an new CEO and a new owner and, regardless of how much of a fan you are, the choice is theirs, not yours. We got here partly because of Comolli and, later, Levy’s happiness to play the trading game: spread your money thin, buy a lot of players, hope some become great, try and recoup your money on those that do not make the grade, hopefully you luck out and eventually have a few good players at once.

The net spend on players under Ramos, Jol and Santini was almost nil but with Redknapp Spurs have spent. Yet even with this spend Spurs have always bought potential top talent- not existing top talent. The first signing to arrive with a ready top pedigree was Rafael van der Vaart and we must remember that even he was out of favour and brought in at a bargain price, at the last minute.

To break the glass ceiling and, to mash metaphors horribly, pay the membership to enter the elite club (why would there be a door above a ceiling- architects these days!) our owner will have to delve into his pocket in the middle of a worldwide recession. One that many experts say is only going to get worse, not better. Whether spending now is a Leeds-style gamble or the sensible way forward only the board can really know but we will have their answer come the end of the transfer window.

This is no longer about hedging bets buying relative unknowns like Luka Modric, Giovanni dos Santos, Gareth Bale or Adel Taraabt. It is not about shoring up a squad with Peter Crouch, Niko Krancjar or Wilson Palacios. We are at the big stakes table now and as Harry said on Sky Sports: we need a couple of big players but big players command big fees and big wages. Will Levy pay thirty or forty million for a single player- the right player?

It’s time to shit or get off the pot. Climb through that glass ceiling. Pay the membership. Go through the door. Join the elite. If Daniel Levy is really Indiana Jones maybe he can navigate that. I’ve finished murdering the English language for today.


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