That Thing Called Football
Why is it that many Tottenham fans want Daniel Levy removed but the ownership of Tottenham absolutely love what he is doing? The answer is what we think the word FOOTBALL means.
Today was the first step of the Daniel Levy vision and why he was OK with the cost overrun of Tottenham Stadium and why that overrun involves the vision he has for American Football.
Look at the actual design of the stadium and that speaks volumes where Daniel Levy's mind really is.
Look at the "home team' Tottenham dressing room and then compare how Levy went out of his way to create amazing facilities for the NFL dressing room. The difference is mind-blowing. Sure the Spurs dressing room looks nice but the dressing room for the NFL team and the facilities provided for American footballers is amazing beyond words.
The soccer pitch is retractable i.e. it slides out of the stadium, revealing underneath the actual vision and dream of the Tottenham ownership. Ultimately the prize is getting a London franchise for the NFL - and that makes the owners of Tottenham, NFL owners. Not only is the main surface on the ground an NFL pitch and not a soccer pitch, that NFL surface will also be used for major concerts. This means that Tottenham Hotspurs as a football club is much like its retractable pitch, a cover for a much grander vision of what football means.
Just to add more context to this, the sideline was not marked TOTTENHAM but LONDON. There is however one huge threat still on the horizon for Daniel Levy and that threat comes from the Fulham owner who is also an NFL owner (who happened to buy Football). What does the Fulham owner dream of doing with his version of FOOTBALL?
His name is Shahid Khan and he already has what Daniel Levy envisions - he is an NLF owner. The kind of owner that is depicted in HBO shows like Ballers :
When it comes ownership ego what is bigger? Being an NFL owners or a Premier League Owner?
What is bigger is an NFL Owner that owns a Premier League team or even an MLB owner in baseball owner who owns a Premier league team. Anyone you know that reminds you of the latter? Have you heard of Liverpool Football Club, its owners are the owners of the baseball giants Boston Red Sox. When they purchased Liverpool, fans of Liverpool were concerned about this American ownership. Yet the Baseball-Soccer relationship has begun to work as both sports teams have achieved major owners.
Shahid Khan or Daniel Levy do not resemble the American owners of a baseball team. They resemble the owner of Manchester United whose primary franchise is another NFL team which is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Shahid Khan is the NFL owner of the Jackson Jaguars and Daniel Levy is designing the path forward for the Tottenham ownership to be owners of the first London NFL franchise. Problem is that Shahid Khan has the same dream and he has already offered the Football Association (that is the soccer association body that runs the England soccer team) $2 billion to buy Wembley Stadium. Then Shahid plans to move his Jacksonville franchise to London. If that happens two things happen, Daniel Levy will have a massive headache because his strategy is predicated on things much bigger than soccer. The second problem is that the spiritual home of soccer in England (and around the world) will have been sold to an NFL owner - then what does that say about where soccer really is in the existing global sports hierarchy.
Sure the Premier League is huge, but the Premier League do not own Wembley Stadium, the Football Association does and the Football Association runs all the other divisions other than the Premier League. The good news for Daniel Levy is that after an outcry in England from real football fans, that thing that Daniel Levy wants to call FOOTBALL is still a vision he can one day realize. Once we have that context, why would Spurs sack Levy as a Chairman - because he really does think big, even though that necessarily isn't about small f football, which we all know as football.
Note however that while Shahid Khan pulled out of the Wembley deal, that does not mean he will not try again in the future, but the foot race with establishing the use of a soccer stadium to be a NFL stadium is heating up and Daniel Levy is the one that is back in the driving seat. Especially after the sensational NFL opener today where the Oakland Raiders beat Chicago Bears 24-21.
Now there is another perspective which also needs to be considered, which is unlike the Newcastle United owner, Daniel Levy is normally very visible at every Tottenham game. No one can say that he does not care about Tottenham Hotspur, but that his vision is way bigger than Tottenham Hotspur. His ownership group will be the first one that began with a soccer team and gained an NFL franchise, which is not true with Fulham and Manchester United. In both of those cases the NFL led owners have not contributed to the success of either club, but Manchester United is making money but well beyond on the field soccer. Daniel Levy will eventually make a whole lot more money beyond soccer itself. He has built a state of the art stadium. Everton FC want to follow suit also but Everton is principally has Chinese ownership and their dreams of building a stadium that rivals the one at Tottenham has no NFL dream.
Everton now sit in a relegation spot, so their dream remains a dream, whereas Daniel Levy has produced the goods though no one knows at this stage at what short-term cost for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Yet once the revenues start kicking in later years and if all the visions of Daniel Levy come true, he will have the money to turn Tottenham into one of the big teams - rivaling the Real Madrid's of this world. Real Madrid do have a basketball team but not to any scale that involves the possibility of an NBA franchise. Tottenham's board does have a grand vision, but it is the short-term window which is confusing. Only Liverpool with its baseball ownership have made diligent decisions that have led to success and managed finances. The expansion of Liverpools ground did not require a whole new ground to be built, instead the existing stand was extended and Anfield as a ground still holds it's spiritual position in the hearts of Liverpool fans.
Manchester United fans have much more to grumble about than Tottenham fans, because the misery of the Glazer years (the American family that own them) has now spanned several big name managerial flops and now the worst start for a Manchester United team since 1989. The blip in Tottenham's form is no where as egregious, as the Marco Silva position that has seen Everton spend well on quality players, but still end up now resting in one of the relegation spots. The chances of the Manchester United manager getting fired first is higher than the Spurs manager being let go - and so Daniel Levy can still cut a deal with Manchester United. Yet he can also cut a deal with Everton and give Pochettino another five years to get ready for the United job, while he would inherit players that he can transform. Otherwise Pochettino will need another five years at Tottenham. Why would Tottenham provide that room when a manager like Jose Mourinho is very interested in taking over the Tottenham job.
Yet Jose Mourinho will only take the Tottenham job if he has a large transfer kitty, which is money in the short-term that Daniel Levy does not have and then there is the size of Mourinho's ego and whether Daniel Levy will be OK with that. So it is that this thing called FOOTBALL is no longer clear cut because it all means what we define by FOOTBALL. Not just the difference between Association Football and American Football but the difference between off-field football operations and the actual soccer product. It would be a nice bonus to have a really good Tottenham team, but until the debt is covered by new franchise assets and major concerts and events bringing in huge sums for the Spurs owners - those big dreams cannot be compared to how Liverpool's American owners are running things. So what makes the Liverpool American owners different other than they own a baseball team rather than a FOOTBALL team, try this clip from the movie Moneyball and from it one can draw their own conclusion: