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Tottenham Hotspur: The weakest...
Soccer

Tottenham Hotspur: The weakest strongman at the circus

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

12:11 19 Apr 2021

After a day being waterboarded by the ramifications of the Super League, welcome to the day after the night before. If you look closely, you'll see Daniel Levy haranguing the cleaners to clean up the blood spatter before Florentino arrives, like a footballing Hyacinth Bucket.

This is the thing with money - it really brings out the worst in people. The higher you rise in these circles, the more precarious the footing; the more alienated you are from those who helped you make it. Sadly for Tottenham, new money has a certain stench.

Levy finds himself like Jimmy Conway after the Lufthansa heist, ripping the fur coat from the back of Jose Mourinho. Anything to not draw unwanted attention from the bigger boys. Or at least get the kind of attention they want: 'See? We can be ruthless too!'

It is ironic that the appointment of Mourinho - as dunderheaded as it felt at the time and proved to be - was driven by a feeling that they wanted to show they could do what the big clubs could do. But in chasing fool's gold, they lost a manager in Mauricio Pochettino who had grown tired of the myopic frugality.

Totttenham

Spurs are now apparently copper-fastened as one of the founder members of the elite footballing furniture. Which is funny, because not even Tottenham consider themselves part of the elite footballing furniture. Of all the reactions to yesterday's cascade of opprobrium to the Circus That Eats Its Young, those towards Spurs had a tone that Levy might acquaint himself with:

"You? What are you doing here?"

It's nothing personal, you see - everyone involved is getting a share of the brickbats. The only thing is that the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United are used to being hated - it comes with the territory. Spurs' footing is that of a kid being hurried along by the crowd of fans leaving a stadium. Apt, really.

Even Red Nev, during his clarion call to those in charge of the means of footballing production, reserved the most damning of all judgements for Spurs: "...Tottenham I'm not bothered about."

Oh, Gary.

This has been a part of the ENIC project all along. A need to feel part of the gang, to lay 'lads, it's Tottenham' to rest - off the pitch, anyway. What they have done, in forgetting what brought them to the top table, is make sure they hear it in several different languages.

Neville reserved particular derision for Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool - three of the cornerstones of the English game. What Tottenham would have given for an equal footing.

The past 24 hours has been a period of great change and flux, where it appears that all we have known is coming to change, or at least crystallise into its final form. UEFA became the defender of the working man, championing 'solidarity' in the face of a cynical project. Once the nausea subsided, we were confronted with Joel Glazer talking of what is best for the 'football pyramid' - as if he were going to ask you to enlist the help of several friends to make it work.

What remains a constant is Tottenham's thirst to be considered a part of the gang; the Richard Hammond to Florentino Perez's Clarkson. They may have disassociated themselves from one football pyramid, but they now find themselves at the very bottom of another. The hope will be that being a part of the OG crew will mean they can alter the Super League's direction, but the fact is that they'll do what they're told.

The weakest strongman

There's a scene in Succession that Tottenham executives might acquaint themselves with:

Greg: What? No, I mean, my grandpa changes his mind a lot, so it's not final, and plus, um, he's so sturdy. Like who knows how long I might have to wait. I'm good, anyway, cuz, uh, my, so, I was just talkin' to my mom, and she said, apparently, he'll leave me five million anyway, so I'm golden, baby.

Connor: You can't do anything with five, Greg. Five's a nightmare.

Greg: Is it?

Connor: Oh, yeah. Can't retire. Not worth it to work. Oh, yes, five will drive you un poco loco, my fine feathered friend.

Tom: The poorest rich person in America. The world's tallest dwarf.

Connor: The weakest strong man at the circus.

Roll up, roll up...

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