Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sour Grapes From Daniel Levy

After the gutless manner in which former manager Martin Jol was fired last October, only learning of his sacking through a text message sent to his nephew, I knew never to expect anything of significance handled with class by club chairman Daniel Levy. Levy had also repeatedly denied in public that he was going to replace Jol with Juande Ramos, and guess what, he did just that. During his tenure at White Hart Lane, Levy has developed an unflattering reputation with a significant contingent of Tottenham supporters and other higher-ups across the Premiership for relying on politics rather than doing what makes soccer sense.

Levy demonstrated his own stupidity once again in the past couple days with his comments regarding Robbie Keane's $40 million move to Liverpool. He would have the public believe that Tottenham was a helpless victim in the matter, and big, bad Liverpool bullied his club around and railroaded him into selling the Irish striker:

"I have already made my opinion clear on the nature of this transaction. I don't regard it as a transfer deal - that is something which happens between two clubs when they both agree to trade - this is very much an enforced sale, for which we have agreed a sum of £19 million as compensation plus a potential further £1.3 million in additional compensation."

He also effectively accused Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez of tapping-up after Benitez had praised Keane's abilities in the media, although to be fair, he didn't pursue his claims any further than that. Liverpool made a donation to Tottenham's primary charity in acknowledgement that Benitez's comments were inappropriate, but that was unnecessary.

I don't see where Levy gets off saying any of what he said. He didn't have to sell Keane, who was under contract with the North London club until 2010. He had a choice in the matter, and he agreed to the move. Tottenham are in better financial shape than Liverpool as it is, so Spurs didn't exactly need the money. Liverpool didn't force Levy into anything. How can he not call it a "transfer deal", which, according to his own words, has to be agreed upon, when clearly it was. If it wasn't, Keane wouldn't be allowed to go anywhere.

To say that a potential $40.6 million is just "compensation" is insulting to those who work far harder than Levy for exponentially smaller salaries. It also implies that Keane was stolen from Tottenham without consent, and Liverpool just threw some money out of the rear window while escaping with the player to make everything better.

As for his comments aimed at Benitez, give me a break. What exactly is the definition of tapping-up? Robbie Keane is many things, some positive and some negative, but ignorant isn't one of them. He knows other clubs would love to benefit from his services. The guy is good for at least 15 goals per season, so of course he's in demand. His agent, Struan Marshall, also represents Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, and Keane is good friends with both of the Liverpool stalwarts, who surely talked to Keane about coming to Anfield at some point or another. Keane supported Liverpool as a boy like many other Irishmen, and it was his lifelong dream to play for the club.

Levy is nothing more than a spoiled sore loser who whines and moans when he doesn't get his way. As he showed during the Jol situation and now with Keane, Levy is as fickle as they come. He possesses the wrong personal traits to succeed as an executive in professional sports, and Tottenham's accomplishments over the last three seasons (Carling Cup, two 5th-place finishes, and appearances in the UEFA Cup Round of 16 and Quarterfinals) have come in spite of him, not because of him.

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