Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has admitted the club “lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA” in an end-of-season letter to supporters, in which he promised to appoint a new manager committed to attacking football and blooding young players.
Levy made no mention of the European Super League but said the decision to establish a Club Advisory Panel of elected fan representatives, the chair of which will sit on the board as a full non-executive, would ensure “wide, authentic representation and [that] our fans are at the heart of Club decisions”.
Levy and the ownership have faced unrest from supporters over their involvement in the ESL and a perceived prioritisation of the business side of the club, including completing the new stadium, over investment in the first-team.
The chairman acknowledged that the club had “lost sight” of priorities while delivering the £1.2billion ground and subsequently dealing with the pandemic, but insisted their mistakes were never due to a lack of respect for supporters.
“As a Club we have been so focused on delivering the stadium and dealing with the impact of the pandemic, that I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA,” Levy told fans in his programme notes ahead of the return of 10,000 supporters for tonight’s match against Aston Villa.
“Our work in the community and with the NHS is an example of when we get it right, but we don’t get everything right. It has never been because we don’t care about or respect you, our fans – nothing could be further from the truth.
“We have announced we shall establish a Club Advisory Panel that we believe will provide wide, authentic representation and ensure our fans are at the heart of Club decisions, with the Chair to be appointed annually as a Non-Executive of the Board with full voting rights, a first for any Premier League club.
“The new stadium is pivotal to generating revenues to invest in the squad. Every single penny generated gets re-invested back into our Club.
“We are absolutely clear that central to our ambitions is a successful football team – it is what we all crave. We have come close over the last seven seasons and everyone’s focus is on a return to regular Champions League participation and competing for honours.
“I have said it many times and I will say it again – everything we do is in the long-term interests of the Club. I have always been and will continue to be ambitious for our Club and its fans.”
Levy’s decision to replace manager Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho in November 2019 backfired, with the Portuguese sacked last month after a steady decline in results.
Mourinho’s football was often conservative and his tenure came to be defined by his side’s futile attempts to protect narrow leads, rather than try to score more goals.
Levy made no mention of Mourinho but said the club was “acutely aware” of the need to recruit a coach who would entertain supporters and promote academy players.
“This season, for many reasons, we have not met our raised expectations on the pitch,” he wrote. “Since we lost the Champions League Final in June 2019, we have invested in excess of £250m in new players. Everyone had high hopes with the squad we had assembled. Unfortunately, despite sitting top of the Premier League in December, we have not been able to sustain this position. We reached the Carabao Cup Final, however we had a disappointing exit from the Europa League and now find ourselves fighting to qualify for Europe, having competed in European competition for 14 of the last 15 seasons.
“We shall focus on the recruitment of a new Head Coach. We are acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great Club and return to playing football with the style for which we are known – free-flowing, attacking and entertaining - whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish from our Academy alongside experienced talent.”
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust met with Levy and the board yesterday to discuss the proposals for the Club Advisory Panel, with an update expected in the next 24 hours.