Saturday, 7 July 2001
Campbell Puts THFC Directors In The Soup
Spurs A Team Without Sol
When I received the telephone call that confirmed that Arsenal had secured the signature of Sol Campbell I immediately popped a bottle of champagne to toast Arsene Wenger, and the Arsenal administration, for taking out proper, albeit expensive, insurance in the event that they may lose the Rock of Highbury, Tony Adams.
To now have in place the former Rock of Tottenham as either a replacement or major support to the present Rock of Highbury was a class move.
Arsenal icon the mature Tony Adams cannot be expected to carry on shouldering the responsibility of captain, and remain forever the mainstay of the Arsenal defence.
Gunners' Awesome Half Back Line
However, with Sol Campbell as part of the Gunners defence, and with the success of the rotating player system, it may well prove that Arsenal will retain the services of Tony Adams.
The rotating player system could mean that Tony could play less than the 90 minutes of football each game, and take a rest from playing a match, or matches when ever he is required to do so.
Adams, Campbell and Martin McKeown is an awesome half back line, and is a line of defence that only the best, or the luckiest, Premier League forwards will penetrate.
A player of the quality of Sol Campbell will only improve any team, and there is no doubt that under Arsene Wenger he will improve the defence of Arsenal.
There is also no doubt that the loss of Campbell from the mediocre football team that is presently Tottenham Hotspur, was certain to upset Spurs fans.
Had I been a Spurs supporter, (do submarines fly?), I would have been incensed.
In recent years the image of Spurs has taken a severe battering. Once a proud and very successful club they have been allowed to deteriorate into mediocrity, and become a club lacking respect from rival club supporters.
This is a football tragedy, as a diehard Arsenal supporter the general conception would be that I would revel in the decline of a club that was a challenger to the best team in London but that would be childish, and very wrong.
Where is the achievement in Arsenal beating a team that is a shadow of a club that was once a great rival to the Gunners?
For my part I relish Spurs doing well, until they meet Arsenal that is, because it makes the victory over them by Arsenal so much sweeter.
Intense friendly rivalry between football clubs adds to the pleasure of the beautiful game. When rival English teams play Arsenal they are *#@*>!%<, and worse. Yet when they play a foreign team I'm rooting for them like a real supporter. This is that which helps to make football so special.
Graham Would Have Delivered
When George Graham went to Spurs I was quietly delighted. I have known George for many years, and there is no doubt that he deserves to manage a big club.
Ignore the vicious and false propaganda on George Graham that has emanated from Tottenham in North London, George Graham is a top class manager.
His track record is imposing and had he been allowed free reign, and given time plus the financial resources, he would have had the Spurs cock crowing once again.
However, the people that have the power of command at Spurs thought otherwise, and it is to their discredit that they treated a top bracket, thoroughly professional football manager, who is highly respected by his peers, like a used Kleenex tissue.
This nasty ruthlessness says much for the the administration hierarchy at Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Where ever the buck stops for the sacking of George Graham, and the appointment of Glen Hoddle to replace him, it will be with either a man of little style, with a pea sized brain or a selfish individual who has allowed a nasty prejudice to cloud his judgement.
It is likely to be an individual with all four impediments. Whatever may be the reason the culprit needs to be employed elsewhere, and outside of football. There are some contemptible countries that still employ hangmen.
When George left Leeds United his legacy is there for all to see. Leeds is a young, progressive side that shone in Europe last season. There is no question it is now a top Premier League club.
The man that George Graham chose as his first assistant, another former Gunner, David O'Leary has improved upon the good work of George.
This is no cause for resentment by a genuine Arsenal fan, and on the contrary, it is a boost for an Arsenal fan that the talented input of two former Gunners has proved extremely beneficial to English football, and transformed a struggling football team into a worthy Premier League side.
When they are not playing Arsenal I wish good luck to Leeds.
Of course there are some morons who disguise themselves at supporters at Arsenal, but the real fans treat them with contempt.
The Shrewd Chairmen
When George took the job at Spurs Alan Sugar was the chairman of the club. According to people that know about these matters Sugar is a very wealthy man.
Unfortunately, in comparison to people like the late Jack Walker who became the saviour of Blackburn Rovers FC; Mohammed Al Fayed who has resurrected Fulham FC from the ashes, and the one or two, other passionate football club chairman, he spent his money like a man afflicted with short arms and long pockets.
Alan Sugar, now Sir Alan Sugar, (he has to be thankful that Buckingham Palace is not in Tottenham), gave the impression he was always looking for a bargain.
The only bargains in football are when a club wins a major cup competition. For a club to win any top cup competition, or better cups, then any money sensibly invested in the best of players is undeniable proof that they were bargains.
For the past ten years or so the Spurs administrators have refused to pay the going rate for star football players. They mistakenly believe that high transfer fees will cause large-scale bankruptcy, and that clubs were being conned into making players rich.
Their timing is seriously wrong. A recession may eventually come to football, and elsewhere for that matter, but to still be waiting over a decade for their prophecy to come true clearly indicates that the THFC boardroom is no oracle.
In the meantime the Spurs supporters have had to watch their team spiral downward, while the clubs who rejected the Spurs business methods have seen their clubs spiral heavenward.
Of course money alone will not buy football success. Money without a very knowledgeable, and shrewd, management is a recipe for disaster.
This is not peculiar to football. The shambles at Railtrack, The Dome, the moving bridge across the river Thames, the world's largest Sundial in Gosport that has been built in the shade, the problems at Marconi, Marks and Spencer, BT, Independent Insurance, Vodaphone are just examples taken from a long list.
The directors of any enterprise have a duty to always be concerned at rising costs, and act when expenses reach an unsustainable level.
However, certain enterprises require heavy financial investments. Modern football is now firmly set in this category.
Two of the biggest spenders, and most successful teams, are Manchester United and Arsenal. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are their respective managers. Nothing more needs to be said
The legendary Jack Walker proved to be an outstanding businessman and, likewise, Mohammad Al Fayed is extraordinarily good at business,
Therefore, is it likely that when Walker invested in Blackburn Rover FC, and appointed Kenny Dalgleish as manager/coach he did so because some conman was manipulating him; or each time Al Fayed writes out a cheque for Fulham FC, on the recommendation of their impressive manager/coach Jean Tigana, to buy a top player it is because some sweet talking shyster has cornered him?
Does it also mean that that Jack Walker did not possess a calculator, and could not read a balance sheet; or that Mohammad Al Fayed is in a similar plight?
The answers to each of these fatuous questions are of course it does not!
Any person in football club administration, who believes that you don't have to spend money to achieve success at the highest level, or any level for that matter, is a fool.
If the intention of a club chairperson is to make an impact in the major cup tournaments then the purchase of top players is essential.
Club nursery's are very important, but even the world's best chef's that cultivate their own vegetable gardens buy in extra produce to improve the dishes that come out of his/her kitchen, and make his/her reputation.
The sad aspect of the Sol Campbell transfer is that the chairman of Spurs has launched a bitter attack on the decision of Campbell to join Arsenal.
This is obviously camouflage tactics to divert responsibility.
This disgraceful attack is supported by the pompous sounding Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, which has issued a statement that, is nothing less than a GBH mugging of the character of Campbell, and like any mugging of a victim whose ability to fight back is severely limited, it is contemptuous.
Fortunately Arsenal supporters are far less gullible, and much more independent.
If Arsenal had only a minimum number of top players, and they failed to retain their probable best player due to the fault of the administrators of the club then there would be ructions at Highbury.
Such small mindedness would not be tolerated by the supporters, and rightly so.
The directors of the club are aware of this, and it is to their credit that they take this into full consideration when they make decisions on players.
Remarkably, it appears that Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust is content to join in with the Spurs administrators and solely blame Campbell.
This does them no credit at all because it is nonsense.
Why Campbell Is Not To Blame
In an article in the Evening Standard written by Steve Stammers he writes that any loyalty that Campbell felt he owed Spurs disintegrated when the chairman of the club allowed the public disclosure of confidential contract negotiations that were taking place between the club and the player.
The club revealed that Campbell had been offered £80,000 a week to stay at Tottenham, but had asked for £80,000 after tax (£135,000 a week), plus a guarantee that if Tottenham failed to qualify the Champions League within two seasons the player would be given a free transfer.
This clause in the contract could have been agreed but extended to mean that, if in the unlikely event, the player proved not to be of good value then they could have cut their losses. By adding this rider Spurs would have restricted their commitment of paying the high wages of Sol Campbell for just two seasons.
However, it is obvious that even this was too much for the administrators of Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Yet despite this short-term commitment an anonymous spokesperson for the Supporters' Trust told Steve Stammers that the 'vast majority 'of Spurs supporters believed that Campbell committed the 'ultimate act of betrayal'.
This has me completely fooled, but then nonsense usually does.
I am not sure the spokesperson is telling the truth. The Spurs supporters I know form no part of this alleged 'vast majority'. The want to be disassociated with the disreputable behaviour that is purported to be the attitude of Tottenham supporters, and I compliment them on this stand.
Long May The 'Half Wits' Reign
Arsenal has signed Campbell on a 4-year contract. Does this mean that the administrators at Spurs believe that those in charge at of the business side of Arsenal FC are halfwits? If it does then long may the 'halfwits' reign.
Every football club supporter wants the best players for his club that money can buy, not the biggest bank balance.
Money in the bank doesn't sell season tickets or merchandising. Players alone are responsible for that. Because of their heavy financial investment in the future of the club, next year Arsenal will achieve far greater success and, probably, make a great deal more money than Tottenham Hotspur FC, and this pattern will continue for the foreseeable future.
They will also have very much happier supporters.
Of course, Spurs fans are entitled to be aggrieved at the loss of Campbell that is understandable. However, the club had all the time it needed to either satisfy the wage demand of the player. Or find an alternative big name replacement.
They did neither.
An aggregate £135,000 weekly wage, no matter how it is paid, is an astonishing remuneration, but it is a figure set by market forces.
Quite obviously the directors of Spurs believe that their club is unable to compete with Arsenal because they meekly surrendered to the Highbury club. Therefore if venom is necessary then those using it should make certain that is launched at the those responsible for Campbell changing his white shirt for the red and white one of the Gunners.
The Crucial Question
The question I would like to ask any person that now holds Campbell in contempt, and is prepared to passively accept that the directors who are responsible for allowing Campbell to become an Arsenal player are blameless is:
Anyone that answers, 'Yes' to that question is either a fantast or a fabricator.
The truth is that Campbell did not betray Spurs, but instead the Spurs administration allowed their best player to take a walk across North London, and sign with Spurs' biggest rival.
The chairman and directors at Spurs should never have allowed any club especially Arsenal, to outbid them for Campbell if they have real respect for their club, and supporters.
This begs the question that if the business plan and methods of the past, and present directors of Tottenham Hotspur are correct, how is it that Arsenal are able to afford Campbell and Spurs could not match the offer?
Based on this evidence it proves beyond all reasonable doubt that the better businessmen, and football management team, is at Arsenal. Sol Campbell is a top class footballer, and like any skilled craftsman he is entitled to gain the best rewards, financially and otherwise, from his talent. When that right is restricted, or worse, denied for any reason then the rights of the individual will have been seriously damaged.
Disgraceful Behaviour That Makes Genuine Spurs Supporters Ashamed
Sol Campbell is expected to be an integral part of Sven Goran Ericsson's England World Cup football team, yet he has to live in a fortress that he calls home. Is this in the best interests of the English football team? Of course it is not. For England to have any possible chance of winning the World Cup it will need to use all it best assets. Any selfish behaviour, especially if it is not valid, by any Club, or their supporters, that is likely to damage the chances of England winning the greatest prize in world football is a disgrace Are you listening Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust?