The latest financial results for the club are in and I cannot help but see the whole thing as a footballing accident waiting to happen. Is this because I am a caveman and one that lacks vision and even basic business understanding? Or it might be because I’m a football fan, opposed to some budding hedge fund fan?
At first glance, there is little doubt that ENIC have their investment geared up to make a healthy return. However, there are one or two points worth noting here. Whilst nobody begrudges any football club making a profit, all of this stemmed from a £22million investment nigh on two decades ago. And unless I and others have missed something, the return in terms of both equity and salary for those involved has been beyond phenomenal. Yet Spurs have achieved so very little.
If only the footballing side of the business had been so exciting. Sure, fans have been spoon-fed the “competing” Kool-Aid, but the reality is that in professional sports, it’s about winning. Trophies, silverware. The greater amount of that stuff you win, the more you get paid – by everyone. Which is why clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United. Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal did so well over the years, no matter how much FFP compliance failing money was involved.
Not one English side has ever pursued the ENIC model. They all built winning sides first. Opposed to a means to fund winning sides.
It’s important at this juncture to note that trophy-winning in England didn’t begin in 1992. It was also very much in vogue throughout the previous millennium, before oligarch and oil money was in the game. Bill Nicholson didn’t get his wife to knit the double-winning side.
Anyway, back to the fix we’re currently in. It’s been suggested and quite vehemently at times that so-called fans like me ought to get behind the team. Opposed to in its way. Or go support someone else. I’ve heard the lot.
Why? Because I’m an unpleasant ball of unchecked entitlement, who isn’t prepared to wait until he’s in his mid-seventies to FIND OUT if hocking the club for more than Manchester United owe…worked or not.
While THFC are busy taking £800,000 per game selling pizzas and craft beer and lord knows what else that isn’t a pie or a cuppa Bovril to tourists, your actual football fan is left watching a squad that in many instances has had enough – coached by a manager that is frequently failing to disguise his laughter in press conferences.
By ENIC’s own admission, the infrastructure debts will be cleared in about 23 years’ time. This only makes the whole thing more terrifying, because the servicing of the debt is entirely dependent upon the performance of the stadium’s contents.
When the milk turns sour and the dysfunctional soccer ball team becomes an unpalatable viewing, will attendances remain at the current buoyant levels? Not over a sustained period of time they won’t. Just how many Guns & Roses concerts will it take to balance out the lost shirt sales because Spurs don’t have any standout players that the kids want to display across their shoulders? Unless there’s a pandemic-related miracle, the Champions League loot is now in the rearview mirror.
Pochettino wasn’t the messiah some made him out to be, but he should have been backed. José Mourinho is a serial winner that’s had his shoelaces tied together.
There was a point whereby the fans could have had grounds for genuine optimism, that was the point when there was £340million in the bank that could have been used to back a manager. The irony being of course, that nobody knew about that cash. And it was tossed into the stadium build, as part of the land acquisition.
As it is, I keep staring at the “magnificent” stadium and I see a magnificent trouble brewing.
The latest last man standing is currently Mourinho. I wonder what the next sticking plaster on the volcano is called? Until a solid manager is backed this “unique” business model is only going to benefit one party.