Daniel Philip Levy, the man who bravely spearheaded the delivery of arguably the finest combination of stadium and training facilities in all of European club football, and who diligently secured a regular place from the outset in the most prestigious elite club competition (currently on temporary hiatus rather than permanent cancellation), must find it utterly inexplicable that the fans of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club seem so curiously and infuriatingly bereft of gratitude for his endeavours. After all, as he has told us repeatedly, “everything we do is in the long-term interests of the club”.
A few weeks ago, in his programme notes at the end of the season, he spoke of ambition.
“I have always been and will continue to be ambitious for our club and its fans”
he said. More recently, in addressing Harry Kane’s concerns at the club’s apparent lack of success in terms of trophies, he stated “All I will say is his frustrations in not winning are shared by me and all the fans and players. We all want to win.” And herein lies the crux of the issue. It’s a question of definition and interpretation.
If one clicks open Dictionary.com and looks up the definition of ‘Ambition’, it describes it as “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment”. I genuinely have no reason whatsoever to doubt Daniel’s desire for achievement or distinction (although perhaps it might be tempered by thoughts of managing fan expectations in the longer-term) and he’s allegedly, by his own words, as frustrated as our itchy-footed number 10 when that achievement fails to materialize. I suspect, however, that he might have confused ‘ambition’ with ‘aspiration’, which is simply defined as “a strong desire, longing, or aim” or “a goal or objective that is strongly desired”.
The keen-eyed reader will have spotted that the willingness to strive for its attainment is notably absent from that second definition.
Daniel may well aspire towards success, and in that vein has emblazoned “the game is about glory” all over the Theatre of Failure. And yet it seems as though the carefully-constructed plan for attaining that status consists largely of waiting for it to fall into his lap. His consistent failure to fully back managers throughout his tenure certainly supports this
One of the more incredulous aspects of this is that at several points it almost did fall into his lap. Destiny has on a number of occasions left Spurs on the cusp of success, only for Daniel’s own shortcomings to snatch mediocrity from the jaws of adequacy. Amidst his scattergun approach to managers – an approach that aimlessly lurched from club playing legends to petulant Frenchmen to affable Dutch journeymen to dour Spaniards to Cockney wheeler-dealers to stubborn Portuguese to unqualified, self-appointed club legends to player’s friend Argentinians with a history of smaller clubs to potentially outdated serial winners – there were fleeting moments when, in spite of himself, Daniel might have had greatness very much thrust upon him.