Sunday, January 27, 2013

Levynomics: The curse and the cure

Levynomics, you either love it or hate it. The late transfer brinkmanship and relentless, almost brutal, negotiation are legendary. Tottenham’s deal hungry Chairman once visited Poundland and purchased two items for 34p.

Under Daniel Levy’s shrewd financial guidance, Spurs have shifted from mid-table also-rans to perennial top four contenders. But over halfway through the season our club is in an all-too predictable and strikerless place. With the transfer window creaking shut, the next four days could define a season. Just like last January. And the January before.

Spurs’ FA Cup traditions are equally notable, yet for the 22nd consecutive tournament those of a Lilywhite persuasion will only be watching the final on TV. For most of those fruitless years, Tottenham have played a full strength team, but misguidedly Andre Villas-Boas tinkered and Spurs succumbed to a spirited Leeds United who huffed and puffed and fought for every ball to earn a 2-1 win. A true fan takes these results on the chin.

Rejigging a defence expertly marshalled by Michael Dawson in recent weeks and playing a back five of relative strangers (featuring works-in-progress Steven Caulker and Kyle Naughton) was a gamble not worth taking. So far AVB has exceeded expectations as Spurs’ coach, and has my unequivocal support, but Harry Redknapp would have been crucified for his slapdash selections at Elland Road. Our domestic cup exits this season have been among the meekest in recent memory. Are we now ‘too sexy’ for our cups?

AVB has admittedly been hamstrung by the narrow yet financially valid Levy transfer policy which prioritises the balance sheet over fans’ less practical and often unrealistic desires. The charismatic Portuguese has yet to be backed by his new paymaster. Three strikers (Defoe, Adebayor and Kane) were deemed acceptable in August so how does ‘no strikers’ sound in late January? As much as it pains me, Jon Obika is not our savour like Paul Mahorn before him. The success of Michu and Christian Benteke this season has illustrated that bargains are available in a market of obscene price tags and unjustified hyberbole.

This is Levy’s business rather than his passion. Yet our chairman’s ambitious demands eclipse ENIC and Joe Lewis’ ultra-careful investment. We are punching above our weight. Levy and co effectively asset-stripped the squad last season and a competitive, yet admittedly overbalanced, first 25 is now demonstrably weaker. In the 2012/13 campaign, the Spurs bench features prospects and the unproven rather than seasoned internationals and is therefore ill-equipped for heavy squad rotation after a few key injuries. The mantra remains keep expectations low and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

But put away the razor blades and that collection of Sylvia Plath poems, this season still carries so much promise. An away draw in the next round to Manchester City logically suggests a Spurs exit a few weeks earlier than was perhaps inevitable. In the world of Levynomics, our away fans have saved £150 on tickets, travel and tequila. Reinvest the money as you will, you gorgeous diehards.

A top four finish and an extended Europa League run is still well within reach. However the season pans out, Tottenham will be in the top four mix in May, beyond many pundits and self-proclaimed soothsayers’ expectations. Late investment, for the first time in three January transfer windows, might just push us over the line.

Levynomics may yet be redeemed. Charlie Adam, Gregorz Rasiak and Michael Ricketts are on speed dial.


dirk_gently said...

Its baffling isn't it? The obvious thing would be to invest to ensure CL football (the given cause of the declared £4.3m loss), yet again we seem to be waiting until deadline day to do business in the hope of picking up Waitirose Players at dented tin Aldi prices. Oh well. Good points well made as usual Dr Lust.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks Dirk. AVB deserves the backing. I have a funny feeling we'll get a striker. Doesn't need to be a superstar. Could do worse than Le Fondre.