Are Tottenham on the brink of ruin?

Should Tottenham be taking a short-term or long-term approach to team building and transfer strategy.

Are Tottenham on the brink of ruin?



Fans fall into two camps, those that accept a club policy and look at things through that strategy and those that want every players to be the finished article now, a trophy now.

In the former approach you have a strategy that you follow. At Tottenham the strategy is to build sustainable long-term success, developing homegrown youth. That means buying youngsters for the academy but also buying young players for the first team squad who will appreciate in value.

That entails getting bargains, that entails buying players with one or two years left on their contracts. It rarely entails paying top price for a player in their prime, there is no profit in it and it's risky, if the player doesn't deliver in the manner Roberto Soldado hasn't then you are stuck with an asset you can't sell.

Andre Villas-Boas and Mauricio Pochettino are managers who have bought into this strategy. They develop the current team while developing players internally to add to the first team. Our transfer purchases last summer indicate this approach, even if some were expensive, Lamela was expected to increase in value.

Look at all the players we are linked to realistically and 90% are young. With any transfer rumour the first thing to do is look at the age of the player, that will give you a good idea if their is any truth in it. Add the fee into that, think the club strategy and you'll have a good idea if it's a reporter just making something up.

The other approach is the I want proven ability for a team right now. This is an approach characterised by Harry Redknapp. Each club he has been add he has bought free transfer and loan players in their 30's. Building for the future is hardly considered.

He accepts a club can't play fortunes for a top player so he scours the loan market, the older players who have been their and done it, who give everything for one last hurrah. He simply recycles these players over and over again, always reinventing parts of the side.

As one 30 odd year old gets too old they are replaced by a younger 30 odd year old. It's a disaster waiting to happen approach which will have small periods of success when you have the right combinations.

Of course the third approach is to have deep pockets and simply buy success but we are not in that position and as QPR found, unless it is at the top level it doesn't always work, the heart has to be in it.

The highly successful Barcelona team played with high technical levels and non-stop movement. These are elements of the Marcelp Bielsa approach, Pep Guardiola was a disciple in the same way Mauricio Pochettino is.

They provide a modern the benchmark for a basic style of play for Tottenham which then needs a sustainability element added. For Barcelona they can go out and purchase but they also develop homegrown and have a very successful academy.

The rise and success of Spanish football, not just Barça's recent success and Spain's Euro 2008, 2012 and 2010 World Cup triumphs but the success of Spanish clubs in Europe is down to the development of youngsters.

Since 2005 in the Europa League Sevilla have won it 3 times, Atlético Madrid 2 times, Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol have been runners-up (to Spanish clubs).

The only nation that comes anywhere near that success is Portugal who adopt a similar policy with their youngsters. Porto won the competition in 2003 and 2011, Benfica have been runners-up in the last two years while Braga and Sporting have been runners-up once each.

The rise is linked to the number of games Spanish youngsters play. They learn playing, not by doing drills, because that doesn't teach game sense

Prior to revamping its youth structure, Milan looked at clubs like Ajax and Barcelona, studying their structure to see how they developed so many players from the youth squads to the first team.

The future for football clubs is home grown players.

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The cost of youngster and players in general is astronomical. Luke Shaw's fee as absurd for what he has achieved. The game can't afford to go on raising the price of players and ploughing so much of it's income into players pockets.

Developing your own players saves your club those exorbitant fees. being a club known for developing young players and giving young players a chance will help to attract the best youngsters into the academy which of course has long term benefits.

Spurs strategy for the youth development of home grown players. Tim Sherwood was an advocate of bringing players through the youth system and in his short tenure he opened the eyes of many supporter and showed them there is talent here if you'll give it a chance to develop.


Michel Bruyninckx is a coach who trained the European Elite Referees, has worked with a string of the very top clubs developing professional players and educating their coaches in youth development with an emphasis producing better players through improving the mind.

“I think many top clubs are understanding that going to the highest level requires a balanced long-term vision and going back to more homegrown players with a clear club label.

“Science is unravelling more and more the secrets to deliver high-performance players. Mentally-balanced players that stay together for many years and have the grit for many hours of deliberate practice and play will show again how our social network can have an influence on football development.

“Aren't the team coherence and format of Barca and Bayern Munich the best examples?”

Club identity is important and having role models for the youngsters to look to is important for their development. Nabil Bentaleb, Andros Townsend, Harry Kane are all role models for the next generation but they still need a father figure or two, for want of a better word.

None are ready to assume the mantle and be the club focal point, indeed selling Dawson leaves the club without a focal point. The latest news is that he looks likely to leave for Hull City for £4/5 million.

A little piece of identity is chipped away to pay for the mercenaries we will now be supporting, the players playing for their wage packet and not the club. We saw last season the effect that has and the lack of long-term thinking may have an impact in future years.

Michael Dawson currently fills that role together to a far lessor extent with Aaron Lennon, two players many of our fans want rid of every transfer window. Someone like Paulinho or Adebayor are quality players but you'd hardly hold them up as role models for the youngsters, both have a traits you don't want the youth developing.


If the club has this long-term strategy then it has to encompass the whole club, not just an element here and an element there. Figures like Michael Dawson are a totally undervalued part of that and if he is to depart then new role models must be developed.

Without them you take away the identity aspect, the youth will develop without a bond and will simply leave for other clubs, much in the way Southampton youngsters do.

The sustainable long-term homegrown approach is the right one but every element must be in place for it to be as successful as we would all like it to be.

Unfortunately now the club is in the brink. It stands to lose it's identity in favour of becoming a buying selling club, a club for mercenaries to come to for a few seasons and leave, a club for Berbatov, Modrić, Bale, here today, gone tomorrow players.

What we get left with is the mediocrity as we look for the next set of mercenaries and hope they will develop some feeling for the club. The youth must be developed but the club must retain it's identity and have a father figure, a focal point to rally around.

Nobody is going to rally around a Roberto Soldado or Erik Lamela figure, they are here for 5 minutes in the big scheme of things. Fans will idolize them of course but that's not the same thing at all, they do nothing for a clubs identity. We have a strategy but we have missed a rather important chunk out of it.

How can we complain about a turnaround in managers if we are encouraging a turnaround in players?

Selling Dawson is a mistake, we will be left with a bunch of kids with no feeling for the club. Yes he has had his day but yes he can still do a back-up job and we have certainly needed back-up centre-backs in the last 5 years or more.

No doubt there will be an increase in fake badge kissing to pretend a feeling exists. If you are conned by that meaningless public relations exercise more fool you.

“I think many top clubs are understanding that going to the highest level requires a balanced long-term vision and going back to more homegrown players with a clear club label.

“Aren't the team coherence and format of Barca and Bayern Munich the best examples?”

Where is that focal point for that clear club label? Who is the leader or do we now just hold up mercenaries as role models to the youth coming through? We would be giving them the wrong message.

Time will tell if we are going to pay the price for our folly.

It's a topic that requires discussion from as wide a section of supporters as possible so do share and let others have their say.

Both sides have valid points to make but who will be the club focal point without Dawson.

Who is Mr Tottenham, who epitomises what Tottenham Hotspur stands for?

Does football give way to business again?

Are Bale, Bebatov and Modrić what the club now stands for? Do well son and you could get a transfer somewhere else!



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