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Showboating MP’s & Bitter Debate

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The final installment of Martin Cloake‘s views on the whole Stratford debate.

Another thank you to Martin for letting us hack his work up and so give us a great catalyst for debate.

One of the problems with the opposition to the Stratford proposals is the high profile of David Lammy. He never seemed particularly interested in Spurs before, but now he’s the champion of the ordinary fan. And his interventions come across as grandstanding.

There’s also the fact that he is attempting to pin much of the ‘blame’ for Tottenham’s interest in Stratford on Boris Johnson.

I’m no more a fan of Johnson than I am of Lammy, but the fact that Lammy is managing the Mayoral campaign of Johnson’s rival Ken Livingstone does make you think. There are many people people playing a game within a game here.

While it’s not clear whether Spurs ever asked for the public assistance Lammy says they should have, it’s also not at all clear that Lammy has done much constructively to address the real concerns Spurs have about their relationship with Haringey.

I was initially critical of what seemed to be Spurs’ insistance that a lot of public funds be used to support their private company. But the pendulum seems to have swung now. I’d have more time for Lammy if he told us clearly what constructive proposals he’s put forward to broker a deal that would keep Tottenham in Tottenham.

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Some of the arguments the club and people seeking to its case have used are simply daft and a little insulting. I’ll say again that I think there’s a lot of tosh talked about ‘community’ by the anti-Stratford campaigners, but Spurs have matched them.

The club said that Stratford “is only five miles east”. Anyone who knows anything about London knows that even a mile makes a huge difference in this big and complex city in which the concepts of manor and loyalty are deeply entrenched.

Architect David Keirle, who it looks like may have been put up as a lightning conductor in this whole debate, said that no one wanted to move from Maine Road to the City of Manchester stadium when he was involved with that, but now no one would move back.

David, if you take a look at a map you’ll see both stadiums are in Manchester. Which may explain things. There’s more than a hint of ‘we’ll do it and the mugs will come’ about some of the views put forward – although to be honest us fans don’t help ourselves with our often illogical loyalty.

The daft arguments aren’t confined to one side, though. There’s a lot of jumping up and down about how knocking the stadium down would be a waste of taxpayers money. But even if West Ham get the stadium, much of it will be torn down and public money will be used to help the club convert it for its purposes. It’s that fact which may well swing the decision for Spurs in these austere – at least for those of us who don’t work in the banks – financial times.

I set out the position my heart takes at the start of this piece.

But I recognise – God I’m getting old – that the head must play its part too. If it is true that it would damage the club financially to stay in Tottenham, and that case is far from proven, then I’d regretfully accept the necessity to move. I’d probably go to Stratford to watch the team, but I don’t think it would be the same. But when we talk about value and investment and return, what is meant? What makes financial sense for, let’s say, an investment company looking to sell to a major player in the entertainments market, may not make the same sense in the longer term for a football team.

Tottenham’s owners are an investment company and investment companies seek a return on their investment. Spurs existed a long time before ENIC came, and will – let’s hope – exist for a long time after they go.

The interests of the owners and the club are not always the same, although Tottenham’s board members get very annoyed if you point that fact out. It’s that potential difference of interest that sits at the heart of this, and which explains why the debate is getting bitter. Because it’s possible that ENIC and Joe Lewis could make a nice return on their investment while leaving behind a franchise with an increasingly tenous link to its history and which is just one arm of a global entertainment business.

To me, all the indications are that Spurs will go to Stratford if they possibly can. I am far from convinced that is the right decision, or that the decision has been made in the interests of the club rather than the club’s owners. I’ve already seen the heart of the home support ripped out in the 1980s when executive boxes replaced one of the finest popular terraces in the country. I’ve watched the club drift under the awful leadership of Alan Sugar.

And now I should be enjoying some of the finest football I’ve ever seen my club play. But, and there’s always a but with Tottenham, there is a shadow hanging over us, the shadow of Franchise Hotspur in Stratford, the global entertainment channel.

I’m prepared, still, to be convinced. But right now, I’m not.

Click the image below to launch the Holly Weber gallery


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126 comments

  • Kluffah Yid says:

    Morning!

    While we are all here debating territories, I thought you might like to see this…

    And as a sample test, put your postcode at the end of your post :)

    N12 COYS

  • Yidmeister says:

    So, there we were quite happily bouncing along, champions league place secured, stunning new kit for the forthcoming season, new sponsors, an intrigung new signing named after a ninja turtle, a new stadium designed and waiting for the builders to show up, everything looked on the up for the love of our lives. There were some annoying whispers that the club might have to look at an alternative to the plans of the iconic new stadium but nothing that anyone was taking seriously because ‘Spurs would never move from Tottenham’.
    Pop, the secure bubble burst when Daniel Levy announced he was serious that the club were interested in the move to Stratford as it may be ‘in the best interest of the club’. Surely not, Tottenham out of Tottenham ? What was he on about ? Silly Daniel. He also said if the club did move into the Olympic stadium then they would definitely rip up the running track even though the Olympic committee stated that preference would be given to the bidder that kept it. Then the committee announced (moved the goalposts) the preferred bidder would ‘make a legacy for athletics at the new stadium’, quick as a flash Daniel announces he would not only rip up the track but knock down the whole stadium, build it from scratch to the spec of the new plans we already had and take athletics out of it altogether. Now, although these revelations sent many a Spurs fan into rage at the chairman making plans to leave Tottenham it made me wonder what someone had spiked his coco pops with. Here was a man who, although ridiculed for his mild manner and quiet nature, was nonetheless pretty handy when it came to running a business, making profits and giving the club what it wants on the pitch, the man had style in a balanced and shrewd manner, yet here he was telling a committee holding the keys to a new home that he would do exactly the opposite of what they wanted, TWICE. Now are they the actions of a man looking to get given a stadium by a committe, get his hands on a cheaper option to get gold stars from the shareholders and make a pile of cash or are they a mild mannered form of a protest against being MADE to make the decision because his plans are blocked for building the new stadium in N17 by a government refusing to help redevelop the area and transport facilities ?
    The Labour groovey gang when in power splashed the cash about like a teenager with his first credt card and got in all kinds of debt, in order to secure the olympics 2012 they designed and put into construction the Olympic Stadium, transport routes and facilities and it paid off. However during the launch of the Northumberland Project, Lammy and his spewing garbage gob were nowhere to be seen to support the area and get the planning permissions in place until he saw an opportunity to raise his profile after being caught fiddling expenses on a 2nd home in Tottenham. They also helped the likes of Woolwich and Wembley with public funding to improve roads, access and parking around their new stadiums. Then they lost the election and the coalition were left with the bill and a recession to sort out. Obviously they are going to look at cutting costs wherever they can. So when Daniel goes skipping into Westminster with his cap out for funding to help with the new WHL they say ‘Hang on a minute, weve already splashed out on a similar stadium less than 5 miles away, why dont you have that instead ?’ . . . ‘No thanks’ says Daniel. ‘Weve got our plans and we are just after the money and redevelopment everyone else got for our own area’. ‘Fuck that’ says the governmentl.’250 million is a bit much after the we’ve already done it 3 times, You go into the empty one after the Olympics or we will block you at every turn if you continue with your N17 plans’.
    A shell shocked Daniel then has to make a move in order to secure the future of Tottenham Hotspur, does he kiss their asses and agree to a move ? does he take them on head first and go on with the original plans, build the new stadium surrounded by a run-down area and risk all kinds of hassle because the roads get blocked, trains are over crowded and no one can park at the new stadium ? . . . NO, he plays his poker hand. . . ‘Ok, you want to make me move to E15 ? We will rip up your track, shit on your athletics and kick it out of the stadium altogether and heres a few quid to regenerate Crystal Palace you tight wad bastards !!!’
    Add to that the fact that since this has all started Spurs have bought up land, changed plans to suit Harringey council, and applied for a section 106 which the government seem to be delaying accepting and all in all l feel the club are battling to stay in N17 rather than sell up and move.
    I may be wrong but that is the only reasoning l can see by Daniel saying what he has said but ive put it in layman’s terms so everyone can see the thinking behind the madness.
    For the record, although a part of me will be gutted if we are forced to move, I will always be a Yid and will continue to support Hotspur FC, Stratford Hotspur or whatever they are called after the event because its the team l have supported all my life and my loyalty is to them til the day l die. To the Yids that say they wont support them if they move, although l understand the emotion of losing our history l for one will never support anyone else.

    COYS

    Yidmeister

  • AFelching says:

    Who’s the bint

    • TMWNN says:

      Not sure, but ‘the Holly Webber gallery’ might be a slight indicator.

    • Tom says:

      Great analysis. Most probably true. Why would he make some proposal like that which does not fit their spec at all. If it is true, then Levy obviously deserves a lot of respect for risking his rep to help bring attention to funding his preferred choice….Northumberland Park. I’d like to see evidence that he’s still committed to this….

  • TMWNN says:

    Looking at how the bids will be assessed and the criteria needed http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/tottenham-hotspur/8267371/Arsenals-former-managing-director-Keith-Edelman-to-help-decide-whether-Tottenham-acquire-Olympic-Stadium.html ,only a running track might stand in the way of Stratford Spurs and those who support it.

    The WHUFC bid doesn’t stack up financially at all, and unless the government is willing to keep using public funds to clean up the mess that will ensue as long as the porn pikeys are the OS’s tenants, Tottenham will lose its football club. :-(

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