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Tottenham seeking to rebuild on and off the pitch

11 November 2014, 17:37

London - Almost all the old buildings have been demolished, diggers are in place and a perimeter fence displaying images of Tottenham Hotspur's shiny new stadium borders the vast open space next to the North Stand at White Hart Lane.

But like most things in Tottenham's recent history, it's not as simple as all that.

Some nondescript light industrial buildings housing a sheet metalworking company remain and while they do the start of construction work on a new 58,000-seater stadium remains delayed with the High Court deciding early next year what compensation is due to the company who have refused to leave the site.

The stadium is not the only Spurs construction job that has failed to get off the ground in London N17.

Also read: Fellaini: I was Man U scapegoat

New manager Mauricio Pochettino's ambitious plans to rebuild Spurs as a team that can not only challenge for a top four finish but for the Premier League title have yet to produce any tangible signs of getting past the foundation stage.

Indeed there are growing signs that his foundations are not even in place yet.

But whether Tottenham are in a serious crisis, as some in the British media are claiming this week, is open to doubt.

They are certainly in a period of transition, but that is hardly news. Spurs have been in transition since trigger-happy Daniel Levy became chairman in February 2001.

Managers George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood have all come and gone with varying degrees of success.

Now ex-Southampton manager Pochettino is in the manager's chair with a misfiring team, full of players the Argentine did not sign, who have made an uninspiring start to the season.

Table toppers

After winning their opening two league games and topping the table for a week in August, Spurs have lost five of their nine league matches since, culminating in dire displays against Aston Villa last week and Stoke City on Sunday.

They scored two late goals to steal a 2-1 win at Villa Park, but there was no escaping a fourth home loss of the season when they went down 2-1 to Stoke on Sunday, a result that has left them 12th in the table.

After the defeat striker Emmanuel Adebayor, criticised the Spurs fans saying: "It's kind of hard when you know the first bad ball you make the fans are going to boo you.

"When you are playing in front of your own crowd you want them to support you. I think it might be better to play away from home at the moment because at least we know beforehand we are guaranteed to be booed because they want their home club to win," he said.

"I was on the bench against Stoke and I could see that nobody wanted the ball. Right now, to tell you the truth, I think a lot of players when they put on the shirt and go out on to the pitch are finding it hard in the head."

Key problems

Former striker Garth Crooks, who won the FA Cup with the club in 1981 and 1982, told Reuters it was imperative that Tottenham did not panic just because the season had not started as well as expected under Pochettino.

"There has been too many changes at Spurs, Levy must stick with his convictions and show some faith in the new manager. There is no such thing as immediate success in football. Spurs have to build it."

Right now, that's on the pitch as well as off it.

One key problem is that Tottenham never adequately replaced three great players who left within a year of each other: Croatian Luka Modric, Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart and Welshman Gareth Bale, sold for a total of about 125 million pounds.

Spurs attempted to shore up the gaping hole left by the departure of Bale to Real Madrid for a world record fee of 85 million pounds in August last year by buying seven new players, most of whom have flattered to deceive.

Argentina midfielder Erik Lamela, Tottenham's club record 30 million signing from AS Roma, has yet to score a Premier League goal while Spanish striker Roberto Soldado, who joined for 26 million from Valencia, has scored just twice this season, once in the Europa League and once in the Capital One (League) Cup.

According to the annual Deloitte Money List, Spurs are the 14th richest club in Europe and their list of domestic and European honours is impressive, but it was all achieved a long time ago.

Spurs have the resources and the history behind them plus an ambitious young manager who is anxious to do well.

Pochettino excelled at Southampton last season and might well be the man to rebuild Spurs in the next few years, but unless Levy holds his nerve no-one will ever know.

($1 = 0.6305 British Pounds)

- Reuters


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