Levy points the fin­ger at Ramos


WHEN Spurs chair­man Daniel Levy last week ripped up the Con­ti­nen­tal struc­ture he fought so long to de­fend, it was viewed as an ad­mis­sion of de­feat.

Dras­tic times called for dras­tic action and, with Tot­ten­ham rooted to the bot­tom of the ta­ble, Levy sacked man­ager Juande Ramos, as­sis­tant Gus Poyet and sport­ing di­rec­tor Damien Comolli.

Levy an­nounced it was time for Spurs to re­turn to a more tra­di­tional man­age­ment sys­tem and ush­ered in an English era with the ap­point­ment of Harry Red­knapp.

But he re­fuses to hold up his hands and con­fess he got it wrong. De­spite in­sist­ing he did not want to crit­i­cise in­di­vid­u­als, Levy did a pretty good job of point­ing the fin­ger of blame at both Ramos and Comolli.

He even says the bun­gled trip to Seville was not made with the in­ten­tion of ap­point­ing Ramos be­hind the back of then-boss Martin Jol.

In fact, Jol was brought into the line of fire for Tot­ten­ham’s fail­ings as Levy ac­cused him of go­ing be­hind his back to have an in­ter­view at New­cas­tle.

“Every­one makes a big thing about it, but we must not lose sight of the fact that we have had Euro­pean foot­ball for three years un­der this struc­ture,” said Levy.

“It’s noth­ing to do with the struc­ture, it’s about the peo­ple. If we had brought in a dif­fer­ent type of man­ager to Harry, if we had brought in a for­eign coach, maybe the struc­ture would have stayed.

“If the next man­ager needs a sport­ing di­rec­tor, I will ap­point one. We are all hung up about this struc­ture in this coun­try, but I’ve al­ways said it’s about the qual­ity of the peo­ple.

“When you get to a sit­u­a­tion when you have a num­ber of sign­ings that haven’t worked out and when you spend a lot of money, you be­gin ques­tion­ing the ad­vice you have been given.

“I wanted Juande to suc­ceed, but it didn’t quite work out for him. If you look back since the Car­ling Cup, the record has not been great in terms of the Premier League. It reached a point where I had to do some­thing dras­tic, un­ex­pected, be­cause I know we have a group of very tal­ented play­ers and we had to make a change.

“I had been think­ing about it over the last 10 days af­ter we started get­ting play­ers sent off all the time and heads went down. I had to do some­thing to turn this thing around.

“It was plain to see some of the play­ers weren’t per­form­ing and cer­tain play­ers were per­haps be­ing more pub­licly vo­cal than you’d ex­pect. There were is­sues in the dress­ing room be­tween the man­ager and some of the play­ers and we could not al­low that sit­u­a­tion to go on for long.”

Ramos claimed the de­par­tures of Dim­i­tar Ber­ba­tov and Rob­bie Keane to Manch­ester United and Liver­pool gave him no chance to suc­ceed, but Levy says it was Ramos and not him who au­tho­rised the sales.

“I am not ul­ti­mately cul­pa­ble for ev­ery­thing,” he said. “I em­ploy the man­agers and I in­di­rectly em­ploy the play­ers. But my re­spon­si­bil­ity is to make sure that the club are in a sta­ble fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. There has never been a player signed or sold by the club that the coach has not sup­ported.

“In the case of Ber­ba­tov, it was the coach who de­cided to let him go even though we did not have a re­place­ment. I would have been pre­pared to keep him. It was a foot­ball de­ci­sion. It is al­ways a foot­ball de­ci­sion first and a money de­ci­sion sec­ond.”

The Ramos sit­u­a­tion is par­tic­u­larly em­bar­rass­ing be­cause Tot­ten­ham’s court­ing of the Spa­niard un­der­mined Jol and even­tu­ally led to his sack­ing.

But Levy still de­nies any foul play over the dis­missal.

“I wish what hap­pened with Juande hadn’t hap­pened the way it did, but it wasn’t quite as it seemed,” said Levy. “When we orig­i­nally met Juande, we didn’t in­tend of­fer­ing him a job.

“Ev­ery­body talks about the way Martin was sacked, but no­body says much about the fact he went for a job in­ter­view at New­cas­tle while he was em­ployed by us.”

So who will be re­spon­si­ble if Red­knapp does not prove to be the an­swer to Tot­ten­ham’s prob­lems? Prob­a­bly not Levy.

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