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.