They said it wouldn’t affect spending. They told us it would help us compete. Am I talking Arsenal or Spurs?
It doesn’t matter because both clubs said the same thing and both clubs lied, as Spurs fans are starting to realise.
Whisper it quietly but Arsenal fans can help Tottenham come to terms with what they are about to go through. It might have seemed like bitterness stemming from their rivalry, but when Arsenal fans tried to tell their Tottenham counterparts they were in for a rough ride, they were being sincere.
Spurs are the only ‘top’ side not to have bought any players. They can argue they don’t need to, given how well they played last season but a). they won nothing and b). if you aren’t improving you are going backwards.
Daniel Levy told Tottenham fans that their new stadium would not impact their ability to buy players.
Levy told us it won’t make a difference pic.twitter.com/sycrcxeGi4
— Bateseyboy (@Bateseyboy) August 5, 2018
It’s a tale Arsenal fans are familiar with. They heard the same for around eight years after they moved to the Emirates only for the board and management to then use the fact they were hamstrung by the stadium move to finally justify a lack of spending and sales of big stars.
That was Arsenal’s model and it could well be Tottenham’s too – buy young, sell high.
Between Arsenal taking up residence in the Emirates in 2006 and Mesut Ozil’s arrival in 2013 heralding the removal of the financial shackles (to some degree), the club sold Thierry Henry, Jose Reyes, Freddie Ljungberg, Alex Hleb, Gilberto Silva, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Eduardo, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gervinho, Gael Clichy, Robin van Persie and Alex Song for a considerable chunk of change.
They also sold tons of youth and fringe players while releasing more for nothing including Mathieu Flamini (the first time) and Andrei Arshavin.
Spurs will hope that their young players stick around but, as the reality of the mortgage payments on a shiny new home kicks in, many of those players will release they can double and triple their wages elsewhere.
Money that comes from selling them won’t be reinvested in the squad, at least not adequately. Tottenham will hope Mauricio Pochettino can wring the same results from a lesser squad. That’s assuming his head doesn’t get turned as well.
For all Arsene Wenger’s faults, there was never a danger of him leaving Arsenal in the lurch. One of the many guarantees Arsenal had to give to secure funding to build the Emirates was that Wenger would remain in charge. He signed up knowing it meant he was unlikely to taste glory for some time.
Will Pochettino feel the same? Is he as embedded at Spurs as Wenger was with Arsenal? That seems unlikely.
Football rivalry makes it easy to laugh when the other side are suffering but what is about to happen at Spurs doesn’t have to be the way it goes. They could have learned from the frustration Arsenal caused their fans and been a bit more honest with their projections. But why should they?
When fans will swallow most of what a club tells them, what incentive is there to be honest?