Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy admitted he lost sight of the “club’s DNA” but says he has its best interests at heart amid fierce recent criticism of his tenure.
Spurs supporters have protested against Levy and the club’s ENIC owners for their part in the failed European Super League as well as a perceived lack of investment in the squad over recent years.
His decision to originally furlough staff at the start of the pandemic, one he subsequently reversed, and charging fans £60 to watch Spurs’ final home game of the season against Aston Villa, when some clubs are charging half that price for tickets, have been other bones of contention.
Levy, who is in the midst of a recruitment process for Jose Mourinho’s replacement and a battle to keep star striker Harry Kane, defended his intentions but conceded the club veered off track.
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“As a club we have been so focused on delivering the stadium and dealing with the impact of the pandemic, that I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA,” he said in his programme notes for the Villa game, where 10,000 fans will be back in the stadium.
“Our work in the community and with the NHS is an example of when we get it right, but we don’t get everything right. It has never been because we don’t care about or respect you, our fans – nothing could be further from the truth.
“The new stadium is pivotal to generating revenues to invest in the squad. Every single penny generated gets re-invested back into our club.
“We are absolutely clear that central to our ambitions is a successful football team – it is what we all crave. We have come close over the last seven seasons and everyone’s focus is on a return to regular Champions League participation and competing for honours.
“I have said it many times and I will say it again – everything we do is in the long-term interests of the club. I have always been and will continue to be ambitious for our club and its fans.”
Matters on the pitch have not helped as Spurs will endure another trophyless season.
It looked optimistic as under Mourinho they were at the top of the Premier League in December and made it through to the Carabao Cup final.
But things turned sour, the style of football was turgid, Mourinho was sacked and now the best Spurs can hope for is a Europa League spot – something which will not appease wantaway Kane.
Levy says he will hire a new manager who will play attacking football.
“This season, for many reasons, we have not met our raised expectations on the pitch,” he added. “Since we lost the Champions League Final in June, 2019, we have invested in excess of £250m in new players.
“Everyone had high hopes with the squad we had assembled. Unfortunately, despite sitting top of the Premier League in December, we have not been able to sustain this position.
“We reached the Carabao Cup Final, however we had a disappointing exit from the Europa League and now find ourselves fighting to qualify for Europe, having competed in European competition for 14 of the last 15 seasons."