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Interview with Daniel Levy - 08.11.04

Along with several other unofficial Spurs sites today, I was more than a little taken aback when I received an offer this morning from Spurs Director of Communications, Donna Cullen, to contact her after the AGM, when she would "interrupt Daniel Levy if he was in the middle of an interview and hand the phone to him for a personal interview!"

Well, it didn't quite happen like that, but clearly the club has gone head over heels today to grant unprecedented access to various unofficial sites, who the club recognise as a valid voice of so many fans. I also understand that this has been very much an initiative of Ms Cullen to whom I therefore give personal thanks.

As you know, I am a Trust Board member too, so I had to clarify in which position I was being granted the interview. I was told that it was in my capacity as Spurs Odyssey webmaster, but I happily share the interview with Trust members and of course fans generally. Being inexperienced in these affairs, I haven't made as good a job as I would have liked, and on reflection there were issues that I could have probed more, but I will be one of those lucky Trust members seeing Mr. Levy again in a couple of weeks, so there will be a further chance to explore those avenues.

I was unable to attend today's AGM, but of course, the club formally announced Martin Jol's appointment as Head Coach today. I also decided to approach the interview from a stance of one who knew little of the detail from today's meeting, which will be reported elsewhere, anyway. My questions were prepared, but I only managed a few scratchy notes, so I can only paraphrase Daniel's answers. I would say that he did sound very relaxed, at the end of what must have been an arduous day, as he had faced the AGM, a press conference, Sky TV, and the other lucky webmasters like me!

Spurs Odyssey - How would you describe the mood of the AGM?

Daniel Levy - I thought it was very good. I think those present were pleased that the club had made a quick decision regarding Jacques Santini's successor. I addressed a number of issues such as the Academy and the Stadium in my opening address, and after the meeting, I was approached by a number of shareholders, who expressed their confidence in the club's future.

Spurs Odyssey - Until a couple of weeks ago, you must have felt that this was going to be a very smooth meeting, with results going well, although not in the style associated with Tottenham.

Daniel Levy - Well, you can't legislate for unexpected events.

Spurs Odyssey - What further details were announced regarding Santini's departure?

Daniel Levy - There was nothing to add to what was announced on Friday. Jacques' reasons for leaving were very personal, and private and must remain private.

Spurs Odyssey - Can you confirm that Jacques is not receiving any pay-off.

Daniel Levy - Yes, I can confirm that. Jacques is in receipt of no pay-off at all.

Spurs Odyssey - Can I ask, when did you actually KNOW that Jacques would be leaving?

Daniel Levy - We only knew on Friday. We had known for a few weeks of Jacques personal problems in France, and he had been granted some compassionate leave during the Internationals break to try and resolve them. As it turned out, he had to return to France and the club respected that decision. We parted on amicable terms.

Spurs Odyssey - Do you think that those personal problems affected Spurs results on the field in recent weeks?

Daniel Levy - With hindsight it would be easy to suggest that, but I cannot say if it is the case.

Spurs Odyssey - I have heard a number of conspiracy theories about his departure, but it seems you cannot elaborate on what you have said.

Daniel Levy - Correct.

Spurs Odyssey - What are the terms of Martin Jol's contract?

Daniel Levy - Martin's appointment is a long-term one, and his contract is the same as his present one in length. That is to say this season and a further two years.

Spurs Odyssey - Do you think that Martin Jol's appointment will lead to a different style of football from that of his predecessor?

Daniel Levy - I cannot answer that, you would have to ask him.

Spurs Odyssey - Personally, I am in favour of continuity, but of course Spurs fans were in limbo last season and were promised a big name, which they got eventually with Jacques Santini. How do you placate those fans who feel that Martin Jol is not the sort of big name they might hope for?

Daniel Levy - Martin has a very successful record as a coach in Holland, and whilst he may not be that big name the fans hoped for, we hope to see the results turn around in the near future, and for the club to make the sort of progress we all desire.

Spurs Odyssey - Onto business matters - is there any plan to make the PLC a private company in the near future?

Daniel Levy - My advisors tell me that I am not allowed to answer that question!

(I then asked about David Pleat's pay-off, and the potential financial benefit of Club Director Paul Kemsley regarding Property deals in the vicinity of the Stadium complex. Mr Levy's response was as per the Annual Report. David Pleat had been paid what was due to him, plus a bonus for doing the additional job of acting Manager last season. Paul Kemsley receives remuneration from the club for his work in relation to the Academy and Stadium issues. The deal whereby Mr Kemsley's company stands to benefit if achieving certain results in the property transactions was approved by the club's independent directors, and is seperate from his salaried work)

Spurs Odyssey - Finally, is there any plan to name a stand after Bill Nicholson?

Daniel Levy - Bill Nicholson will always be the Club's President. There are no plans at this stage to name any stand after him

After thanking Daniel for his time, and being told by him "It's been a pleasure talking to you", I signed off. Please remember, there are no direct quotes above, but I have reported the questions and answers to the best of my ability. I appreciate the content may not be groundbreaking, but the fact that previously disregarded avenues have been given such open-handed treatment certainly is something to crow about!

My good friend "Wyart Lane" has been granted access to Martin Jol and will be reporting on his interview today at the MEHSTG website. See this week-end's MEHSTG fanzine for a full interview given by Jol two weeks ago.

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