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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Dan Kilpatrick

Tottenham board admit mistakes but defend ‘first-class recruitment’ in letter to fans

Tottenham's board have offered a robust defence of the club's recent transfer spend in a letter to supporters.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust (THST) wrote to the club at the start of January with four key questions on the club's strategy and finances, said to reflect the concern of its members and the wider fanbase, a faction of which has vocally called for chairman Daniel Levy to step down.

Among THST's concerns were comments by head coach Antonio Conte, claiming the club must consistently spend big in future to compete for top honours. Spurs, who host Manchester City on Sunday, signed two first-team players last month: Arnaut Danjuma on loan from Villarreal, and Pedro Porro in a deal which could eventually be worth more than £40million.

In response to THST's questions, the board insisted the perception of the club's spending did not reflect the "facts" since the move to the new stadium in 2019.

"The club has invested heavily in the squad," the letter said. "This is a continual process with the aim of standing the club in good stead on the pitch for years to come. Since opening the stadium in April 2019 we have spent more than £500m, putting us in the top quartile of spending in the Premier League, and we have made significant investments in the women's team, too. In addition to the summer investment of over £200m, we have committed to a further £47m spend this January.

"Despite this, we consistently see references to our perceived lack of backing for head coaches and lack of spending. It's important that we deal with facts — our spend levels quite clearly show that we have backed our football side."

Conte has also called for the club to stop making mistakes in the transfer market, and the board acknowledged that expensive flops, which include Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, have been damaging.

"There is always a fine line between long-term investment and short-termism — which is why our recruitment has to be first class," the letter continued.

"Mistakes at this level leave a financial and sporting impact for future seasons. We have felt the financial impact of supporting player purchases which have not worked out as hoped. We have taken steps to improve this area of operations and the recent windows reflect this."

THST said it welcomed the club's "direct engagement", but added: "We would have wanted to see a greater acknowledgement from the club of the legitimate concerns shared by many fans and a fuller explanation in a number of key areas. We are sure that all Spurs fans endorse the ambition that the club should be consistently qualifying for the Champions League and challenging for and winning trophies. However, there needs to be an acknowledgement that only one trophy in 22 years cannot be regarded as meeting that measure of success."

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