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Friday, 4 December 2015

The Tottenham Finishing School

Tottenham are the stand-out club in the Premier League, we are making a name for ourselves because of our unique approach.

I have long written that we have to run our academy like that of Barcelona or Real Madrid, that it has to stand on its own two feet, that academy player sales should pay for its upkeep. The creme de la creme make it into the Tottenham first team, the rest sold for a career elsewhere.

It is totally alien to fans thinking, who hate to see a 'Tottenham' player succeed elsewhere. That is insular thinking and isn't conducive to success. Fans have to let players go, if a player blossoms elsewhere great, the important point is that we create players in the first place. 

Anyone can run an academy, but Tottenham are also running a finishing school. Other clubs don't give youngsters a chance, the Premier League is a closed shop for the big boys and Manchester United, for instance, have gone down the Real Madrid galacticos route of building a side, Manchester City look likely to follow after their recent deal.

A recent daily Mirror article spoke about the changing face of academies, they are now like a college where you simply learn a trade. They said that parents are being sold to now by suggesting their child will have a career in football, possibly, but not necessarily at that particular club. In other words, they go to a football club simply to learn a trade.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, even Arsenal now have few opportunities for young players, they have to loan them out to other clubs to gain top level experience. Tottenham are giving the youngsters top level experience ourselves. I don't need to list for you all the players that have either come through the academy or through our finishing school (Development Squad).

While we have the carrot of first team football to drive players, other top clubs have a brick wall. If you want a first team opportunity there you have to go on loan to a bottom half side or abroad to Spain or Italy. 

18-year-old (19 in April) Josh Onomah is a case in point right now. At 18 he is a talent we are developing with little cameo appearances, even at crucial times in important games. A youngster has to get used to the first team environment, to match day, to a big crowd, to the expectation. It is all a learning curve at the moment and we are seeing if he can handle it. it looks as if he can.

Some will leave to pursue first-team football elsewhere like 17-year-old (18 in January) Ismail Azzaoui. He left for German side Wolsfburg and has recently made his debut for them, coming on as a substitute for the final 14 minutes of a Bundesliga game.

By giving players first team football we have increasing their value, which whether we keep them or not is sound business. It also give us a marketing edge over our rivals, a unique selling point for sponsors. There will be plenty of companies who want to be associated with developing ypouth or giving youth a chance. It lends itself to companies wanting to associate with being young and vibrant, not afraid of challenges etc. Hope our commercial department are on the ball because lavy and Pochettino are delivering a ready made sale tool for them. 

If I were running a local or national community group or charity involving young people Tottenham is the club I would want my name associated with. The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation could be a lead partner, all it takes is for a comunity grouo to come up with an idea and approach the Foundation. If any group wants help devising a project get in touch through my contact form and we can explore the possibility.

Running off on a tangent I have a brilliant and virtually free, if not free, marketing idea for a town centre cafe or on a bigger scale a national chain of coffeee shops, an advertising idea that may well make a new brand of ladies razor blades top sellers in the USA, another for increasing tourism in Folkestone and Dover on the kent coast.

Being able to think otside the box, being able to think big is a prerequisite of planning ahead. The man in the street trundles along, Tottenham are no longer a club that trundles along, their is vision in the club. Daniel Levy had vision and we have risen to where we are today because of it, not despit it. Success has to be worked for and built, academy success has to be worked for and built. Tottenham are now takling that building a step further than richer clubs and that gives us a unique selling point to atract the best young talent.

We have to continue to look forward as there is never an end to building and never an end to creating and having success. It is on ongoing process, which if you lose sight of, will quickly allow others to catch up.

COYS

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