Results for Tottenham director

A look at the Mills/Bale London Evening Standard article

7:00 pm
The London Evening Standard have run an article along the journalists desired Bale wants to leave lines, it began with.

Tottenham director: 'We want Bale to stay but if he’s desperate to go we can’t force him to play for us'

That is the headline but that is not what Sir Keith Mills said. It is in fact two different quotes cut together to make a false headline that meets the respected journalists pre-interview requirements.

Tottenham director Sir Keith Mills accepts that the club cannot stop Gareth Bale from making his dream move to Real Madrid, he continues, but that's not actually what Mills said either.

The 63-year-old has just been awarded a second knighthood — a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire — for helping to win London the 2012 Games and then organising them.

Initially, he repeats Tottenham’s standard response to Madrid’s pursuit of their prize asset: “We very much want Bale to stay.” So an instant dismissal of Tottenham's position as if it is inconsequential. They go on:

But, when pressed, he accepts: “If a player is desperate to leave, it’s very difficult to force him to stay. We’ve seen it in other clubs. Even if he has a contract, you can’t force somebody to play for you.”

Give someone credibility and that will give your headline and angle of the story more authority. Establish a quote about a specific player and then link it to a general quote about hypothetical situations. The quotes show that questions were put in a way to get a desired response. You'll note it was not "if Bale is desperate to leave" but "if a player is desperate to leave" a big and significant difference. Manipulative journalism you could say.

Mills agrees Tottenham are in a  Catch-22. If they’re not in the Champions League, Bale may not stay. But, to get into the Champions League, they need players like Bale.

“That’s precisely the issue,” he says. “So this summer, we are investing in a great squad and we hope that provides us with Champions League football next year and we start to win trophies, FA Cups. That’s what Tottenham need. We have made some good acquisitions.”

Again we are not given the exact question and Mills does not mention Bale, the "precisely the issue" could well just refer to a remark about a Catch 22 situation with no specifics into which the reporter can just add the name Bale.

They include £17million Brazilian Paulinho and Spaniard Roberto Soldado, £26m; signings which have, twice in the closed season, seen the club break their transfer record. “There are others in the pipeline,” he promises.

Demonstrating we have bought and are willing to invest more allows him to speculate a little leading into Mills speaking about the future and here the article can settle down and let's Sir Keith have his say. The desired angle has been achieved and written about so he can afford to let Mills paint his picture. Journalists are well aware that a story should be told in the headline and first paragraph so the reader doesn't have to read any more and many don't. It continues to highlight our need for strikers to lead into another quote.

This could mean another striker for Andre Villas-Boas. Last season, the combined tally of Jermaine Defoe (15) and Emmanuel Adebayor (eight) fell three short of Bale’s 26 goals.

“Strikers are very high on AVB’s list of priorities and Daniel [Levy, the chairman] is trying hard to make sure we have strength up front. It’s a really exciting time to be at the club.”

The article then makes a very valid point that many have considered but few expressed in print, the managerial merry go round at the top.

For Mills, this sense of excitement is heightened by managerial changes in three of the four clubs which finished above Spurs last season.

“It will take the three new managers at Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea — Jose Mourinho’s gone back so he counts as new — a bit of time to settle down. They’ve mostly inherited their squads, the previous managers did things slightly differently and that may just be unsettling enough. We all know that in sport things unwind pretty quickly.

“Tottenham are in a very good place. We’re optimistic this is going to be a good season and I fancy our chances to get one of the four Champions League slots. We’ve got a great manager now.”

Such support for a manager who is yet to win a trophy may seem extravagant but, for Mills, the way the Portuguese overcame the shadow cast by his Chelsea failure merits special praise.

The reporter neither agreed or disagrees but concedes space to Mills to make his points.

Mills said: “He’s done a great job. He is very professional, uses statistics and the technology in a very intelligent and considered way.”

At Stamford Bridge, AVB lost the confidence of the dressing room but, at Spurs, Mills says: “He has built a lot of confidence and trust with the players. His job is to get the best out of every player and he does it very well.”

Mills is keen to reassure fans that the arrival of Franco Baldini as director of football is no threat to AVB (I don't know of any fan who is concerned). This continental style of management has rarely worked in this country and was abandoned by Tottenham after a brief trial pairing manager Jacques Santini with director Frank Arnesen in 2004.

Mills, however, argues: “We have returned to that model because you need a gap between the manager who is running the first team and the chairman who signs the cheques. We need somebody in the middle who takes a more holistic view of the youth and development squads, talent spotting and keeping an eye out internationally. That is Baldini’s role and we are very pleased with him.”

Encouraging as all this is, Mills accepts that Spurs will not be able to match Manchester United and Arsenal unless the club have a new stadium.

Encouraging as all this is is rather a dismissive phrase to use, suggesting without a new stadium the plans are doomed to failure.

“It’s very difficult for us to keep pace with a United or an Arsenal who can bring in 60,000-plus when our capacity is 37,000. We don’t have the marketing and sponsorship of the Emirates or Old Trafford. We don’t generate their match-day income. A new stadium equals substantial additional revenues which will enable us to fund the quality of players we need to get to the Champions League. And being in that League will produce more money. That’s why the stadium is so important.”

Tottenham are planning a new ground at White Hart Lane but the search for revenue explains why they were prepared to migrate to east London.

Mills reveals the club’s controversial bid for the Olympic Stadium was because: “[Mayor] Boris Johnson and the Government were very keen for us to bid. We said, ‘Look, there’s no point in us bidding if you want a running track. We don’t think that’s a good enough experience for the fans. We’re happy to bid and provide a separate athletics’ legacy at Crystal Palace.’ But it was clear that the track was more important than we were led to believe. That’s history. We’re building our own stadium now.”

The new stadium can only go ahead when £350m funding is secured. To do that, the club need to sell the naming rights. “We don’t have that in place and that’s an integral part of the financing,” says Mills. “Once we get that, it’ll open up the rest of the funding.”

With Middle East organisations keen to attach their names to British sport, Levy has travelled to the region but all Mills is willing to says is: “There’s been some interest.”

From here the article just meanders to a close, the work being done right at the beginning.

Mills, whose business success includes the creation of Air Miles and Nectar cards, could prove crucial in securing  finance. It is interesting that he is happier trying to make Spurs great again than managing English football.

“I was approached to see whether I’d be interested in putting my name forward [to take over from David Bernstein as FA chairman],” he reveals. “I turned it down straightaway.”

He also turned down an approach to take over from Sir David Richards as Premier League chairman. “Both jobs have their complexities,” he says. “I have other things going on in my life.”

But he is willing to give advice to Bernstein’s successor, Greg Dyke. “Growing great talent is something that has to be top priority for the new FA chairman,” he says. “It would certainly be my priority. Young talent is what inspires the next generation.”

But that will not happen overnight: “In order to get young talent, you need to grow the coaching talent, too. Producing great coaches will result in great players and that is a long-term project. You’re really talking about a generation.”

A quality reporter producing as usual a good article even if we don't like the message he is trying to portray, no idea who he supports, if anyone.

A look at the Mills/Bale London Evening Standard article A look at the Mills/Bale London Evening Standard article Reviewed by THBlogNews on 7:00 pm Rating: 5
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