I sense a power struggle looming at Tottenham over transfers between Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy and I know whose judgement I would back.
Conte is a proven winner and a good manager. His record proves that.
Levy on the other hand is a man who has run Tottenham for 21 years and won one League Cup. Tottenham are a really big football club and they have punched below their weight on Levy’s watch. They should be challenging for the biggest honours on a regular basis.
A power struggle is looming at Spurs over transfers between Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy
People talk to me about the new stadium and it’s the best anywhere in the world. But it would not be rocket science for a big London club to build a new stadium in the recent and current financial climate of the Premier League. It’s the equivalent of taking a 25-year mortgage on a house. Even allowing for that they have under performed on a large scale. And what about the 18 years before they build the stadium?
Do you think Tottenham fans want to go on holiday and meet someone in a bar somewhere and say: ‘Cor, have you seen our amazing stadium?’. Of course they don’t. They want to tell people about what a great team they have.
I think Conte is the best chance they have of making that possible but Levy has got to trust him and try to give him what he wants.
The best managers are never ever satisfied. They have to be like that. If you aren’t improving you are going backwards. Every big team is buying players and if you aren’t then you are losing ground.
Tottenham are a very big football club but they have punched below their weight under Levy
Spurs are well set off the field with a fabulous stadium but they need to challenge for honours
When I was manager at Liverpool I stood at the same window Bob Paisley used to stand at watching me and my team-mates run past. I asked Tom Saunders, the sounding board for all the great Liverpool managers, if Bob was ever happy with us bunch of serial winners.
Tom said: ‘Never.’
He explained we could just have won the European Cup but Bob would be looking at the group and saying: ‘Not sure about him anymore, not sure about him anymore’.
The best ones are always unhappy about something. I would never put myself anywhere near that category as a manager but I was exactly the same.
I had a great relationship with my chief executive John Williams at Blackburn but I was still complaining all the time. ‘I want more, I want more.’ And he was fighting it all the time.
In 21 years under the chairman, Spurs have won one League Cup – all the way back in 2008
We would have words round the lunch table then at 3pm on the way home I would get a call or I would call him and we would be best pals again by 3.15pm. I would say I lost a lot of those battles. You have to accept that. It’s not black and white. Some clubs are a lot richer than others. So at Rangers I won most of them, for example.
But Conte is demanding and that’s to his credit. The priority of a manager is to get the best out of a group of players and by and large he has done that. He will be pushing Levy for more and Levy will have known what he was getting when he hired him. What mystifies me is that people employ a manager on an enormous wage and then immediately start to listen to other people when a signing doesn’t work or you have two or three bad results. Where is the logic?
I know the director of football model is what most clubs want now but some are forced in to not having that when a manager is successful. I sense maybe Mikel Arteta is gaining power in that direction at Arsenal now.
Clubs want a transfer committee that stays there and see managers come and go. They want stability. But where has it worked?
It’s worked at Liverpool but I would imagine the more successful Jurgen Klopp has got, the stronger his hand has become. I would not imagine there is much that happens at Manchester City without the final say of Pep Guardiola either.
Conte is a proven winner and Spurs’ best chance of glory so they must give him some control
I think Conte is the same as he was at Chelsea. He wants more of a say in the comings and goings and football decisions in general.
I have knowledge of Tottenham. I was on their books as a young player. Their supporters want to be entertained and be successful and with that in mind they must be disappointed in Levy’s 21 years.
I hear what some people say about Conte’s style of play and I accept an Italian’s attitude to the game can be pragmatic.
I remember joining Sampdoria when we had a young team. We would play Juventus who were the best side in Italy and we would have most of the ball and then get beat one or two nil.
They had a way of playing they wouldn’t budge from. Let’s stay at 0-0 and see where it takes us.
But I don’t think we are being fair on Conte if we judge him on one year and two transfer windows. Dear me, give him a chance. And give him some control.
I am uncomfortable talking about managers being under pressure – the job is getting even harder!
I enjoy the show I am part of on TalkSPORT on a Monday but the thing that concerns me is that we are constantly talking about managers getting sacked. I am uncomfortable with it as I know how hard the job is.
For the modern manager it’s even harder than it used to be. I am not sure why, if you were a top player in the last ten years and you have that financial independence, you would really want to put yourself in that situation.
Steven Gerrard for example will have had criticism and ridicule these last few weeks he will never have had before. Do you really want to put yourself or your family through that? I am not sure.
Being a manager is even tougher these days and you need an extremely thick skin to cope
You have to have a thick skin to play football at a high level but to be a manager you have to grow another one on top. Criticism, dressing rooms, ex-colleagues and their opinions, phone-ins, social media. It’s endless these days.
And being a player does not prepare you as much as you think. The responsibility you have. The responsibility you feel. It does not prepare you. It just doesn’t.
The upside is that winning makes you feel even more elated. It was the day when the good times were no longer compensating for the bad times that I decided it was no longer for me.
There should be more patience shown these days but it’s actually going the other way. It’s getting worse. That’s wrong and I really want to make that point.
I don’t want people to think I revel in that part of my new job on the radio because I don’t.
I enjoy my role on talkSPORT but find it uncomfortable when talking about managers futures
Rangers and Celtic are held back by the lack of TV money on offer in Scotland
I see Rangers plan to build a statue of my dear departed friend Walter Smith outside Ibrox. I cannot think of anything better and I know Ethel, his boys and the wider family will be thrilled.
What he did for the football club – winning ten league titles and eleven domestic cups – was as great as any of the previous managers you want to name and that includes the great Bill Struth.
On that topic, it’s been a dire Champions League campaign for the two Glasgow clubs who so far have mustered just four goals and two points between them from ten games. It’s such a disappointment for Scottish football but people ask me why they are uncompetitive and I will tell you.
Rangers (above) and Celtic have both endured dire Champions League campaigns this season
I live in Bournemouth where the football club has an 11,000-seat stadium but manages to play in the Premier League on the back of annual TV income upwards of £90m.
Celtic and Rangers are huge clubs with massive fanbases and capacities in excess of 50,000 but their TV money is a tiny fraction of that, only about £2m or £3m a year. So there is your answer.
If the two Glasgow clubs agreed to build a 100,000 stadium to share and they joined our Premier League they would soon be progressive top half clubs. I would have them down here in a heartbeat. The rest of Scottish football would not collapse. It would simply have to find its own level.
Both the Old Firm clubs are held back by the lack of TV money on offer in the Scottish game
Casemiro can help Maguire get back to his best
Injury to Raphael Varane may hand Harry Maguire another chance for Manchester United against West Ham tomorrow and I hope he takes it.
Maguire has been overly criticised and I feel for him. He’s had a bad run of form but he’s not the only one. I think the boy has it in him to be a top player and with Casemiro playing in front of him, with a real defensive head who senses danger, I think he will be a far better defender. It will be interesting to see if he bounces back.
The protection of a top quality defensive midfielder in Casemiro will benefit Harry Maguire