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  • Tottenham 8th Richest Club In The World & Yet Pressing Ahead To Furlough Staff
  • Tottenham are valued as the eighth richest club in the world, are boasting revenues higher than any of their London rivals and have an owner worth £4.3billion, and yet outrageously they still want the government to bail them out to ensure their staff get paid..

    Derided by politicians for a ‘criminal’ decision, criticised by former players and managers, Tottenham are facing one of their most shameful and embarrassing episodes if they continue to plead poverty and use government money to pay 550 furloughed non-playing staff.

    The government’s coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has remained open for all and what it has done, particularly in football, has exposed the ruthless expediency of mega-rich clubs and their billionaire owners.

    Some have reneged on their decision – Liverpool soon changed their mind following a wave of criticism – but, for now, Tottenham are standing firm even if the balance sheet leaves critics open-mouthed that they can access state money.

    Deloitte has valued Spurs’ earnings at £460million in revenue, with participation in the Champions League final last season helping them become London’s highest revenue generating club since 1996-97.

    And yet rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, both with revenues valued at less than Spurs’, have not opted to use government money.

    Burnley are one of the smallest outfits in the Premier League, making a profit of just £4.3m last year, and still they have committed to ensuring all staff remain employed on full pay for the foreseeable future.

    While Tottenham are not the only team in the Premier League to adopt the government’s scheme – which sees the state cover 80 per cent of salaries up to £2,500 per month – the club are among the wealthiest in the country and as such, has seen their decision slammed by supporters and former players, such as Match of the Day host and ex-Spurs striker Gary Lineker.

    ‘The way Tottenham have handled it I don’t think has been very good – what they are doing to their staff I don’t agree with whatsoever,’ Lineker said, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One show.

    Even current players appear to have been left uncomfortable with the club’s decision to use money from the state to pay non-playing staff.

    Defender Jan Vertonghen was reported to have given a glimpse into the players’ views on the matter when he liked a tweet explaining that Liverpool had reversed their decision to furlough non-playing staff. As of Monday morning, he had unliked the tweet.

    As it stands, Spurs are paying their players full wages, while the club’s 550 non-playing staff have been furloughed and have lost 20 per cent of their income.

    Upon making the announcement, Levy explained why the club needed to introduce such drastic measures. In short – to save jobs.

    ‘Having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20 per cent utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme,’ the statement read. ‘We shall continue to review this position.’

    A forensic analysis of the club’s revenue highlights that they have made a substantial profit every season since 2012.

    No club from the traditional ‘Big Six’ has seen their revenue grow as much as Tottenham since 2016, up 120 per cent in four years to £251m.

    Last year alone, the club made a profit of £69m, fuelling the criticism that they need a government bail-out to pay non-playing staff.

    A study by Swiss Ramble, assessing the club’s profit and loss before taxation, highlighted that Spurs have been profitable for seven consecutive seasons.

    In that period, chairman Daniel Levy has overseen the club make a healthy £412m, working out at an average of £59m per year.

    In the last two years alone, the north London side made £226m in profit. It has been eight years since Spurs posted a loss – that was a deficit of £7m back in 2012.

    The study goes on to reveal that overall the club’s revenue has rocketed by a quarter of a billion pounds in three years, from £210m to £461m.

    Part of that is due to improvement on the pitch, domestically and in Europe, but the figure includes a rise in broadcasting funds and growth in both commercial and matchday income.

    Spurs’ average player salary is £76,000-a-week while the net worth – his assets minus what he owes in liabilities – of owner Joe Lewis is reported to be £4.3bn.

    All of this has ramped up pressure on Levy and the rest of the club’s power brokers to follow Liverpool in reversing their decision to furlough non-playing staff, given the significant wealth reserves the club has to fulfil salaries without state intervention.

    The Reds dramatically reversed their decision to accept government funding on Monday after chief executive Peter Moore admitted: ‘we came to the wrong conclusion.’

    The Anfield club announced on Saturday they intended to take advantage of the Coronavirus Job retention scheme introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, with more than half of their non-playing staff being furloughed. It was a move that led to ferocious criticism from fans and former players.

    Fenway Sports Group – Liverpool’s owners, who are based in Boston – engaged in discussions with Moore, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham and influential fans’ union Spirit of Shankly after becoming aware of the backlash.

    While Liverpool were derided for announcing they would take up the offer of the furlough scheme, their decision for a u-turn will save face in the long run.

    Tottenham, however, despite making huge strides in revenue – only Barcelona saw a bigger rise in their revenue than Tottenham last year, according to Deloitte – are pressing on.

    MP for Tottenham David Lammy took to Twitter and said: ‘It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals. And completely wrong that taxpayers are now being asked to subsidise cleaners, caterers and security guards at these clubs instead.’

    Harry Redknapp, former Tottenham and Portsmouth manager, told the BBC: ‘I’m a bit disappointed they’ve used that scheme to keep workers on. These people are so important to every football club, the club shouldn’t be taking the government’s money to be paying them.

    ‘The players need to have a meeting among themselves and from their heart, say “I think it would be a good idea, let us take a wage cut, not deferred wages, we can afford to take a cut, whether it’s five, 10 per cent, but do it from the heart.”

    ‘When the government brought this scheme out I thought it was for businesses who couldn’t afford to keep workers on, I didn’t think it was for the use of top Premier League clubs.’

    In a strong request on Twitter, the club’s main fan group – Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust – wrote: ‘We have been saying consistently @SpursOfficial – pause and rethink.

    ‘We are now saying it clearly and in public – do not further damage the Club’s reputation, listen to your fans.’fr

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