The most fundamental alliance for any club exists between the chairman and manager, and thankfully there is an ever blossoming bond between Tottenham’s principal duo.
Guillem Balague’s book, A Brave New World, is a fascinating read for any Spurs supporter. After unwrapping it on Christmas morning, apart from taking the time to find out which Branning went splat off Albert Square, I struggled to put down.
Diary-like entries throughout the course of our last campaign give the reader an unprecedented insight into the intricacies of a modern manager’s thought process. The book, that Guillem claims was left totally uncensored by Mauricio Pochettino, exposes some interesting relationships; the most intriguing of all being the rapport between himself and our chairman.
What is most striking about Mauricio and Daniel’s relationship is how down to earth it seems. In an entry about a trip to Argentina, Pochettino describes how they went fishing, horse riding, paintballing and drank water from streams together. The exaggerated camaraderie of their escapades leaves me with a vision of the two skimming stones across a lake with some Hall and Oates playing in the background.
Yet an even more absurd image transpires from a rafting trip. Jesus, Poch’s right hand man, repeatedly fell out of the boat, much to everyone’s amusement. But as they took the final rapid Mr. Levy also plunged overboard. Poch reached out an arm to rescue his boss and later joked that he should have requested a bigger contract while he had Daniel in such a vulnerable position.
However, their time away is not all spent gallivanting around. Hours of deliberation between the pair allow Levy to truly grasp Poch’s philosphy; while, Poch has the opportunity to fathom the financial workings of the club. The result is the merging of minds and an akin way of thinking in the future.
The importance of such an understanding cannot be stressed enough when it comes to transfer dealings. Levy is an infamously merciless negotiator, as an anonymous chairman once told the Daily Mail: “Daniel likes to squeeze your balls until your eyes start to water.”
Pochettino concedes that the chairman’s job is not an easy one and that Daniel does not make decisions simply based on balancing the books anymore, just as Poch himself can see the bigger picture of any club dealings.
Rather surprisingly, the book reveals that it can be the moneymaking creed of Levy urging us to splash cash at times. Levy claims that if it were left to Poch we’d only have the bare 11 players. An example of such is two seasons ago when Poch insisted, to an extremely speculative head of recruitment, that he could turn Dier into our anchor.
Another issue that remains censored to fans is the true feelings of the hierarchy in the aftermath of games. The responsibility of fronting a club means emotions must be kept in check with diluted answers during media briefings.
It was tough to read how severely Poch mourned our final day catastrophe against Newcastle. In fact the book can be viewed as a man’s quest to finally right that wrong a year later.
Thankfully there weren’t too many losses last campaign to back this up, but we picked up enough wins over our London rivals to prove victories are celebrated in a similar magnitude.
Finishing above our neighbours was not as frivolous as Pochettino insisted to the press. He admitted himself and Daniel carried out private celebrations behind closed doors, while Poch had a sore shoulder for days after Levy attempted to lift him in jubilation following a dramatic victory against West Ham. And just as Spurs fans lay awake savouring the ecstasy of a 2-0 win over Chelsea, Levy was the same, messaging Poch on WhatsApp to say he couldn’t sleep.
Upon the release of the book back in October, the most publicized line was Levy sharing his desire for Poch to stay at the club for a further 15 years. Poch was quick to respond by saying he was “in love with [Daniel].”
Levy has had to go through a carousel of managers along the way but it seems he has finally found his man. His wife said that Pochettino is like the third member of her and Daniel’s marriage. And just like a marriage is for better and for worse, football is a game of highs and lows. But the pair clearly share the same vision for the future as we prepare to move into our new home.
I will leave you with an anecdote from our chairman and the concluding words of the book:
"“We went away for two days in France and we had a wine-tasting experience… We came back and he bought me a gift and I bought him a gift and it was the same bottle of wine, a dessert wine we’d enjoyed! Isn’t that incredible?”"