Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is hurting and has been ‘let down by other people’ at the manager-less club as their miserable season draws to an end at Leeds on Sunday.
Levy has been the subject of angry protests as Spurs fans have watched their team slide down the table, in danger of missing out on European football and now two months without a permanent boss since Antonio Conte’s sacking in March.
But caretaker boss Ryan Mason, who passionately hopes this will not be his last game in charge, believes Levy should be cut some slack and Conte left them in an artificially false fourth spot when he left.
Directors box images of Levy looking pained have been common place both before and during the run of just two wins since the Italian coach left and Mason revealed: ‘It hurts him. It hurts everyone committed to this club and everyone who really cares and wants his club to be successful.’
Levy has sanctioned over £500m in transfer pending since the opening of their state-of-the-art stadium in 2019, but Mason is the fifth person to take charge of the team in that time – repeating the role he undertook when Jose Mourinho was dismissed two years ago.
Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason claims the club’s chairman Daniel Levy has been let down
Mason insists Levy wants the club to succeed and has been hurt by their slide down the table
Levy has faced angry protests from Spurs supporters in the final weeks of a difficult season
‘One thing I will say is he spent money,’ Mason added. ‘He’s tried. I just think ultimately he’s probably been let down by other people. But that’s football. That happens and hopefully we can get things right quickly, make good decisions and turn things around.’
Conte left with Tottenham out of Europe and domestic cup competitions, but fourth in the Premier League table despite an unconvincing run of results and his extraordinary outburst at Southampton when he questioned Levy’s largely trophy-free running of the club and the commitment of his players.
The malaise worsened after his right-hand man Cristian Stellini took over and Mason, only 32 next month, has also struggled to get results.
Stating that he had to speak ‘honestly’ Mason commented: ‘We haven’t won an away game since January and conceded, what, 60-plus goals this season? So this isn’t something that’s just happened in recent weeks.
‘Obviously, we were left in a position in the league table that’s probably false, in terms of other teams had games in hand. When you level them out, I think we might have been seventh in the table. So there’s a lot of things that were probably false.’
The former Tottenham midfielder, who retired five years ago after suffering a fractured skull, stopped short of openly criticising Conte and his style of play, but believes the club needs to take a new direction if it is to compete for Champions League qualification or even trophies again.
‘One thing I will say is that I respect everyone that I’ve worked with, I’ve learned a lot from a people. But at the same time, I’m the own person. I’ve got my own people and how I believe not only this club, but any football club that I’m at in the future, should work and should operate.’
Mason shares the view Levy needs to act fast to make a permanent appointment, with Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou the latest favourite with the bookmakers, along with out-of-work Brendan Rodgers, especially with the transfer window set to open next month and club figurehead Harry Kane’s future again uncertain.
Mason believes Spurs were in a false position when Antonio Conte was sacked back in March
Tottenham have endured a dismal end to the season and could miss out on a place in Europe
Spurs remain without a permanent boss with Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou the latest favourite
‘Every club will have its own history and DNA. I think Tottenham historically has always been a club with high-tempo football, exciting, brave and aggressive. I think our best years, our best results have probably come off the back of playing that way.
‘In the summer I will look back and be bitterly disappointed with the results because I really expected more and wanted more. Like I said, it has given me more belief in what I am, what my team are, the people around me that wherever we are in the next five, 10, 15, 20 years – and I have a lot of time on my hands and a lot of time to grow – we will do good.
Mason concluded with a word on how his former team-mate Kane has shared the burden and hurt of another stuttering season.
‘Of course, definitely (it hurts him). As a player who has come through the academy who really feels the club inside of them, it’s difficult,’ Mason said.
‘I speak on behalf of our fans as well and everyone associated with the club who loves and cares about it, it’s been a tough season, it really has. It’s been a disappointing one.’