Disgraceful Daniel Levy embarrasses Spurs and Premier League

by .

The current climate is difficult for football clubs. Social distancing has put tremendous strain on a system of billionaires that supports millionaires. At the lower rungs of the game, finances are on a precipice. Some operations might not come back from a prolonged hibernation.

… but this is just football.

At the top of the game, though revenue forecasts are bleak, there are plenty of levers megaclubs can pull. Factor in the value of elite-level football, at the very worst, you know a huge TV deal will drop care packages when the game comes back on track.

The real crisis is with the people. Millions look set to lose their jobs. Plenty will drop down to part-time levels. Others are facing the nightmare of prolonged furloughs. Small businesses are weighing up whether their future is a viable one as banks attempt to gouge them with disgraceful interest rates.

… people are also sick and dying.

The picture I’m painting here should set the tone for elite-level football clubs. Their main priority right now should be doing right by the community. Don’t give anyone an opportunity to say you took advantage of the situation. Don’t do anything that looks greedy.

So what did Spurs Chairman do? He gave 550 employees a 20% hair cut on their salaries, potentially taking advantage of up to £2m a month in government furlough cash. To make matters worse, Spurs owner is a tax exile.

To make matters worse, he didn’t cut the salaries of the players or the management team. Can you believe that? He took from the not so well off and kept his talent going at 100%. An unbelievably bad look for a club that looks to imbue community values.

I saw someone rallying against publications that tell you how many NHS things can be bought with the salaries of footballers yesterday. Apparently, this is the latest thing to get angry about, because it’s an attack on working-class who found the holy grail of social mobility. Fuck right off. Footballers are no more working-class than Leonardo Dicaprio. They are just as disconnected from reality as the blue-chip CEOs of Wall Street. Nothing clarified that more for me than listening to Harry Kane, mid-global pandemic, telling the world he might leave Spurs.

I’m not sure what my point was? Oh yes. Where the fuck is the leadership from the Premier League players at this moment? The UK citizens are making HUGE sacrifices in the name of national health and our players are twiddling their thumbs?

Where is our Lio Messi? I know he’s one of the wealthiest athletes on the planet, but not only did he take a 70% pay cut, he demanded that Barcelona pay the non-sport staff their full package. I love that. It shows some awareness, some empathy, and some much needed common sense in sport. Elite level clubs should not be dipping into Government funds at the minute, that bailout money isn’t for orgs that can afford to pay over 50 of their staff £500k+ a year.

The players in the UK should take this opportunity to reconnect with reality for 3 months. Help fund the little guys. The big clubs should help support the little clubs like they’re doing in Germany. This from The Guardian.

Dortmund said the four clubs, who participated in the Champions League this season, will forego their share of the national media revenue – approximately €12.5m – and add €7.5m of their own.

“We are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic,” Dortmund’s CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke

The German system is far more egalitarian. Fan ownership is more prominent, tickets are more about the experience than the profit, and I think clubs are far more socially responsible. It also helps that most of the owners, even when it’s a brand, are German. That means there should, at least in theory, there should be similar cultural values and norms. If there is a cultural thread that connects you, you are more likely to behave like a collective and support other clubs in times of need.

In the UK we have a collection of billionaires all working for different means. Abu Dhabi, America, Russia, Uzbekistan… coming together for the greater good? Those are 4 very different cultures with wildly different visions of morality and ethics. Can we ever structure our game like the Germans? I think that horse has bolted, which is unfortunate.

Pulling this back home, someone needs to take a lead. The last thing footballers and clubs need to do in this environment is repulse the fans with greedy behaviour. We need to see swift action and a united front that sees an action comparable to the nations sacrifice.

This is a chance for beloved community beacons to show the world that football is still about the people, let’s hope Arsenal continue to shine, and let’s hope Spurs are shamed into rectifying their disgraceful moves of the last day.

P.S. I banged out a podcast with Nigel Phillips of the AST. He’s an expert on football finance and sits in the same block I do when I’m back in the UK. Take a listen and join the AST if you get the chance.

Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher

200 Responses to “Disgraceful Daniel Levy embarrasses Spurs and Premier League”

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  1. Marc


    I don’t believe the Government should ever have the right to take more than half of what someone earns but a progressive system going up to 50% over a certain amount isn’t an issue.

  2. Jamie


    “If you widen it to include all taxes collected of course it dilutes it – corporation tax, capital gains tax, stamp duty, fuel duty, VAT and God knows what else.”

    That’s right, it ‘dilutes’ it to roughly 10%.

  3. Marc


    That can’t actually be known only estimated and I’d like to see where your numbers come from – how do you know how much fuel duty any individual pays, how do you know how much VAT someone pays out of there earnings?

  4. Jamie

    Marc –

    Plenty of think tanks model that data. You’ll dismiss it though, because you’re desperate to be right about the majority of the tax burden falling on the wealthy. It doesn’t.

    I pay more in capital gains than I do in income tax because it’s significantly cheaper that way.

  5. Marc


    Firstly that makes you full of shit.

    Secondly how does someone with £100k of disposable income not pay significantly more in VAT, fuel duty, stamp duty etc compared to someone on £27,000 a year?

    Indirect taxes are a lot harder to avoid in the modern world.

  6. PhD2020


    Dude,you’ve got serious issues.People are dying left,right and centre.And you spend your every waking moment,launching into tirades and telling people that they are full of shite??!!

    Don’t you have a family or loved ones that you can share some warmth and love with?

    Or at least show a little more empathy with people on here?

    Gosh,you come across like a right little Victor Mildrew.

  7. Marc


    People are not dying right, left and centre – it’s serious and of course I’m concerned about members of my family but to make out it’s the end of the world is moronic.

  8. Marc


    You are full of shit because you’re criticising a section of society for not paying enough tax and then talk about how you pursue means that allow you to avoid paying more tax personally.

    What you are doing is perfectly legal and allowed under UK tax laws (I assume you’re based in the UK) but do you not find it hypocritical how you argue one thing and do another?

  9. Jamie

    Marc –

    Ridiculous argument. You should spend 10 minutes with an accountant so they can explain the difference between a salary and a dividend in a way you’ll understand.

    I guess you’ve demanded to pay duty on any booze you’ve bought at Heathrow, assuming you’ve ever flown outside the EU (or back in the day when things were still duty free travelling to Europe).

    Ever reduced your VAT liability on a business expense? Ever received a tax rebate? Give it all back, tax avoider.

    People on low incomes can’t afford accountants, which is why wealthier people pay proportionately less tax than their less-wealthy counterparts.

    Tax reform is needed, and not because people earning under £150k a year aren’t contributing their fair share.

  10. Emiratesstroller


    I am not a fan of Kroenke. However, whatever the criticisms about the failings of the club under his watch no-one can accuse him of bleeding the club dry for his personal gratification. Let’s be clear he has not taken out of the club huge sums of money.

    Mr Levy operates in similar fashion to David Dein. Dein owned shares in Arsenal, which he sold to Usmanov for huge profit and was paid also a significant salary whilst he was a Director of the club.

    Levy also owns a significant chunk of shares in Spurs and will no doubt sell
    them in due course. I believe that he is also one of the largest salary earners
    at the club. I am willing to bet that he has not taken a salary cut during the
    current crisis.

    So far there are no reports that Arsenal have reduced the wages of their non
    playing staff in contrast to Spurs.

  11. Dissenter

    Like you criticizing Daniel Levi for dumping his non-playing staff on furlough so that the tax payer can take care of them.
    You do realize that he too wasn’t doing anything illegal. I chipped that in because you’re throwing the hypocrisy charge around.

  12. Marc


    My criticism of Levy was treating one set of employees one way and the others another. I really hope Arsenal do not follow this path.

    I must admit I’d love to see Levy stick the players on furlough though – £2,500 a month would make a few headlines.

  13. Marc


    I don’t criticise anyone for taking advantage of something that’s available to everyone.

    I criticise those who take the moral high ground and then look for ways to reduce their own contribution.

  14. Emiratesstroller


    At that level of salary and bonus most probably.

    I don’t think that there are many businesses of the size of Spurs paying their CEO £7 million.

    There is not a single football club in EPL which would make the FTSE 100 Listing and even Man Utd on current valuation would be ranked no higher than a middle of the road FTSE250 club.

    So the wages being paid at the moment are currently totally unrealistic.

    It will be interesting how sponsors and tv companies are reacting next season
    particularly if this seasons is not completed.

    I have just renegotiated my telephone, broadband and bt football package. Bt
    are not charging a football subscription for next three months whilst EPL and
    Europe is closed.

  15. Marc


    Sky have offered a break clause in their sports subscriptions as well. I have no idea where this is going to finish for football.

    I’d love to see a break down on the salaries / wages split between the staff furloughed and those who aren’t at the Spud’s. I’m guessing the salaries of the players / Levy etc are staggeringly more than those put out on furlough.

  16. Jamie

    Marc –

    Everyone who can afford it looks for ways to minimise their tax liabilities. The wealthier you are, the easier it is to do. That’s the point you can’t seem to grasp.

    The tax on capital gains should be much higher, and family trusts should be banned. Easy to zero your inheritance tax liability the more you inherit, ironically.

  17. Bojangles

    Kitchen knives are designed for preparation of food, hand guns are designed to do damage to human beings.

    Marc, there is the right then there is the looney right. Your arguments on handguns come from the latter.

  18. Bojangles

    Maybe the pl should consider playing out the remainder of the season in the unaffected African countries.

  19. Sid

    WTF, PL to be played in unaffected African countries?
    1. Football is over this season, there are far serious issues right now.
    2. The U.K went to Africa with religion it ended in colonization now they want to go with football?…….. facepalm

  20. Sid

    The 26 billionares who have net worth of the poorest half of the word should pay half of the worls taxes.
    Im teĺling you this for free!

  21. Bojangles

    If they took the pl to Africa it could only end in love for the pl.

    I’m telling you this for whatever you’re willing to pay.

  22. Jamie

    Marc –

    No need to get so worked up. Nothing hypocritical about what I’ve said. I pay my share, but I should be charged more. How much more than you’re charged to you pay?

    You’re confused because you don’t understand the tax system. Most high net worth individuals pay a lower effective rate of tax than a head teacher earning £60k a year. You’re also confused because you don’t seem to know the difference between rate and amount.

  23. underrated Coq

    “WTF, PL to be played in unaffected African countries?“

    They want to spread it to those areas as well. Hopefully the Africans have brains and disallow entry.

  24. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Ollie Watkins or Johnathan David.

    Who would you sign if we are going to sign a striker.

    Me I would go with Watkins.

  25. Tom

    World according to Marc:

    Wealth inequality stems from rich people working harder than everyone else and not because labor is taxed at a higher rate than investments such as stocks, bonds,real estate.

    If libs and progressives only started taking personal responsibility for their own actions , say , the way conservatives like Trump do , they would close that inequality gap in no time. But they won’t because they are lazy.

  26. Blackmirror

    @ Tom

    Ricky Gervais joke..

    A worker in a sweatshop would have to work for 10,000 years to make the annual bonus of Nike’s CEO – ‘But they don’t want to, do they? Lazy.’

  27. Dissenter

    Marc with all his blind conservatism doesn’t understand that billionaires pay a lot less relative taxes on their incomes that the middle class. They have all the tax attorneys and expensive accountants. to clean their money for the tax code.
    That’s why the likes of Trump paid very little taxes on his income. He’s allowed to bill the US tax layers for his business misdeeds. He can write off his losses and spread it over 15 years to offset his taxes. The very definition of corporate socialism.
    When the little guys makes mistakes he files bankruptcy, the too-big-to fail corporation just comes back for billions in bailout.

  28. Champagne Charlie

    Dipped in to “learn” that NHS doctors make 100k a week.

    That’s me back out until the daft has settled.

  29. Sid

    BojanglesApril 3, 2020 05:45:57
    I’m telling you this for whatever you’re willing to pay.

    I Will pay you a nubile vietnamese

  30. Tom

    The hardest working people right now are ICU nurses, doctors, and folks restocking shelves at your grocery store.
    Expect all three groups to shoot right up to the top of wealth charts at the end of the year , especially the last group lol.

  31. Nelson

    I think that EPL should help out teams in the very low league to maintain this football structure in England. With Brexit, tougher rule should be applied to foreign players. Foreign players should paid a higher tax. FA should promote football within the country. The priority of sport should be balanced a bit between entertainment and recreation.

  32. Micheal

    “Foreign players should paid a higher tax. ”

    Why would anyone in their right mind come to play in the UK. Would you take a job where your fellow workers paid less tax for doing the same job ?

  33. Luteo Guenreira

    Days like this overwhelming evidence again that most of us should stick to talking football on a football blog and little else.

    It’s like hearing a dwarf talk about how wonderful it is they put everything on the top shelf.

  34. alex cutter

    “Dipped in to “learn” that NHS doctors make 100k a week.

    That’s me back out until the daft has settled.”

    And miss out on more pearls of wisdom from marc?

  35. London gunner

    Also so what if doctors earn a ton of money. It’s one of the jobs that actually tangible deserve to be paid lots of money.

    There are lots of senior executives and CEOs dare I say being paid a lot while doing a shocking job and relying on their staff/employees to bail them out.

    But doctors have a tangible concrete worth.

  36. Bojangles

    “I Will pay you a nubile vietnamese”

    Seeing as, if I so chose, I could have my pick of these for free, you are offering me the same amount as you offer your advice for.