Former Tottenham Hotspur star Jermaine Jenas has told FourFourTwo that he sympathises with Spurs fans who are angry with the way that the club is being run.
Tottenham were dumped out of the FA Cup fifth round last night by Championship high-fliers Sheffield United, to extend the club's infamous trophy drought to 15 years, since they last lifted any silverware. That title was the League Cup, which Jenas played a huge role in securing with devastating performances in the competition.
Now, speaking to FFT as part of the B&Q Energy Savers initiative, Jenas says that understands why fans feel disillusioned with the direction that the Lilywhites are heading in, following protests about the ownership this season and chants directed at chairman Daniel Levy stepping aside.
“I sympathise with the fans to an extent,” Jenas said. “I totally with the standpoint of ‘What’s the point in building this big stadium and having all this lovely stuff if you’re not going to invest properly and challenge for a league title?’ I think the frustration from the fans is that they seem to just half-heart everything.
“It’s like, are they ever going to get to a window, like this summer and go, ‘You know what? We need James Maddison: go and get him. We need a top goalkeeper, let’s go and compete for one.’ That never seems to happen. It’s always half-hearted and I think that’s where the frustration lies. You’re here now, so go: you’re very close but you’re not prepared to take that next step.
“The uncertainty comes, though: I’m not sure Antonio Conte will be there next year. You look at his career and the cycles are pretty short: he’s coming to the end of another one. I hope he stays if he’s refreshed, supported and backed. If he’s not, he should move on.”
Despite agreeing with fans unhappy with Spurs’ season, however, Jenas stressed that chairman Levy had not been all bad during his Tottenham tenure and that it was worth remembering all the good that he had brought to the club.
Levy became chairman of Tottenham in 2001 and has overseen the establishment of the club as one of the Big Six in the Premier League, leading them to consistent European campaigns and, of course, being at the helm during Spurs’ move from White Hart to their incredible new stadium.
“I’m optimistic – I do think though that when I was at Newcastle, Tottenham were a midtable team,” Jenas recalled. “When Daniel Levy took over, it was the year before I came to the club. Then all of a sudden, they were signing Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Edgar Davids, these types of players and challenging for Champions League football.
“What he’s done is not all bad and I think they need to remember to an extent that they are now a football club that is looked upon as a superclub in the league, essentially. As great a club as Tottenham Hotspur have been historically, in the Premier League era, they weren’t that for a period of time.”
Recently, Jenas has been getting involved in a level of football a little lower than he played at, joining B&Q's Energy Savers initiative to go to Welling United. The initiative from the home improvement retailer aims to help community spaces to become more energy efficient, showcasing simple tips that people can also implement at home to save energy.
“So it’s an energy-saving campaign that B&Q have got involved in with myself,” he explained. “We took a trip down to Welling United in the south of London and the idea behind it is obviously about community spaces and finding ways to make sure that these special places to the community can save energy, from changing to LED lights to maintaining heat and giving them a few tips and tricks essentially to make sure that some already very tight budgets are saved further.
“We’ve got a current climate where the cost of living is a huge topic for everyone and when it comes to these community spaces and how important they are to everybody – and not just football grounds but other places, I’m talking about – those tiny details are huge for keeping the lights on and keeping community spaces open.
“It was great as well because my dad was a semi-professional footballer and going back to those old grounds, I spent a lot of my childhood there. They all have this distinct smell – they’re all quite run-down, they have no money and run on tight budgets – but they have a lot of love in the building when you go in and everyone wants to talk to you, the chairman, the manager, so their histories are strong and it’s emotional in a way.”
B&Q has teamed up with Jermaine Jenas as part of B&Q Energy Savers initiative that shows how easy it is to save energy at home, whilst supporting community spaces across the country. Find out more at diy.com/energy-saving
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