Football: Angry Spurs fans eye new `Double'

Two games into the new season and White Hart Lane is already embroiled in crisis.

IT IS NOT the Double long- suffering Tottenham supporters had in mind when they implored their long- failing club to match Arsenal's success. But in their present predicament they will settle for this double occurrence: the departure of Alan Sugar as owner and chairman and of Christian Gross as coach.

Followers of the struggling north London side woke yesterday to learn from some reports that Sugar was involved in negotiations to sell his controlling stake. As always, however, things are not quite what they seem and billionaire businessman Joe Lewis and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, named as likely buyers, were both quick to dismiss suggestions that they were interested in taking over.

There seems little doubt that Sugar will walk out of White Hart Lane if the abuse continues to be as personal and vicious as he encountered from frustrated fans on Saturday following Spurs' second successive three- goal defeat but that will not happen just yet and nor it seems will he be so quick as to end the troubled reign of Gross whose tenure, it has been said, will end with this weekend's game at Everton.

It is more likely that Sugar will give the manager he appointed last November to succeed Gerry Francis - an appointment which stunned the football world - a little longer to turn things round before he finally gives up the ghost. On Monday night Gross went to Elland Road to watch Blackburn, who are Tottenham's opponents in two weeks' time, take on Leeds United, which would be a strange move for a manager who knows he is going to be out of work on Saturday night.

Yesterday bookmakers refused to lay any more bets on Gross getting the sack. Graham Sharpe from William Hill said: "We have taken a lot of bets of amounts up to pounds 500 on him getting the chop even before the first ball has been kicked and once they lost to Wimbledon on the opening day we started to see many more three figure wagers come in. Now, after the defeat by Sheffield Wednesday, we have decided to withdraw."

Most of the White Hart Lane faithful, who have never really forgiven Sugar for ousting Terry Venables in such unseemly fashion in 1992, will be glad to see the back of both these central characters.

It will sting Sugar's pride if public pressure forces him out but that disappointment will be softened by a considerable increase on his initial pounds 8m outlay to buy into the club in 1991.

Likely buy-out figures of pounds 80m have been mentioned for a publicly quoted organisation whose fortunes away from the pitch have been transformed by the chairman even though the current share price is not impressive.

Spokesman for both Lewis and Murdoch were quick to emphatically deny any interest yesterday.

"He is definitely not interested in buying Spurs," said Lewis' representative. "He telephoned me himself to say just that. He was bemused by these stories."

Under existing Premier League rules Lewis, who uses his investment trust ENIC for his involvement in football, would be banned from Spurs without first selling his 25.1 per cent shareholding in Rangers, a stake worth pounds 40m.

As it stands it is not possible for anyone to hold 10 per cent in more than one club belonging to a league represented on the International Football League Board. However, legal experts believe the legislation would not hold up in court.

The Murdoch connection has arisen out of the recent appointment of Sam Chisholm to the Tottenham board. Chisholm was chief executive and managing director of Murdoch's BSkyB and he also negotiated the original deal between Sky and the Premier League for broadcasting rights.

Nick Hewer, a spokesman for Sugar, denied that talks had taken place with either Murdoch or Lewis and added: "I spoke to Alan last night and this morning and there's nothing in these stories at all."

Sugar was seen at the club's training ground in Chigwell again yesterday. Hewer added: "He is very concerned about the team and that's where his focus is at the moment. The club is superb in so many ways but unfortunately it's not so good on the pitch at the moment and that's the frustrating part. Everyone here is dressed up with no party to go to."

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Sport
A view of today's Spanish papers
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
people

Sport
sportAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
News
news

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
books

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

Learning Support Assistants-Nantwich area

£8 - £9 per hour: Randstad Education Chester: We are currently recruiting for ...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London