Levy supports Jol but admits there is 'truth' behind claims

Spurs chairman insists Dutchman can stay – he 'just needs to get the results'
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Tottenham Hotspur's chairman, Daniel Levy, has insisted that Martin Jol has the squad and the boardroom backing to bring success to White Hart Lane.

Spurs have made a woeful start to their Premier League campaign and Levy feels it is inevitable that there will be speculation over manager Jol's future, given the quality at the Dutchman's disposal.

Levy, who was speaking on Setanta Sports to promote Spurs' 125th anniversary match against Aston Villa at White Hart Lane tomorrow night, said: "I think it's inevitable with the quality of players we have in this squad that when we're not performing on the pitch there's bound tobe speculation.

"I've made it very clear that I very much want Martin to succeed. Martin is fully aware of our ambition, he also has got ambition – he just needs to get the results. I think we're all fairly thick-skinned if I'm honest, I just think Martin and the players need to ignore the outside pressure and just win, and that's what it's all about."

However, Levy conceded that there is an "element of truth" behind concerns surrounding Jol's future. Levy added: "Obviously, with any speculation sometimes there's an element of truth, but there has been a lot of stuff that's been written inthe papers which has just been completely untrue."

Jol's position has been uncertain after club officials met the Seville coach, Juande Ramos, during Spurs' dismal start, although Levy has since publicly backed the man he appointed in 2004. Jose Mourinho was also linked with the job after leaving Chelsea but Jol has remained defiant throughout the messy episode and has suggested that even the "Special One" might not have matched his consecutive fifth-placed finishes in the past two campaigns.

Jol also believes getting rid of him would be a backward step for the club, and feels the board have recognised his achievements by sticking with him after just one win in seven Premier League games.

Across north London, Ars-enal insist that the club's board members have no intention of selling their shareholding, despite admitting a "constructive meeting" has taken place with Farhad Moshiri of Red and White Holdings Limited, who now possess almost a quarter of the club's shares. The investment company, jointly owned by the London-based Moshiri and the Russian Alisher Usmanov, increased their stake in Arsenal on Friday to 23 per cent, consolidating their position as the second largest shareholder behind director Danny Fiszman, who owns 24.11 per cent.

Shares in Arsenal are now trading around the £10,000 mark, and talk of a full-blown takeover shows few signs of dissipating.

Earlier in the week, Arsenal's parent company published highly impressive figures for 2006-07, with overall turnover up to £200.8 million at Emirates Stadium and operating profit also increased significantly to £51.2m following the club's move to their new 60,000-seater home.

Despite all the speculation, however, the board have always maintained that they have no intention of selling up, and are currently in a 12-month "lockdown" agreement. Arsenal already have a good working relationship with the American billionaire investor Stan Kroenke, whose company hold around 12 per cent of stock and have a marketing partnership with the Gunners through their Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids.

Despite the confirmation of a meeting with Red and White Holdings – whose chairman is the former Arsenal board member and Arsène Wenger ally David Dein – the directors insist the stance on the sale of any of their 45.45 per centholding remains unmoved.

A statement read: "The board of Arsenal Holdings wish to confirm that a constructive meeting took place between [chairman] Peter Hill-Wood, [managing director] Keith Edelman and Farhad Moshiri of Red and White Holdings Limited.

"Board members of Arsenal Football Club wish to reiterate their intention of retaining their shareholding in the club and have no intention of selling any shares. The board believe that the continued success of the club can best be achieved by the company remaining independent."

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