Levy warns rebels to back share issue

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The Independent Football

The Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, has urged shareholders to support his fund-raising scheme to safeguard the club's future.

Levy said that unless his fundraising proposals are backed at today's extraordinary general meeting, the club would be unable to compete in the transfer market and may fail to land the manager they want. Levy and his company, Enic, are trying to raise £15m through a share scheme offered to all shareholders, though Enic will make up any funding shortfall.

Opponents from outside the club include the former director Howard Shore, the Birmingham City owner, David Sullivan, and businessmen Johnny Green and Mike Sherwood. They claim that the deal structure is unfair to smaller shareholders and accuse Enic of trying to acquire a majority stake cheaply.

"Smaller shareholders are getting preferential treatment," Levy said. "It is also inevitable that if Enic take up their entitlement then they will end up with a bigger shareholding. But a bigger stake is a consequence of the issue, it is not our motive.

"The people who are trying to scupper the scheme have their own agenda. Mr Shore is a disgruntled former director, Mr Sullivan owns Birmingham City so it is natural that he does not want to see Tottenham's spending power increased. Mr Green and Mr Sherwood would like to underwrite fundraising in order to become significant shareholders.

"These rebels are trying to stop the progress of Tottenham Hotspur. We want to enter into the transfer market and we want to appoint the right manager. These things are at risk if this share issue does not go through. We need to get 75 per cent [of the vote]," Levy said.

* Leeds players have offered a show of support for the club but have yet to agree to defer part of their wages. The acting chairman, Trevor Birch, has met the players and officials of the Professional Footballers' Association, and a club statement said: "The players are now fully aware of the financial position of the club and are prepared to offer support should it be required."