Tottenham Hotspur's chairman, Daniel Levy, revealed yesterday that the club has decided on a permanent successor to Glenn Hoddle as manager. However, the appointment will not take place until next summer, leaving David Pleat in charge as the caretaker until June.
At the club's occasionally heated annual meeting, Pleat said that Spurs have offered their right-back Stephen Carr a new contract but are helpless to prevent the Republic of Ireland international running out the remaining 18 months on his current deal.
However, the board of directors did have some good news. They denied once and for all that they would ground-share with Arsenal at the Gunners' planned stadium at Ashburton Grove and said that a plan to increase White Hart Lane's capacity by a third from 36,000 was in the offing.
Levy gave his backing to Pleat, who has been in charge since Hoddle was sacked in September, and said he was happy for him to run the first team in tandem with the head coach, Chris Hughton, until the end of this season.
Tottenham lie 12th in the Premiership after their 5-2 win over Wolves last Saturday and Levy said the decision would "give the club a degree of continuity until we make our most important managerial appointment. We will make that appointment in the summer".
Several names have been mentioned as possible successors to Hoddle, including Celtic's Martin O'Neill, Everton's David Moyes and Charlton Athletic's Alan Curbishley. Levy would not expand on whom he had chosen from among 30 applicants but added: "I know who I want to be manager and have every confidence he will come." When pressed by one anxious shareholder as to what would happen if their first choice did not take the reins, Levy said: "There is a plan B."
There is less confidence in Spurs' ranks over Carr, who could, like Sol Campbell in 2001, leave on a free transfer when his contract expires. Pleat said: "Carr has an agent and 18 months left on his contract. We continue to talk to him but we won't vilify him or send him to Coventry if he doesn't sign when we want him to sign."
Paul Kemsley, a Spurs' director, had better news for shareholders when he confirmed the club was hoping to increase capacity at their stadium rather than sharing with Arsenal. To loud applause he said: "The question of sharing a stadium with Arsenal has been ruled out. The preference of the board and of the fans is to stay at White Hart Lane. We are also looking to increase the ground to a 48,000 capacity."