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Wednesday, 20 December, 2000, 08:11 GMT
Spurs takeover deal close
Sir Alan Sugar
Sir Alan Sugar is poised to complete Spurs sale
Spurs are set to fall into the hands of sports executive and life-long fan Daniel Levy as Sir Alan Sugar finalises his White Hart Lane departure.

Levy is expected to pay 22m for a 27% interest in the club currently held by Sugar.

The deal will leave outgoing chairman Sugar with a 13% share, having held a 40% interest before his proposed sale to Levy.

It means ENIC, the sports and leisure group of which Levy is chief executive, will have a 30% controlling interest in Tottenham Hotspur plc.

ENIC issued a statement confirming they were holding discussions with Sir Alan "which may or may not lead to an acquisition of part of his stake in Tottenham".

It added a further announcement would be made "as soon as practicable".

The deal is expected to see 38-year-old Spurs season-ticket holder Levy take up Sugar's seat on the board and become a non-executive director.

George Graham
George Graham may get cash
ENIC's search will then begin for a new chairman following Sugar's expected resignation.

ENIC are expected to seek a high-powered figure, a leader in both football and business, who will work in tandem with Levy to generate new investment for signings and the continued redevelopment of White Hart Lane.

The company has a further bizarre link with Spurs, as it also holds a controlling interest in Swiss club Basle.

Basle are currently enjoying success under the guidance of Christian Gross, now regarded as something of a joke figure in England following his disastrous year-long reign at Spurs.

Enic also hold major stakes in AEK Athens, Slavia Prague and Vicenza, while Levy is a director of Rangers, who re-elected him to the board this week.

That may cause future problems for Spurs if ENIC do buy into the club.

Uefa rules dictate that if two or more clubs under common control qualify for the same Uefa club competition, only one can take part.

However, with such a major investment intended for Spurs, it would seem likely that Levy would insist Spurs get first option.

Levy attempted to buy Spurs 20 months ago, but he could not strike a deal with Sugar.

Mark Jacob, co-founder of Save Our Spurs, is hopeful ENIC will invest in the club to lift them into the top five in the Premiership and into contention for European honours.

"It seems all the indications are that Mr Sugar will no longer be the major shareholder at the club and the plc and we are cautiously optimistic about the future," said Jacob.

"We have heard that they (ENIC) have investments in several other clubs around Europe and we understand that they want Tottenham to be the flagship.

"We would hope they will invest in the club and put Tottenham back to where we think they should be - in the top five in England and competing in Europe.

"We should thank Mr Sugar for all he has done at Tottenham. He came in and put the financial position on an even keel.

"However, we want the right person to take us forward in the new millennium, the buzz words being speculation and accumulation."

Commenting on recent protests at White Hart Lane by fans unhappy at a lack of investment in new players, Jacob said: "It is a credit to Tottenham fans that we have got to this stage.

"Fans up and down the country should take note that no longer should they be used as turnstile fodder."

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