Club owners Enic appointed Buchler, 49, to the post on Wednesday last week, following the resignation of chairman Sir Alan Sugar, handing him with the responsible for the day to day running of the Premiership club.
Prior to this, the London accountant spent 14 years at Kroll Buchler Philips – the insolvency adviser to investigations firm Kroll. Buchler, a life-long Tottenham fan, gained a reputation as one the UK’s leading experts in saving troubled companies, specialising in rescuing soccer clubs facing struggles far worse than relegation battles.
In the 1990s he successfully shored up shoddy financial defences at Luton, Oxford, Millwall, Swindon and Barnet and is currently trying to keep Hull, Morton and Wealdstone on the playing field.
Now things have come full circle for Buchler.
His challenge at Spurs will be to mould a successful business venture, from a club, which used to part of English football’s very own ‘Big Five’. Spurs now trails far behind Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds and Chelsea, both on and off the pitch.
And just a few days into his new job, Buchler has already set lofty goals for the club.
‘Our medium-term goal is to make Spurs a European force, like it was in the 1960s when it was the leading UK club in Europe,’ Buchler told AccountancyAge.com.
‘At Spurs, my aim is to combine good business skills with the club’s passionate support base, and my own passion and life-long love of the club, to build a corporate vision, which everybody can get behind.’
Buchler said he would retain his position as chairman of at Kroll, but would spend three to four days a week for the first month at White Hart Lane, in what he called a ‘Kroll role’.
Explaining himself, Buchler said the type of work required at Spurs was not unlike the roles he had undertaken at other clubs, which had been to engineer a turnaround in fortunes and to develop a corporate strategy to take the club into the future.
Giving an example, Buchler said: ‘At Millwall my task was to save the club from financial ruin, but I did this by finding new equity partners and raising funds.’
At Spurs he has been tasked with conducting a complete strategic and business review of the club over the next six months, including looking at the ‘totality of the football side’ (transfers, youth policy and playing standards) all financial aspects of the club, including what money is available for spending, and a review of all operations, including sales, marketing, branding.
And he will also be conducting what he called ‘a review of himself’ to determine what his ultimate role at the club should be in the long-term.
Of worrying concern will be the club’s transfer market activity, which has seen a Pounds 40m deficit on Pounds 50m invested in new players over the last five year.
But Buchler told Sunday Business: ‘One thing I am absolutely certain about, if we spend Pounds 50m over the next five years, that money will be spent wisely.’
Buchler says he would ensure the club gets better value for its money and would not be spending money on new players until uncertainty over the transfer market in Europe was resolved.
He also hinted at a possible move to a bigger football ground, to accommodate the legions of Spurs fans, although when questioned recently by the media he would not comment on a possible ground-share arrangement with North London rivals Arsenal, who also hope to move soon.
Other priorities include securing a media partner that will help the club exploit the value of its media rights and persuading high-profile stars like England defender Sol Campbell to remain with the club.
‘I will do all I can to keep high-profile players at the club,’ Buchler said, ‘but obviously this is a two way process between the player and the club.’
Buchler has set himself a target of six months to formulate his strategy for the club, and the affable accountant has slid, almost seamlessly, into his new role at what was once the ‘glamour side’ of English football. And while Tottenham’s recent history has been turbulent, the reform programme set by the 49-year-old accountant may yet prove as hard to implement as any premiership league clash.
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