Things are on the up for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Spurs secured a return to Champions League football with a comfortable win over Norwich City in the Premier League on Sunday to once again finish above fierce rivals Arsenal in the table.
And that fourth-placed finish guaranteed Champions League football next year, with the Gunners having to settle for the Europa League. A busy summer awaits, with manager Antonio Conte set for a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy over the funds that he will have at his disposal to strengthen his squad.
All indications are that Conte will be backed in the transfer market. And that view has been further supported with the news that controlling company ENIC have handed the club a massive £150million cash injection.
The man behind ENIC and Tottenham is Bahamas-based billionaire Joe Lewis, very rarely seen, with levy the face of the operation at Spurs. But who is Lewis and why has he now decided to pump money into the club after years of not doing so?
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Lewis is worth some £4.285billion – the 43rd richest person in the UK. The 85-year-old, reportedly nicknamed ‘The Boxer’ due to the boxing legend Joe Louis his name conjures up, is notoriously publicity shy and is believed to be close friends with golfers Tiger Woods and Ernie Els as well as actor Sir Sean Connery.
The octogenarian lives in the Bahamas and through his investment firm Tavistock controls ENIC International Ltd with Daniel Levy, which owns Spurs, but the club is just one small piece of Lewis’ empire. He is believed to have been born above the Roman Arms pub in the east end of London and he left school at 15 to work in the family cafe.
Lewis steadily turned the cafe into a whole host of restaurants as part of a successful catering business, which was sold for £30million in 1979. He moved to the Bahamas soon after and used the money to become a currency trader, and from then on he increased his wealth quickly.
It is claimed he made mega money after betting on the fall of the pound on ‘Black Wednesday’ in 1992 and then doing the same against the Mexican peso three years later. The tycoon, also an avid art collector, owns sprawling estates around the world in places such as Argentina, Florida and Bulgaria. His Lake Nona development near Orlando is one of the fastest growing communities in the USA.
The football link came in the late 1990s, when Lewis, his son Charlie and protege Levy set up an investment trust called English National Investment Company. It was Levy’s role to control the football side of things and Charlie the restaurant side.
It soon became a fully listed company and with it they bought stakes in Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic, Vicenza of Italy, AEK Athens of Greece, Rangers in Scotland and then Sir Alan Sugar’s stake at Spurs, amid rumours of Lewis moving for Manchester United. The focus though is now very much Spurs as ENIC, with Levy listed as the company’s managing director and executive director, taking full control of the club.
Levy is the face of Spurs and their massive strides off the pitch in recent years with their state-of-the-art training facility built in Enfield and the £800million new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opened in 2019. Lewis remains very much in the background, although he did …