Tottenham Hotspur's latest initiative in the club's drive to becoming a global presence sees the club head to Singapore to launch a new development programme headed by former club captain Gary Mabbutt.
Increasingly in recent years, Premier League clubs have recognised the importance of long-term commitment in foreign territories as they seek to build lucrative fanbases. The attitude that it is also important to 'give something bacl' is also becoming increasingly widespread and, indeed, is nowhere better represented than in Tottenham's sponsorship of the Indian team at the Homeless World Cup earlier this year.
The club's Singapore initiative sees Mabbutt head a nine-day course in which Tottenham coaches will seek to find new playing talent in Singapore as well as educate players and coaches in Singapore. It comes at a boom time for sport in Singapore, which will host the first Youth Olympic Games next year.
"I think it is quite a brave decision by Tottenham because it is quite easy to use your name to go around the world and collect a payday," Mabbutt told Reuters. "But what we are trying to do is bring the coaches we use at home and bring those same standards where we go. We are trying to make a serious development programme. If we get a player that comes through from Asia who is good enough to come and play for Tottenham Hotspur then great, but if not the work we are doing will leave a long-lasting legacy."
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"We do not think that because of who we are we can just turn up, collect the money and be invited back, the world is different now. That may have happened a decade ago but now it's not the case. I think now it has to be a sustained programme that is going to be able to offer longevity, It may come back with some commercial benefit but there is no hidden agenda; we have set up relationships but we have to deliver first and foremost," Mabbutt added.