cry god for harry, england and st. george ...

            but not for me tottenham hotspur

having been found not guilty of tax evasion on Wednesday 8th february 2012,
harry redknapp was immediately installed as favourite for the england manager's job
when fabio capello resigned later the same day.

so, how did barry levington feel about that ??



This was supposed to be a piece about the transfer window dealings, but, in the circumstances, it turned into a piece about how the future of Tottenham Hotspur lies in the hands of the purveyor of potential racist abuse.

Harry Redknapp exited Southwark Crown Court yesterday afternoon a free man.  Charged with two counts of tax evasion, along with Sheffield Wednesday owner Milan Mandaric during their time at Portsmouth, the two were found not guilty in the case brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs at an alleged cost of £8 million to the tax payer over a period of five years.  Meanwhile, a few hours later, at Wembley, England manager Fabio Capello was being driven away from a meeting with the FA Board about the removal of the captaincy of the national side from John Terry ... a meeting that saw the manager resign his position.

In a day of fluctuating fortunes, Harry was suddenly the firm favourite to take over from Capello, whereas, earlier in the day he looked like he might be public enemy number one.  And how ironic that on a day when cleared of charges of defrauding the revenue over what was reputed to be a "bung", it ended with Capello getting an estimated £1.5 million to leave his post.  Bung ... Golden Handshake ... it is a fine line between the two isn't it ?

But the real annoyance over this matter as far as I am concerned is around the whole root of Capello's outrage at the FA's decision to make Terry hand back the armband.

John Terry was involved in an incident in the Chelsea game at QPR on 23rd October 2011, when he collided with QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and an exchange of words with Anton Ferdinand ended with allegations of racist comments being made to the former West Ham defender. 

Firstly, I have no time for Terry.  I find his attitude on the football pitch boorish and that of a bully.  He gives me the impression that he feels he is able to get away with a large number of incidents, maybe perhaps because he was England captain, although he has always been a bit like that in my opinion.  And he has got away with things, but having been deprived of the England captaincy once before when he slept with the mother of a team-mate's child, before regaining the position.

Secondly, he plays for Chelsea, whose owner floods the club's bank balance with cash to fund their success with no limits.  Before Abramovich arrived Chelsea were a club with few prospects and then they won the title for the first time in years.

And following the decision from the Crown Prosecution Service to take a case against the Chelsea and England skipper for a racially aggravated public order offence, it was his club Chelsea who appealed to the court to defer the hearing until after the European Championships in the summer at the initial hearing in February.

This left the FA with a dilemma.  Did they allow Terry to continue in his role and if everything had gone well, be the one to lift the trophy in July, only to be charged with this offence a few days later ?  While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the potential embarrassment for the FA was clear to see and so they ruled that he would not be captain, but was still available for selection.  Surely, even his inclusion in the squad might send the wrong message out to the outside footballing world, with England being the first to cry foul if racist abuse comes from the terraces in their away games.

However, over a couple of days, Capello could not withhold his peace over his disapproval of the decision and appeared on an Italian TV show to say his bit that he felt that the move should not have taken place.  This lead to a meeting with David Bernstein and the other two members of his board and Fabio Capello emerged as a man without portfolio.

So, if you didn't have reason to dislike Terry and Chelsea before now, then there are reasons to now, as without one's actions and the other's self-interest in having the defender available for the remainder of their season as they strive to qualify for the Champions' League through a fourth place finish, we would not find ourselves in this current position.

I don't think I am being too melodramatic when I say that Harry Redknapp's decision over the England post, should it be offered to him, will not only affect his own future, but the future of Tottenham Hotspur.

No wonder all the other Premier League managers and supporters want him to take the England job, as they don't feel that Spurs should be one of the top four.  The removal of the club's manager will probably lead to a drop in status in the table and a return to the odd glimpse of success instead of what promises to be an era of challenging for bits of silverware on a regular basis. 

I am sure Daniel Levy will have made provision should this moment arrive and will make sure that the FA more than adequately compensate THFC for procuring their manager.  But the man to take over him must be charismatic enough to win over the players and make them believe he can forge them into better individuals and more importantly a better team.  If they can secure someone who fits that bill not all is lost.

On TalkSport this morning they were saying that Joe Jordan is highly regarded by the hierarchy, but whether they would make him manager on a permanent basis is unsure.  The same applies to Tim Sherwood, who takes the development squad at the moment and like Clive Allen before him, is being lined up to make a seamless move into the coaching/management set up at the club.

Away from the club itself, Jose Mourinho has been installed as the favourite to replace Redknapp if he goes, but I am not a fan I am afraid.  Too cynical and too sterile in the football his sides play, I really hope that the Chosen One is not in this instance.  Others in the betting include Carlo Ancelotti, not a bad punt, but not a great success at Chelsea after only doing the Double; David Moyes and Martin O'Neill are both names long associated with Spurs, but their time may have come and gone; No thanks to the likes of Tony Pulis and Rafa Benitez, who often only have a one track way of playing.  More interesting is the name of Gus Poyet, who left Tottenham under the Juande Ramos cloud, being part of his coaching staff, but he has made a name for himself with Brighton and the football they play, so might relish the opportunity to take on a big challenge on his own.  I think he left on good terms and he would understand the Tottenham Way more than someone like Mourinho, as well as bringing former Spurs full back Mauricio Taricco back to the club with him as his assistant.

There have been a couple of glimpses of hope in the mess.  Harry's speech on his exit from court paid heartfelt thanks to the club for its support and on leaving home today, he said he was only focused on Spurs.  Added to that the FA's press conference today tried to quell the clamour for Redknapp's appointment, by saying that it is not definite that the appointment will be that of an Englishman.  They want the best man for the job and while a lot of England players want him to take control of the team, the FA want the best man for the job ... with some excellent candidates out there, be it Hodgson, Hiddink, Mourinho or Pardew.  All would fit the FA's requirements.

And Levy will battle to persuade Harry that he can finish the job he has started at the Lane.

What happens between now and the end of the season will shape the way we see Spurs in the years ahead.  Daniel Levy has done well for the club and I am sure that there will be a plan in place.

And maybe, just maybe, it is a plan that can gather dust on the shelf for a few years longer.

Barry Levington


your views on harry being the favourite for the england job ...



After the dramatic events of a couple of days ago, the dust has now settled and people start to form reasonable opinions rather than the adrenaline fuelled thoughts of Wednesday night.

As a Spurs fan accessing Facebook that night it felt like the villagers were immediately out with their torches looking for Harry before anyone had even thought about alternatives. There was Barry Fry-up on SSN shouting “Harry for England!” and every pundit worth his headphones was proclaiming “’arry is WAY out in front as the ONLY contender”…

Slowly though, as each English manager with half a brain cell publicly distances himself from the so called pinnacle of an Englishman’s managerial career, it would not seem such a foregone conclusion that our Harry would up sticks down the road to Lancaster Gate. For one there is the despicable deconstruction of each and every manager that has ever donned the three lions tracksuit. I mean Stuart Pearce has been caretaker for less than 24 hours and is already slurred as a racist from a bust up he had with Paul Ince 15 years ago!

Bearing in mind what Harry has been through in the last month or so, even though he is a media darling, would he really want all that unsavoury attention ?  It is clear from excerpts in his recent trial that he is a fiercely loyal family man and I think the prospect of dirt being found/created/fabricated about his family would be one step too far for a man that has had to endure more than his fair share of harassment lately.  There is also the fact that Tottenham have stood shoulder to shoulder with him throughout his trial and sent prominent members from the club EVERY day to Southwark Crown Court room 1, you could see in Harry’s facial expressions that it meant an awful lot to him to have this support and acknowledged even the supporters in his speech outside the courts.

He can be stubborn and hold onto players like he did with Modric, but denying a proud Englishman his chance at the football equivalent of Prime Minister is not something I think Daniel Levy will entertain for too long.  He would have surely had a back up plan in place for Harry going down, but his loyalty has paid of and that back up plan is not needed at the moment.

Like the Modric conclusion has been pivotal to our season, I believe this situation we find ourselves in is a massive cross roads; we will either walk hand in hand with Harry to the promise land or regrettably watch the press turn his face into a carrot or turnip or something, which is not too difficult going on Harry’s good looks … sorry Harry.

Lee Bradley



After five years of grief over the tax evasion case, why would Harry Redknapp want to go through the wringer of the British press' treatment of the England manger ?

Surely the promise of journalists raking through his bins is not that far removed from tax men fine combing his accounts and the court case has taken it's toll on him, with the heart operation and a general slowing down over the last few years.  And bear in mind Harry is 64 and a manager at a top club.  This is the first time he has had a crack at managing a top club and you wonder if he would walk away from it with the job half done ?

If he does go, how many of the back-room staff would go with him ?

Kevin Bond for sure.  Tony Parks has done an England goalkeeping coaching job before, so might return to the FA.  Clive Allen might stay along with Joe Jordan, but how that would fit in with a new manager and his own coaches is a pertinent question.  I am sure that Spurs would want to keep Tim Sherwood on as he is a manager for the future.

It is a great honour for Harry to be considered as he said, but with Spurs on the brink of breaking the top four apart, wouldn't he fancy a go at the title with a summer of quality signings ?

Daniel Levy seems to have a good relationship with Harry, but is it stronger then the lure of the national manager's job ?

The Funky Phantom



Harry does what Harry wants.

Mitchell Coakley



So, the FA want to steal away our manager.  What a surprise !  If only they has been so keen a little while back, they would have made moves to sign him up for when Capello was due to go, but with the tax evasion case hanging over him, they wanted him to be cleared of that before going anywhere near him with a bargepole.

On the other hand, Levy took Harry on knowing this was in the pipeline, but stood by him right through the ordeal that ended on Tuesday.

And more or less straight away, the FA have come out and said that the England manager might be an Englishman, but not necessarily so.  Then they state that public opinion will influence their decision so that they get the crowd behind the team.  Crowd pleasers or the best man for the job ?  It is possibly the one and the same, but the crowd will soon turn, as they consist of supporters of lots of teams who haven't had Harry as their manager and will be keen to see him fail.

If I was Harry I would say, "Thank you, but this will be on my terms.  I will take the team for the Euro 2012 finals and then return to Spurs", thus giving him the best of both worlds.  Don't take the job on a part-time basis, as I think that would affect Tottenham's performances and Harry would be being pulled in two different directions.

And if he does the Euro finals, he can still have the day-to-day involvement routine he has spent his whole career doing.  Anything less than that might leave him bored and while it would be less of a burden for the old feller, I am sure he thrives on that contact with the players.  The other drawback would be the public spotlight that would be constantly on him and his family.

Having been through this with the Sun photographers turning up at the raid on his house when he was away and Sandra was there on her own, he was furious and I imagine that made him all the more determined to fight the charges, having won a case against the Police for the raid.  In some areas, Harry comes across as a very principled man, who would put up a defence when he thinks he has been wronged.  And a man who stands by those close to him.

Some of the first people he thanked on coming out of court were Daniel, the Spurs board and the fans.  He seemed truly moved and maybe he thinks that he has finally found a place where he is comfortable, a home for his talents and one that is appreciative of his style.  Being manager of Spurs has its own pressures, but nothing like those that the England boss suffers and he made mention of the treatment Bobby Robson got when he was in that position.  It might make him think twice about the role.

And while there has been no approach through Daniel Levy, should the FA have discussed it with him at all, does that constitute tapping up ?  And who would adjudicate on the case ?

One interesting point was raised on TalkSport the other day with a Spurs fan questioning whether the lack of spending on players was
a) in case Harry was found guilty
b) to save money for a replacement to have some purchasing power
c) to use as a contract to tempt Harry to stay.

We will have to wait to see what comes out of this and I am not worried about what's best for England as all the other people commenting on this are keen to break the link between Harry and Spurs to give them a better chance of success.

Ted Maul



Harry would be mad to take on the job, as there will be constant interference from the FA into how he runs the team and at least at Tottenham Daniel let's him get on with it.  I fail to see the attraction, even though Harry described it as the "ultimate job" or rather agreed with the Sky reporter.

It is amazing how much misinterpretation of what he said has been made today.  Words that were put to him were not out of his own mouth and this is only a little of what it will be like if he becomes England manager.  He has the media in his thrall, but this will be another level of media intrusion that he will open himself and his family up to.  Turnip Head, Swede and the Wally with the Brolly.  What lies in wait for Redknapp ?

For all the good work he has done at Spurs, it can be undone with one word ... "Yes".

Sparky Marky



Why is it so much of a done deal that Harry is going to take over from Capello ?

Has Trevor Brooking got something on him from their playing days at West Ham ?  Has Uncle Harry been begged to take the job by little Frank, who wants to play for England again ?  Will the FA grass Harry up to the tam man again unless he says Yes ??

I hope he thinks about it and then says thanks but no thanks.

The grief he would get as the England manager is not needed and he could see out his career as a hero at the Lane, rather than some sort of newspaper pantomime villain when things don't go the way the press and the fans think they should (i.e. England win everything in sight).

Paul Handley



Any sane person would not take the England job (only for the money).

All the players in top teams are going to want Harry to have the job because we are suddenly a threat to their power in the Premiership.  This club has given him more than any other, so let's see where his loyalties lie.

As far as replacements go, I can only think of Moyes and Hiddink, with Moyes being the cheaper option.

Will Bond and Jordan go with Harry ?  With Jordan being Scottish, he might go if Harry can persuade him or (more unlikely) he has gone soft !!

Eric Penn


Spurs were set to welcome back Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe, Kyle Walker, Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric into the team today after their recent jury service.

Harry said he will only do the England job for the Euros, as long as they are unmarked and not traceable.



I sincerely hope Harry doesn't take the England job for the following reasons.

1 This job has been a poisoned chalice since Sir Alf Ramsey was sacked in 1973 for failing to get England to the 1974 World Cup.

2 The criticism that will inevitably follow when things go wrong.

3 And the scrutiny upon his family that will follow on from this.

Things are going so well at Spurs at the moment I thing Harry would be absolutely mad to to leave to take on the thankless task of managing England. Think on Harry think on.

Robert Lester



Harry has surely got to realise where he is well off ... both financially and footballing wise.

Spurs players have suffered before (notably Glenn Hoddle) when playing for England in a side that was not as good as the Tottenham one he was chosen from (i.e. including Ardiles, Perryman, Galvin, Hughton, etc).  And Harry might suffer the same fate, with being laden with the country's expectations but with only other English players to pick from.

No Bale.  No Modric.  No Adebayor.  No Saha.  No Assou-Ekotto.  No Friedel.

Just say No, Harry.

Benny The Ball



I wish Harry had been found guilty, then we wouldn't have been in this dilemma.

Steve Chappell



After the ovation Harry got at the Lane yesterday, I can't imagine that there will be anything like that for him, unless he wins a major tournament and even then, you know it will all turn sour soon enough.

If he believes the stories about Spurs fans being fickle, then just wait until he gets into the England manager's job.

And there are other things to think about.

Will the FA let him continue his column in The Sun ?  Will he still get a cut of transfer fees for all current England internationals ?  What bonuses will be in place ?  And how many matches can he attend watching opponents in Monaco ??

Stan Chun





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