harry redknapp is oh, so wrong


I realise that I’m going well against the grain here especially with the two guys I sit with, but I don’t like Harry, never have done, never will do and don’t want him anywhere near our club. 

It’s true that he is a symptom of how badly Tottenham is run in some areas rather than a cause.  After Newcastle and their abject shambles of a structure and personnel selection policy, we surely qualify certainly in football terms as the worst run club in the league.  Events of the past fourteen months or longer surely bear this out. With the most successful manager in the recent league history of the club shamefully undermined by the club’s transfer policy over the course of the year before he was virtually subjected to a public execution by the hierarchy, we replaced him with the man who beat us in a cup.  His sole qualification appearing to be, that he outthought our manager in that Cup.  No mention of our dependence in that game on a central defender with a crocked knee and the unavailability of the central defender purchased to cover for that position being cup-tied.  Let’s come back to transfers later. 

Martin Jol was flawed in some areas and appeared to struggle to take a step onwards and take points and pots away from the “big four”.  He was fired not because of the slow start of that season, but because his side lost leads to Chelsea in the FA Cup and the Gooners in the Carling Cup.  Enter the incomprehensible Ramos who basically did well in three big games with somebody else’s team and then along with our former sporting director off loaded and dismantled the best league team we have had, certainly in Premier League history if not longer.  Much has been made of the club structure and how it doesn’t work.  It is criticised openly by Harry Redknapp among others as it goes against their policy of total ownership of the playing structure and their final say on any player purchased.  An old school manager who actually hasn’t achieved much of a return for all his years in management, Harry pushes against modern elements of the game that he doesn’t seem to understand any more, if he ever did. 

In terms of a short term motivator I have no doubt that he has lifted our unbalanced squad of highly paid players, but where is the astute tactical nous needed over the course of the season ?  Where was the tactical change in the home loss to an Everton side lacking ambition ?  Where was the realisation that the two central midfielders where side by side and neither getting forward to the isolated attackers ?  Using every cliché and stock phrase in the book, “Old ‘Arry” the eminent self publicist would have us believe that he will lead Tottenham onto better and bigger things. Unless his “buy ‘em in and shake up” plan suddenly becomes foolproof, how else will he do it ?

Will he do it by continually playing the shocking out of form Bentley in his favoured right sided position despite his inability to deliver a ball from open play or a set piece? Will he do it by playing the most influential player to date this season Lennon, out of position on the left to accommodate Bentley, another eminent self publicist, on the right? Will he do it by allowing Bale to slowly degenerate from a multi million pound “next best thing” into a potential make weight in a deal to banish him to the North East? Where is the coaching for Bale? Where is the development? It’s not coming from Harry because he doesn’t know how to. Having surrounded himself with his own selected coaches, we can take now the time to remember Harry’s term at the SCBC who were in dire straights when he joined. They were however fourth from bottom. After a few wins and points gained, “we did well, we fought well” and when they went down, “they were doomed when I got here”.  Listen out for the selected use of  “we”, “I”, “they” and “us”. When it’s going well, its “we” when not, “them”. While with coaches, has anybody else noticed that since that legend Les Ferdinand was appointed to work with the strikers, none of them has scored a league goal ? 

The club structure with Arnesen and Jol was working.  When Santini left, it was an easy transition for Jol. While there were mistakes, Atouba for example, there were well planned and needed transfers such as Naybet, who solved two problems in one hit.  Stability and cover, and as a side benefit we saw King develop with a stable solid partner.  How this policy degenerated once our man Frank left for the Roubles is shown on the mix up around the Murphy/Medes in and out, as well as the Davenport/Rocha swap.  Here is where Jol is not without blame (Lee and Ghaly anybody ?), but he was undermined by the club.  While we needed another Naybet, we got Kaboul and don’t get me started on Boateng.  A wise head with a full knowledge of the game can work with a good coach, it’s about the people and not the structure.  Harry won’t work with it, because he has full faith in himself and his own abilities.  These abilities don’t go far beyond a good sound bite and short term impact.  This man would not talk to the BBC ever again don’t forget, but like big Sam, never sued and when it suited him, was happy to pop up in front of the microphones once again. 

Look at the league table now.  All “big four” clubs are misfiring, and where are we ?  We are looking downwards not upwards, doing mental points calculations at every fixture to see where we can slip to or climb to.  How would Jol and his team do in this season ? If correctly supported, they would have done very well indeed for sure. 

The shambles of a summer policy especially around the centre back/centre forward slots is causing us considerable pain.  More evidence of how badly the club is run, but I don’t see how Harry will correct this other than with a mish-mash of players and a huge squad.  He can then mix it up, talk sound bites and fall back on the “they were bottom when I got here and the squad was bare bones.”  His appointment has pushed us back to the dinosaur days of football.  We’ll see an influx of journeymen and never quite was players while Harry rakes in the coin, with luck he’ll be gone next summer. He will have a public row with Levy over money and go, probably sowing the seeds of his departure to get his retaliation in first.  Remember not long before he left Portsmouth, he was talking about “as far as I can ?” etc, the money was running out and curiously, West Ham had a vacancy.

Jol was fired after the two best league seasons in recent history.  Harry’s targets are much lower, survival will bring about a big bonus for him and the rest of the club hierarchy no doubt.  So, because of immense mismanagement, our ambitions slip from one end of the table to the other in little more than fourteen months.  It’s a testament to the shambles of a club that while admittedly on solid financial footing it seems, in what my Dad would have called it, a "total buggers muddle" in all other areas.  Harry didn’t cause it, and short term he is a necessary evil, but not one to “Take us on” to use another well worn phrase. 

Then again, I think it just maybe too late for that and our influx of Lithuanian left backs that we’ve never heard of, will keep us firmly ensconced in a nice, safe 12th place or so.


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