June 14, 2012

Redknapp: if only he’d tried to be Spurs

I didn’t think I needed to vent; I thought I’d said it all in this letter back in April. Turns out I hadn’t, so here goes.

If he’d toed the party line, he’d still be manager.

If he hadn’t flirted with the England job, and if he hadn’t tried to conduct contract negotiations in public, he’d still be manager.

But that is Harry – if he thinks he can improve his own position by talking to his friends in the press, he’ll do it – without caring about whether it brings the club into disrepute, or makes the chairman look daft.

At the end of March, when Redknapp was being asked about the England job (on a weekly basis) he said:

“They [the players] don’t care whether I’m the manager next year. They wouldn’t lose any sleep over that. That’s football.

Footballers play the game, they come in every day and train. Someone else walks in here tomorrow – the king is dead long live the king! They don’t worry. They don’t think ‘Harry is going to England’ or ‘he is going to go somewhere else’.

Fast-forward to June, and he seemed to have had a total turn-around:

“If they [the club] don’t extend it [his contract] and I go into my last year, it is not an easy one when players know you have only got a year left.

It is not a case of me looking for security. What it is about is players knowing you have only got year left on your contract and knowing that it doesn’t work, basically. I think it’s a situation of, ‘well, he might not be here next year’.”

This just about sums the man up; he’s hinting at his own players leaving – weakening our bargaining position, putting thoughts in players mind – in order to push the board into offering him a longer contract.

And it is because of these sorts of comments, I’m almost sure, that he is no longer manager.

His record largely speaks for itself – two top four finishes, Champions League football; we’ve “never had it so good” (“…and if you know your history…“) – but his short-term approach to achieve these finishes does leave a somewhat sour taste.

Bringing in the likes of Friedel, Gallas, Parker, Nelsen, Saha – all ageing players – plus Adebayor only on loan, means that we have another summer of rebuilding ahead of us and would have done even if he’d still been there. He has marginalised a large section of the squad, leaving them ready to quit the club (or already having quit in Kranjcar’s case), and meaning that we have a core of 12-15 players who will realistically be considered for selection next season.

Congratulations to Redknapp for some wonderful football during his tenure. Congratulations for the run of league finishes. Congratulations on bringing Champions League football to the Lane – it was great.

But you never really had me feeling involved – I never felt like you were one of us, or even wanted to be. I don’t know whether it was the fact that you commuted all that way because you couldn’t leave Sandbanks. I don’t know whether it was the fact that you referred to us (the lifeblood of the club) as “them”, whether it was calling fans who phoned TalkSport “idiots”, or whether it was the “they’ve never had it so good” line. Some will miss you because of the relative success that you brought, but to me supporting a club is about a lot more than achieving 4th place finishes, and for that reason I’m not crying.

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  • Anonymous says:

    Good piece Windy, and also lets not forget that the club supported him all through his tax trials as well, and that is the thanks we get!
    Sid Trotter

  • Thoughtful and well argued piece Windy. But personally I’m a better-the-devil-you-know man. We binned Jol and made a big mistake. I think players DO like certainty and longevity. I’d have given Harry three more years. Unless Daniel has a replacement lined up (Martinez?)it’s hard to see this move as anything but a reaction to the awful disappointment of missing out on a CL place, albeit by a quirk of the rules.

    • Windy says:

      Can totally appreciate that PoV, George.
      I know a lot of fans want success at any costs – probably the same fans who wouldn’t complain if we were bought out by an oligarch – but it seems like you’re somewhere in the middle.

      Personally I’d rather feel a part of the club that’s all pulling together in the same direction but finishes 5th or 6th than one with a manager who couldn’t care less about the traditions and history or the fans but will deliver decent league finishes.

  • Torleiv says:

    Good piece Windy. It’s clear for everyone that he wasn’t sacked because of results, which have been very good for the most part. Even so there was always a sense of short-sightedness in his tenure, despite great football and good results he never had me convinced regarding a long term vision for the club. It was all a bit stop gap living in the moment with ‘Arry and that’s why his relationship with Levy, a meticolous planner, never quite worked out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with all of that, just hope Levy has a better rabbit up his sleeve than Moyes or Martinez otherwise I’d have stuck with Harry warts and all.

    Thanks for the good times Harry, but I won’t miss your media-whore personality. If only you’d been intelligent enough to keep your head down and your mouth shut.

    • Windy says:

      Cheers for the comment – agree with your last para. I think Moyes deserves a club where he has cash, think he could be a decent appointment actually.

  • Gagan says:

    Spot on Windy. He was always pessimistic when it came to Spurs but sounded so optimistic when it came to England in Euro 2012. Remember all those stupid statements like ‘we have no divine right to finish 4th and all that jazz’. All his friends in the media are in mourning today. One look at twitter and you’ll feel someone has passed away

  • Unknown says:

    Well said Windy, I actually posted on COYS almost identical comments regarding the players not being affected when he was talking about England, but being affected when he was trying to get a contract. He has done a good job, for which I thank him, but I am also relieved now that he has gone and hope that we can get a manager who is ‘Spurs’ in image and playing style.
    I agree with you about him never feeling like one of us and having been a supporter for over 50 years now, I half resented his references to ‘them’. Love your work mate and particularly enjoy your bits on the loanees. Cheers for all.

    • Windy says:

      Thanks very much for the comment, really appreciate it. The contract/players thing was such blatant hypocrisy and yet the press seemed to totally ignore it; frustrating.

  • Anonymous says:

    This has been in the offering for some time,some of Arry’s decisions on and off the pitch were damn right confusing in anyones books,Arry cost us 3rd place and he knows it
    there are too many examples to name and that is not just this season but last season as well!
    I’m happy that Arry has gone I just hope Levy gives the new man (Pep) a war chest so we can build on what we have got
    Shelf SideYid

    • Windy says:

      I agree, and I didn’t even go into his failure to see us home to 3rd, mate. Lots of other issues, but I feel the media whoring is what eventually got him the chop.

  • Anonymous says:

    The short termism is the thing that tilts the balance for me. Parker and Friedel I could accept because they made a clear and instant improvement to the first XI. But Nelsen and Saha? And his failure to get any sort of value from Pienaar was really highlighted by his form for Everton. We will be doomed to for ever wonder what might have been if one or two players of quality had been added in January (or even not allowed to leave). Oh for a Papisse Cisse…

  • Anonymous says:

    Being a Spurs lover didn’t save Jol. For better or worse Levy removes the emotion from his thinking and its purely down to Harry losing that lead and not getting CL football.

    • Windy says:

      Probably right, but I don’t think Redknapp’s inappropriate relationship with the media helped.

    • This comment has been removed by the author.

    • I think that if it was simply for not getting into the CL or securing 3rd he would have been sacked weeks ago. I believe he had been offered a new contract months ago but didn’t want to sign because of the England possibility. I really don’t think he has anyone but himself to blame. Either way, him always talking to the media about everything was never going to help him in this situation.

    • Windy says:

      I think Levy would have put up with the slump from 3rd to 4th if everything was perfect off the pitch. Teamed with his constant self-serving chat, it was deemed too much methinks.

  • Anonymous says:

    In any other industry, if a person under contract makes it known to his employers that he was showing interest in another job, he or she would probably be instantly dismissed. Redknapp has only himself to blame for his downfall and he has paid the price for declaring his interest in another job, and costing his employers millions of pounds in revenue through our failure to qualify for the CL. Lets hope
    that someone comes in who has an idea what to do when things go wrong on the football pitch. He was very lucky to have managed our fabulous football club. Come on you Spurs.

  • Cushty says:

    Good article Windy, just about sums up hidden thoughts behind the modern day football club. Gone are the days when fans bled the teams colours (any team)it’s now down to money. Gone are the days of loyalty from anybody involved with a football club including supporters. Mostly the fans are still loyal but the majority are only loyal when the money is spent like Man. City & Chelsea. Players are just mercenaries & go where the pay is better. Jimmy Greaves asked Bill Nicholson for a pay rise only for Bill to say “do you think you deserve one, your well paid now. Go & do what your payed for & score goals. Jimmy left his office & history speaks for itself. Now players just think of themselves & their wallet, they are all overpaid for what they do. Kicking a bag of wind around! When they reitre they just don’t think of hetting a normal everyday job like the fans who have spent good, hard earned money to follow their team. The average way of working people is around 25 to 30 thousand a year NOT £100,000 + per week. Will be interesting to see who comes in next & lets hope they can build on & improve a team that was on the verge.

  • Sam-I-Am says:

    Spot on, Windy. I too believe it’s the way he behaved that got him fired rather than the football. That said, his naivety, crudeness and lack of tactical nous was a common thread in his pronouncements, his unsavoury attempts at contract extension and ultimately his football and team management.

  • Skizt says:

    Right as always Windy. He brought his own downfall. Not sad to see him go, but will remember the good moments fondly. Hoping for Martinez personally.

  • lesta says:

    Very well written mate and spot on…was never in it with his heart and was ready to jump ship if England came knocking…was always about him and always will be so good luck and god bless u Harry…just hope he doesn’t come out with too much rubbish in the press and goes with dignity

  • Faucv says:

    For me it was not the collapse in the Arsenal game, the loss to Stoke or the loss to ManC that made it clear that Harry had lost his focus, it was the Aston Villa game where he simply appeared to be content with a draw. His two-faced communication post-season just proves that Spurs was not in his long-term plans, so why should he be in ours?

    • Windy says:

      Interesting thought that re: Villa. I personally think we should have secured 3rd by then but, even with 10 men, Villa did seem there for the taking.

  • bonse says:

    I think the real problem is who is going to leave with him or be replaced by the new manager, and I don’t necessarily mean players. While alot of the familiar faces are interchangeable for my liking there are many lower profile characters that have had a significant effect on our improvement fundamentally, especially in the youth developement side.

    Inglethorpe, Ebleton and Mcdermott for example have given us a system of developement and integration that should rival our competitors, I would hope this remained intact. How long is it since we had a kid that came into the first team and looked like staying? We’ve had kids with the quality, but always lacking that extra little bit, when was the last one? king? carr? Lennon was an in at the deep end test and thats before we exclude players we didnt develop pre16. I may be missing someone obvious, but more to the point we now have something that looks like a sustainable production line

    • Anonymous says:

      I really don’t think you have to worry about JMcD or AI leaving as a result of HR being sacked. Tim Sherwood as an outside possibility – if he doesn’t see his reserves/development squad going anywhere, but the Academy coaches have all been through changes of management before and I’d suggest that a lot of the work they do is far more progressive than that of the first team. Arguably there is good logical reason for this to be the case, but they would have been more affected by the departure of say Ricardo Moniz, Frank Arnesen or in terms of philosophy Juande Ramos.

    • bonse says:

      While I tend to agree with this, it really has only been the last 3 years that we started getting the last step right. Not the developing of young talent, but the actual getting them into the team in a sensible way via careful selection of loans etc

    • Windy says:

      I’d say that we’ve been on the right track for a bit over 3 years, but are only now starting to reap the benefit.

      I don’t think we need to worry about JM or AI leaving, though…

  • I can’t believe these comments, I mean really? Surely the most important thing is winning games as a manager. He wins games! More than any other manager we’ve had in years. So what if he was interested in the England job, his dream job came up, he was interested, he didn’t get it, he could have just carried on now. We don’t deserve success with supporters like this. Harry brought you all champions league football, some of the best football we’ve ever seen and played the ‘spurs’ way. But all you can remember is the last few months of the season (where we still finished 4th!).I hope your all happy when were mid table next season playing boring football under Moyes, but at least Moyes dose not talk to the media hey boys.

    • Windy says:

      From his PoV, yes, the main job is winning games. But he also has a responsibility to respect the values of his bosses and traditions of the club. Every time he said something inappropriate in a press conference, Levy must have been wincing.

      Like I say in the article, supporting a football club isn’t just about success/failure – it’s so much more.

    • It is his job to win games, but what was he doing then when we were comfortably in 3rd? Granted, finishing 4th is nice but not after being in the position we were in. 4th means nothing. All it means is that you (usually) have to chance to qualify for the CL. I thank Harry for what he did at Tottenham and I enjoyed the way the team played but I did not enjoy him.

  • Anonymous says:

    Very well written piece Windy and I completely agree with you. He has done a good job but I just don’t like him. I am sick and tired of his verbal diarrhea and it is no surprise that was eventually his downfall. His comments last week were a disgrace and only went to re-emphasize just how self-serving a man he is. At best he was just talking crap to get himself a better contract; at worst he was admitting that the reason we lost that massive lead was down to his public flirtation with the England job.

  • The Vodka Yeti says:

    I don’t care that Harry wasn’t one of us, or that he’s a media darling. We’ve had three seasons of 4th, 5th, 4th, and with our limited resources that’s an excellent achievement.

    Of course he blew it when we were at 3rd spot but it’s not his fault that Chelsea won the CL is it?

    Some Spurs fans have no patience and want short-term solutions to everything. And that could be our downfall.

    Good luck to our new manager, because if he doesn’t get at least a top four spot or silverware next season, another witch hunt from impatient, deluded and unrealistic fans will begin!

    Thanks for the many great memories Harry. Some of us will miss you.

    • Windy says:

      I want the opposite – I want a long-term solution, which I personally don’t think Harry was.

      I would be happy to appoint a long-term manager and would take a couple of years of finishing lower whilst he gets to grips with the task at hand.

  • Anonymous says:

    I blame John Terry,Redknapp’s head was turned the moment Capello walked.That was the turning point of our season,and it kick started with Chelsea’s Mr wonderful.
    I appreciate all that Harry has done for us,but as someone has highlighted in a previous post,Redknapp is a media whore who doesn’t know when to keep quiet. This has only added to his downfall in my opinion.

    • Windy says:

      Redknapp needed to forget about England until the season was over, but he kept answering the questions as he wanted to keep the FA’s mouth watering.

  • Junior19 says:

    Well written as always, Windy, and you are of course spot on.
    I was there, singing “Harry Redknapp – we want you to stay” with the rest at the Newcastle-game in february. I wasn’t sure then, but thought it be better if he stayed untill the end of the season, than to have the whole upheaval midseason, with no transfer window to support the new manager for the first 6 months.

    If only I had known then what I do now… Our abysmal run from the mentioned Newcastle-game untill the end of the season could not have been worse either way. We could have had a donkey at the helm, and still manage the same points tally.

    Add to that, both the “young and exciting” replacement managers have now been snapped up by Liverpool and Villa. Unless Levy’s got Pep Guardiola in his sleeve, that probably mean we’re left with a choice between Moyes or Martinez. How would Bale, Modric, VdV and our other high-profile players take that?

    We’re do or die now. Levy MUST get this next appointment right. More than anything, Redknapps replacement will be a statement to our players that we’re serious, we mean business. I’m afraid that if we go for Martinez (or even Moyes), we’ll be signaling to our current squad (let alone transfer targets) that we’re content to be a “second tier” club in the Premier League. That would certainly mean a farewell to Modric and Bale, and possibly also VdV.

    Now, if Levy does have a world class replacement lined up (a certain Mr. Capello, a certain Mr. Guardiola, or a certain mr. Mourinho) we could very well retain the services of all our high profiles, and to build on what we did achieve last season, which was at times stunning football, brilliant attacking and flowing, and perhaps in time challenge for honours.

    Get it wrong, and we’re back in mid-table obscurity before you can say balaclavasareveryhotinthedesert!

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry, although nicely written, this piece is sentimental tosh.

    Does Bale, Modric and Adebayor make you feel they are one of us? That they’ve got Spurs running through their blood and that their love for the club far outweighs the disappointment of not reaching the CL or the relative paucity of EPL wages paid by the club compared with the new money in the game? Of course not.

    We need to wake up and stop deluding ourselves:

    1. Harry was brought in at a time of crisis and he succeeded. Since then, he did what he’s always done, and bought tried and tested (ageing) players who helped us climb up the table while Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all wobbled at the same time. Arsenal and Chelsea recovered, and Spurs – deluded by the press and by us fans running away with ourselves – declined. And embarrassingly so.

    2. Then England (never came) calling. And Arry (I ain’t no f*****g wheeler-dealer, I can’t read or write) Redknapp made everything worse. He has since admitted he would have left Spurs at the end of the season for England, and listening to his tactical analysis again and his punditry over the Euros, thank f**k for England he wasn’t offered the job.

    3. What is ‘the Spurs’ way’? What is ‘I never felt he was one of us’? Every club up and down the country wants loyalty from players and a set of family-like principles to which their fans can aspire?

    If we want to seriously take the club to the next level, let’s get a decent stadium to generate the revenue to buy a better squad and increase our commercial advantage abroad by taking B teams littered with a couple of stars to Asia, Africa, the Far East. Let’s pay for better transport links, because TFL ain’t gonna do it. And let’s start building from first principles: a long-term manager that nourishes academy youth into Spurs men.

    Whoever comes in next season. Expect more of the same, if you’re lucky. But we’re 10 years behind the true Top 4 and the Arse, and with Levy and Lewis (rather than a pluralistic board) holding the purse-strings, it will be more pacifying and soul-searching next year, while we struggle to maintain a campaign for an entire season.

    You’re right Windy that Harry had to go, but the reasons why are far deeper than your blog suggests.

    All the best,
    Anon.

    • Windy says:

      Thanks for the comment, pal.

      Re point 1 – don’t disagree with any of that until you get to “deluded by the press and by us fans running away with ourselves” – you think that was the reason we failed to get 3rd? For me, it’s all on Redknapp – be it court case, England, tactical errors, lack of rotation or otherwise.

      Re point 2: agree.

      Re: point 3: ‘I never felt he was one of us’ – he made little effort to get to know the traditions of the club or to empathise with our fans, which was a real shame.

  • Anonymous says:

    Spurs you never fail to amaze me, I have been a life long Spurs Fan ever since i could first understand what football was all about. Over the years my understanding on that has changed. Its no longer a game were eleven guys on each side try to out play and score more goals than the other side. Its now all about Business and the 90 minute part on the pitch is a very small of what the clubs are all about. Spurs again have proved that to me today. Why do you sack a manager who has got you playing the best football seen at the lane for years, They did the same with Martin Jol and to a point Terry Venables. I’m sorry if i’m missing things here but i just don’t get it. What makes it worse is the so called Spurs fans who are now shouting off their mouths saying its the best thing for the club and calling him all sorts of foul names. The same guys who when we had a fantastic run in the champions league were calling him a God. FOR FUCK SAKE I JUST DON”T GET IT

    • Windy says:

      “Its now all about Business and the 90 minute part on the pitch is a very small of what the clubs are all about.”
      – Isn’t it just, and how depressing.

      Agree that Redknapp has achieved some good things, but his lack of respect for the club, the fans, and his boss has been unpleasant to say the least.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just glad Levy made the decision after Chelsea had announced RDM. Not sure where Harry will end up, not sure I care.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good Work Windy. You’ve pretty much summed it all up for me. There was a piece in Football365 where it said “You can afford to mouth off at a reasonably small club like Portsmouth, but not at Spurs. Not when your chairman is a fairly ruthless businessman.”

    Arry’s hype will get him another job, but he’ll never manage a bigger club then Spurs.

  • Anonymous says:

    If you think Parker is too ‘ageing’ for Spurs, we’ll have him. He gives his heart and soul every single match for Spurs and for England. You don’t deserve him.

  • I think Levey made the decision at least year ago, thats why no real money has been spent. I think DL was planning to give the next guy in a ‘war chest’ to spend and was banking on a) us having CL football and b) arry either banged up or in the England job. Im surprised the relationship between the 2 lasted so long, especially after the Mordric saga last season, with arry trying almost get Modric to go or up his wages, whilst DL was pulling in the other direction.

    Unfortunately getting CL football backfired, which may have kiboshed any pre-arranged agreements with his planned next man in. But I really think Levey is very shrewd and will have a plan up his sleeve, hes not a gambeler and I can see him not having the next man sorted before outing Redknapp.

    Trust Levey, right now I think hes is more important to us than Redknapp or Modric for that matter. @darrenjackson75

    • Windy says:

      You could be right Darren that the decision was made some time ago. I personally think in an ideal world we’d have stuck with him, but his comments on top of not getting 3rd left Levy with little choice.

  • turkster says:

    Good piece windy/ I have been saying for the last 6 months that harry had taken us as far as he could dont get me wrong i wish him all the best and appreciate what he did for us but i am not sorry to see him go, as long as mr levy has something planned for the future what about the fabio rumours any one else heard anything

  • Anonymous says:

    The boy done good and being a spurs fan since my dads dad was a young boy I will miss him. His head was turned by the England post and I respect that as he would of had the lads in the national team playing out of their skin. But alas being the gobby mouth that Harry is he walks away with the memories. I really wanna know what the players think even if it is just hear say. And if Harry had of got three more years and won a title then I think this article would of had a different tone to it.
    Don’t hate Harry he is a product of modern football.
    The only people at the club which are spurs are the supporters, not the players( bar ledly) manager or chairmen.
    To them it is buissiness not a passion.
    The only interests that were considered during this decision were that of David and his faceless men.

    • Windy says:

      Very nicely written piece, Manu, but you’re only coming from the “league success is everything” PoV.

      Aside from the fact that I do genuinely think that a better tactician could take us further than Redknapp over the next 5 years (although probably not over the next 2), there are so many “off-pitch” downsides to Redknapp, as I tried to outline.

    • Manu Lee says:

      Yer I agree that he perhaps didn’t have enough personal attachment to the club which is of course extremely important but that doesn’t just come instantly had he stayed longer he might have developed more of personal attachment. In terms of success I just think it was a terrible decision to sack him. However, now that is is done I would suggest someone like Moyes or Martinez as a replacement.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love the way that those that wanted Redknapp gone, now spend their entire time trying to downgrade what our expectations should be.

    The bottom line is this; if we don’t get a top 4 finish next season, we will once again under Levy be going backwards. It’s been the pattern of ENIC’s ownership since day 1. What amuses me is how few Spurs fans can see through the facade and understand how his financial control over the last two seasons has shaped the position we are now in.

    A lessor manager would have failed far sooner under those financial conditions.

    • Windy says:

      Maybe downgrading expectations because a new manager will take time to settle? Seems acceptable to me.

      Personally think you have to focus on medium to long term rather than short term (something Redknapp failed to do). AVB will have more chance of taking Spurs to “the next level” than Redknapp IMO, but that’s pretty much missing the point of my article.

      So much more to being a Spurs fan than 4th plae finishes IMO.

  • Anonymous says:

    Downgrading expectations is pretty ironic when you consider that not being in the CL this new season is one of the sticks used to beat Redknapp with.

    As for failing to focus on the medium to long term, the reality is completely the opposite, just witness Harry Kanes commments in respect of how much redknap helped him. It’s a shame that once again a throw away line such as that isn’t properly examined in light of our complete lack of spending for the past two seasons and more importantly the failure by our Chairmen to do the deals for new players that he told Redknapp were within in his reach, which he subsequently failed to conclude a single one of.

  • Anonymous says:

    That guy with only a brain cell that call himself a manager only had himself in his mind. He thought he got the England job and yet it was his mates in the media that wanted him as England manager. Now that he is sacked, he would’nt keep his mouth shut. This is the nature of the twat that is Redknob.

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