June 14, 2012
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.