Harry Redknapp – please shut up
How dare he? How dare this man, who has flirted with the England manager’s job since before it even became available, undermine our club… my club, by talking about the future of our best player, when he… this media Succubus, is unlikely to be even at the helm come the summer? So enraged am I, that I’ve done the only thing any middle-class football fan worth his salt would do; write a strongly-worded letter to the club.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing with regard to the recent undermining nature of our manager’s press conferences; not just undermining the players but, more importantly, the club and fans.
Harry Redknapp has always had a reputation for being cosy with the media. Complaints about him have ranged from disrespecting other clubs by talking about their players whilst still under contract, to referring to the Tottenham Hotspur fan-base as “them”. He has, of course, ticked both of these boxes in the last seven days, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Please allow me to present some quotes from just the last week of press conferences:
“We haven’t got the biggest squad. Chelsea made eight changes to play Arsenal and still looked good. I only had one striker and two centre halves — Ledley King and William Gallas — and if one of those got injured I was bang in trouble and would have had to use Bongani Khumalo, who has been on loan at Reading this season and didn’t get in their side. We were desperate. I had five central defenders and now I have only two. I have lost Dawson, Kaboul and Nelsen.”
Where to start with this? Firstly, the size of the squad is entirely within his control – his hand was on the trigger finger in January when he let Corluka, Pienaar, and Pavlyuchenko leave, as well as younger players (like Townsend, Carroll and Kane) who had all impressed in the Europa League.
Secondly, it is incredible that he can bemoan losing Ryan Nelsen, who has grown increasingly injury prone throughout his career, and had only managed one match this season prior to joining us due to ongoing injury issues.
Finally, I was in utter disbelief when I read the reference to Bongani Khumalo. Not only is Bongani Khumalo a Harry Redknapp signing (or at least someone brought in under his reign); not only is he from our partnership club in South Africa, SuperSport United (and therefore these comments could be damaging to the club relations and marketing opportunities); not only is he a member of the squad that may well yet be needed (it is vital to keep spirits up amongst squad players – what must the others who didn’t make the bench think?); but he is human – this is a totally unnecessary slight. He has used Bongani as a tool to indicate to the chairman and fans that he is down to the “bare bones” (as he likes to say), and so it cannot possibly be his fault that we lost last week. At least Darren Bent can now rest easily knowing that it was nothing personal.
“I said to the chairman ‘Can you get me Carlos Tevez’. It wasn’t possible, but that was my dream, ‘Can we get Tevez’. We would have loved Tevez, but it wasn’t doable because his wages are whatever they are – £200,000 a week, it’s not possible at Tottenham to buy him.”
Carlos Tevez is under contract with Manchester City and so, firstly, it is totally disrespectful to him and them to discuss him openly like this – particularly matters of finance. In addition, I have no idea what planet Mr Redknapp is on if he thought that a rival club were going to sell us a key player in the January transfer window (bearing in mind the position we were in at the time), and that Tevez would join a club who pay a maximum of under half his wages. Finally, it is absolutely vital that a club of our stature, who pay top wages but not top wages think outside the box when it comes to transfers – was Tevez ‘Plan A’, and Saha ‘Plan B’? I personally find that concerning, and this comment shows Mr Redknapp as, at best, naive in the transfer market.
“No players have ever come to me and said: ‘Gaffer I feel tired’. If they said that then I would have left them out. Some of their stats have gone down but that’s because they have not wanted to run about enough, it’s not because they are particularly knackered. I didn’t play any of them in the Uefa Cup [sic], FA Cup, most of them didn’t play until the later rounds so, the players have probably played on average 30 games this year which I don’t think is a lot. Frank Lampard plays how many games a season? Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra are not being rotated, so it’s a load of nonsense. It’s an excuse.”
Firstly, Mr Redknapp is very wrong with his estimation of how many games our players have played – Walker has played 41, Assou-Ekotto 39, Bale 37, Modric 36, Kaboul 35, etc. Nine players have played 30 games or more, with four matches to go.
Ignoring that, his lack of understanding of fatigue, both mental and physical, is not only concerning, but must be a constant worry to the players, who need their bodies and minds in elite condition to maximise their earning potential. Speaking about tiredness in this way is not only patronising, but actually dangerous. The likes of Walker and Assou-Ekotto have had a big dip in form, which most fans agree is at least in part due to tiredness due to lack of rotation, but Mr Redknapp would rather blame the players than his own selection policy – “they have not wanted to run about enough”. Yet he himself spoke about the dangers of Scott Parker damaging a hamstring after the Norwich game – Parker is one of the players whose form has dipped most significantly due to over-use.
Mr Redknapp then changes his mind.
‘It’s my decision. It’s difficult to rotate a team. It’s okay to rotate if you have enough players to do it but I have not been in that position due to injuries.
Now the reason is not that he doesn’t want to rotate because the players don’t need to be rested, but because he hasn’t got enough players due to injury. At this point I feel I need to mention Corluka, Pienaar, etc again.
I saved my personal favourite on rotation until last.
“I don’t ever remember Bobby Moore getting rotated, nor Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Dave Mackay or Alan Mullery. They played ankle deep in mud every week.”
As a fan of our great club, I find myself cringing whenever Mr Redknapp takes to the floor, but none more so than having read this. Having played football during the 60s himself, he must realise that today’s game is far quicker, more intense, and puts a lot more strain on the body. The pitches that he references slowed the game down and meant that it was played at a fraction of the pace that matches are played at now. Today’s hard, flat pitches are great for the spectator, but mean that the players have to put more into a match. His apparent lack of understanding of modern football – or perhaps it isn’t that, perhaps it’s that he doesn’t like the way football has evolved – is a huge concern.
A lot of fans agree with Mr Redknapp’s comments about players not getting tired having played 30 games, etc. “It’s only one game a week for 30 weeks! How can they be tired?!” That attitude is totally missing the point. Players do not just need to be “not tired” – they need to be managed so that they are as close to their peak physical condition as possible, and this is where sports science should be used throughout the club. An extra 10% can be the difference between 3 points and 0 points.
“Last summer it was vital that we kept hold of Luka. I don’t think we will have to do it with people like Gareth Bale this summer. Luka, it’s different with him. I don’t know what he would do. I would be lying if I said I was sure that he would stay. You don’t know.”
The game this weekend is massive for the club. The manager, staff and players need to pull together and ensure that we get a win so that we can finish the season strongly. Commenting on the future of one of our key players in this way – hinting that he may leave this summer – is not only totally unnecessary, but potentially destructive. Not only this, it sends a message to Champions League clubs – Luka Modric is available for transfer. The correct way to answer any questions about Modric’s future would have been:
“I don’t want to speak about any contract or transfer situations at the moment – we have an important match to focus on”. If he was so desperate to comment on Modric’s future, he could even have said “Mr Levy decides when he lets contracted players leave, and any move would be with the best interest of the club in mind.”
In closing, I ask that you immediately relieve Mr Redknapp of his duties. And by duties, I mean press conference duties – let Kevin Bond do them for the rest of the season. Or Chirpy.
Join the conversation
The best Redknapp related quote I have seen recently stated 'We have done well in spite of Harry not because of him'. Sums it up perfectly in my opinion, we have one of the most talented squads in the Premier League. Best of luck with England Harry, thanks for the memories...
What does that say to Modric, yes we will let you go at the end of the season and we the fans have to go through all that crap again all summer about whether he is leaving again !!!!
Even if it's already signed and sealed, keep quiet about it.
Of course he has his good points, but I think he has taken Spurs as far as he can and will now.
While I am writing does anyone agree with me that some players also do not help the situation. I see Bale has been REPORTED as saying if we don't qualify for the Champions League he will have to consider his future. My point being that the players, who happily accept all the glory when it comes their way should also accept some of the responsibility when things go badly. I accept he cannot be a world beater every game but he has hardly covered himself in glory these last few weeks, same goes for Modric. It's like they are holding the club to ransom while not giving everything to make sure we do qualifym it just causes alot of unrest and uncertaintiy.
All speculation........of course!?
I think finding out what % of transfer money finds its way into Rosie's account would make for interesting reading.
Maybe getting in Raymond Verheijen would be a good idea for the injury/tiredness aspect.
What about his want of Chelsea to win the Cl without knowing that it could cost us Cl and then backtracking yesterday saying he wants Bayern to win.
Get Roberto Martinez in quickly.
The win today may help concentrate the players' minds, give them some confidence, belief and focus.
Who knows, maybe now that Roy looks like getting the England job, Redknapp might realise which side his bread is buttered and get on with the job at hand and stop mugging off the fans and players at every opportunity. Ultimately, through his own wreckless pursuit of the England job, he may just have mugged himself off too.
Great blog, Windy. Excellent analysis as always.
ha ha ha!
If you need material for a follow up letter, my personal favourite was :
Ben Pearce @BenPearceSpurs
#thfc Redknapp also said he doesn't have a right-back on the books other than Walker
Naughton (loan to Norwich) Corluka (loan to Germany), and Smith ('damn he came back from loan and I put him on the bench at QPR and forgot about him')
Spurs have got more right backs on their books than ever before. Adam Smith has played a few games for England under 21's so is a reasonable back up candidate - its a bit like the Borgani Khumalo quote from the other day, how to inspire confidence in your fringe players and get them to want to play for you....not.
People Management technique 0/10. Foot into mouth technique 11/10
1/. We make something, anything, positive come out at the end of this season.
2/. The - ' ARRY SHOW ' is sent back to the lanes of mediocrity and 'back street' notoriety from where this insufferably insular and fame craved man derrives.. ( IM A CELEBRITY , GET ME OUT OF HERE !)
This is the only thing that should be carved in to his 'stella cv' , as a reference from Levy..
3/. Pertaining to (number two), that he and his team of coaches are shown the door or the stairs come the end of the season.
You have been most eloquent and very balanced in your summary..he has shown nothing but ; petulance - unyielding derision for our fans (since managing sol at pompey)and most of all, bungling ineptitude since being PRIVILEGED enough to walk the same path as A 'SPURS MAN'.
Cannot wait to see what a real manager can do with this group of players..this gobshi** has not got the balls the nous or the dignity to be in charge at the lane.
*GO on HOdgson
Re. today, it seemed that we may have got some of our mojo back, but in the final third of the pitch the players seemed very shot-shy. Adebayor especially, for all his excellent link-up play, just needs to leather it. The only fly in the ointment was that Blackburn were atrocious.
The simple fact is Redknapp does rotate, it is nothing new. Those that are in the mix have done so because of injuries. Kranjčar came to Spurs to cover Modríc and Lennon, to which the latter got injured and he was given a chance. The same for Sandro, who Redknapp was willing to pace his arrival to English football. Sandro showed against Blackburn that we didn't have to overuse Parker. The same can said of Livermore. Spurs have an abundance of riches in positions, yet they aren't used, or are loaned out or better yet, sold. Had Redknapp rotated players Spurs would still be in third, this is something I can say with absolute certainty.
I was then typing into this very box on monday about how Rose finished last season with promise and has stagnated if not strayed backwards in the last twelve months just by not playing a game every so often, and then a spate of reports reporting Rose saying the same thing appeared.
So being a footy fan and a superstitious one at that I can see this run of three thing I'm just going to type 'Unknown Man with Internet persona called bonse wins a million' and sit back to collect.
It can't hurt.
Also, lets get back to the rapid two touch countering and less of this tippy tappy school yard stuff trying to put every ball through the center backs legs, Bolton won't fall for it.
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We look likely to finish fourth, posssibly third, in which case we can enjoy the CL final.
Harry won't be going anywhere.
I've never been a Harry man but his record with the club is second to none, literally.
I think you slagged him off a little prematurely which is the crime you accuse him of doing.
I don't disagree at all with the sentiments expressed and believe that Harry's mouth and the attitude which it reveals is an embarrassment to the club.
But we still have two crucial games to go Windy and as always at Spurs anything can happen.
He's almost certain to be with us for another year.
As Stephen Stills wrote in 1970
'If you can't be with the one you love,
Love the one you're with'
Totally agree with his record on the playing side being second to none, but it's just frustrating that with a few subtle changes it could be that bit better.
Love the Stephen Stills reference!