When Tottenham drew with Stevenage in the FA Cup two weeks ago, tonight's replay was viewed as little more than the chance to progress in a competition that holds a very special place in the hearts of Tottenham supporters. How things change. Following the back-to-back losses against Arsenal and Manchester United and with the media glare fixed on Harry Redknapp, Spurs, seemingly nailed on for third place, have had to start looking over their shoulders at Arsenal and Chelsea. Fergie calls it squeaky bum time, but has Spurs ar*e gone?
Nobody except the players will know if the impact of Fabio Capello's resignation and the shameless courting of Redknapp by the nation's football writers and pundits has had an effect on team morale. But let's just imagine you were in their shoes. You love going to work every day, have a gaffer you really truly believe in and have been lauded for the quality of your football by supporters of all clubs. Then all of a sudden the whispering starts. Will he stay? Will he go? Will his backroom staff go with him? It surely can't be anything other than unsettling.
And if it is unsettling now, what will happen if he does decide to swap the cockerel for the Three Lions? What if he leaves the best Spurs team in a very long time? For a start there is Emmanuel Adebayor. A difficult player at the best of times, he has flourished under Redknapp and added a new dimension to Spurs as an attacking force. His movement into wide and deep areas opens up space for the likes of Bale and Modric and he has been unplayable at times, but let’s remember he is only on loan. If Harry went, why would he stay?
We’ll find out in the next few weeks if Spurs arse has gone. If it has, then it will again be the fans who are getting screwed in theirs
Ditto Luka Modric. With the possible exception of Barcelona any team in the world would pay vast sums for the Croatian schemer. Redknapp worked his knackers off to keep him in the summer and has needed all of his remarkable powers of man management to get him playing with a smile on his face. With Champions League football and Redkanpp at the helm, Modric could go onto become a bone-fide club legend. Without Harry Spurs bargaining power drops dramatically.
It would also be fair to say that Redknapp has turned Gareth Bale into the player he is. It is no secret that Barcelona would tear your head off to have him on the left next season and despite protestations that he wants to stay, a managerial change would surely see Barca’s hand strengthened.
This might all be conjecture, and if I was a Spurs fan I’d probably like to hire a hitman to do John Terry, Capello and the FA all at the same time. But what I’d also want is a decision now. Why wait until the end of the season? If Harry wants the job, he’d be better off coming out and saying so. Explaining to the fans why he wants to do it and gathering the players together and telling them that its happening and that they should all club together to give the supporters what they deserve, which is third place and some more glorious away trips next year.
And if he doesn’t want to do it, then he should rule himself out. Tell the FA and double agents Shearer, Winter et al to forget about it. He’s at the biggest club of his career and has fashioned an inventive team who are, on the face of it, one or two experienced world-class players away from true greatness and, thank you very much, he’d prefer not to swap if for the shambles that is the national team.
Even with all of this going on tonight’s match would seem a formality, but Spurs face a difficult away trip to a resurgent Everton on Saturday. Without a decision either way on his future, if that result is negative then it is impossible for supporters not to worry, impossible for them not to ask if the situation is affecting things. We’ll find out in the next few weeks if Spurs arse has gone. If it has, then it will again be the fans who are getting screwed in theirs. Someone needs to do something before the hole is to big to plug.
Click here for more Football and Sport in Sabotage Times
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook