As the owner of a Tottenham Hotspur fansite I have been surprised over the last couple of seasons by the amount of vitriol aimed at our manager Harry Redknapp, as he’s lead Spurs from the relegation zone into the Champions League.
I’ve always defended Redknapp, but of late I’ve found myself having some sympathy for the dissenters’ arguments. While I won’t be making any ‘Harry Out’ banners for our final home game against Birmingham, I am beginning to question him more and now feel rather ambivalent about the prospect of his eventual departure.
You might think that this is because Spurs have failed to qualify for the Champions League, or for the simple fact that we have won just one game from our last 13 matches. The truth is that I could have stomached either of these disappointments if he’d just been honest about why we’d fallen short. Instead all he’s tried to do is to cover his own back.
Earlier this season Harry was telling anyone who’d listen that Tottenham could challenge for the title this season. Now that it looks as if we’re going to finish in 6th place, he’s changed his tune and claimed that it was unrealistic to finish in the top four again.
Redknapp has done enough at Spurs that he shouldn’t have to put up with talk about being sacked, but if we start next season in the same form that we’ve finished this one in, then he will be.
He can’t have it both ways. Redknapp’s been making excuses about not being able to compete with Manchester City because they’ve spent millions more than us on transfers and wages. The real reason we’ve not been able to compete with them is our inability to raise ourselves against the Premier League’s strugglers. From a possible 18 points available this season against the teams in the relegation zone, we have only managed three draws.
William Gallas has been honest enough this week to say that the team have gone into these sort of matches with the attitude that they’ve already won. Redknapp meanwhile, just trots out the same old cliches about there being ‘no easy games’ and it ‘not being our day’.
When Harry arrived at Spurs I found his willingness to talk to the media refreshing. We’d just had to endure a manager in Juande Ramos who answered every question with ‘Que?’ before looking pleadingly at coach/translator Gus Poyet, so it was nice to have someone in charge who was communicative and seemingly more open.
After a while though I realised that almost everything that came out of Redknapp’s mouth was either bull**it or meaningless. This is a man who told the press that Robbie Keane would only be sold by the club if we got a silly offer of £50m and then let him join Celtic on loan just two weeks later.
The media love Harry because he’s always ready to talk to them. Always ready with a quote. As a consequence they think that he can do no wrong and talk him up as the next England manager. Redknapp’s willingness to blather isn’t for the club’s benefit - only his own. You don’t see Alex Ferguson with a column in The Sun and on Talksport once a week. He’s too busy thinking about his team.
Speaking of the England job, it looks as if Harry could have that in the bag at the end of next season and that also worries me. Players don’t tend to bother to perform when they know that the manager is leaving, as the aforementioned Alex Ferguson found out when he announced his retirement some ten years ago and saw his team finish third.
Perhaps Harry’s personal ambition will be enough to prevent such a slump. What he really needs to do this summer is to prove himself in the transfer marker. We don’t need many players to be challenging this season (providing we can keep the likes of Bale and Modric). A reliable young centre-back to ensure that we’re not reliant on the walking wounded trio of Gallas, King and Woodgate and some strikers - lots of them.
Our current roster of forwards are just not good enough, but we knew that last summer and inexplicably still didn’t sign anyone in the close season or the January window. What we’ve been crying out for is a striker who can play on his own up front and yet we’ve had to watch in frustration as the likes of Klass-Jan Huntelaar, Asamoah Gyan, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll have been snapped up by other clubs.
Redknapp has done enough at Spurs that he shouldn’t have to put up with talk about being sacked, but if we start next season in the same form that we’ve finished this one in, then he will be. Now’s the time for him to stop making excuses and start thinking of the changes he needs to make to get Tottenham back into the top four. If you want to find out how he plans to do this, I’d recommend you keep Talksport on all summer.
Dan Fitch is the editor of TottenhamBlog click here to read more
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