Spurs shoot themselves in the foot

I can’t quite understand it – myself and most Arsenal fans are feeling pretty good this week with the news that Harry Redknapp has been sacked by Spurs. This is credit to a manager who has made our neighbours a genuine threat for the first time in what feels like forever. And yet, most Spurs fans are happy too!

Whatever you say about their end-of-season form, in most seasons 4th place would, and should, be seen as an absolute miracle for a club of Tottenham’s size. After taking them from bottom of the table to 8th in his first season, Harry then guided them to 4th, 5th, and 4th again – very respectable, and if not for a fluke Champions League win for Chelsea this year, they’d be enjoying Champions League football for only the second time.

This latest axing by the Spurs board (the 9th in Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal alone) reminds us once again just what this club is all about – delusions of grandeur. As soon as they get a sniff of the top four, they think they should be winning the title. This goes to their board and their fans.

Obviously the board are unhappy that the distraction of the England job seemed to turn Harry’s head, and this in turn led to their collapse in the league this season. Obviously if the manager is not 100% focused then there are bound to be problems, but as it turned out he didn’t get the England job, so that particular option was out of the window. Surely he would have been ready for next season? When questioned on his future he showed no sign of wanting to quit, in fact he wanted a new contract.

And in fairness to Spurs, they have to realise that theirs is not the most prestigious job in football; if their manager does well, he’s bound to attract the attention of the FA if England are without a boss. To sack him for showing an interest in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like that is crazy.

Yes, Redknapp had his weaknesses; some of his signings were strange, to say the least (Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen brought in in January then released at the end of the season) and he certainly let too many players leave on loan (Pienaar and Corluka), leaving their squad very thin for the run-in. Off the pitch, he had his tax evasion court case and was sometimes perceived as a bit of a dodgy character; he also had a bad record when it came to spending within his clubs’ means, leaving previous employers West Ham, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Southampton in financial disaster after his time there.

However, Spurs can’t exactly afford to be picky; who exactly are they expecting to get who’d be any better? Some big names have been linked, like Rafael Benitez and Andre Villas-Boas, but are they really a step up? Benitez had a mixed time at Liverpool and more recently a very bad time with a team that had conquered all under Jose Mourinho just months earlier; AVB had a hard time at Chelsea, possibly because of how they run things more than anything else, but he’s certainly young and inexperienced in a league like this. Spurs fans have already turned their noses up at the mention of Everton’s David Moyes, who would be interesting, and certainly more the level they should be thinking about.

Overall, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a stupid move by the Tottenham board. Apart from one good season from Martin Jol in 2006 (who was also unfairly sacked, arguably) they have never reached the kind of heights reached under Harry. As well as league finishes, the style of their football has at times been brilliant, with the likes of Bale and Modric in particular becoming vastly improved players under his management. What will they make of Redknapp’s departure? And will successful loan signing Adebayor want to rush back to the Lane after the sacking of a man who made such a bold move in bringing him there in the first place?

While I must admit I admire Spurs’ ambition over the last few years – the unwillingness to simply be a mid-table side – this latest move is simply far too detached from reality to be a step forward. Chelsea, Liverpool and hopefully Arsenal will be much-improved next season and it’s rare that a new manager, even if he is the ‘right choice,’ will hit the ground running. Harry was the best they could hope for at this stage, and any of their fans rejoicing in this move are simply kidding themselves, and would do well to look into the not-so-distant past and where they were before his arrival.

17 Comments on "Spurs shoot themselves in the foot"

  1. keep your nose out!

  2. totally wrong goon he wasnt sacked on his performances and we dont think we are ready to win the league. He was sacked because of his constant self serving rubbish in the media, disrespect to tottenham fans and disdain for all things that are not harry redknapp. have you noticed how the only people who dont agree with his sacking are not tottenham fans and dont know anything about our club!?

  3. @Sarah Heale. What a complete load of rubbish and thats coming from a Spurs fan. How old are u Sarah, Are you old enough to remember all the crap managers we have had in the past 15 years, Harry had built the best team of players in Spurs history for a long time. Anyway it’s early morning now Sarah, Better get you mummy to change your nappy.

  4. Levy totally cut Redknapp out of transfer dealings, this was obvious on interviews Redknapp gave prior to the close of every transfer window as he said he didn’t have a clue what Levy was doing. OK, so Redknapp cannot take any credit for this (e.g. Rafael van der Vaart last minute wheeling-dealing).

    For coaching, Spuds have a large backroom staff, and we do not know if credit should be given to Redknapp, or whether things were taking care of themselves via. Sherwood, etc. So whether ‘Arry can take credit for coaching players such as Bale and Kyle Walker is a bit dubious also.

    In terms of management, Spuds let a lead slip against us at the Emirates, where he was shown to be tactically inept.

    Therefore, only Spuds upper management really know the ins and outs, but it is quite possible that Redknapp really can’t take much credit for what took place. The only thing he can clearly take credit for was for being a media whore. Let’s remember that ‘Arry is barely literate and numerate, as exemplified during his court case.

  5. levy is a mug, he’s the one buying players at spurs not the managers. he thinks he’s the manager. Arry was a top man, spuds havent played football like that since the 60’s. it’s another case of Tottenham thinking they are a big club with a big reputation but its all a nonsense…. the fact that Sarah thinks everyone at spuds wanted harry out is rubbish, i’ve been watching spuds fans cry into there milk all week 🙂 …… say goodbye to , Moderic, Bale, Vertonghan and anyone else with an ounce of sense

    • Steve ,

      I’m a Spurs fan and season ticket holder and agree with you .

      Great article Mark Brus .

      Levy and Enic will never bring Spurs success on the pitch ; they are control freaks .
      I’ll still be very grateful to them if they manage to complete the stadium project without bringing the club to it’s knees .

      I wouldn’t wish the Spurs job on anyone , specially someone who deserves better like Martinez .  Moyes has too much sense to touch us with a barge pole .

  6. if you want some “balance” to your article consider this (and I have no affiliation to any club in this country):  1.  “Redknapp took Spurs from bottom to 4th,5th, 4th”.  Prior to the Ramos debacle, Jol had taken Spurs to back to back 5th place finishes.  Talk of bad luck with Chelsea winning the CL could also be mirrored in the bad luck a dodgy lasagne had in Jol’s tenure.  HR had a superior squad to Jol, had 5 coaches at his disposal, managed to keep hold of Modric whilst Jol had Berbatov and  Keane taken away from him.  Harrys work was a progression on Jol’s  2.  “Redknapp showed no desire of wanting to quit – in fact he wanted a new contract”.  Yes good old loyal Harry.  This would be the same contract demanding Harry (just to settle the players of course) who turned down a 3 year deal that was presented to him earlier this year as Spurs attempted to divert his attention from the England job.  Harry went from holding all the cards to realising his opponent had every card in the deck – and got flushed out.  Just because he didnt get the England job does not make him all safe and sound again.  3.  “Delusions of Grandeur”.  I don recall Spurs claiming they were about to win the CL, the Premier League or any other trophy.  The ambition is to break and remain in the CL.  5th 5th under Jol – a 2 year break then 4th, 5th, 4th.  Hardly delusions of grandeur – Spurs are almost there…. almost.  And heres why Redknapp has gone.  He was ready to do the off for the better job and took his eye off his current one; he has 6 coaches at WHL and yet cannot train up youngsters to perform choosing to bring in 30+ journeymen instead.  Ceballos, Dos Santos, Couliyabe, Bostock, Townsend.  Place some of the youngsters at Spurs under the guidance of Arsene Wenger and I could guarrentee you there would be some breakthroughs;  You say he got the best out  of Bale and Modric – HR was  going to sell Bale because he didnt rate him until injuries forced him to play him “out of position” on the left wing – of course, he takes credit for “discovering him” now. With injuries at centre back he signed Nelsen rather than recall his own youngster from Swansea (Caulker) who was getting MOM reviews.  Can you imagine the Arsenal boss doing that?  His work with Koscielny this year has been excellent; his revolving door signing policy was ridiculous – Chimbonda, Bassong, Crouch, Keane, Palacios – there are more, were all bought and sold.  HR is not building for the future, he is building for the now and in the next 2 years Spurs know they will have to replace Friedel, King, Gallas, Parker, Nelsen for age and injury alone; then theres the possibility of them losing Modric, Bale and VDV.  And consider that Defoe wants regular football and Adebayor is only a loan deal – they could be in trouble unless some sensible squad building is considered.  As a final point you say that a new manager “rarely hits the ground running” and yet cite Liverpool and Chelsea as being “much improved next season”, both of whom have new Managers; both of whom are young and have a lot to learn; and both of whom are having to rebuild after a season of turmoil.  Im all for rivals having a dig at each other, it keeps football entertaining in the off-season, but to write an article and feed it with so many badly contemplated points in the name of one-upmanship is low

  7. Hope they give the job to Sherwood.

  8. John_in_Norfolk | 17/06/2012 at 12:30 |

    Nobody outside of the Spurs boardroom really knows why Redknap was sacked, speculation and rehashing tabloid comments is good fun but doesn’t get us anywhere nearer to the truth of the matter.

    One thing is clear, however, Daniel Levy is no mug!  He will do what is best for Spurs, he will not be swayed by fan’s opinions or by media pressure.  Spurs will not self destruct, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future although they will still be inferior to the Glorious Gunners.

  9. Is Rafa a step up from Redknapp, he asks!  Got to laugh at that one!  Of course he is!  Redknapp doesn’t even come close….

  10. If you want to be a journalist get your facts straight – Redknapp is the 13th Spurs manager in Wenger’s reign at Arsenal

  11. I can see why you would have those views, it would be easy for me to point out that Harry is indeed media friendly and to be fair to him he is a generally nice street wise guy who the public relate to, but as a Spurs fan of 40 years why is it that you are ignoring the obvious ? Harry has spent 102 million in 4 years, his biggest signing was on a player he won’t play,(Defoe) Darren Bent was considered a waste of time and his Mrs was better yet he scores for fun elsewhere, Pienaar was considered a bit part player who never got a look in, but when Harry went to Levy asking for more coin he was reminded that Pienaar was indeed a success back at Everton (a 3rd player to be cast off and perform well elsewhere), now let me ask you this.
     
    If you owned a business and slowly you were seeing all your machines being traded in for older ones, machines that have no resale value (Gallas,Parker, Friedel, ) to name but a few, and your floor manager and supervisor came to you asking if we can loan a new machine in for top money per week and leave the most expensive machine on the bench that is now surplus to requirements, I suspect you might be unhappy, but back him you would and make it quite clear that he has to achieve his goals of champ league football, if we are to maintain people like Modric, Bale etc, I think you are extremely unfair and out of order to be honest, Levy has no doubt had a string of players knocking on his door from Pavyluchenko to Dos Santos wanting to know why they are being treated so shabbily and the same 13 players are there every single week come rain or shine.
     
    You see what you fail to mention is that Redknapp is a short term stop gap manager, he is incapable of rotating a squad, he tires them out and I have the evidence on my side, 2 seasons running we have crashed and burned Feb onwards, Fergie is a proper manager he rotates a squad and keeps them all happy and fresh, Redknapp on the other hand cannot handle moaning players who want to play so he replaces them with grateful bench warmers like Saha and Nelsen and sends people like Corluka out on loan when our defence is depleted and old.
     
    I have little sympathy for Redknapp because he should have finished above Arsenal, we should be in third and looking forward to a champions league campaign, after all isn’t it fair to say that most of the league would want Walker, Bale, Modric, VDV, Adebayor, Kaboul ?
     
    So can I suggest you take on board the feelings of a fan who has 40 years experience of the club and finally knows that along with the best training ground in Europe being built,  a new super stadium with a waiting list as long as tottenham high rd to get into it, we have the best Chairman in the league and you have the facts to make a case for the many thousands of spurs fans who feel like me, there you go, no mention of court cases, England jobs or anything else that may have blotted his media copy book, pure footballing facts ! now research Portsmouth, and West Ham to see if I am wrong..David James, Sol Campbell, Teddy Sheringham, Kanu the result ? old men need replacing, no sell on value BANKRUPT, West Ham – sell off Frank, Rio, Cole, result – RELEGATED, don’t wallow in the myth, write the facts ! …you’re piss poor and your opinions are always way off from the truth.
     

  12. As a Spurs fan, what you say is fair comment, but there is a real sense that Redknapp lost the boards trust, something Wenger has never done. Last season, when we were well clear of Arsenal, Wenger at times sounded delusional about the quality of a struggling team being kept competitive by Van Persie’s brilliance. meanwhile, Harry was on a mantra of  8 games 2 points, saying it would be a miracle if our squad made the top four. The difference in the genuine belief expressed manifested itself in the 5-2 hammering. we were two up, and still played with no real belief. The manager has to shoulder some of the responsibility.
    In terms of the players he brought through, Modric was only there for 8 games (2 points). I think I could get that boy to play, he’s simply magic. remember last summer when Levy was fighting tooth and nail to keep him,  Harry was walking him out the door. 
    Bale couldn’t get a look in under Harry until BAE got injured at Christmas. He then settled in, and there’s no doubt Harry gets the best out of players he is picking. However. look at those he doesn’t, the list is long. Bassong, Pav, Kranjcar, Pienaar, Corluka, Keane, Dos Santos, all hugely underfed. 
    One other issue is Harry’s coaching staff. Fringe players were not very happy (I know they probably never are). we were shocking at set pieces, especially attacking, and our fitness was decent, but not outstanding. Out mental fitness remained questionable. 
    I enjoyed having Harry as manager, but Levy has spent a decade steadily improving the club, with many mistakes and false starts. The training ground will be a fine addition. This could be a disaster, and the red-tops will side with Harry. Whoever comes in will need support from the board, both money and moral, on what should be a medium to long term project. 
    Spurs under Harry reminded me of United under Big Ron. Maybe our next manager will be our SAF. 
    Moyes could be the new Burkinshaw (yes please)
    AVB could have his “Damned United” experience at Chelsea- the similarities are uncanny, down to playing Bayern in the European Cup final in the aftermath. Could he be our Clough?

    • you touched on many key points but fail to recognise that this is rapidly becoming a young managers game now, Fergie exception to rule but he is making some huge errors now compared with previous days, wenger looks ill 90% of the time and AVB might just be the answer in all of this, if he buys into the long term plan then im happy to give him a go, no point looking at the chelsea scenario and criticising him, as you say clough had the same problems at leeds and bigger men than AVB have failed at Chelsea, scolari for one !…Levy is making a huge gamble but sooner that than sit still for 7 years hoping the old fossil is going to spark a revival, when all he wants is a fumble with his fancy bit ..

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