The last three months have felt like one long Harry Redknapp press conference. The break between interviews has been barely perceptible. At one point I wondered if the Spurs manager had been cloned and there were, in fact, three or four genetically engineered Redknapps conducting interviews simultaneously.
But while Harry has talked…and talked, Spurs have meekly succumbed to teams they would have rolled over in a heartbeat during the first half of the season. The FA’s ‘surprise’ approach to West Brom manager Roy Hodgson only confirmed that they have been watching and listening, too.
Why would the stiff shirts at the FA want an uncontrollable ‘rent-a-quote’ manager who is frequently truculent and defensive under mild pressure when a placid, malleable coach like Roy Hodgson represents a far cheaper, stress-free option? If Redknapp can’t galvanise a talented but underperforming Tottenham outfit what hope has he with the notoriously uncoachable national side?
Given these arguments, the FA’s decision to interview Hodgson for the vacant England manager's position is hardly surprising; that they took so long to arrive at the decision is more curious, considering West Brom’s season of mid-table comfort. The shadow of Harry’s imminent departure has arguably derailed Tottenham’s most promising campaign for 25 years with the club’s players and fans mentally prepared for a new boss since February, only now it appears our late season upheaval was all for nothing and that deadline day swoop for Yakubu is back on the cards.
So where does that leave Spurs? For all his faults and foibles, Redknapp remains Tottenham’s most successful boss of the modern era (in terms of league form) and it’s worth remembering that the club are back in the Top Four with just three games remaining with a budget and a wage bill (£91m-a-year) far less than rivals City (£174m), Chelsea (£173m), United (£153m), Arsenal (£124m) and Liverpool (£114m). Redknapp may irritate when he says Spurs are overachieving but technically he’s probably right.
It’s a little fanciful to expect Spurs to compete at the top table when its marquee players are earning a fraction of the wages paid to lesser lights at rival clubs. For certain players, like Gareth Bale, the wage structure must be broken. Let's not forget Scott Parker could have earned more money playing cheeky one-twos with Joey Barton at struggling QPR.
For whatever reason, Daniel Levy has failed to back his manager in the market over the last four transfer windows. Champions League qualification represented a priceless (and ultimately missed) opportunity to attract high calibre players and this season the Spurs Chairman opted not to even reinvest the transfer fees received for outgoing players. Meanwhile, every other rival strengthened. You cannot blame that on Redknapp anymore than Spurs’ frustrating profligacy in front of goal.
Tactically, Redknapp is no Mourinho, Guardiola, Ferguson or Wenger. But that statement should be self-explanatory. Harry has, however, made mistakes that may cost Spurs dearly at the end of the season. None greater than opening his mouth when it should have remained closed.