Monday, April 30, 2012

Harry Redknapp talks himself out of England job

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.


Simonj68 said...

My comment as always is that Ramos is the most successful manager in the modern era.
Like it or not, the historians in 20 years will look at cups, not one exciting campaign in Europe.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks Simon. I meant in terms of league form. I have now clarified that point. Agreed. It is about trophies. Redknapp's greatest sin for me was not taking the Europa League or League Cup seriously.

NormanGiller said...

Lots of spot-on points as usual, Doc, but I think the main reason the FA did not make their expected call on Harry was pure economics. They knew Daniel Levy would relieve them of at least £10m for the services of Harry and Joe. Woy will cost them nowt for his contract.

I would argue that Harry HAS been the most successful of modern Tottenham managers. A startling stat is that Spurs will finish in the top 6 for a third successive year for the first time in the lifetime of all under 47.

'Lust Doctor' said...

That is a startling stat, Norman! Hodgson certainly represents 'value for money'. I wish him well. Thankless job.

Anonymous said...

Good post. Question - Do you feel that Redknapp should stay on as SPURS manager now? I kind of feel like having talked his way out of the England Job and having us as a fall back isn't necessarily good for us. Should we be like oh great we get to keep Harry? I think we need a new Gaffer and this campaign in the second half is proof of that. He doesn't rotate players well, tactically when things aren't working he doesn't make changes, and we never score off set pieces (yesterday excepted). Granted not all problems are Harry's making as you eluded to with the lack of transfer money being spent. Also have we even spent any of our CL money from Last year's campaign? How about getting someone like Brendan Rodgers in? He had swansea playing beautiful football.

Simonj68 said...

Cheers - I know it is a slightly over pedantic point, but it is like people of our tender years trying to discuss the 50's era for example. The only real way of knowing is what is in the cabinet.
It is an endless debate... Modern Football.

And quite why either HR or RH would want the job anyway baffles me, thankless and career ending.

Simon CFC said...

I always think Levy looks short term. Loan deals ect are good short term but when players like Ade/Saha may leave, your back having to start again. With the likes of Walker, Bale, Modric, VDV, Parker, Spurs had the perfect chance to step up to the next level last summer but Levy never took it.

It's all good boasting your wage bill is lower but whilst Liverpool have a league cup & FA Cup final, Chelsea a FA Cup & CL Final, Arsenal top 4, and United & City fighting for title do you think these fans are looking at wage bills?

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks Scott. I thought at the start of the season that Harry's tenure at Spurs had probably run its course and his leaving for England would be the natural progression. I'm sure Levy thought the same. I appreciate what Harry has done and am not opposed to him staying (he's not as bad as some would make out), but I must confess to being a little bit intrigued how another manager would fare with these players. I like Martinez. He's performed minor miracles at Wigan. But can he step 'up'? Whoever is manager at the start of next season has to be backed financially and the main transfer business concluded earlier.

'Lust Doctor' said...

SimonJ68. Not entirely sure Hodgson will survive the Euros! This England side has no chance. Fancy Germany strongly.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Simon CFC. The point I was trying to make about wage bills is that Spurs do need to pay more. Certainly to a Arsenal/Liverpool level. Remember Marin has signed for Chelsea with no guarantee (as yet) of Champions League football. Why? He's being offered more money. That was a missed opportunity for Spurs and great business for Chelsea.