Harryvederci: Why Redknapp Went From England Shoe-In To Dorset Allotment


It's the least most shocking news of the not-season so far. Following last minute crisis talks that may or may not have seen criminal (found not guilty) misuses of the word 'literally', Harry Redknapp shrugged his shoulders, packed up his jowls, and strolled out of White Hart Lane. Stopping one last time at the gates to stick his head out of his car window and say something about jellied eels.

Messageboards and phone-ins were instantly clogged with distraught Tottenham fans demanding answers. Meanwhile, on the internet, those of us with a soft spot for dead horses winced in pain as everyone else suggested having a whip-round to get a taxi to take Geoff Shreeves, John Terry, and Gazza to chateau 'triffic'.

With the dust only now starting to settle, it seems the probable cause for upset was that despite asking for a three year deal (which would conveniently expire around the same time as Roy Hodgson's did with England) only a 12 month offer was forthcoming from Daniel Levy. This in itself tells you almost the whole story.

Harry Redknapp's time at Spurs had been coming to a natural and dignified death for months now. After a start to the season that saw them open up a meme-inducing gap over Arsenal, a title challenge, and a return the Champions League that comes with it, seemed to be the very least they could hope for. But since then, a terrible run of form, and a not insignificant contribution from Didier Drogba, saw both ripped away from them.

There's a strongly held cliche about certain managers being right for certain teams at certain times, which he most certainly was, and another about having taken a team as far as you can, which he most certainly has.

When Redknapp arrived, Tottenham were a team of very good players who, for whatever reason, were hideously underperforming. Bale, Modric, King, Dawson and Lennon, all of whom have formed the backbone of the success enjoyed at the Lane over the last few years, were all already on the books when Juande Ramos was given his P45 and pointed sternly in the direction of the door. Even Defoe and Keane, two of Redknapp's first signings, were simply returning the club.

His contribution to the playing staff? Well, aside from the £30m for the aforementioned strike duo, he's shelled out £12m on Wilson Palacios, £9m on Peter Crouch, £8m on each of Sandro and Sebastian Bassong and £7m on Kyle Naughton. Not to mention the extortionate wages he elected to pay Ryan Nelsen, Louis Saha, and Steven Pienaar to not play. I could name globally successful rappers who'd find that excessive.

Parker and Van Der Vaart arguably represent good value, but signing two of world football's most famous players isn't exactly the a mark of a dynasty builder. If you need any more proof of Redknapp's poor record in the transfer market and lack of foresight, there's a decrepit club on the South coast who are having to hold a car wash this weekend to finally pay off Sulley Muntari's wages.

As well as that, ‘Arry’s complete lack of tactical nous has been pointed out by both his former and current players (Rafael Van Der Vaart famously telling us all about the board on the wall that's never once been written on) and the lilywhite moth that's ordered hundreds of pounds of flat-pack furniture to the box marked 'Plan B' tells its own tale.

The point here is that Redknapp is a motivator. Arguably one of the best in the game. But in an age when organisational subtlety, tactical ingenuity, long term aspirations, MI6 standard scouting networks, and preferably not having a massive fraud cloud hanging over your head (again, found not guilty) are pretty important, he's simply been found wanting. A pie and mash manager, in an age of calorie-controlled low-fat chicken salad with a reduced-salt dressing.

With Adebayor back off to Man City, Ledley King finally curling up in a ball in front of the fire, and Masters Modric and Bale casting curious glances at the girls in the year above, Tottenham are about to enter a period of dramatic upheaval and rebuilding.

Leaving that task in 'Arry's 'ands would be the equivalent of giving a large group of young offenders a few cricket bats and an unlimited bag of sugar, then telling them to give St Paul's a “new look”.

Mind you, at least now there's a good use for all those newspaper articles claiming he was “the people's choice” for the England job... there's an allotment in Dorset that needs some serious fertiliser.

David Moyes, the binary opposite of Harry Redknapp, is currently at 1.50 to replace Redknapp at Spurs.