Sunday, 24 April 2011

Why do expectations grate with Harry?

The race for fourth has now become the slump to sixth.

It wasn't an awful performance - it just wasn't good enough. Not good enough to beat West Brom and not good enough for a side that wants to claim a Champions League spot.

We're officially on a pretty appalling run now. We've won one of our last seven league games. If you take the Arsenal game out of the line-up, we've played Blackpool, Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, Stoke and West Brom. And we've got seven points out of 18. The minimum we should expect out of that is 12. It's not wildly unreasonable to look for 14 or 15.

Yes, Harry, I said 'expect'. Harry seems to have a problem with expectation. Expectation, you see, leads to disappointment, possibly even disgruntlement. And Harry doesn't like that. He considers it an uninformed and ungrateful affront.

He thinks we're kidding ourselves if we expect to beat Blackpool, Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, Stoke and West Brom. And yes, maybe beating all of them in the space of six weeks is a tall order (although fuck knows it shouldn't be impossible), but surely we're allowed to expect to beat more than one of them?

But no, Harry gets all churlish and snippy when the fans dare to grumble. You can tell he wants to mention that eight games/two points thing, but even he knows the statute of limitation has passed on that one now. We should still be grateful, though; we must never forget...

After the West Brom game he said that when we were 2-1 up the crowd were all singing and enjoying themselves, then when they equalised it was like the end of the world - his voice heavy with sarcasm and judgement.

Well you know what, Harry? Fuck off. When we were 2-1 up, the mood lifted slightly, yes. That's kind of what happens in football, you must be aware of this. But there was still tension, still a nagging belief that we'd need a third, and an acute awareness that we didn't look like getting it.

And when they equalised it wasn't the end of the world, but it was something close to the end of our season. And we care, you see. We probably care far too much, but you're just gonna have to learn to live with that. Or fuck off.

What you can't do is keep deflecting criticism onto the fans with all this bollocks about 'Yeah, cos they were always qualifying for the Champions League before I got here, weren't they?'.

What you're saying is that it's okay for you to fail, because we shouldn't expect success. And that, actually, if we express disappointment at dropping points against immensely beatable sides, then the fault isn't with you and the team for dropping the points, it's with us for not understanding the true nature of the situation. It's with us having the audacity to expect more than a point against West Ham, or Wigan, or to not be the only club that fails to beat Blackpool over the course of a couple of months.

It's becoming as annoying as all these dropped points. And that's really fucking annoying.

The game itself? As ever, I'm going to assume you saw it and will be either reading or, like me, avoiding plenty of lovely linear reports elsewhere.

I think we could have just about scraped three points from it, but I'm not sure we deserved three points. Their equaliser was a brilliant strike which we all know that fucker will never repeat, but, sometimes, the first thing you've gotta say is 'yep, good goal, well done son'. (And is it true, as most of us on Twitter espoused last night, that players save their once-in-a-lifetime thunderbolts for us? It's probably not, but it feels like it).

On the plus side, our two centre forwards scored two good goals from open play. Then again, those two centre forwards did exactly that a few weeks back against Wolves - and it didn't mark a turnaround in form and it didn't result in three points.

We're not playing well, we're not picking up points, we're not going to finish fourth and I, like many of you, will be pissed off. Just don't tell Harry.


  1. Excellent Dave.
    And this is what the 2P8G people need to understand, we are allowed to question and criticise and have higher expectations.
    In a far weaker league than last year, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that we could have actually challenged for the title this year.
    Add in just a few of those dropped points and it suddenly looks very different.

    'Arry seems to be saying that we have had our fun, now back to "never top 6 / never bottom 6" again - you know what, he is wrong. Concerningly he doesn't seem to understand why.

  2. Surely by now everyone is aware that Redknapp is only responsible for good results. If, as is right, our heads were properly bent in worship at the altar of 2p8g we would never notice poor results. Therefore these kind of comments are entirely justified for our lack of gratitude.

  3. Harry Redknapp ought to acknowledge the discrepancy between his preseason target and our actual position. He said we'd challenge for the league, but with 5 games to go we are a massive 18 points behind the leaders (and mediocre leaders at that).

  4. It is the season of dropped points and missed opportunities. I know they all are, but this year we had the team and we had the momentum to win those points and take those opportunities. We should have pushed on and established ourselves as genuine contenders, a permanent part of what will probably be come a detached top six.

    Instead, all the pundits are saying we've reverted to type, sunk back to our natural level etc. And that really does grate.

  5. Harry out. Jose in

  6. All sides this season have dropped points to this bunch of, and that bunch. But its the way we do it. The same old ridiculous errors. WTF!?

    What happens at training, at post match de-briefs?
    I dont want to blame BAE, but where was the defence for goal one?
    Their centre forward is a well known plonker, but against us he has all the time in the world to pick his spot and CURL past our keeper! Fxxk me!
    Goal two: they passed it and passed it, in triangles for an age, before, with all the time in the world, some plonker CURLS past our keeper.

    The reason the likes of Madrid/CFC/MUFC win games where they play badly (or pick up 14/15 pts from 18) is not making crappy, juvenile mistakes.
    Being beaten is a pain in the butt. But dropping points because of schoolboy errors just dont cut it. Harry and the boys on quids, dont give a ish, fans on next to no quids, do!

    ps: FWIW another selection cock up

  7. Maybe harry is trying to find a way to explain that he doesn't really know where to take us from here. He is a master of saving doomed teams but not so much with a team that can play a bit & could push on. I cant see how he'll be able to do much more without Levy backing him in the transfer market & I refer more to wages than big shot spending.

    He seems to have a chip on his shoulder about our views. I've heard him comment that fans pay their money & have the right to say what they like at games within reason. But perhaps not if they dare to question his talents.

    Has Harry changed over the past year or are we just getting wise to his double speak & we've found him out?

  8. Crouch on Pav off... with 87mins on the clock?
    Me no understand!

  9. Dave, excellent article. Any other team that had a run of one win in ten, questions would be asked about the manager.

    But because "Arry" is mates with the media he seems gets a free pass.

    He is extremely thinned skined and cannot take any form of constructive criticism.

    IMO for the second game in a row he set the team out wrong by deploying VDV on the right and leaving azza on the bench. Consequently the only width we got from the right was from a centre back(Kaboul) played out of position at right back!

    I think for the level of investment in the squad over the mangership of Redknapp we should be challenging for the top four.

    He seems to have a habit of getting in his excuses first when the team is under performing and not taking any responsibility himself.

  10. Anyone else think we also play some dire footy at times, humping it up to Crouch.

  11. As a City fan, I tend to dislike Spurs, but it's not the players or the fans I dislike, it's 3 things.

    1. You're our closest rival and bogey team.
    2. Harry Redknapp
    3. The medias bumming of your club because of Harry Redknapp.

    All season they've been praising his exciting football (Merson specifically) and yet your goal difference is 8. This is simply down to what I like to call 'The Mark Hughes' factor.

    We had exciting football under Hughes, and because he was British, he got bummed by the media quite a bit. But with exciting attacking football comes vulnerability at the back.

    This line from your article summed up exactly how I used to feel watching City under Hughes and Keegan (and any other British manager we've had in the last 10yrs)

    "But there was still tension, still a nagging belief that we'd need a third, and an acute awareness that we didn't look like getting it."

    It's all well and good Harry coming in and saying well we've done this and done that, but unless he starts concentrating a bit more on shape and defence, he's always going to have exciting 3-3 draws. He needs to stop praising himself for what he has achieved at spurs and start concentrating on how to maintain it. Good old British gusto isn't enough.

  12. Totally agree with your assessment Harry's attitude Dave, but I still wouldn't swap him for any of the other jokers who have managed our team in the past 20 years.

    It is late April and we are currently sitting in 5th place in the league with a (fading...) chance of qualifying for the Champions League. The very fact we are disappointed with this situation speaks volumes about how far we have come.

    Don't get me wrong. I was frustrated by the performance and result against West Brom. I am irritated by Harry's response to criticism. But Harry is correct in saying that we're still better off now than we have been in years. I don't like the way he expresses it - but he's right.

    Whatever happens from here, we are definitely stuck with Harry for one more season. Whatever happens from here, we will have an entertaining season next year (fluke 4th place? more Champs League. Finish 5th? I'd back us to win the Europa League. Finish 6th? We'll play less games than the rest of the 'big six' and have a decent crack at finishing above the Arse next year).

    Perhaps my ambition has been blunted by years of under-achievement. Perhaps I should be more demanding. But I can't escape the fact that we're having a better season right now than just about any season in recent memory.

  13. Liverpool fan here, not only does the media love in with Harry grate, but it also only remembers that you were in the bottom 3 when he took over, but completely forgets that in 3 of the previous 4 seasons you only just missed out on 4th

    with a much lower wage and transfer budget.

    Benitez was abused by the media for his treatment of Robbie Keane though that he's played less under Appy Arry goes unnoticed.

    I think it's a real shame as i've always appreciated Spurs football and ethos

  14. That sounds a lot like Hodgson's reign at Liverpool: produce horrible football with misused (Meireles out wide) and inferior (Konchesky/Poulsen) players, and pin it on the fans for being upset about it.

  15. I don't think the football Spurs produce is horrible, the strikers have had some serious difficulties in finding the net this season,

    what's curious at the minute is the difference in tone between Harry 'we need to spend ultra millions' and the chairman who seems to be suggesting the vault isn't full enough for harry to go and bankrupt another club in search of glory

  16. You need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture my friend.

    I don't know if you have been a fan of Spurs in the last 20/30 years but this is the best, most exciting team we've had for decades - and we all thought we were going down to the Championship before Harry took over. Having read that, I really wonder if you were a fan during the dark days of Christian Gross etc. 

    Not only have the achievements been predominantly brilliant, Harry has also transformed players such as Bale, Huddlestone and Modric into world class players. 

    Considering how much we've spent in comparison to City, Chelsea and Liverpool it SHOULDN'T be an expectation to finish in the top 4. 

    Sure we are on a bad run of form and I'm as frustrated as anyone, but some people are way too unrealistic and are way too greedy. You can't have everything. 

    5th place and Champions League quarter finals including victories over Inter Milan, AC Milan, Arsenal and Liverpool is so fucking far away from a failure.

  17. Actually, my friend (who says that?!), you need to read the article properly.

    My problem with Harry isn't our league position, it's his snippy attitude with fans (or 'them' as he always calls us in such circumstances) whenever there's any disgruntlement.

    I've been going to Spurs regularly since the mid-80s, so I'm well aware of context and have seen some right dross, don't worry about that.

    I'm disappointed that we're not going to finish 4th, but I totally understand what a huge task it was and, to be honest, always thought we'd fall just short.

    That's not the problem. The problem is Harry's surly attitude towards anything that deviates from adulation.

    So yes, I've seen Jason Dozzell in midfield and I was also there the night we destroyed Inter Milan. And, amazingly, I spotted the difference. So, I don't need to take a step back. But I do reserve the right to be fucked off when we drop points to Wigan, West Ham, Blackpool, Wolves etc - without Harry or his acolytes whinging to the media about it and telling me I'm ungrateful or somehow 'don't understand the game'.

  18. harry gets found out tactically in my eyes,and the guy doesnt have a plan b.....noe sort it out,your the manager so it is down to you to do so ,never mind reflecting the blame of yourself ,the book lies firmly with you ,and if you cant sort it out do the honourable thing step down,an let some one else have a go ,were slipping back into old ways and it is not good at this rate we wont even b on channel 5 next season ...sort it out ,or pack your bags adn go

  19. @Dave I stand corrected, apologies. Didn't interpret the article that way first time round, I see what you mean.

  20. Liverpool fan here . End of spurs they wont be in CL again . They will find it difficult to keep hold off bale and madric . You wont find any shir sponsor who will give 20m/year like we did with standard chartered ...

    We will be back with a bang next season . Overseas liverpool fan .

  21. Ross you've been drinking the Harry Koolaid. The Spurs have spent a ton in recent years, Chelsea and Man City are the only two teams who have outspent you. Harry, like he's done repeatedly, will saddle the Spurs with massive outlays, then breeze for the England job leaving Tottenham with a half-baked team and a mountain of expenses. Good Luck.

  22. Can't really fault much about that, the media love in with Rednapp is nauseating to say the least.

    Being a good motivator is one thing but I think 'Arry needs to realise that it's not enough on it's own. Man City aside Spurs have been by far the Premier League's biggest net spenders on transfer fees over the last 5 years. That on it's own should give rise to a massive level of expectation, and it's certainly not unreasonable to expect a side that takes apart the Champions of Europe to get a result or two against the likes of Wolves and West Brom.

    It will never ever be Harry's fault though, he has Fat Sam Allardyce levels of self delusion when it comesto his talents, and he has enough sycophantic friends in the media to ensure that this idea of him as some sort of managerial genius is ever challenged.

    If there were 7 games left rather than 5 then I would put money on Liverpool pipping you to fifth, as it is I'd say you will just about manage to stay there.

  23. 'Arry will NOT saddle us with debt as Levy doesn't allow him to get involved in the transfers/salary discussions & signs off on everything. Also our expenditure is vastly inflated by the media/other fans. We may have spent a lot but we have also sold for a similar amount, thus the net expenditure is not that high, also don't always believe the numbers that the press quote for the value of players we bought.

  24. "We may have spent a lot but we have also sold for a similar amount, thus the net expenditure is not that high, also don't always believe the numbers that the press quote for the value of players we bought."

    You have more reliable figures?

  25. Liverpool fan here... Just wanted to say that I've enjoyed your stuff about Harry (which I found via a mate). For the whole of this season I was under the impression that I increasingly disliked Spurs. But actually, this made me realise that I don't dislike Spurs at all, I just hate Harry.

    Partly because of the sycophantic treatment he gets in the media just because he's English (e.g. Benitez got caned for 'wasting' all that money on Robbie Keane, but Harry gets zero stick for buying him back and then moving him on for a much bigger loss). Partly because the clubs he's just left have a suspicious tendency to go bust because they can't afford to pay their bills. But more because he blatantly now seems to think he's way too good for you and is beyond all criticism - just because he turned around a team that wasn't anything like as bad as its league position suggested at the time, with the help of a lot of money. How dare he suggest that the fans who help pay his wages don't really know what they're talking about? At this rate, I might like even less than that p**** Wenger by the end of the season...

    Anyway, will be interesting to see what happens next season when we don't give you the Hodgson-inspired half-season head-start!

  26. 2 chance 2 goals or thereabouts for West Brom (who I might add have really turned it around with Liverpool reject Roy).
    Is 'Arry to blame for that? He certainly wasn't on the field, but he did pick the team that were. Were they no good? They beat both AC & Inter?
    My 2p? We simply play better against big clubs and shite against shite clubs.
    Who or what will change that, I don't know.
    For now I thank Harry for his Houdini-like magic with THFC and for taking us places now other Manager in recent years has.
    Forever I will want to be in the number... WHEN THE SPURS GO MARCHING IN!