Wednesday, 11 May 2011

City slackers

Peter Crouch scores at Eastlands to secure Champions League football for the first time.

Only this time, we can safely assume that it won't be the beneficiary's last go at Big Cup. For us? Who knows.

The game itself was largely an irrelevance - apart from a handful of vignettes that neatly encapsulated our strengths, weaknesses and close-season challenges: Sandro continues to look rather awesome; Modric is a little genius who usually fluffs his lines in front of goal; Crouch has got to go; Pienaar should never have arrived; Van der Vaart drops too deep meaning we end up with one up front; and we can have more than two-thirds possession and still not create any really great chances - thereby losing 1-0 to a team that simply aren't as good as us.

But, it was the position we were in before the match and the comments after the match that were of more concern to most Spurs fans.

Before: We went in knowing that even a win probably wouldn't do us much good. And that, as we all know, is down to a litany of poor results against poor sides.

Important: That's not to say it's been a terrible season, or that we're an awful side, or that Harry's done a bad job judged across his full spell in charge. It's merely to acknowledge that we've had a run of poor results against poor sides, which means we've got less points at this stage than we could reasonably have expected - and that, not City's extravagant spending, is why we're not qualifying for the Champions League.

After: Harry's 'suicide' comment is rapidly gathering the sort of infamy previously attached to Burkinshaw's 'There used to be a football club over there'.

For anyone that missed it, a journalist mentioned that the result meant we'd missed out on Champions League football, and Redknapp replied: "I'm going to commit suicide, it's so sad."

Now, I'm not sure this was said on camera or into a mic. Few of the more reputable media outlets are running it. But, it does sound like the sort of thing he'd say and fits his pattern of incredulously mocking any fan or pundit that dares suggest we've had anything less than a stellar season (or, according to Harry, in fact "the best Spurs have had in God knows how long").

He simply doesn't accept or understand any level of frustration. He thinks gratitude is a far more suitable default setting. Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before, but we only had two points from.... oh, you have head that one.

He's also taken to regularly pointing out City's spending levels. The subtext is basically someone who's lost a fight saying, 'But have you seen the size of them?!'

I've already had my say on Harry. More than once, in fact. And discussed who the next manager just might be.

So I won't regurgitate it all here. But, two contiguous points.

1) Twitter proved an interesting barometer of emotion on the night. There have obviously been grumbles about Harry before, concerning the team's performance and his attitude, but on Tuesday there was something more than grumbling. There was anger. There was vitriol. And there were calls for change.

There was also some pretty robust defending of Harry. Indeed, there was anger on the pro-Redknapp side as well, anger at the perceived audacity of his detractors. There was even, whisper it, some unfollowing.

This could escalate. There could be a horse on fire and someone might get killed with a trident.

It's also a bit unseemly. And, surely, unnecessary, because...

2) Surely every Spurs fan can agree that Redknapp A) deserves praise for his achievements in the last couple of years, but B) isn't exempt from criticism ad infinitum.

There are shades of grey in terms of the praise and criticism, but there are no absolute positions. (Except, of course, there are).

I hate to sound like Rodney King with his 'Can't we all just get along' thing, but, really, Harry doesn't deserve the sack and the last two months have been fucking abysmal. Those two stances are not mutually exclusive.

In a more nuanced world, the interesting scenario is that, without being sacked, he still might not be in charge at the start of 11/12.

He could be in jail or, if he's really unlucky, he could be at Chelsea. Harry doesn't have to be sacked to part company with us. Actual, 'clear your desk you useless fuck' sackings are very rare in the modern game.

But, his departure could still come about - engineered either by him, by the club, or by a bit of both. And the question then is, would you be sorry to see him go and would you be confident we'd get a manager who could do a better job? For me, the answer is yes and no. But not necessarily in that order.


  1. After defending him for most of the last two years, I've come to utterly detest the man. He's vain, disrespectful and smug, and I can't stand him. Any other manager in the world would be sacked on the spot for his suicide 'quip'. However, in a funny way that's all irrelevant. What's relevant is how we move forward. If you take the view that there's probably only a handful of really good managers in the world, do you really think that Redknapp is one of them? No, he almost certainly falls into the category of 'competent', like the majority. What do we really have to lose by replacing him? We have maybe a 10% chance of deteriorating. Or we might get a manager with drive, commitment, respect for Tottenham Hotspur, and who can address our obvious failings and will be here for years to come, not just until the England job comes calling. I can respect what Redknapp has done and still think that the time is absolutely right for a change.

  2. Everyone knows I don't like Redknapp. Despite that I have made comments about the good things he's done and have actually said 'Harry out'. However, now I am. This, much as my dislike, is not entirely football related. It is mainly to do with his utter disdain for Tottenham fans and the fact that having a manager I neither like nor respect (unlike Ferguson who I can't stand but respect for a number of reasons)and who doesn't actually care if he is liked or respected by the fans as long as he is by the media is becoming almost a physical pain for me.

    In terms of whether it will hurt us, no I don't believe it will. There's alot of building to do over the summer and as Redknapp only has one season left and is salivating for the England job it makes sense to me that we get the new manager now and allow him to improve our team with some players of his choice.

    As for the committing suicide quip,as well as being distasteful, in terms of his career at Spurs he may well have done so.

  3. These are the key points you make:

    2) Surely every Spurs fan can agree that Redknapp A) deserves praise for his achievements in the last couple of years, but B) isn't exempt from criticism ad infinitum.

    Harry doesn't deserve the sack and the last two months have been fucking abysmal. Those two stances are not mutually exclusive.

    Unfortunately there are plenty of fans out there who believe if you think he's taken us as far as he can, you also think he's done badly since he arrived.

    Also, my answers would be Yes and Maybe. Definitely in that order.

  4. Redknapp is the Joe Biden of football. I’m not sure how seriously we should take his suicide quip. I’m willing, for now, to chalk it up as clowning around before the mics or cameras, much like that ‘my missus’ comment (which, of course, backfired, as I’m pretty sure Bent outscored our strikers this spring). For me, the way he lined us up against Inter and Milan or found gems like Sandro outweighs his defensive outbursts. For now.

    Having said that, it will be time soon to look around for a suitable replacement. Whether or not Harry gets the England call, he strikes me as a Larry Brown-type of coach (to continue the American comparisons) – always packing his bags for some other destination.

  5. If I'm not mistaken, our purchase of Sandro wasn't really Harry's idea. The media (taken with a grain of salt, of course, but it was pretty widespread) said that Harry hadn't even seen him play before he came to Spurs.

    Harry's transfers have been more along the lines of Pienaar and Kranjcar. While Kranjcar was definitely a good deal in financial terms, I have to wonder if they have the quality that's really needed.

  6. It would seem that Harry getting an easy ride from the media is making it much more difficult to defend him. I never quite understood why so many Liverpool fans would always stand behind Benitez no matter what. I now wonder if the fact that he got so much negative press from the media helped to rally Liverpool fans behind him. Whereas it seems that Tottenham fans are continually told how lucky we were to have Redknapp and what he has done for this team. No mention is ever made of how lucky he was to walk into a team with Modric, Bale, Lennon, BAE, Huddlestone, Dawson already in place. For the most part the heart of our team. The one area that he has spent money is our forwards and we have all seen how that has turned out. Now i am worried about losing Modric who I think is the one player we cannot afford to lose. Harry seems to only be interested in veteran players that he is comfortable with. So to replace Modric I could see hime going for Joe Cole or Scott Parker. This is not really looking out for the long term future of the club.

  7. @columbian

    I read Harry was "keen on" Sandro early on, but whether he or someone else initially found him, I really don't know. I do know I love the midfield pairing of Sandro and Modric.

    As for Kranjcar, I think he has the quality but I'm not sure he suits our fast-paced game right now. Terrific on the ball though, in my opinion.