Wednesday, 11 May 2011
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.