Friday, 15 June 2012

What's this? Harry's left?! Why didn't anyone tell me?...

I wasn't overjoyed when Harry was appointed.

I wasn't dismayed, but I didn't see it as a great choice or huge step forward.

I considered his managerial record (one very streaky cup win in 30-odd years) to be far from stellar - and thought his kudos was based as much on a 'one-of-the-chaps persona' allied to media smarts as much as footballing achievements.

But, he took us from bottom to eighth, and then to fourth, and then to the quarter finals of the Champions League. I must be a convert, right? And gnashing my teeth and the sheer lunacy of sacking a manager with such an impressive record?

Well, certainly I'm not celebrating his departure, and I'm not sure that whoever we get next will take us forward. Forward would be third. And third would mean finishing higher than two out of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and a more expensively–assembled/better paid Chelsea squad than ever.

But I'm not mourning his departure either. I don't think many Spurs fans are.

For a start, his achievements have to be put in perspective. Yes he got us into the Champions League, but we weren't exactly miles off before. Martin Jol was an extra 30 seconds in the microwave from cracking it. And Harry had a much better squad at his disposal. The best Spurs squad since 86/87. And the best Spurs midfielder since Paul Gascoigne.

So let's maybe not overstate his record. And let's not forget playing like absolute puddings in an FA Cup semi-final against a broken Portsmouth, or letting a 12 point lead (and possible tilt at the title) slip away.

(I actually think Harry's right when he says Spurs fans should view finishing fourth last season as an achievement. Considering where we were in February I think it's an absolute miracle)

But, if we didn't bend a knee in gratitude at any given moment, if we dared question decisions or demand slightly more, then we were always likely to cop a bit of flack from Harry and his cronies in the media.

And that's one of the reasons why I won't miss him: he just seems so consistently and suspiciously defensive when he talks about fans: Spurs fans, Portsmouth fans, Southampton fans, West Ham fans...

He shakes his head and incredulously asks what 'they' expect, insinuating that 'they' should think themselves lucky to have him - and implying that what went before and was pretty paltry compared to the riches he's delivered.

In Spurs case, of course, when in this mode, he always referred to the club (not just the fans) as 'they'. As in his sarcastic, 'Yeah, cos they were always qualifying for the Champions League before I got here weren't they?'

Like rival fans and some sections of the media, he saw Spurs supporters as arrogant and deluded, warped by a weird and inexplicable sense of entitlement; impatient for success and angry about 'under-achievement'; unaware, basically, of their actual position in the modern game and, therefore, unable to gauge what is and isn't success - unable, in fact, to recognise it let alone enjoy it when it comes along, because it's not the sort of success we think we deserve.

But that's not my view or my experience of fellow fans at all. All that nonsense about the Carling Cup being Mickey Mouse? Strap some big ol' ears on me and tell Minnie I'm coming home drunk. I loved winning it and want some more.

I think most of us know what level we're at, how easy it would be to sink considerably lower and how hard (maybe impossible without Chelsea/City money) it's going to be to inch up just a little higher.

Harry, on the other hand, believed the slack-jawed, loud-mouthed, arrogant and ignorant cliche. And that was pretty insulting.

(And, yes, we do have those types, so does ever club. But the majority of 'us' are realistic, sanguine and generally pretty stoic after decades of, largely, disappointment).

Anyway, he's gone now, and once again I am not overjoyed and I am not dismayed. The only question that really matters is who's next? The answer, I think, is obvious: we appoint Tim Sherwood, call him Interim Coach, win the title and then just wait for John Terry to turn up and lead the celebrations. COYS!