In the aftermath of the England game the other night (did you watch it? lol if you did) one or two Spurs fans are looking just a little too far ahead into the future and are asking the question:
Harry for England? The actual message board question was 'Replacement for Harry?'. International break is over, right? Almost. Last word on it, I promise.
I'll ignore the 'who would replace him?' variation because that would be ridiculously premature and arguably redundant. And tbh, we won't be replacing him when/if it happens. We'll be upgrading. I would hope.
Going back to 'Harry for England' I'm going to go ahead and briefly cover this because it's Harry and he's our manager, rather than caring about the international scene (I'll do my best to humour that part).
England then. Pressure on Fabio, lack of viable English managerial options - it's an obvious conclusion being made by the bored - be it one that we shouldn't really be discussing or considering. Because the gaffer and ourselves have plenty to be concentrating on. Although some would say Harry is flirting so much with the idea of leading the Three Lions, that he's already got one eye on it, and thus, there's a very subtle degradation of focus on THFC. Not sure I quite believe that (stretching it a little).
Personally think the (England) pool of players we have isn't that great in terms of balance. We should just sacrifice the next 2/3 years and try and bring the yoof (some of which is excellent) through and build a new foundation. But there's time for that in football management games. Dropping players that the media want you to play even though for example the player(s) might be completely out of form and at the same time humiliated on the front pages is oh so quintessentially English. There's that and the fact that although our yoof is excellent - there are gaps in other prominent areas in the squad. Take the forward positions. We called up Kevin Davies. I rest my case.
So, for the sake of argument, let's just pretend the question was pertinent to the present. Harry - viable option or not?
If the FA had bollocks, perhaps, but take a look to the recent past. They never gave it to Big Sam (thank ****) because he would have been far too vocal and probably would have wanted to dismantle and rebuild the England set-up from top to bottom. Which is probably what needs to be done, just not with someone who introduces American Football tactics in the opposition box. Instead they went with the safe yes man choice of Steve McClaren. A man so scared of getting wet he used an over-sized umbrella to mug himself into the next century with. Fabio then followed and even one of the best modern day club managers - a man who has won everything domestically - is struggling with this poisoned chalice.
Harry has a reputation. Supposedly, allegedly, and all that. The press love him right? Sure they do, what with his infinite amount of sound-bites and his column in The Sun. And the fact he's not too shabby with the love-hugs and man management skills. But they would jump all over allegations and investigations because that's what they do and I reckon the FA would not want to risk the gutter press going all out to f*** them over. Unless there's been a clear-out of the Jurassic mentality possessed by the FA dinosaurs of old, with plenty of daring new-blooded hopefuls. I can't see a change this significant. Would be pleasantly shocked if I was wrong.
We've gone with a foreign manager (again) because we have no faith in the English ones. That's as daring as they've got thus far.
I guess it comes down to this: Is there another Englishman who could do the job?
There was something on Football Weekly (James Richardson's splendid podcast) this past Monday that cited (German I think) players who went on the lash at a club opening a few days before an International/club match - and over here in Blightly, the press were calling Hart a disgrace for getting pissed 7 days before last nights game. The footballers who went to the club opening - not so much a single word printed about it. Completely irrelevant to the media and the people. Just not important.
We're all guilty of the same head-shaking when we see our players roll out of a club smashed out their faces. The tabloids have turned it into an art-form. I can already see the NOTW gearing up for another one of their under-cover operations.
So does Harry want it?
Of course he does. He's said as much. It's no big secret. And if the media left him to manage, then perfecto. But that's just not going to happen. In fact, he's said it to people who have been quite happy to share said information (okay, so I've heard it second hand, and it's bordering on ITK...so let's not dwell too much on this because it will take me months to wash off the dirt).
And telling everyone, be it directly or otherwise, endears himself to all that believe that he would do a grand job. You want something and tell people you want it when you know deep down there's no chance of getting it. The association made between Harry and the job is enough to feed his ego and keep us all talking. And that might be the only thing he's interested in.
I'm hoping all this it put to bed and he just concentrates on defining his legacy at club football by continuing our charge into an anchored Top 4 position for Spurs. More importantly, it's about leaving the club in a solid state so the hand-over is seamless when he does step down for whatever reason. No more transitional seasons please.
The only thing I'm interested in is Tottenham. Levy might be thinking contingency plans, but I'd hazard a wee guess that the Jan transfer window for a top class striker is weighing on his mind far more than tittle tattle message board discussions and tabloid gossip.
Okay, well that's it re: England. I'm done with it now.
Roll on Fulham.