Harry Redknapp has revealed himself unto me. He appeared and spoke, softly but firmly, and assured me that everything was in hand. He spoke not in a voice or manner I recognised. I was startled at first, but then felt a wave of warm, comfortable euphoria sweep through me. He said ‘Fear not my child. And listen not to what is said. For the truth is thus – we will put those godless fuckers in their place. United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal – Judgement Day is upon them, and soon mankind will rejoice in the Kingdom of Tottenham.’ It was at that point I realised that how Harry appears physically to us is simply his ‘earthly body’. He has to do this; otherwise we would be bewildered by his brilliance. He has spent his time in the wilderness. Many people doubt him, and call him a shaman. But he will lead us to the Promised Land.
Harry has been tested this season more times than I care to remember. And each time he has come through with clarity and skill. I knew he was a good coach, able to organise a defence and get a team passing the ball better than the average gaffer. What I also thought I knew was that he was a man of simplistic footballing views and assertions. And that these assertions would be what ultimately held him back from the upper echelons. More fool me. When Robbie Keane was being sent on loan to Celtic, or Jenas was being basically put out for the binmen to pick up after the Wolves debacle, I found myself double and triple taking – is this really happening? Did Harry really haul Jenas off at half time, never to dress him in a Spurs shirt again? Did he really publicly humiliate £20 million club captain Robbie Keane? Did he really make the calls that all of us implored him to make, but privately thought were a bit too outrageous? Yes. Yes he did.
How many of us, hand on heart, would have gone with the Modders/Hudd CM combination? We thought Harry would be humble, play it safe. 2 points from 8 games. Never had it so good. Punching above our weight. And how we all fell for it! The clues were there though. All season, whilst always playing things down, he quietly muttered that we were aiming for 4th. Of course, he did more than enough to counter that with the constant bollocks spouted about how good Liverpool are, how far we’ve come, how grateful we should be etc etc. And I use the word bollocks advisedly. Because that’s what it was. Pure bollocks. Harry knew all along that we would do it. Privately, he is probably mad as a lorry that we finished with as few points as we did. Privately, he knows that next season they are all there for the taking. All of them.
He could have brought in a safe bet as keeper (James, Green), but he didn’t. He stuck with the big, odd, whackjob. He could have sold Dawson, or just let him continue having the regular schoolboy panic attacks. He could have let Bale drift as the next floating showpony. He could have let Huddlestone become Jan Molby but without the team-mates. BAE and Bentley have come on so much since Harry and his team of coaches got hold of them. Harry has coached the arses off them, and induced quite remarkable rises in the performance levels of most of the team. Even the recruitment of Sherwood and Ferdinand, when viewed retrospectively, is genius – what PL player has ever heard of old jokes Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan? Better get a couple of flash gits with nice suits and lush birds that the players will listen too. Then sneakily make them better players without them even noticing, while Shersy and Ferdsy regale them with enthralling tales of mindless idiocy.
Harry made many errors this season. Playing Keane and Jenas for too long. Not playing Pav. Getting the left sided choice wrong at times. But on all of these occasions, he has righted his wrongs with startling speed. Once all the debris had been cleared and the engine was tuned up, the team was like a runaway train. And when the hard choices had to be made, he made them. No sentiment whatsoever. Wilson, sorry, but you are not the centre midfielder for the ‘next level’. Thanks, but no thanks.
He has learnt a lot. Nobody knows everything, something that certain other North London managers would do well to remember.
And maybe I’m losing my fucking mind here, but maybe, just maybe, Harry is about to switch on all of us. Secretly, late at night, in Harry’s palatial home in wherever, when Jamie has been tucked up in bed in his Spiderman PJs, Harry lights up a fat Cuban cigar, and sits back in his big chair, Tony Montana style. And he turns to Sandra and says ‘You know what luv? We’re gonna rip this shitty little slag-league apart next season. Wenger? Fucking losing it. Fabregas? Gone. Fergie? Alzheimers. Drogba? Don’t worry; I’ve got a mindgame for that little tart. Lampard? Modric. Mancini? Can’t speak English. Ferdinand, Essien, Persie, all crocks. Vidic is off. Ok, so maybe give me Evra, or that other little ponce who can play left back. And Rooney or Tevez. The rest can fuck right off.’ I’m not saying this because I necessarily believe it. I’m saying it because I believe that Harry is at least 2 steps ahead of us all, and believes in the talent of himself and his players a lot more than anyone else does.
All this transfer talk of Bellamy, Richards and Carlton Cole is rubbish. He is going to sign 2 shit-hot strikers and 1 left back. He knows that there is no such thing as standing still in this league. You’re either going forwards or back. And forwards for us means challenging the top 2. And you ain’t doing that with Craig Bellamy, much as I have always been a fan of his play. Behind the façade that Harry presents to us, there is a disturbingly ambitious and motivated man. Harry wants to prove he is the best. Behind old cockney bagpuss is an absolute beast of a manager waiting to be unleashed.
By guest-blogger, Chrisman.