Firstly, frequent readers of this blog, I apologise for the lack of activity this past week in the build up to the season finale. I was brainwashed by the other half and spent most of it with her and the rugrat. Something about the latter celebrating her first birthday. To be honest, regardless of lack of time, I hardly felt inspired to match preview our final game of the season. When thinking 'football', my thoughts were on more pressing matters such as whether we have a decisive strategy with how to deal with the transfer window from opening to closure and if we plan to get our business done and dusted long before pre-season with viable targets already listed and targeted internally. Yes, I have my mind on science-fiction and my body is about to be frozen with the aid of cryogenics to allow for a more comfortable summer.
Okay, so 2-1. Pav with a couple of scorchers.
A game that spent most of the first half with no bite, like a sleeping lion. Plenty of teeth, just not on show. Livened up a little second half but mostly because of the Survival Sunday musical chairs playing out across the country. We performed with persistence considering this game was hardly do or die for us but we didn't quite brush the visitors aside where it mattered (in front of goal). Birmingham were plucky in pockets of play but without possession and without a Pavlyuchenko. In the end, Liverpool lost to Villa so 5th was secured regardless of Roman hammering the final nail into the coffin of Birmingham's Premier league life. Their fate sealed elsewhere on this day, Death lingering with his scythe, teasing the afternoon away.
The match doesn't warrant an in-depth analysis. Tag me with the lazy label. It doesn't mainly because it felt like an afterthought on this; Tottenham's finest ever season. Hey, don't take my word for it, just take the words of our gaffer. Go ahead and pick any words you want.
"This is as good as it gets"
"What do they expect?"
"Won't get any better"
"Anyone who has got any brains and understands will know it's been an amazing season"
"Go and support someone else if you don't enjoy it"
Redknappology at it's finest. I'll come back to ' finest ever season' and other discussion points in future blogs. As for Harry...
It's no longer about the cluster of contradictions. No point reminding him of when he talked us up as title contenders which probably followed a comment about how it would be impossible to finish top four again because nobody else will point it out. Sports presenters will probably just laugh with him when they repeat his rant on tv or radio. Good olde Harry, he's socking it to 'em. Let's play the video/audio every half hour.
He's reactive to whatever is happening at the time and is usually happy to share safe and media-friendly assessments and vibrant self-preserving pats on back for himself and all his friends within the game unless there is something eating away at him. When there is eating we are treated to body-shots of sarcasm and petulance. A glimpse of his true feelings. You can only play ball with my ball because I'm letting you play ball with it.
Crouchie responding to a fans request for a strand of his hair
Let's send him to QPR next season
This isn't another slice of some 'lets all hate on Harry' propaganda. The actual crux of the problem, the reason why people (that's Tottenham fans regardless of whether they pick up the phone and dial up a phone-in show - which by the way, if idiots call up to complain via this method of communication it's ironic how it's the same method of communication Harry uses from time to time to hype up his portfolio) are unhappy is because of his body language oozing vanity and ego whilst spitting out disrespectful snides.
He's upset at the idea that any one would possibly dare to criticise him. Perhaps humility is a commodity he hasn't quite grasped can work in his favour, even if his underlying agenda (self-preservation) remains the same. We don't have to know we are being fooled. He doesn't have to comment on anything and everything and end up drowning in all the rhetoric.
Harry is deeply lost in his tapestry of talk like a badly organised Inception where he can no longer tell what level of the dream state he's in. But it doesn't matter because his media chums will not question the lack of continuity. What is birthed from this is Harry + tabloid story versus the ungrateful impatient fans. Makes us look fickle. We can do that just fine thank you very much without any additional help.
He cites the great Champions League adventure (which it was always going to be) and our wins at the Emirates and Anfield and against Inter and AC Milan. All great moments in terms of how much this side has progressed under his guidance (be it at the same standard of last season rather than a massive improvement).
Now perhaps another manager might actually brush it all off and say something along the lines of, "We've had some highlights this season, learnt one or two things. We're growing, progressing...but winning at places like Arsenal and Liverpool...this shouldn't be seen as anything other than what is expected. If this club wants to be top four or better we have to always look to win away to other 'top four' clubs. We've done well, it's a learning curve...but it's hardly worthy of being showered by an ice bucket".
In other words: Under play it. But that's not his methodology. He is far too involved with making sure nobody has missed the point: It's because of him if the because is something to sing about.
I have no idea if behind closed doors Harry does under play what he says in public. That behind closed doors he outlines the disappointments and how we have to look to improve further. Perhaps we believe what we see is what we're getting when in fact it's not and there's more than the one dimension. But considering the history Harry has with referencing players in post-match interviews, I doubt it. He's so wrapped up in himself he can't even contemplate genuine mind games of the ilk that would appease the Spurs fans who dislike his ways. For all the talk of his great PR skills he hardly displays them where it matters most.
Simply put, there are no other dimensions.
It's pretty much like if they cast Michael Caine to portray Jose Mourinho in a movie and Caine based his performance on post-match videos of Harry Redknapp. It makes no sense.
Harry is Harry. He does what he does. Deflect, protect and blame. He's obviously not a Jose and it's unfair to compare of course, but it's worth reflecting on the fact that with Jose it's Jose + the fans versus the world. A brand of unity that binds the manager and team with the fans unequivocally. We have a far more fragmented variant.
Harry doesn't play off the media in any clever way He just uses it as means to make sure he has his back covered. We knew this from before, it's no shocker. Still, anyone would think he was fighting for his life the way he was soundbiting our 'amazing' (it's the new triffic) season.
There is no need for him to be so defensive. Someone like Martin Jol, say in another hypothetical, would be quite apologetic when looking back at the season we've just had if he was the manager. But still carry a hefty weight of pride with his words that would warm the cockles of the listening Lilywhites. Even if he also carried the extra weight of responsibility for the failings that saw us fall short of another top four placement.
Redknapp prefers to simply remind us of how improved we are as a team and how all the positives are because of Redknapp. Of course they are, he's the manager. Everything the team does on the pitch is down to him. The good and the bad.
There is no need for him to be so defensive unless he can only be so because he can't fathom the reality of anyone daring to question what he knows was a disappointing end to the season (3 wins in 15 if my maths is right). That's not being ungrateful, citing such stats. They are worthy of discussion. United have won the title by accumulating 68% of all their points at Old Trafford. We've only lost the once at home all season in the Prem. Turn some of those draws into wins, and my God, he'd be banging on the door of the Buckingham Palace requesting a knighthood right about now.
THFC remains on the up. It's good to have the problems rather than sat in mid table. We should not be in a position of fragmentation regarding the relationship of manager and fans.
We've not had it so good?
There's more than an element of ample truth in that statement. It was however hardly delivered with a loving touch. And perhaps he meant across the two seasons, although he clearly stated this season to be better than the last. It's all relative. By definition this season might be deemed more memorable and the better of the two because of the CL adventure. In the grand scheme of things we've simply retained a level of consistency meaning we are in the position to challenge again within what is the most competitive top tier of any league in world football. We could have done better, it's a fine line and all that.
So yes, we are grateful and we're more than content that this club of ours finally has some stability on the pitch. We can look forward to being in the thick of it, from one season to the next. We can compete, we've proven that. So Harry should be taking that onwards rather than dwelling on any feedback or opinion (which is our God given right) as being some form of dagger to the heart.
It's all getting slightly embarrassing now. The post-match interview with Sky Sports was ugly.
Harry - I'm no longer certain it's us that you need to be constantly reminding we haven't had it so good. You've never had it so good. That huddle in the middle of the pitch that galvanises our players and stirs up emotion from the fans before kick-off. Get in amongst it.
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