Harry Redknapp. Thank you and goodbye.
Two points. Eight games. We'll never forget the ride. Run out of gas in the end.
I thought it would be apt to go back in time to when Harry Redknapp was appointed Spurs boss and quote some choice paragraphs from a 2008 article (following on from a 2-0 home win against Bolton before we played Arsenal away). Times have changed in the space of four or so years. Our expectations have shifted. Interestingly, some of us forget (ignore) what that catalyst for the shift was. We didn't consider it at the time that a few seasons after his appointment we'd be gutted about missing out on 3rd spot in the league. Gutted and ironically disappointed at the very same catalyst that led to said progress.
And in comes the media whore that is Harry Redknapp. A manager with little integrity. Sorry 'arry, but it's true. His Pompey/Soton merry-go round will tell you all you need to know. Levy claims that he's had conversations with Harry in the past, suggesting that 'he almost got here' before. Shudder.
Yeah, he saved Pompey from almost certain relegation. But couldn't save Soton and also relegated West Ham. What exactly is so great about his CV? Have we now lowered our ambitions? Have we accepted a place alongside the likes of Blackburn and co?
Well firstly, scrap ambitions and comparisons, because that's what has got us into this mess in the first place - believing the hype.
We are now behind the likes of Villa and City. As they develop and progress, our work has to begin again. Maybe not quite from ground zero, but we are limping at the minute. Although in modern day football 5th - 8th spot tends to shift about every season so all we need to do is regain a bit of pride and form. And no matter the progression you make (that goes for Villa and City at the minute) - you still need to depend on one of the Top 4 having an off season if you. Which is rare. And even if it does happen, you might find hotel food conspire against you. So we are not that far behind if you go on recent Prem records.
The simple fact of the matter is - at present - we are bottom. The players were not playing for Ramos. Levy had to do something drastic. Sacking Ramos and co was the first part. Appointing Redknapp was the second. Because for the moment, the only thing that's important is remaining in the Prem.
Survival. That's it. That should be the mission statement for this season. And having tried every type of manager, we've now gone for the 'not really done anything, loves his money a bit, Sky and the tabloids love him a lot' type of appointment.
We've stopped acting like the 'big club' and just taken stock of our current predicament.
So, am I happy? Nope, unsurprisingly, I'm not.
Levy, for all his little boy lost innocence, is knee-deep in damage limitation and blame deflection. The players, having performed today well enough to claim 3 points are questionable commitment wise if you look at some of our prior performances (although, I'm happy to agree that Ramos wasn't helping himself with selection and tactics). New manager usually gets a reaction from the players, but I still can't get rid of this feeling that Spurs will never push on until they get rid of the vanity at the club. £15M+ for Bentleys hair is proving to be a hard pill to swallow.
Harry himself paid money for Kaboul and does select players out of position. Sometimes has three DM's in his team and still gets bullied by the opposition and generally isn't the most astute tactically. So, I would guess, it's down to his man-management to get things going again.
It's worked one game in. And come Jan, we might see the return of Defoe and one or two other players - including some very un-Tottenham like signings that might have some of us question wtf is going on (BRING BACK THE DOF!!!!!1111) but that's what we want isn't it? Players we NEED - and not superfluous signings. So, there is a positive, one hopes in his appointment. Although getting rid of the DoF and letting Jol sign his own players would have worked fine too.
So, is Harry an interim manager for the club? I hope so. Am I know being a hypocrite for suggesting we are too big for Harry? Call me that if you want. What I'm saying is, Harry isn't a great manager and has limits which will become apparent in a couple of seasons. But this all serves a purpose. A recovery period, washing off any remaining residue of the DoF era. It's the consequence, not of Comolli but of Levy. The buck does stop with him, and this I feel is the final sorry chapter of mismanagement. He's admitted it hasn't worked, so he has gained a final encore. And this is it. Harry will take us so far, and then Levy (if he's still around) will no doubt appoint someone new. We'll see how it all pans out. No point dwelling on this at the minute. If Levy suggests that Harry is the one to reclaim GLORY - then Daniel will be leaving us in the very close future.
If (there's that magic word again) Harry performs a miracle and is still knocking around with us in 4 years time then Levy will be deemed a genius and I'll have to eat a hat (preferably made of bagel).
In the mean time, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt (that's Harry). And do what any fan would do: Support the team with all my heart......and cry uncontrollably when it goes tits up. Again.
Well, I guess I got certain aspects of it correct. The main point that should be made and will probably be drowned out by a fair few is that regardless of Redknapp's inability to control his mouth and his lack of articulation and timing (and his contradictory statements that are based around reacting to the moment in hand rather than fitting into a more robust consistent bigger picture) - with all his faults he's achieved measurable success at Spurs. It's just that from that success we - he - could have achieved so much more.
When you look at the competition at the top of the table and the managers there, was there anyone else that could have done what Harry did? At that time, no. In the end, he's only guilty of being Harry Redknapp. That's Harry with all the good things and the bad. Much like I predicted he would be, even if he did prove me wrong along the way. The bad for me was not his media persona and love for car windows but his lack of cutting edge on the pitch when the chips were down. His man-mangagemnt skills don't always work when they're required the most. Harry is reactive to making sure he looks good at all times and walking slowly away from any blame. You've got to be accountable. So do we. We (the fans) have hardly covered ourselves in consistency either. Much like Harry, we've struggled to get to grips with the expectations that have continued to evolve over the past two seasons.
He was actually likeable when we were having success on the pitch. But then people tend to smile more when their team is winning and only point, complain and accuse when things go wrong. There was even a connection during his court case battle and during the immediate aftermath. But in the end, Harry looks after Harry and for the most part - we as a collective remain fickle but equally so ambitious and in love with our club. Something Redknapp was never likely to ever have.
Positives from all this? We've lost a manager but we're not 'in trouble'. Not unless in trouble is finishing 4th spot and akin to our past mid-table mediocrity (regardless of the fact we could have finished higher). We're not dizzy or confused or punched in the gut in tears on the ground. We've just sat down for a moments rest and a re-think. We have stability. There will be no mass change transitional season to follow. Not if Levy appoints quickly and appoints the right man and we go marching on.
(I'm sure that 'right man' comment will come back to haunt all of us, as most are already arguing the merits of certain potential appointments and disagreeing about them already).
Harry came in, fixed us up, got us playing like a team and got all the assembled quality playing to their potential (well, not all of them, the ones he didn't like he disowned to the detriment of the squad). The stats don't lie. And in that is the crux of the issue. We grew stronger and with others lagging around us, the opportunity was there to take advantage. We messed it up. Perhaps if Harry was younger or more willing to adapt. Perhaps if he saw eye to eye with Levy on the long term rather than short-term season-to-season moneyball strategies...perhaps if he was a little more shy in front of the camera. Who knows? He'd have got another crack at it next season. But alas, no. His lack of focus has seen to a not so surprising ending.
I should also cite the lack of investment into 'long term' signings in recent seasons. We'll soon find out if this was largely down to manager and chairman disagreeing on targets based on whatever the new man achieves in the transfer market.
In the end, that rather fragmented disassociated relationship he appeared to have with Levy dissolved into nothingness. Levy pricing out Redknapp from getting his dream job, a different catalyst to the one that started this journey. Redknapp then seeking a contract extenstion, with some irony. From the outside looking in. Harry voicing his position from tv interviews, the club remaining silent. The England debacle, the slump in league form...it's the right time for change. We would have moved on had the FA given him the job so this doesn't change much. I'm not going to knee-jerk and concern myself about whether this will impact transfers. Levy will have a contingency. So, all that's left to say is...thank you Harry Redknapp. When we were good, we were very good. We made it to the promised land people! We had our adventure. We wanted more. We might still get more but it will be with another leader. So thanks for the memories. It's a shame that you couldn't quite find the balance of team selection and contain the pressure to guide us just that little bit further forwards (and upwards). It's a shame you couldn't be completely committed to the Cockerel or at the very least disguise your true intentions.
Football, is a funny game, because had that margin of a point been two in our favour, had Chelsea not beaten Bayern...this blog article would never have been written.