The simplicity of Harry
Ok, so I was meant to blog this before the QPR game. Forgot. Not one to waste words so here ya go...
There's plenty to be said about Harry Redknapp. Most of it isn't endearing. For Spurs supporters there's a paradox at play because under his tenure we played some exhilarating football and finally conquered our demons for that solitary glorious adventure in the Champions League.
He was appointed at Spurs to troubleshoot the mess created by those that disposed Martin Jol (infamously during a European game) and replaced him with Juande Ramos who won us a cup and lost us our league form. Two points, eight games and Redknapp arrived with a back to basics game plan that did wonders for all concerned.
See the beauty of the simplicity of what Harry did was he got us believe in ourselves and play with a freedom of expression but also for each other. Granted it proved to be flawed and in the end his downfall was influenced by the lack of an astute plan b. That expression that made us the most exciting side to watch and shocked Europe along the way as we dazzled into the quarter-finals meant that teams soon spent their time defending deep, suffocating time and space. Once the wonderment of the football was lost, the painful deficiencies of our team were displayed for all to see.
Even so, we were desperately unlucky not to get into the Champions League again (or better Man Utd in the Carling Cup final). Add to it the obvious conflict of opinion with transfer targets between Daniel Levy and Harry, it was always going to end the same way it ended with Jol. Spurs would seek an upgrade off the back of the continuity and consistency achieved. The England job distracted Redknapp and gave Levy the perfect opportunity to move onto the next man.
So how far have we come since the Redknapp sacking?
Not far. We've stalled the car in the drive way.
Andre Villas-Boas wasn't able to re-ignite the attractive, exciting football preferring to sacrifice far too much of it for possession play and although spirit and purposeful organisation worked well (once again, we let it slip) it was all destroyed once Garth Bale left and seven new arrivals failed to settle with intimidate impact.
What Redknapp proved is that Spurs - the team and the supporters - are at their best when enjoying the football. The degradation kicks in when you realise it's not enough to be the perpetual pretenders. Redknapp is rightly lauded by some but equally so, would not have taken us further. Not just because of his limitations but also those imposed by in-house politics.
With Mauricio Pochettino, the hope is that he is somewhere in-between Redknapp and AVB. Good attacking football, but solid and intelligent against defensive sides and the ones contending for the title. That isn't an easy place to find yourself in.
The key for Pochettino is to get us playing with punishing aggression at the Lane. Something that we've struggled with far too often.
Redknapp has plenty to answer for. In many ways we underachieved, but best to remember the positives and attempt to emulate them at the very least.