Redknapp Should Keep Quiet But That Won’t Mask the Problems

In the early days of Tottenham On My Mind I wrote a piece characterising the relationship between Harry Redknapp and his chairman. The title, Levy is Redknapp’s Poodle, summed up their dealings during their first summer transfer window together. At his previous clubs, Redknapp ensured large sums of cash were at his disposal, even when at West Ham and Portsmouth that money wasn’t really there to spend. His appointment signalled a potential sea change in attitude by the cautious and parsimonious Levy and the possibility of any policy clashes further receded after Redknapp’s success in averting disaster placed even greater power in his hands. What Harry wants, Harry gets.

Over the next two years, I came to revise that assessment. Like many before, I had underestimated the quiet man’s resolution. Redknapp was clearly given boundaries for the first time in his managerial career since he left Bournemouth. He operated within a strict salary structure and transfer fee budget. Given Harry’s garrulous nature and his cosy relationship with an adoring media, his frustrations occasionally surfaced but by and large he seemed happy enough. Success on the pitch helped. Now, with a watershed season already under way but a lack of new signings, Redknapp can’t contain himself any longer. Restlessness has become thinly disguised antagonism. The tail is trying to wag the dog.

His comments yesterday are all over the media. It’s classic Harry. He’s relaxed and reflective, understanding the situation facing his best player: “…if someone comes along and offers to treble your wages..” note the use of ‘wages’ not ‘salary’, old school is Harry….” and could win the Champions League, it’s not easy….he’s had his head turned.”

Yet he “wants to see him here at the start of the year…” Harry mate, we’ve started already…”I don’t see him going.” But hang on, there’s more: …”if he goes you get three or four players…They’re your options: get the money and get four players, and in all honesty have a better team, or keep Luka who is a fantastic player.”

Harry the pundit, taking a reasonable overview of the situation. Except he’s not a pundit commenting on the state of play, he’s our manager. He has a job to do, to get the best possible team for Tottenham Hotspur. At least he said ‘we’ and ‘our’ this time.

In fact, he doesn’t want to keep Luka at all. He wants the money to buy more players and ‘have a better team’. Thus he is in direct conflict with his chairman, who some time ago said unequivocally that Modric is not for sale, then kept a dignified silence.

Not only is our club riven with conflict at the very top precisely at the time when crucial decisions are being taken at the beginning of this watershed season, it’s revealed in the media for all to see. It’s bad enough our dirty washing gets an airing in public but Redknapp is blatantly using the publicity to gain leverage over his chairman.

In my limited dealings with the club and with people who have had dealings with the club, they are intensely controlling of things like access to the staff and information about behind the scenes activity.  Yet Redknapp can say what he likes. He’s so powerful, he kept his newspaper column as well as spewing out quotes about anything going on in the game. Journalists pick over the bones of the slightest incident or event in football, yet Redknapp is not criticised and is more  untouchable even than Alex Ferguson.  Call him a ‘wheeler-dealer’ and he’s at your throat, one win in 10 and Harry’s working hard to get it right.

Levy does not want to sell Modric or he’s playing hardball to make Chelsea sweat. Redknapp says ‘sell’. Either way, keep it quiet and sort it out behind closed doors. Redknapp’s instinct to deal via the media serves his own interests more than it does those of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. His employer. As it is, he’s openly blaming Levy for not coming up with the cash for new players, cash which in passing surely does not have to come solely from the sale of one player. We have some cash from Keane plus O’Hara and deals will be done for several fringe players in the frenzied last few days of the window. Then there’s £31m from the Champions League and a well-run club.

While I’m at it, sell Luka for even £30m to bring in ‘three or four’ quality players – the sums don’t add up. It smacks of Redknapp getting his excuses in early – fail and it’s not his fault because he didn’t have the players.

I’ve been clear on the blog about my attitude towards our manager. I will always be grateful for taking us from the foot of the table to the quarter finals of the Champions League, in the process serving up scintillating football played by superb players. To say there’s more he could have done and still can do is not to diminish that achievement. I’ve never accepted his media personna as a cuddly uncle figure who just has to drape his arm round a man’s shoulders to transform him into a worldbeater. He’s crafty and shrewd, knows the game inside out and is tough as old boots. Fine by me – I don’t want a shrinking violet as manager because it’s a hard old game out there – but don’t try to fool me. Don’t like it, never have.

However, I’m tired of this game-playing in the media. It seems no one is prepared to control him so he needs to exercise some self-control for the sake of our club. Our club, Harry, our club.

To finish with, let’s talk about the team. There are serious issues here. If Levy is reluctant to release cash for transfers, even if it means paying a little over the odds, at this point in our history it could have disastrous consequences. If on the other hand he hangs on to make one of his legendary (or infamous?) late deals, he could be our saviour. Right now, all we know is that relations between manager and chairman have plummeted to a new low. After the window is over, something has to give and history suggests it won’t be Levy. The prospect of Spurs caught up in these internal conflicts is the very last scenario I had in mind as our season kicks off in a few hours time.

34 thoughts on “Redknapp Should Keep Quiet But That Won’t Mask the Problems

  1. BRAVO! Couldn’t agree more with this assessment.
    On the general issue of progress I have two thoughts:
    1. Redknapp will not take us forward. His activities in the transfer market appear, in my opinion, to be amateurish. He seems to look to the obvious targets – those he has managed before (e.g. Diarra) and those that everyone wants (e.g. Rossi). Any manager with better knowledge of the european and world game would have found the wage demands and fees of the ‘stars’ too high and turned to ‘plan B’ signings identified already by the clubs scouts. Redknapp lacks this knowledge of the game.
    2. Relates to our financial management and wage structure. I think anyone with half a brain recognises the logic of Levy’s ‘run the club as a business’ strategy. Long term this will aid us, while Chelsea and City could easily go the way of Leeds some day soon. However, it means that without the new stadium ASAP, we will not be able to increase wages or attract top talent. Arsenal have a similar financial strategy but must have much higher income from gate receipts. This means that for the moment we need to settle for 4-5 place season in season out and hold out for the stadium. In the meantime we need to be prepared to cash in on Modric and even Bale IF we have a management in place that can identify the kinds of replacements (Marin for example) who could slot in and allow us to stay at this level until the stadium arrives.

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    • Hams: Maybe Harry will or will not take us further. But people first need to acknowledge that he HAS taken us further to date. The second thing we must acknowledge is that even if you question Harry’s transfers, I cannot remember previous managers doing much better. Hodlle buying Postiga, Acimovic and Dean Richards. Jol buying Atouba for Spurs, and then again for Ajax! Changes in manager usually results in step backwards for Spurs. When you get one that progresses you, then hold on to him. It is not as if we have anyone lined up to succeed him… Anyone we have poached seems to fail: Ardilles, Francis, Gross, Ramos anyway – the later to expensive effect.

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      • Yes we acknowledge Harry got us to Champions league, any supporter can tell you, the need for a striker was well known before the start of the last campaign, his ability not to identify a striker that was realistic and could take us on at that time when we could offer CL was at best wasteful to not have done it by January was shocking not to have done it before start of following season proves his negligent in his duties, his stirring up of Modric to Chelsea should mean the sack, just my opinion

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  2. I would rather put my faith in Levy than Rednapp (who knows he will be off to manage England soon). We don’t want to end up getting into financial difficulties later on after rednapp has signed some mercenery on huge wages. ‘Carlos Kickaball’ to quote Alan Sugar, will demand ridiculous wages and what happens next? The natives (squad) get restless and start demanding parity; all too soon you’ve got a situation like Chelsea or man City, only they’ve got sugardaddies to overwrite their losses.
    Levy has run a tight ship at WHL. Why should he risk the future of the club because of our manager’s wishes. Remember the financial position Rednapp left Portsmouth in. Levy, quite rightly, does not want to end up in the same situation as Pompey.

    In my opinion Rednapp is vastly overrated, especially by the press who seem to love him. I wonder if they will still love him if he doesn’t deliver for England. We will just have to wait and see.

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  3. Oh this is so deja vu…this script could have been written of ‘Arry’s time at Portsmouth. The article is absolutely spot-on Redknapp. He nearly ruined us with bringing in something like 45 players on wages far above what was realistic for a provincial Prem club.
    He can seemingly twist Chairmen around his finger using the press as his adoring allies if he doesn’t get his way. The conflicts with Levy are inevitable. The pattern is shaping up, Redknapp will walk by this time next year……it won’t be his fault of course, it never is…
    Good luck guys

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  4. I think you got it *exactly* right.

    I kept hearing about selling in order to buy and wondering about that CL payout. Surely between Coulibaby and Khumalo that’s been spent, yea?

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  5. Congratulations Spurs. You’ve got a fan who has identified Redknapp for the bulley checkbook manager that he is.

    You will be well rid. I only hope your club is intact when it happens – Pompey (bust), Southampton (bust), West Ham (give it a few more months), Bournemouth (bust).

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  6. Harry knows exactly what he’s doing every time he opens his mouth re Modders or any other transfer related question the media throw at him. I agree with you all your comments completely re his relationship with our chairman and as always the last few days of the transfer window will be a very interested watch for all the faithful.

    However, I would add that this season must represent the toughest of Harry’s managerial career, he has a great squad of players irrespective of any comings or goings over the next few days and in my opinion we should be capable of at least a top five finish and as always an expectation of reaching a cup final domestically or otherwise. I believe anything short of that must be and will be seen as a failure and therefore he will not be at WHL next year. Harry always talks about “top top” players its now time for him to prove he is a “top top” manger.

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    • Good point re Harry’s tough year ahead. I’ve mentioned this before: he’s never before managed at this level. Never this high up the league, never had players of this quality. He’s not been here before.

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  7. Brilliant. We need Levy to shut Redknapp up. He is quickly turning fans against him self with his belittling and general rubbish he speaks about thfc. He is not in it for the club, he is in it for himself. You should send this article to Levy himself. Or as high into thfc as possible. Stand outside the main gates and hand it levy in his car if you have to. Because Levy needs to mute redknapp and put him in line.

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  8. An excellent piece. It really is time for Harry to go – his mind has been elsewhere for too long, as well as a desire to boost the Rednapp bank with trashy TV & tabloid advertising. Not so much who next but when?

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  9. I have several theories which probably come from the paranoia of being a Spurs fan
    1) Harry wants to get himself fired. I can think of no other situation where a CEO consistently undermines publicly the stated position of the Chairman of the Board. maybe he wants a golden parachute.
    2) Pienar was signed as a spurs marketing ploy in South Africa where it appears the club has links. I can think of o other reason. He is a decent enough player but brings no real added value to the squad and I cannot believe we hear rumours of Krancjar leaving!!!
    3) Of all the possible add-ons, floated by Chelsea loving media in the pursuit of Modric Benayoun was suggested because he is Israeli and thus Spurs-the Yids- would immediately lap him up as they are his spiritual home.
    Told you I was paranoic!!

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    • Not paranoid. Realistic.

      Could simply be power – he feels he’s in a powerful enough position to get away with it. And he’s right so far. Maybe he thinks he’s a shoe-in for England so go out with a blaze of glory.

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  10. It’s always difficult to know what’s really going on at Spurs and who’s pulling the strings but I was dismayed by Redknapp’s attitude yesterday. We’ve done no significant business in this transfer window. We need 1/2 new strikers of real calibre (have done for over a year) and Redknapp was talking about yet more midfielders.

    It’s ridiculous that we finished 5th and got through to the 1/4 final of the CL and yet we now look to be starting this season on a weaker footing than last year and potentially dismantling this team next year as the offers come in for Bale, Sandro etc.

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  11. Spot on assessment! Harry has always been too media friendly, and as a result our club loses credibility on so many levels.

    Particularly when talking about possible transfer dealings – you don’t see Alex Ferguson or any of the other top managers talking about potential signings until everything’s done and dusted.

    As soon as he opens his trap about a player we may be interseted in you could probably add a couple of million to the players price tag.

    I am eternally grateful for what Harry has done for our club and will never forget the precarious position we were in when he took over (how could we when he’s constantly reminding us “2 points from 8 games” blah blah) however I do feel that Levy should put his foot down and behind closed doors tell Arry to shut the f*ck up and come and speak to me in my office if you’ve got a problem and don’t go telling the world and his wife.

    It smacks of self-indulgence and actually quite an arrogant streak in Redknapp that he feels he can slag of the chairman (thinly disguised) so publicy.

    Sort him out Levy!!!

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  12. I’m a life long Pompey supporter, and your fantastic piece could also have been written by any supporter of any club fortunate, or otherwise, to have been associated with dear old uncle Harry. He spent our chairman’s, and any other person’s money as fast as it could be made available, or borrowed, and yes during his tenure, (twice) we were fortunate enough to witness moments of euphoria involving our football club, not seen for many a year past. But, boy, did he not make sure every single person associated with Portsmouth Footbal Club and our proud city know who alone was responsible for it…dear old Harry. He milked our finances dry, and when he realised the goose was suffering from constiaption, and no more golden eggs were forthcoming, he legged it to pastures new. And even as he was doing so, he notified every man and his dog of the fact that he was doing Pompey a massive favour by ensuring we recieved a compensation payment ffrom Spurs, in order to prevent an apocoliptic end to our tenure amongst the football elite. Do me a favour Harry, for sure.
    As sure as his saggy old face will twitch contiuously, your club will suffer the same fate old son. Then it will be the turn for us fortunate, or otherwise, England supporters, to be wooed into accepting him as our iminent national manager. He’ll be carried along head high by those gullible, fawning, media halfwits on a wave of jingoistic anticipation, only to realise that at present we do in fact already have a current national manager incumbant. I for one can only hope that the old buffoons down at FA Headqurters, are not as gullible, and see through that coniving crafty old git.
    He may lookin the mirror and see a great manager, but he will also see a sorry excuse of a man. Harry always has and always will look after one person, and one person alone…..Harry.
    Other than that, he’s a fantastic bloke.

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    • Thanks to you, Mike, and the many other Pompey fans who have commented.

      Redknapp has never fooled me, if only because my wife’s family are all Hammers, and they have similar stories to tell.

      Regards to all Pompey fans – if Spurs fans think we are long-suffering, we have no idea compared with what you have been thought, shafted by everyone who’s come anywhere near Fratton park in the last decade.

      All the best for the new season,

      Regards,

      Alan

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  13. We are clearly manaaged by a tit, the sooner he gets sent down the better in my book. His comments make no sense and his excuses wear thin…

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  14. im also starting to lose patience with the nonsense that is coming out of his mouth.

    As another person mentioned earlier, instead of being overly friendly to the media, concentrate on doing your job. Thats looking after your team Harry.

    What must the players think when they hear that the top 3 places have been decided already…really, you have got to be kidding me…

    What a defeatist mentality….

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  15. Look with or without redknapp this squad was capable of making top 4. Jol should of acheieved it but he didn’t have Liverpool going through a bad period. Jol finished 5th and nearly 4th. So for that reason I think redknapp is vastly overated. His tactical decisions, formations and squad rotation (non-existant) are the reason we didn’t get champions league again. His failure just like this season in the transfer window was the reason we didn’t stregthen in places we needed to. Yet his reaction was its as good as it gets and fans are idiots. He shows a lack of ambition, he contantly talks publically about behind the scenes matters. He belittles the club and fans he works for. He undermines his boss in the media. He is useless in the european transfer leagues. His scouting system is terrible. He only buys prem based players or over 30s. His tactics and formations of 4-4-1-1 deploying crouch, a non prolific striker over most of last season cost us vital points hence so many draws last season. Yet all the fans could see that when we reverted to 4-4-2 we played better and scored more. Can you see a pattern here?! Its all redknapps fault, he is vastly overated. Has none of the attributes of a top manager. The only thing he has ever done for us is as he likes to remind us ‘2points, 8 games’ However even that I’d dumbfounded as we would have recovered to mid table at least who ever came in.

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  16. All Redknapp said was that he did not want to be dumped in the doo doo like Ramos was when Levy sold Berbatov on deadline day.
    That left Ramos with only 2 strikers and contributed to our worst start to a season ever in all our history and within a few weeks Ramos and Comolli and all the coaches were gone.
    With Berba, Carrick, and Keane, all sold without adequate replacements no wonder the manager gets the jitters that it might happen again with Modric.

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    • Dumped in the doo doo you say?Levy came out weeks ago and said the matter was closed he isn’t for sale at any price so he has no reason to worry in my opinion yes berba and carrick happened but do you honestly think levy was happy about it hes probably had enough like most spurs fans of losing our best player’s to rivals so this time i can’t see him changing his mind.It’s harry who has kept this saga alive by saying whats he has in the media the past eight weeks and his negative look on the season annoys the hell out of me always moaning about the money city chelsea and man utd have we know, everyone knows this harry just get on with your job of trying to get us in the top four it’s not impossible chelsea look slow and too predictable man utd look week in centre with anderson and cleverly liverpool signings are average bar luis suarez and will take time to gel and arsenal have lost their talisman and nasri likely to leave yes man city looked good but it was an open swansea side we have a realistic chance with the squad we already have with the addition of adebayor we would have a very competitive squad

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  17. Spot on assessment! Harry has always been too media friendly, and as a result our club loses credibility on so many levels.

    Particularly when talking about possible transfer dealings – you don’t see Alex Ferguson or any of the other top managers talking about potential signings until everything’s done and dusted.

    As soon as he opens his trap about a player we may be interseted in you could probably add a couple of million to the players price tag.

    I am eternally grateful for what Harry has done for our club and will never forget the precarious position we were in when he took over (how could we when he’s constantly reminding us “2 points from 8 games” blah blah) however I do feel that Levy should put his foot down and behind closed doors tell Arry to shut the f*ck up and come and speak to me in my office if you’ve got a problem and don’t go telling the world and his wife.

    It smacks of self-indulgence and actually quite an arrogant streak in Redknapp that he feels he can slag of the chairman (thinly disguised) so publicy.

    Sort him out Levy!!!

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  18. At last some off you Spurs fans are seeing the real Redknapp he is like a spoilt child and spits his dummy out at every chance, being a pompey fan we all know he will walk away from you as soon as he has paid a fortune in his own back pocket, you only have to look at the land he brought in Portsmouth to build luxury flats on it was all torched last week another (insurance) scam we all suspect

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  19. I can’t believe some of the comments on here. Never heard such a crowd of ungrateful whiners in my life. Yes Harry is Harry and is probaby angling for the England job at the moment. GOOD LUCK TO HIM. He has brought massive success to one side that was struggling at the foot of the Championship and another that was struggling at the foot of the Premiership. FACT: Pompey made huge profits of the sales of his shrewd buys. Is it his fault they squandered the money? Is he responsible for the finances of the chairman? Are we saying that a manager must morally ask to see the balance sheet of the club before opening the cheque book? How many Pompey fans queried Harry’s signings at the time? What a bunch of hypocrites!

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  20. Assume that the general comment on Harry being a great man manger is true. So he can put his arm around the shoulder of a player and lift his morale. This seems to me an attribute that counsellors share. It is not what they say but the way they say it. Unfortunately the press are not like this they are set of over analytical vultures and parse evey word looking for hidden ‘facts’ and innuendos. I am sure this strength of Harry is important but he needs to develop a stronger analytical view of the world and watch much more carefully what he says.

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  21. Mr Anonymous, 3.28pm.
    At the time good old Harry was squandering money left right and centre, we Pompey fans were lead to believe that our club was in fact in a stable condition. When you pay your community charges and salary taxes, and you are benefiting from new sport centres, top notch amenities and services provided in your borough, you don’t analyse every single penny squandered by your local council or the government, or assume that all is not well until such time as they kick you in the nuts, and tell you they are bankrupt. Yes we did make huge profits on the sales of dear old Harry’s shrewd sales. But on many occasions, the ‘paper’ profits were swallowed up by ridiculous clauses included within the contracts on the original purchases, a large input of which was provided by the maestro. If you believe Harry when he glibly mentions that he has no input financially in connection with transfers, in or out, you are sadly deluded.

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  22. I think Levy knows exactly what’s going on. He let’s Redknapp go out and spout off his shite to the press because it takes the light off Levy and co and let’s them work ‘under the radar’.
    I wouldn’t worry about spurs going bust we’re owned and run by hard nosed Jews. The world will end before we go skint…

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  23. I understand why a lot of Spurs fans resent Redknapp. Sometimes he can appear very detached from the club and its fans, maybe even giving the impression that he is bigger than the club.
    But the fact remains that he has done wonders for the club, on what has been, relatively speaking, a fairly tight budget. The strides we have taken under Harry go beyond anything I have witnessed from previous managers in the last 25 years. Harry knows that we have underachieved in the past, and isn’t scared of pointing that out. There is very little he has said to the media that can be argued with objectively.
    To those that moan about his personality, poor record in the transfer market, relationship with the media etc I would say: be careful what you wish for. Harry knows that he is in a strong position vis a vis his relationship with Levy because realistically we would struggle to attract anyone else who could take us further than Harry has done. The “step up” in class would involve getting an Ancelotti or a Mourinhio and as long as Levy controls the purse strings that just isn’t going to happen. Getting rid of Harry would mean shooting ourselves in the foot. Again.

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    • Wise words of caution from Tim there.

      Although I’ve been strongly and unashamedly critical of Harry about certain aspects of his management, I’m not advocating his dismissal. It’s about sorting out these things on and off the pitch, so given his record on balance he deserves more time, as does, more importantly, Levy, to set some boundaries and also to come up with the players we need.

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  24. Pingback: Hale and Hearty!! Tottenham. Hale. Hearts. Oh Never Mind… « TOTTENHAM ON MY MIND

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