Sometimes you don’t realise what you have until it’s almost gone
"The truth is that Harry isn’t easy to love"
February 15th, 2012
On Saturday evening there was an outpouring of emotion at White Hart Lane, as the Tottenham faithful pleaded with Harry Redknapp to stay at the club, while the Spurs team he built, destroyed a capable Newcastle side 5-0.
With England fluttering their eyelashes, it looks as if the love affair between Redknapp and the Spurs support is about to be torn apart, just as it truly begins to blossom. Outsiders looking in to the club may assume that Tottenham’s fans would have long ago fallen head-over-heels for a manager who has taken them from the foot of the table to a title challenge, but this is a crowd who know how to play hard to get.
The truth is that Harry isn’t easy to love. The results on the pitch may have been everything we could have hoped for, but Redknapp hasn’t always endeared himself to a support that he has publicly referred to as ‘idiots’. The only thing that is open more often than Harry’s mouth is his car window. The media love him for it, but Tottenham’s fans have often been left to wonder why he can’t ever shut up.
Take this summer for instance. Redknapp closed the season by voicing his opinion that Luka Modric must be kept at the club at any cost. When Chelsea came sniffing, Daniel Levy backed his manager and stood up to an unhappy player, only for Harry to contradict himself and betray his chairman, by suggesting that we should sell Modric.
You don’t see Alex Ferguson with a column in The Sun, or having players defending themselves on Twitter against his public accusations, as Aaron Lennon did after the debacle at the Bernabeu last season. There’s often a sense with Redknapp that he will put himself first, before the good of the team or the club.
The press are currently trying to have us believe that Harry walks on water and can do no wrong, but we Spurs fans know that with Redknapp you have to learn to take the rough with the smooth. Ultimately the good outweighs the bad and that has never been more true than this season, with Spurs playing the sort of football that has left even the staunchest of the anti-Harry brigade purring.
Redknapp’s judgement on players has proved to be spot on, as Brad Friedel, Scott Parker, Emmanuel Adebayor and now Louis Saha, have proved that you don’t have to spend tens of millions to compete at the top. Now it looks as if that judgement will soon be benefitting the England national team and if that’s the case, then the country’s gain will be Tottenham’s loss.
It may be inevitable that Redknapp will leave Spurs for England, but there is no reason why he should leave the club before the end of May. That will allow this exciting Spurs side to continue this season without disruption and give the club the summer to secure a replacement.
Some very capable managers will be jostling for the right to step into Harry’s shoes and I don’t doubt that the likes of Jose Mourinho could take the club to even greater heights. It’s unlikely though that anyone could get this Tottenham side to play a more attractive brand of football than Harry Redknapp has right now. For that reason alone there will be many tears shed when this late-blooming love affair comes to an end.
Words by Dan Fitch