A brave call, but the right one

Daniel Levy has delusions of grandeur according to one respected Guardian journalist, who joined the growing pack of media wolves who are out to get the Tottenham chairman, following his decision to remove the Fleet Street darling that is Harry Redknapp from his managerial duties at the club. It is Armageddon time at N17, as the press fail to see how Tottenham can ever improve on Harry’s reign.

I have to admit that I am not one to normally get riled by media coverage or opinion, but the reaction to Harry’s departure got me shaking my head in disbelief. The sheer short-sightedness in their opinion and research I found absolutely staggering to say the least and the very fact they chose to turn a blind eye to key reasons as to why Redknapp was dispensed with, only cheapened their articles. I suppose the sheer shock of losing the only manager who gives the press the time of day has left them bereft and clouded their judgment on the real story that needed to be reported. Tottenham were never going to be sustainable going forward with Harry at the helm, largely because he was never going to conform with the changes the club needed to make, and because you could never be certain with the stability of the club, given Redknapp’s favourite pastime of jumping ship when a better opportunity comes along.

Why the media seemingly drum home the fact that we have finished 4th twice under Harry in three years, I believe a little perspective is needed on the quality of this achievement. There was a time when finishing in the Champions League was a tough gig; however over the years the doors to them have opened wider and any team that can show consistency has an outside chance. Newcastle being the perfect case point of a club that can get promoted from the Championship and within two years came extremely close to getting a top four place. Arsenal and Manchester United have arguably the two worst teams they have ever possessed in the last 15 years and despite the former losing over a quarter of their Premier League clubs, these two teams still managed to finish 2nd and 3rd this season. The Premier League isn’t what it once was and I find it amazing that the Press still look upon a top four finish with the same level of achievement as before. It is also worth pointing out that Tottenham had two consecutive top 5 finishes in the years prior to his appointment, so to suggest that Harry took a team from mid-table obscurity to the upper echelons on the Premier League is pure fallacy once again – why let the facts get in the way of a rag to riches story eh?

I don’t think there is a Tottenham fan, or in fact a board member at the club, who isn’t grateful for the work that Harry has put in over the last four years. The football has been absolutely fantastic to watch and we have witnessed some fantastic games, but the reality is that it isn’t football reasons why Harry Redknapp was sacked and I wish people who criticise the club’s decision would wake up to that fact. Tottenham are looking to restructure the football club from top to bottom, so you need everyone that is prepared to pull in the same direction. Daniel Levy needed to make a decision with the long-term future in mind, regardless of our current position.

The problem Tottenham are facing at present is that Daniel Levy is swamped with club duties. A lack of trust in Harry to conduct transfers and Redknapp’s reluctance to have a Sporting Director has meant we had a chairman who not only had to conduct transfer negotiations in buying players, but selling them as well. The role is too much for one man to conduct, so you can understand his preference to have a middle man installed to help out with this process. Another area of concern at Tottenham has been the lack of a youth policy at the football club with only Ledley King and to a lesser extent Jamie O’Hara progressing through the ranks to the first team. Spurs made a conscious effort a few years back to address this issue by deciding to build a new state of the art training and academy complex (similar to the one Manchester City are looking to build) in order for the club to start becoming self-sufficient (helping us adhere to the FFP rulings) and producing first team players from the academy ranks. Spurs need a management team that will buy into this philosophy of progression, rather than just throwing them in what the manager seems as pointless cup fixtures. Another important element of this development is Tottenham’s plan for a new stadium will come with a high cost, therefore the need for Spurs to remain competitive while working on shoestring (something we have to begrudgingly credit Arsenal for) is imperative and something that needs to be put in place, before the placing of the first bricks at the Northumberland Stadium Development are put in place. Like it not, but that is the way it has to be at Spurs if they are going to move forward, as we haven’t got a billionaire who can bankroll us going forward.

Why as football fans we only look at things in the short term, the reality it is that the club has to change its operations. UEFA’s new financial rulings, coupled with the pressing need for a new stadium has meant the club needed to make a change for the greater good. Harry has always been a short-term manager in his ideology and therefore isn’t the right man to lead what will be a long term project. The Press no doubt will take great satisfaction in taking a swipe at the club in the future if Tottenham drop out of the top four, but they unfortunately never look at the bigger picture and the reasons why Daniel Levy needed to make the change.