Harry Redknapp’s management career has been far from glittering – he’s managed modest clubs in Bournemouth, West Ham, Portsmouth and Southampton and has only ever won one major trophy, 2008’s FA Cup with Portsmouth. He’s rarely led a team to a European spot and his specialities seem to be in avoiding relegation. Plus he’s an Arsenal fan. These factors would help explain why many Tottenham fans were not fond of Redknapp before he became Spurs manager last year and why he was considered by many not to be the right man to lead the club forward. Give the man money and he will waste it was the general consensus given Redknapp’s habit of signing foreign flops during his time at West Ham but Redknapp had done well on a smaller budget with Portsmouth and was given another chance with a bigger team and so far the decision to put Redknapp in the managerial role seems to have been a very good one at White Hart Lane.
Spurs have an impressive history but look at the last decade and you’ll see a history of winning almost nothing and failing to make as much of an impact on the league as they would’ve liked. Title challenges have not even been on the agenda and the emphasis has been in fighting to attempt to gain a Top 4 spot and thus a place in the following season’s Champion’s League. Many managers have attempted this; all have failed. Yes, the club have come close on a few occasions but they have always blown it regardless of who has been in charge. Glenn Hoddle, David Pleat, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos – they’ve all tried to bring the club success over the last decade and what’s there been to show for it? A Carling Cup and a bunch of UEFA Cup appearances. Given the amount of money Spurs spend on players something bigger should be expected – they spend like a big club and should really be progressing as one.
And so far it looks like that’s a possibility – the club are firing on all cylinders, have a good, settled squad and look more than capable of grabbing a Top 4 spot, if they can beat Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City to it – though be sure that the club would much prefer to beat Arsenal to that top 4 spot and leave the Gunners in the Europa League for next season! Redknapp and his predecessors have spent big to get the club where it is and now it seems like they could be ready to make it – failure shouldn’t be an option and Spurs have no right to be happy with themselves unless they consolidate their good form and secure that spot. They showed against Aston Villa this weekend that they can perform well against their main positional rivals, dominating proceedings at Villa Park and being very unlucky not to win. Victory over Liverpool has already occurred and a massive game against Manchester City’s on the horizon – win that and Spurs have proven themselves as the best of the rest and then it’s simply a case of continuing to get results against the smaller clubs which is more than achievable.
Redknapp’s an experienced manager, he’s been through all sorts and has seen it all – can he use this experience to be the man to finally take Spurs back into top continental competition? If his performances as manager to date continue then yes he can. The club were struggling when he took over but he took them to 8th by the end of the season and their start to this season has been excellent. I’ve already discussed what factors Tottenham need to have on their side to get that spot and I maintain that staying injury-free and consistent are essential for them. Luck is also a factor, they need to be lucky in their rivals results as football’s a lucky man’s game and things can change on the slightest whim. Take Liverpool’s victory over Everton this weekend for example – if Liverpool had dropped points there like they deserved to then Spurs would be sitting a lot prettier in their current 3rd spot. Instead they still have to look over their shoulder. The experience of Harry will ease the nerves though, the wily old manager will not rest until his team have reached the Champion’s League and will do his utmost to make his team perform sufficiently well to do so. And unlike his predecessors Redknapp looks extremely capable of leading Spurs to the promised land.