May 26 2013 Latest news:
By London24’s Spurs blogger Daniel Grigg
Friday, June 15, 2012
Tottenham supporter Daniel Grigg gives his views on the events at White Hart Lane, and casts his eye over the best candidates for the vacant manager’s job.
A lot of people are looking at Harry Redknapp’s achievements in recent years, his sacking this week, and understandably asking “what exactly has he done that’s so wrong?”
The answer really is ‘not that much’, apart from the failures of the last few months, when Spurs picked up just 16 points from the final 13 league games of the season.
On the big occasions – when we were 2-0 up against Arsenal, in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa when Arsenal had dropped the ball the day before - Redknapp simply didn’t have it, either motivationally or tactically.
He didn’t show what the Americans call “the clutch gene” - performances and greatness when it really matters, and when the pressure and expectation is at its highest.
Personally, I didn’t feel even Redknapp himself could have matched his achievements from the last few seasons in the next campaign - let alone surpass them, when everyone starts from scratch again in August.
All of that is contrary to his comments on Thursday, when he suggested he felt Spurs could win the title in the next year or two. Sorry, I don’t agree with that - and it’s really not the sort of pressure that the next manager needs.
We also shouldn’t feel, as fans, that we owe Redknapp anything just because he finished fourth. That isn’t how football works.
Managers walk out on clubs and get sacked by others – it’s tough. We’ve benefited from him being here, but he’s also benefited in return.
You don’t dismiss business sense and your plan for the future based on blind loyalty, and chairmen sometimes have to make decisions which some fans will disagree with.
This is a decision about the future - and a 65-year-old manager who is seeking long-term job security, in a business which is as focused on the short-term as football, is not the future.
Even some of the Spurs fans who didn’t want Redknapp to leave so suddenly would probably have balked at the prospect of giving him a two-year contract extension, let alone an extra three or four years.
Tottenham literally couldn’t afford to tie themselves into a contract which might have made Redknapp practically unsackable, even if his job had become untenable.
It sounds harsh (and it is) but despite the great job he did in the main at Tottenham, providing success that Spurs fans my age literally hadn’t seen or envisaged before, the last two seasons ultimately have to be viewed as failures.
Whether you blame Redknapp or Daniel Levy (or both) is another matter – there are well-trodden arguments either way.
So what now? Armchair pundits are already jumping up on the latest band-wagon and predicting misery, despair and a bottom-half finish next season.
But there are good managers available, even after Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and England - amongst others - have taken their picks.
What about Andre Villas-Boas? From one point of view he’s spoiled goods. From another he’s an enormous well of untapped knowledge and talent, straight from the Pep Guardiola mould.
He prepares extensively for games, is relatively attacking and attractive in his playing style and is also very good at working to the technical strengths of his players.
Man-management would obviously be an issue that is discussed after his experience with Chelsea last season, but the Blues’ dressing room was about as tough as it gets.
How about Fabio Capello? His club management career has been extraordinary - nine league titles if the two at Juventus are included, and success at every domestic club he’s ever managed.
It would be unfair to expect miracles, but defensively and tactically he’s about as smart as they come in world football – and he is also very good at developing and integrating young players, which could be important at Tottenham.
The language barrier shouldn’t be as much of a problem as it was when he first took over with England - although it would very much depend how the players took to him, and if they could embrace the fact that he is very different to Redknapp. On the down side, he is slightly older than Redknapp, and is coming up to retirement age as well.
David Moyes? He actually has many of the same qualities as Capello. But if Spurs were to switch to a more defensive mindset - knowing how unpopular that would be - you’d think they would want someone with a slightly better track record of career success and trophies than Moyes.
He would probably be under pressure to perform extremely quickly, given a lot of the opinions that Spurs fans have about him at the moment.
And Roberto Martinez? Well he has something about him, but I feel it’s too early - he just seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment.
Right now we’re all remembering Wigan’s impressive style and tactical ingenuity in the last couple of months - not Martinez’s worrying inability to produce performances and results earlier on in the season.
Personally, I’d prefer Villas-Boas, regardless of all the Chelsea fans who will laugh it up for a while. If not him, then hopefully Capello.