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Redknapp & Co….Time To Keep It Shut

Harry Redknapp

I have a pet hate when it comes to Harry Redknapp and that’s his inability to keep his mouth shut. However, I’m not stupid enough to assume everything he says are his own opinions, especially when it comes to player signings. I may be completely wrong but judging by the odd comment here and there about what he’s allowed to say and what he’s not I think it’s safe to assume someone within the club briefs him regularly. So for the purposes of this article instead of blaming Redknapp, I’m going to assume what he “leaks” to the press, and therefore us, comes from the club itself.

The whole grey and very vague rules on tapping up players have confused people for years and yet while a rule states it’s not allowed it’s common practice. In some cases it can lead to large fines like in the case of Ashley Cole, but the majority of the time nothing is done.

We as Spurs fans have lost some of our better players thanks to managers letting them know they’re interested in signing them. Alex Ferguson has always been very good at it with Carrick and Berbatov being prime examples. On both occasions while we didn’t want to sell, we had little choice once the player decided they wanted to leave. We got very good fee’s for them but that didn’t help quell the uproar within the stands at White Hart Lane. We’ve seen the same happen to Modric and continually happen with Bale over the last 12 months. As a result the club were forced to offer both players improved contracts that meant if the worse happened and they decided they wanted to leave at least they couldn’t do so at a knocked down price.

Now we’re doing exactly the same and have done for a while. I guess where you stand on this is whether you believe two wrongs make a right. If everyone else is doing it, why should we as a football club and business be any different and I can see that point of view. I would personally prefer we went about our business in a classier way as we did not so long ago. Maybe Daniel Levy had a utopian view of how to conduct himself when it came to player transfers because very little came out of the club until deals were done or completed. There weren’t conversations about a certain player we might be interested in or remarks about how any manager would be happy to have X in their team.

In recent times we’ve discussed in public players like Craig Bellamy, Scott Parker, Steven Pienaar and more recently Phil Neville. All at the time had contracts with other clubs and some were key members of those teams. It would be naive to think any player couldn’t find out very simply whether a club was interested in them, that’s what agents are for after all, but if it became public knowledge that wouldn’t be down to us. Scott Parker is a good example of this. At the time, we made an approach through the correct channels and it was their Chairman who decided to mention it to the press and bring it into the public domain, potentially unsettling their captain and star player. Once that was done, Redknapp continued to make his feelings known and if he felt Parker was right for the team then so be it.

That’s the first problem I have with giving every member of the press something to write or talk about. The second is the effect it has on the image of the team and where we see ourselves.

No disrespect to Bellamy, Pienaar, Parker, Neville or Beckham. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who believe some if not all could offer the current Spurs team / squad something. There will also be those who don’t think any of those players would benefit us. I have my own opinions on each of them but that’s not the point I want to make.

By commenting on players you start a chain of events.

  • You can unsettle another teams player, which as I’ve already said we don’t like when people do it to us so maybe we should be aware of that.
  • You get an instant fan reaction. Usually this will differ from fan to fan but will give us all something to chat about.
  • You put the club in the spotlight.
  • You let existing players know you’re looking at a player who might play in their position. This can obviously have a positive or negative result.
  • You make everyone aware, including existing players and other potential players, the calibre of signings you wish to make. I wonder what players think of the Neville link?

When you eventually sign the player you’ve been chasing all is good. However, if you don’t the end result can make the club look a little stupid. Questions are asked why that player didn’t sign, was it their decision to stay where they were or choose another club? Imagine if for some reason David Moyes was resigned to losing Neville but he turned us down? Many I’m sure would be happy with that but what would that say about Spurs?

Then there’s the type of player we’re letting the world know we’re interested in. Imagine you’re Luis Suárez (or any other player you’d like us to sign) and you’re thinking about coming to Spurs. You know we’ve got some very good players but we also need to improve in certain areas if we’re going to challenge for major honours while you’re at the club. What do you think when you see your potential new employer being linked with men coming to the end of their careers or people you’ve never heard of?

Take the Beckham circus currently playing out in front of us. I know it’s a slightly strange situation but by discussing it so openly, including comments that included this statement:

“The deal is 90 per cent down the line and I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t happen now. Hopefully it will be done over the weekend. If he’s here and he’s trained well he’ll definitely be involved against Manchester United.”

That 90% eventually led to another comment less than 24 hours later, saying it was off because of insurance purposes. Then it was back on again, or at least hopeful of happening. I’m sure these things occur during negotiations for any player. Working on them, people must go from positive to negative a few times a day but it’s all behind closed doors. As far as we see it either happens or it doesn’t.

I liked the way we used to go about our transfers, keeping deals quiet, trying to get our man without the world looking on. I like a transfer rumour and the club being open with the fans as much as the next person but some things are probably best left behind closed doors.

Submitted by THFC1882

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