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Redknapp’s Excuses Wearing Thin?

With less than two weeks until the Premier League season kicks off, Spurs are still to make their big move in the transfer market. I hope Brad Friedel doesn’t read this, but if he is our big play then I’m sure we’re in for a long, hard fight for mediocrity this year. That a striker remains Spurs top priority is no secret. Its only been the priority for the past three transfer windows. With Mirko Vucinic signing for Juventus, another ‘supposed’ target has fallen by the way side. This leaves an ever dwindling number of likely candidates for us to pick from.

With that in mind, most Spurs fans probably didn’t want to wake up to this mornings latest Harry Redknapp interview. Surprisingly this one wasn’t for Sky Sports, The Telegraph being his organ of choice this time to get his message out there.

These are the quotes from the article which I’m sure you’ve all seen by now:

”Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson] has come out and said there are five teams in it,” said Redknapp. “He didn’t mention Tottenham. He stuck Liverpool in there this year. And probably, with what Liverpool have brought in, at the moment it’s looking that way.”

”You’re looking to be a top-four team and it’s difficult. We can’t pay the wages that those clubs pay. We pay good wages but some of the other clubs have gone crazy haven’t they?”

“The top players are massive money. How do you compete with the Man Citys of this world?”

“It’s like when you’re a kid and they give you the most improved player of the year award? You’re useless,” said Redknapp.

Firstly I’m sure any kid who got the ‘Most Improved’ award for their school/club this summer has spent the whole day asking mummy and daddy if they really are ‘useless’ but more importantly what does this all mean for Spurs?

In all honesty there is little to be argued with what he has actually said, most reasonable and level headed Spurs fans must surely realise that it is going to be very difficult for us to get back to the Champions League places. Liverpool stormed into Europa League contention on the back of their January sales splash and the inevitable tide of emotion that accompanied Dalglish’s return. They have continued their ambitious spending, whilst some of it may seem misguided, it should be remembered that Damien Commolli is the driving force of it. When he was at Spurs he was criticised for over spending on young talent, yet many of those players have made the grade and are seen as essential parts of the Spurs squad. I’d suggest it’s far too early to judge how well they can do, but if they were to add a centreback and left back they would be extremely dangerous.

Across Lancashire, both Manchester clubs have shown intent in the transfer market and looked ominously good in pre-season, they will for me make up the top two this season. Closer to home our two biggest rivals have gaps in their squads to fill but will still be challenging at the top this season. Arsenal may yet lose their captain and heartbeat, Fabregas, but Wenger has coped with the loss of big names before and still kept his club fighting for the big prize. In Gervinho they have also signed a livewire attacking force who already appears to be linking well with Van Persie, that does not bode well for any defence. Over in West London, Chelsea now have one of the games finest young managers in Andres Villas Boas. He may have lost Michael Essien for much of the season and still need a playmaker (ours isn’t for sale) but with the quality already at his disposal they are still going to be a very tough team to beat.

With all that considered, it clearly is going to be difficult. Our wage structure is no secret either, it’s held us back for a number of years, but at the same time allowed us to be a profitable and sensibly run club that has very little fear of doing a ‘Leeds’ or a ‘Portsmouth’.

So why does it bother so many Spurs fans when the manager comes out and says what many are thinking? There are a few reasons: Considering Redknapp himself said that Spurs need to show ambition to keep Luka Modric, how does this kind of public statement help? It doesn’t. It also isn’t what we want to be telling any potential new signings. Juan Manuel Mata may be seemingly nailed on for Arsenal already, but if he wasn’t, the World Cup winner is hardly likely to swap Champions League football for, at best, sixth is he? Redknapp’s constant media presence grates as much as anything else with many now. To some it barely matters what he says, its the fact that he’s saying something, anything, AGAIN!

We joke about it, but it really does seem as if his health is at risk if he doesn’t talk into a microphone or dictaphone at least once a day. An embarassing advert for Sky Sports fantasy football has not helped his case at all. In a summer when Spurs have scraped the barrel of signings, it seems a little disrespectful to have him talking about signing ‘x,y and z’. He’s clearly working from a script but I can’t have been the only one to cringe when he talks about playing ‘Huddlestone off a striker’, surely he could have asked them to change that line? That’s beside the point though, would you see Ferguson, Wenger or Dalglish do that? For those struggling, the answers ‘no’.

With Redknapp’s faithful assistant, Kevin Bond also talking in the press today, this time about ‘Modric having a price’, it appears that instead of the club, it is the manager who runs our media policy.

This is a huge problem. Daniel Levy and other senior figures have all stayed resolutely ‘on message’ over Modric and transfer policy. That the manager and his assistant are punting their own message points to a club divided with no direction. Levy has always impressed those within the football world with his astute running of Spurs, the current disastrous media/PR campaign is certainly not typical of Levy’s rein at the club. George Graham in fact was sacked for speaking out over transfer policy when ENIC first took over. That ‘The man in the raincoat’ was never welcomed by the fans undoubtedly made this easier but one must wonder how much longer Levy can put up with the red tops favourite rent-a-quote manager. I’m not alone in wishing that the club would get a grip on the manager and his media-whore ways.

Going back to the latest statement from Redknapp, there are a few theories as to what he’s trying to achieve. One being that he is sensibly lowering expectations, in the hope of exceeding them and claiming more glory. Another theory is that he’s trying to force Levy’s hand in the transfer market, though the fact that we still have to offload overpaid average players surely precludes that. The final theory is that Redknapp has realized that he’s been found out at this level and is making his excuses before we’ve even kicked a ball in anger. That he still has eyes on the England job after Capello is obvious. Were he to endure a difficult season with Spurs falling further down the table, and his stock with it, that could prove tricky. Unless of course he’s already told us how hard it will be.

As we approach a massive season it must be hoped that the manager can start to focus on his job. If he’s reading this and needs a reminder, that his job is managing our team, whilst not spilling his guts to the press every day or making sure he’s got Rooney in his fantasy football team.

If he can’t do that and performances on the pitch do not meet Levy’s standards, it won’t be long before the chairmans patience wears thin. If it isn’t already.


Submitted by Stuart Watts from




  1. Nathan

    August 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

    How about Levy shows some ambition and backs the manager with the signings we need? I follow a football club that is run by people intent on producing good financial results not footballing ones. We have a billionaire, Spurs supporting owner who’s sole interest is in Enic making profit, at the cost of the teams on pitch success. Its big crossroads time for Enic, they either want the club to progress, compete and challenge for major honours, or the sell up and put someone in there that wants proper footballing success, not pretty financial results.

  2. Iain

    August 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

    The point about this interview is that Redknapp is WRONG. Ferguson actually said 6 teams could win it, one of which is Spurs.

    So either Redknapp has a very bad memory or he is telling porkies.

    • mendes

      August 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Just covering his back as usual should we not challenge due to trying for bargain basement buys.

  3. Yid17

    August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Funny how last year he was saying that we’d win the league and now he’s changed his tune considerably.

    I do wonder about that man, can’t wait for him to fuck off to the England job and we can get a real manager in.

  4. Andres

    August 2, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Completely agree. I want to feel that we are real competitors, winners even. I don’t want us to be seen as hangers on, the runts at the top table.
    Really starting to think that Harry has gone as far as he can. He does well with smaller clubs, digging out value players and being the David against the Goliaths, but he isn’t big enough to be a Goliath himself.

  5. mk

    August 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

    well did u read his comment ‘we cant send the club into hock’.. f -ing koont didnt say tht at pompey did he? oh well, no silverware at whl lol

  6. Steve

    August 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

    The window will close we will still have the 4 strikers we had last season..can they surely be so bad again this season?? and Harry will claim there is no one available that is any better than what he already has!! it gets me that everything is left to the last second, 2 games into the new season. Man utd moved early, included their new recruits in pre-season and will hit the ground running on the first day of the new season. Right now i see us finishing 5th behind Liverpool and above Arsenal in 6th!!..result then!

  7. Wimpy

    August 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Fortunately most fans are a little more supportive of their team.

  8. JohnnyB

    August 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    It’s all well and good Redknapp ‘playing down our chances’ but at this stage of the transfer window we should be promoting our club to prospective signings. As for trying to ‘force Levy’s hand in the transfer market’, you could argue that, but it would be just as possible to argue that Redknapps statements undermine the chairman and his work, by essentially distancing himself from what Levy is doing. Basicly Redknapps comments equate to, “it ain’t my fault if we don’t sign anyone, blame Levy”. The Spurs hierarchy do seem divided.

  9. cyril

    August 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    hary is simply setting up his excuses so that if we do badly he will avoid criticism in the press of the sort that questions his credentials for the england job, that is all he has on his mind. a good manager, like mourinho, wd have this squad in the top four without trouble. all harty knows is buying success. we have modric and bale, both 40 mill pound players. sandro is out i know but he is going to be a very big star, bigger than bale and modric. bond shd not be believed ever, he already brought a defamation suit and dropped it the second the newspaper revealed that had tapes of im talking, 400,000 that cost him. why cant everyone realsie these guys are football coaches, ok at the job, not great and otherwise pretty damn stupid. the only question i have is why levy has not told them to shut up. fines for any member of anagement who speaks to the press. harry said spurs fans who call up chat shows are idiots, some undoubtedly are. but coaches that call up and contradict one another and and otherwise speak from between their cheeks show themselves to be pretty damn short on the intelligence stakes. when is harry’s trial? did i miss it?

  10. Paul

    August 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Pointless article, I like the fact that our manager is sought after to provide his thoughts and opinions on football… afterall he is one of the best english managers in the world right now… think about that… why do you think English press and English TV give him so much attention – HE IS ENGLISH you numpties, its been a long time since an English manager has done anything to shout about and Harry has with Spurs so shut up support your team and stop moaning…geeze come on the yids!
    On the transfer peice – unless you work for the club or an agent you have no idea what goes on, if someone doesnt want to move or sign for us as supporters we should stand together for our club,… reading some of the garbage on here i wouldnt want to come to spurs if the so called fans things Harry and Levy are joke and we have just come off the back of our most succesful period in football for 45 years…again geeze…

    • Nathan

      August 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      ‘our most successful period in football in 45 years’, and you say this article is pointless!
      You obviously missed the 4 fa cup finals, 1 league cup final and 1 uefa cup final between 81-91. not to mention the 5 top 4 finishes in the same period.

  11. Michael

    August 3, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Harry is often good value with the media but admittedly he changes his tune far too often. I remember last season.. one moment it was like ‘why can’t we win the EPL?’.. then we beat Milan and inexplicably it was like ‘why should we be in the top 4?’.. ?!? .. needless to remind anyone that Spurs won one game in the next two or three months after that brainstorm. Harry is right about the difficulty of attracting top players with our current wage structure.. but money isn’t all there is to winning and as things stand right now Spurs have assembled a very good side. I would prefer it if the manager made more effort to accentuate this fact rather than to suggest the current players aren’t up for it.

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