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 THFC1882.com
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