There’s been no pretence on my part to like Harry Redknapp. For me his tenure at Spurs is like giving a market trader a job at ‘Arrods. In an earlier blog I lamented his appointment with observation such as “he’s crass, rarely takes a defeat on the chin without having a go at a referee and his record this season suggests that he might be no improvement over Martin Jol” (for the record, neither was I particularly taken with Martin Jol as I scripted in August 2005 and 2006).
I also wrongly suggested that he would encounter “a crowd who will be wholly sceptical”. How wrong I was. Vox pop interviews outside White Hart Lane seemed to suggest that the locals were wholly excited about Redknapp’s arrival, like he was some sort of messiah rather than a moaning, bargain basement rogue with a patchy record and questionable character. You’d wonder what planet without media these people were from.
In spite of some good early results Spurs have now reverted to type and ‘Arry’s great plan to get out of it is to pay £14m for Wigan’s Wilson Palacios and offer £15m for Kenwyne Jones of Sunderland. He also offered £12m to Middlesbrough for the consistently-pursued Stewart Downing. Shows how easy it is to spend other people’s money.
The crowning glory was that he, for some reason, thinks that Jermain Defoe is an answer to our problems. We sold him because he wasn’t very good and here we are taking him back for £5m more like he’s some sort of shining white knight. In the abysmal 0-1 reverse at Wigan last weekend Defoe was invisible – as he often was before he left for Portsmouth a year ago. If 10-15 goals a season – half of which will probably be in UEFA Cup group games and early Carling Cup rounds – is worth £15m then I’m a badger.
On the positive side he has definitely had an impact for the better on two previously-maligned stars, Heurelho Gomes and Michael Dawson. Gomes’ crisis of confidence looked set to destroy his Premier League career but new goalkeeping coach Tony Parks has turned it around with the Brazilian being almost faultless in his recent matches. Dawson, a player who hasn’t quite mastered the art of positioning, was always an underdog favourite of mine but I had begun to doubt him after recent abberations. Thankfully he is currently back to his best and deservedly back in the starting line up.
Also worth praising is that Redknapp has identified that Jermaine Jenas and David Bentely are not very good. I covered this in my previous blog but I’m warmed by the report (contradicted with little conviction by Redknapp in a media interview) that JJ is set to move on.
But that’s really where it ends. The performances have been mostly dire since he came in. I can’t knock the unlikely points we picked up against Liverpool and Arsenal but we were outplayed embarrassingly in both matches. Then there are the piss-poor performances at home to Everton, Fulham and away to Newcastle, West Brom, Wigan. We got 1 point out of 15 in those games.
There are so many other things to dislike about him: fondness for blaming everyone but himself, building up of fringe players only to fail to give them game time in spite of them being “geniuses” and habit of discussing other club’s players in the media and then playing dumb as well-analysed by The Bleacher Report.
While Spurs should stay up this year I don’t think it will be very clear cut and I certainly don’t see Redknapp lifting the club above mid-table during his tenure (which I don’t think will last beyond the first half of 2010/11 season at best). This is another failure for the Spurs board who seem absolutely incapable of getting it right (Hoddle, Santini, Jol, Ramos, Redknapp). Better the devil you know perhaps but my patience is fast running out.