It’s only something of a straw poll, but my observation is that Spurs fans are split on the Harry Redknapp question. Redknapp has brought the club from the bottom of the league to the Champions League and now somewhat
ensconced in the top three in little over three years. So why on earth would there be any question about the man’s management?
The last week has been tough on Spurs where the poorest Arsenal and Manchester United teams in a long time both easily dispatched them. Their credentials were always going to be tested by a run of games against Manchester City, Liverpool, United and Arsenal and one point from 12 is threatening to undermine the club’s season and maybe Redknapp’s reputation. There were always question marks about the man who has just one FA cup to his name as a top flight manager at 65 years of age.
But the surge up the table and the single season of Champions League football combined with the attractive counter attacking style he encouraged, had led many to re-think their assessment of him.
While Spurs have a favourable Premier League run-in, they can barely afford another slip-up. For Redknapp the pressure may rival what he went through during his recent court case. If Spurs fail to make the top four – never mind hang on to third place – then he may fall from public favour and, subsequently, from the thoughts of the Football Association.
While Redknapp has a lot – a majority – of supporters, I have read a number of missives from Spurs fans who reluctantly suggest that Redknapp might have taken the club as far as he can. His tactical decisions and “stop-gap” signings have been questioned – something that is always going to happen if you lose games. Redknapp’s defenders will say that fans weren’t questioning him when the team hammered Newcastle or beat Arsenal and Liverpool earlier in the season. But Redknapp is judged on 38 games and a number of performances have been poor recently.
I always found it something of a misnomer when people talk about how a sign of a good team is that they are winning when they are not playing well. This can be true of the better teams – those who have the world-class individual talent to pull them through a difficult phase.
But there’s always a chance that positive results are masking fundamental problems. Right now Spurs are struggling with individual form, injuries and a propensity to let their heads drop. Arsenal have momentum at the right stage of the season and are a massive threat in spite of their own serious shortcomings.
With rivals in transition there is no excuse for a team with Spurs’ talent to miss out on the top four. If they do collapse then it might be a blessing in disguise that Redknapp goes to England – if they still want him.