Tag Archives: harry redknapp

The Tim Sherwood Story

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” crowed Tim Sherwood – for Timdays on end – in to the ear of chairman Daniel Levy, swapping the phrase “are we there yet” for “can I have the job”. Like any overworked parent, Daniel finally acquiesced, giving Tim the keys to the kingdom, keys he previously entrusted to a well-dressed Portuguese man with fluffy hair.

Daniel Levy“Now, Timothy,” he said sternly, peering over his fashion-friendly
glasses, “don’t fuck it up.”

As an ambitious tyke with full confidence in his own abilities, the 44-year old Tim immediately began stamping his own mark on the team, abandoning tactics and finding as many players as possible who the previous manager did not like.

“Hello, Ade? I’m going to put you in the team on Sunday. I Adebayorexpect a performance.”
“No problem, boss. You’ll get 100% from me. But no more than that, it should be noted.”
“That’s fine. Now you’re not going to score a couple in your first game and then disappear for the next three games, are you?”
“Noooo. No. Probably not.”

Tim was nothing if not wily. You don’t get to the position he was in without having full confidence in your abilities as well as saying and doing the right things at the right time. So with that in mind he immediately set about trying to win the fans over by doing opposite things to the previous bloke that they did not like.

“Right, lads,” he said to some lads who were nearby. “We’re going to shake things up a bit.”
“Great! The club needs some innovative ideas to get us out of this slump. What have you got in mind?”
“We’re going 4-4-2 with the emphasis on attack.” Eriksen
“That could work, Tim. This is great. How will Eriksen play in this 4-4-2? Will you play him wide like how Man City play their creative players sometimes?”
“No, in the center.”
“Ok…he’s not really got defensive qualities so you’ll probably play him with a solid defensive midfielder, yeah?”
“Well I thought Dembele given how he’s quite athletic and can run a lot.”
“Hmmm, well we’ll give you a pass on that one, barely. So, say he’s not available. Would you then put Capoue in?”
“Not at all. He’s not great at attacking. I only know one way to play. Attack. That’s the way to play the game. So I’d put Holtby in alongside Eriksen.”

With the players on board and the lack of tactics decided, Tim knew he had one more area to focus on – public relations. Although he had full confidence in his abilities, he knew he needed advice from a very smart manager. He flipped through his rolodex/contacts app and called up a very popular manager, a(n FA Cup) winner, a former Spurs hero, a man who had recently suffered relegation and won four out of his last twelve games.

“‘Ello ‘Arry.”
“Alright, mate! How’s it going? Heard about the gig. First smart decision Daniel has made since that time he allowed me to sign Ryan Nelsen and Louis Saha. Better off with those terrific, honest, top, top lads than your fancy dan Powlinos and Ceaușescus.”
“As you know ‘Arry I’m new to this. Can you give me a few tips on how to cope with the media?”
“Sure, sure. First of all, after a negative result, talk about how the lads gave you 100% – even Ade – and you couldn’t ask for anything more.  Then talk about the injuries. Throw in a “bare bones” reference and always have a list of unavailable players that you can rattle off. You can throw in a few extra names at the end like youth players or ‘Robbie’. No one’s going to try and figure out who you’re talking about.”
“Anything else?”
Arry in Car
“Make sure the electrics on your car are working good. You need to be able to roll the window down on 31st of January and talk about how there’s nothing doing out there and that you worked ever so hard to bring in players but ultimately clubs don’t want to let ’em go.”
“What about communicating the improvement I bring to the club?”
“Absolutely. Take whatever statistics you can and manipulate them in a bid to show how important you are to the club. For example, if you’re 8 points clear of the bottom three now but 12 points clear in three months, talk about how you’ve lifted the club away from the relegation zone. If you’re in eighth position now and no lower than that in May, you can tell everyone how Spurs were mid-table when you come in and you brought them in to contention. I’m not as stupid as I looks, Tim. Even though I can’t read very well and I writes like a child.”

Tim’s final stop was to see Franco Baldini, the man who became the new Damien Comolli, who was the new Frank Arnesen, who was the new David Pleat.

“Hello, Tim,” Baldini said, probably in an Italian accent.Baldini
“Don’t ‘hello, Tim’ me,” responded the indignant manager. “What we gonna do about all that tripe you bought in the summer?”
“Like who?”
“Chadli.”
“He’s good.”
“No he’s not. He’s good in Holland. And what about this Soldado chap? Bloody hell. He couldn’t hit a barndoor with a…ball”
“He’ll come good. He scored many times in the Spanish league,” insisted Franco.
“And Chiriches. It’s like a Ramon Vega tribute act,” Sherwood complained
“Anything else?”
“Lamela? He’s worth about a third of what Bale was.”
“Which is actually factually correct, Tim.”
“Look, all I’m saying is that these lads are no better than what we had.”
“And what do you propose?”
“We bring in Jamie Redknapp. As a coach.”

Jamie

And with that, Tim sauntered down to the training pitch to work on no tactics.

Four suggestions to help Spurs move forward

After a year away, Tottenham are poised to return to the Champions League next season.  Or at least they will do if they perform in their final seven – mostly winnable – games of the season.  Disarray at Liverpool and rebuilding at Chelsea have opened the door for Redknapp and Co and it’s an opportunity they must take.  It has been a largely successful season, let down dramatically – if not yet fatally – by a terrible recent run in the Premier League.  But there’s plenty of talent at White Hart Lane and with some brave decisions the club would be in a strong position to actually challenge for the Premier League title next season.

What are those decisions?

1. Accept an England approach for manager Redknapp

If Spurs do keep their nerve and finish in the top four (absurd though it is that it’s not virtually sewn up by now), England may follow through on their supposed interest in Harry Redknapp.

The competition for the top job – assuming the FA are scared off appointing a foreign boss after the Capello debacle – is underwhelming.  Roy Hodgson has enjoyed a relative renaissance at West Brom but his stock was damaged after the disastrous reign at Liverpool.  Stuart Pearce seems to lack something – perhaps personality – and has no track record of managerial success to call on.  Glenn Hoddle flopped at Spurs and Wolves after his short but reasonably successful 1990s reign with England.  Alan Pardew and Martin O’Neill are in good jobs in the north-east that are certainly not worth leaving while Sam Allardyce would be a disaster of Steve McClaren proportions.  Below them only Alan Curbishley jumps out but he’s been out of management for four years now.

While Redknapp has done well at Spurs, his limitations will become more and more apparent the longer he stays at the club.  Jamie’s dad is not a tactician – he’s a motivator (see Martin O’Neill, Kevin Keegan).  Winning the big games takes more than mere motivation and the peculiar tactics employed by ‘Arry at times (Bale playing centrally, Modric on the left) highlight this.  Bale returned to the left-wing against Swansea last weekend and was man of the match. If Tottenham do secure Champions League football then a clean break with Redknapp is perfect for everyone. He leaves full-time management with a smash hit album and gets to spend the second half of his 60s working part-time to bring England to the quarter-finals of the next World Cup.

This is a crucial time in the future of the club.  Perhaps Andre Villas Boas could find the set up at Spurs that he didn’t have at Chelsea – a relatively young squad without the heavyweight egos that repelled his attempts to rebuild his previous employers.

Glad I wrote that one after a victory.

2. Send Adebayor back to Eastlands

He’s scored goals, he’s worked hard, he’s been committed.  But Emmanuel Adebayor is not worth the mammoth investment that his permanent signing would require.

There’s no doubt he’s been an asset this season – a goal every other game – but he’s not a top class finisher and history shows that he tends to only have one good season per club.  A string of highly rated strikers have been linked in the last year – Rossi, Llorente, Damiao, Remy – and Spurs need a clinical finisher and a powerful presence up front to perform in the big games.

3. Transfer Modric abroad

I’m not sure Luka Modric will take the sun that well but that should not stop Daniel Levy from considering a transfer to Spain or Italy for the midfielder.  Modric failed to engineer a move away from the club last summer when Levy steadfastly refused to entertain bids from Chelsea.  While credit goes to Modric for eventually settling down and performing – occasionally brilliantly – he’s not the player he was last season.

It could be that his market value has fallen in the last 12 months but if Spurs could net the guts of 30 million pounds then it could be the best solution for everyone.  In partial return, a swoop for Swansea’s on loan Gylfi Sigurðsson (six goals and three assists in 11 games) would be a sound investment.  Sigurðsson is like a raucous rolling stone to Modric’s orchestral, considered verve but he’s young, hungry and been a success at Reading, Hoffenheim (voted Player of the Season even though he only started 13 games) and now Swansea.

4. Win it on the wings

Tottenham look a far weaker outfit when one of their wingers is out.  Indeed the resurgance of Manchester United since the return of Antonio Valencia has moved the winger debate on to the football websites in recent days.

Unfortunately for Spurs, Aaron Lennon has been absent for long periods this year, unbalancing the team and leading to Gareth Bale turning up on the right-wing and the center of midfield.  Rafael van der Vaart and Niko Kranjcar have played on the right but neither has the pace to challenge the opposition left back like Lennon (in fact right-back Kyle Walker is often the most advanced right-sided Spurs player).  I think the absence of Lennon coincided with Spurs worst form and cost them a number of points this season.  Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett is out of contract this summer and has improved in each of his three seasons in the Premier League.  He would be the easy target.  But I like the look of Adam Johnson at Man City who could be an asset once his talent is harnessed.

Why try to fix something that ain’t broke?  Well it’s not broke yet but Spurs have far more potential than they’ve even shown this season.  This is the time to make brave decisions.

Redknapp – a victim of his own success?

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

My name is Michae...Um, 'Arry Redknapp

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.

Better a nearly season than a nothing season

1986/87 – the David Pleat year, five in midfield, 49 goals for Clive, semi-finals, finals and replays, and Diamond Lights. But it all went wrong. Within a few months Pleat was gone (possibly off to start his degree in “Mispronouncing Footballer’s Names”) and Tottenham graduated to financial difficulty and 20 years of mediocrity.

That was very much the “nearly season”.  And while only a fan as pessimistic as me could declare that 2011/12 is set to be yet another, I’d rather have a nearly season than a nothing season.

While fans of other clubs are fondly recalling the goals that won league titles or Champions Leagues, the likes of me is forlorn over the last minute Gudni Bergsson equalizer that cost Tottenham second place in December 1995, speechless at Ian Walker’s gormless grin after a crap Steve McManaman shot hit a divot and trickled past him in 1996 and demoralized following Allan Nielsen’s humorous tapping of his wrist after his 90th minute consolation in a 1-7 defeat to Newcastle.

The 90s were utterly dire for Tottenham, the first half of the last decade not really that much better.  Rival fans loved to laugh – and why shouldn’t they.  Big spending Spurs were embarrassing themselves again whether it was losing 6-1 to Bolton or giving Stuart Nethercott 50 games.

But for all the complaints I’ve had about Harry Redknapp, he’s certainly managed to stitch a good outfit together.  While Chelsea spend £50m on Torres, United pony up £34m for Anderson and Carrick (ironically both pony), Liverpool splash £85m on Henderson, Downing and Carroll and Man City spend hundreds of millions on their first team, the Tottenham team that beat West Brom this week was put together for about £60m.

Just three league defeats (two of which were against the top two and suffered without the considerable presence of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor) have silenced the critics for now and the season is not looking as transitional as it seemed it might be.

While the players and ‘Arry have to play the game and suggest they are in the title race, it would take incompetence of the highest level for Mancini not to bring the trophy to Eastlands.

The media have been jumping on the top club’s bad results (crisis! pressure!) only a week later to flip 180 after a good win (back in the title hunt!).  It’s reactive and illogical but it gets people angry and accumulates page hits (used to be that it sold papers but no one buys those things any more).  Spurs are one defeat away from the same treatment but that defeat doesn’t change the reality and likelihood any more than a win does.

There are only two teams who ever really had a chance this season.  Chelsea are too old and in transition, Arsenal lack quality and Liverpool have a good manager who bought the wrong players.  Tottenham sit somewhere in the middle – quality in key areas but without the experience and touch of class that the two Manchester clubs have to call on.  Even if I wasn’t a Tottenham fan I’d love to see them in the hunt just to bring something a little different in to the mix.

But we all know what will happen when they take on Everton on January 11th hoping to record the win that puts them second with Man United – the recently re-signed Steven Pienaar will knock home a 90th minute equalizer for Moyes’ side.

Transitional season ahead as Levy padlocks the purse

Maybe the HP Touchpad fire sale taught Daniel Levy something in the last week: if you have stuff that no one wants then you have to practically give it away.  If Alan Hutton is the 16 gigabyte version (only available in white) –

This is a Luka Modric-free blog.

demanding a mere 3 million pounds for his poor application ecosystem – then the 6 million-rated Wilson Palacios is the overclocked, larger capacity hardware (as an aside, is David Bentley’s slow boot sequence the reason that he remains on the shelf?).

With just a day left to save Tottenham’s season, hard-negotiating chairman Levy is finally accepting that to save money you sometimes have to lose money, sanctioning transfers that represent a more than 50% mark down on the various purchase prices.  It’s perhaps harsh on Palacios, an inconsistent performer who signified a good performance with an obligatory yellow card.  His Tottenham career deteriorated in the aftermath of his brother’s tragic kidnap and murder in 2009.  But the 6 million pounds his transfer to Stoke looks likely to net is somewhere around the figure Spurs should have paid for him in the first place.  Levy paid too much.

He paid too much for Alan Hutton, a limited defender who spent his entire career in the Scottish league, and has amassed just 51 league games in three and a half seasons.  Nine million pounds…seriously.

David Bentley cost Levy about 17 million pounds and is now worth probably a third of that.  In fact Bentley may end up going on a free transfer at the end of his deal as nobody wants him.  His insipid loan spell at Birmingham last season hardly lit a fire under potential suitors and now he’s been mentioned as a make-weight in an attempt to bring Gary Cahill from Bolton.

Jermain Jenas came in for 7 million pounds with a growing reputation but has rarely convinced.  The 21st century Jason Dozzell may still manage to secure a fee around 4 or 5 million pounds because he’s under 30 and English.  But the fact that he’s linked with the Premier League lesser lights says it all.

Sebastian Bassong is another ordinary talent that Harry thought was worth a lot of money two years ago but is now also make-weight material.

And the punches keep coming.  Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch: all returning to the club for big money, all signed by Harry Redknapp, all flops.  People keep making excuses for Defoe but enough is enough.  The guy had a few purple patches in seven seasons but he’s just not got the composure or intelligence to be a top class striker.  Levy lost big on Keane but he may be fortunate that Steve Bruce thinks Peter Crouch is worth about what Spurs paid for him.  For a 30-year-old who has managed just 12 league goals in 67 games, I’d buy him a train ticket to Sunderland (as opposed to driving him there myself – it’s a fairly long way).

Levy’s reluctance to give Redknapp money to spend is understandable.  Yes, he’s made some coin on the likes of Berbatov and Carrick but he’s been stung way too much in the past by trying to do the right thing and trust the judgement of the managers and their coaching teams.  With Redknapp probably in his last season (or even last months if his upcoming court case has fallout) this season may be transitional.  But it gives Levy a chance to push reset, trim the squad, get rid of the dead wood and prepare for a new incumbent…who I hope is Italian with silver hair.

Tottenham may be out of Luk-a.

I’m a little surprised that Luka Modric has felt compelled to try and worm his way out of Tottenham.  All evidence suggests that he’s a decent little chap, not hugely motivated by money in a Carlos Tevez-type way and, at a still-relatively young age, has plenty of time to make his mark in world football.

But his blabbing to the Daily Mail on Friday was hugely disappointing.

“Chelsea are a big club with an ambitious owner.  They have great players and they have ambitions to fight for the title and win the Champions League.  I want to leave Tottenham as friends. I have enjoyed my time there, but now it is right for me to look at another club.  I have an arrangement with the chairman. When I signed my new contract, he said that, if another club came to sign me, they would consider the offer.”

He kind of looks like a more floppy-haired Peter Crouch here.

If Luka is genuinely unhappy then Spurs would risk unsettling the squad if they forced him to stick around.  Just look at the Berbatov mess from 2008.  Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona flirt with each other every year, but the almost-guaranteed Champions League football and the persuasive Professor manage to convince Cesc to stick around for just one more year.

Spurs don’t really have an equivalent persuasion.  You think Modric can be lured by Europa League games against Sligo Rovers or the promise of some jellied eels from ‘Arry?

So who’s to blame the most for what could become an unseemly squabble this summer?

Luka

To hear the little man signed a six year deal on £40k a week was a surprise.  Didn’t he think that wasn’t a great deal of money in the scheme of things?  I mean Robbie Keane – a player Tottenham have been trying to offload for two years – is reportedly on £60k a week.  Ok Luka’s made an unsubstantiated claim that Levy promised to entertain any bids for him but if it’s not written in to the contract that it’s not worth the paper it’s not written on.  I know in the real world of football, players and agents are happy to sign the contracts knowing that they can simply request a move and cause a ruckus if it’s not granted.

But I have little sympathy for a player who willingly signs a long-term deal that makes them a millionaire and then shows total disdain for the fans that – and yes I’m going to say it – pays his wages.  Does the contract have a get-out clause if Spurs fail to finish in the top four or if a bid of £30m comes in?  If not then shame on you and your agent.  I mean you signed it twelve months ago.

Luka definitely deserves a pay rise but what’s the point in, say, doubling his wages when Chelsea can triple them.

‘Arry

Perhaps if ‘Arry had guided Spurs in to the top four then there would be nothing to discuss.  I’ve cut Redknapp some slack in the last year or so because, you know, fair play, he has achieved something.  But when you can’t beat flipping West Ham, Birmingham, Wolves, Wigan and Blackpool then you deserve criticism.  The standard last year was brutal yet Spurs made a total mess of it.  And I’m sure Luka is looking at Redknapp’s squad building (basically the signing of some fairly old people) and thinking ‘we haven’t got any chance next season’.

Levy

Daniel has come out with his usual ‘not for sale at any price’ quote (pretty sure he said that about Berbatov).  While he has no choice but to say that, it does of course leave him somewhat exposed: Chelsea raise their bid, Luka and his agent dig their heels in, he relents.  Everyone has a price and it’s ridiculous to suggest they don’t.  But it’s a rock/hard place scenario for him.  He can’t signal an intent to sell as that will fuel Luka’s conviction to go.  He’s probably trying to buy some time while he figures out if Luka can be sweet-talked in to staying for another twelve months, perhaps on the back of a renegotiated contract with a release clause.  But if that doesn’t happen then he’s going to look a bit silly.

The media

Nothing we can do about it.  They want stories so players have to be unsettled in order to get those stories.  There’s only so much interest in Wayne Rooney’s transplant or Jack Rodwell’s insanity.  They’re doing their job and they do it without any fear of reprisal (apart from maybe being banned by Fergie for asking a polite question).  Nothing has to be substantiated and they answer to nobody.  It’s insane.  Once the Modric thing is done and dusted, they’ll start offering Gareth Bale to Inter.

Everybody’s got a price

I say that every player has his price and Chelsea seem to think it’s £22m.  Well they probably don’t but it’s as good a place to start as any.  Harry made the humorous comparison to Jordan Henderson – the curiously expensive transfer from Sunderland to Liverpool – suggesting, indirectly, that he’s not fit to lace Luka’s boots.  A bit vulgar and unfair perhaps, but it underlines what just about everyone at Spurs probably thinks.  You spend £16.5m on a player, a player that is then widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the league, you expect to make some serious money on him.

If Modric does go I expect it will be for about £30-35m.  Do I think he’s worth it?  To Spurs, yes.  To someone else, probably not.  He’s a lovely footballer but he’s not a match-winner.  He doesn’t score goals and he usually plays too deep to open up defences.  Now perhaps he can adapt to a more forward role but that’s an unknown.

If Spurs do get that sort of money for him then they would have to take it.  Let’s just hope ‘Arry doesn’t pull “another” masterstroke and replace him with that tortoise, Carrick.

Tottenham’s travails are no great surprise

About 12 months ago, in the wake of securing Champions League football for Tottenham, I made the declaration that it was time for Harry Redknapp to step down.  The reason?  Because it just could not get any better than where he was at.

Of course it was never going to happen.  No other manager in that situation would have contemplated it and I don’t blame Harry for taking on the challenge of leading Tottenham in to the Champions League.

And what we got was a largely successful campaign that I won’t go over ad nauseam.  In spite of OTF (other team’s fans) trying their damnedest to belittle the achievement, Spurs went to the quarter-finals and did what Jermain Defoe said they would do.

But the last few months has been atrocious, so much so that rumblings amongst some fans suggest that it’s time to get shot of the manager.  Recent results arguably have shown that, in fact, Harry is a stop gap who won’t lead the club to the next level.

Howler Gomes: At least his eyes are open

I dissected his achievements earlier this year and was very generous in my praise while trying to honestly appraise the help and good fortune he’s had along the way.

Now that the team will probably miss out on Champions League football (and I realise an unlikely win at Eastlands could make me look like an idiot in a week) and could fall as far as sixth place, questions need to be asked.

This is the poorest quality Premier League that I can remember.  An only-occasionally impressive Manchester United look to have sewn up the title today.  But they’ve been helped by Chelsea’s diabolical mid-season run, Arsenal’s lack of maturity and cutting edge, the noisy neighbour’s erratic form and Liverpool’s lack of quality.  Seventy points secured Champions League qualification last year.  This year it could be 65 although it’s likely to be less.

The list of teams that Spurs have dropped points against is embarrassing: Wigan (won 1 point out of 6), West Ham (1/6), West Brom (2/6), Blackpool (1/6).  Five points out of 24 against struggling sides is nowhere near good enough and it shows the fundamental problem with Harry’s team (I won’t get in to the four goal thrashings that knocked us out of three different tournaments).  Forget the Michael Dawson handballs and red cards, the Heurelho Gomes howlers and the paltry return from the strikers.  Tottenham’s inability to defend and compete against dogged teams has contributed greatly to this season’s failure.

Harry can do what other under pressure managers do and project the blame on to the supporters and their “heightened expectations”.  But that’s the business you’re in, Harry.

If he wants to take on another 12 months at Spurs (and I think he should if only to punish those that could not see this coming a long time ago) then he’ll need to make some big decisions.  The goalkeeper has to go, the right-back position needs filling, the centre of midfield needs an overhaul and two new strikers are required.  Peter Crouch is the only striker I’d keep, if only to offer the faint suggestion of a Plan B from the bench while Kyle Walker – impressive on loan at Aston Villa – should be moulded in to our first choice right-full.

The midfield situation will be difficult as something’s gonna have to give.  Maybe Harry will cash in on Luka Modric or, more likely, Rafael van der Vaart. It could be that one of the wingers will go (Aaron Lennon was left out of the starting line up yesterday) and the crud that’s filling up the bench (Jermaine Jenas and Everton’s former linchpin-cum-mediocrity Steven Pienaar jump to mind) will move on.

But Harry’s problem is the perception of his reign now – fifth (or sixth) place will be seen as relative failure and his chances of becoming England manager will recede further next season if Tottenham are still labouring outside the top four and failing to beat Premier League also rans.

Does he decide that he needs a year off while he campaigns to be the next England manager?  Or does he try to repair the damage at Tottenham and push for the top four one last time before leaving for the national job?

With Manchester City likely to spend a hundred million plus in the summer and Liverpool revitalised under Kenny Dalglish and with new financial backing, Spurs are more likely to be fighting Sunderland, Everton and Bolton for sixth place.  Could the golden era be over already?