Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Why Redknapp Is Exactly The Right Man For Spurs!

The Jake Briggs column at

If Tottenham really do want to move forward then Harry Redknapp is a far better candidate than Juande Ramos ever was or ever will be to make Spurs a real force in the Premier League.

In terms of Premiership experience we all know it’s a no-contest, with the hapless Spaniard Ramos arriving from Sevilla last year with a big reputation after winning back-to-back UEFA Cups beating Spurs along the way for his second success, but not a day of management under his belt in the strongest league in Europe

Redknapp on the other hand has been an almost constant in the Premier League since taking over from Billy Bonds at West Ham United in 1994. Only Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and the Frenchman at that other North London club have more experience. He knows the Premier League inside out from top to bottom and has shown more than once that he has the ability to build something, but don’t take my word for it lets see.

Ramos has been a manager in football for 15-years. How many clubs? 11 yes 11. So not much hanging around anywhere too long eh Juande. In fact his longest stints anywhere were at Rayo Vallecano between 1998-2001, where to be fair he did get them promoted to La Liga and to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, albeit through the Fair Play league. You see we all know Ramos’ teams don’t do tackling. The other was Real Betis between 2001-2004, where he didn’t really set the world on fire. We weren’t the quickest to sack him though, after Betis, Espanyol sacked him after 5 games in 2004.

No real consistency including a disastrous season in charge of the Barcelona B side, so he may have won the league cup with Spurs, but so did George Graham.

In contrast, Redknapp to me has always been consistent. He came into management at Bournemouth after trying to come out of retirement as a player in 1982, played once for the Cherries and then took over at Dean Court in 1983 and stayed for 11 years. In 1984 they knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, Redknapp has a habit of doing that. Bournemouth, were promoted for the first time in their history to what we now know as the Championship in 1987, with Redknapp being the most successful manager they have ever had.

Redknapp left Bournemouth for Upton Park and West Ham in 1994, who were already in the new Premier League, but had spent the previous decade yo-yoing between the old first and second division. Harry kept them there even finishing 5th in the 1998-1999 season, no UEFA Cup place back then, but got them into Europe through the back door, sorry Inter-Toto. During his time at Upton Park Redknapp gained that wheeler-dealer reputation by exploiting the ‘Bosman’ ruling and using his only too clear communication skills to attract players, Redknapp was sacked by the Hammers, for a few misguided comments to a fanzine in 2001. West Ham, were relegated two seasons later.

So,11-year stint successful, 7-year stint successful?

Redknapp went to Portsmouth as director of football, a role he now despises with a passion. Then took over from Graham Rix in March 2002 as boss and passed West Ham on the way into the Premier League in 2003, having won the Championship and kept them there before his only moment of madness leaving for Southampton after resigning in November 2004, when chairman Milan Mandaric appointed a director of football.

We all know he didn’t keep Southampton up in that season and resigned the following year in December 2005 to make an emotional return to Portsmouth and somehow keep them up. When everyone apart from the most ardent Pompey fan had them relegated.

Harry started to build again, it’s the only way he knows and Pompey finished 9th the following season. The South coast clubs highest finish since the 50’s. He turned down a big club in Newcastle in 2008, which in poker player terms looks like a good fold now. Then knocks United out of the FA Cup again, wins it and takes Portsmouth into Europe for the first time. Then decided to leave a club he was worshipped at to take over the mess Juande had got us into, which I think is a brave decision.

You see we should not be questioning the appointment of a manager with almost 15-years of Premiership management under his belt. Someone who is now managing his 5th club in 25-years, someone who, with the exception of his moment of ‘Southampton madness’ has built and achieved on limited resources throughout his career as a manager and produced a Liverpool, Spurs and England player in his leisure time.

So now that he is at Tottenham, what can he do?

Well he certainly didn’t waste any time giving a team that had forgotten how to win belief. Looks ok so far three wins out of four, unbeaten, Darren Bent scoring goals. However, the true test is yet to come, but if Redknapp can build at Spurs like he has everywhere else (bar Southampton) then we can only surely reap the rewards from a man, who in my opinion has more than proved that he can take a football club forward. Especially if he can take Tottenham to their highest league position in 50 years, for we know what that means.

So lets embrace him and get behind Redknapp through good and bad, feel privileged he left a club he was idolised at, hope Levy forgets where the trapdoor in his office is and sit back and enjoy what I believe he will do for us. Given the fact that this time he is at a club that has the resources to actually really go somewhere and his history of sticking around to see the job done.

On a final note as I feel there still might be those, who fear Redknapp can’t replicate his success at smaller clubs with Tottenham. Well In 1986 Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford from Aberdeen the rest as they say is history, but with Harry in charge at Spurs it just maybe our future.

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