‘Arry Redknapp deserves praise. Hold on, stay with me here. Yes the man is more dodgy than the reliant robin driven by the Trotter brothers and he has done more than his fair share to ruin clubs such as Southampton and Portsmouth (John Utaka on £80,000 per week? In more civilised countries the man who awarded him that contract would be strung up a la Mussolini) but the job that’s being doing with Tottenham at the moment deserves high praise indeed. When Redknapp took over from Juande Ramos in 2008 Spurs were rooted to the foot of the table with two points from their first eight games. Now they are in Europe and furthermore can know that they truly are one of the “Sky Four” as they suffered the famed “European Hangover” losing to Wigan after beating Young Boys.
It initially sounds ludicrous, but the depth of the Spurs squad was possibly (until Manchester City’s petro-fuelled spree this summer) the best in the country and certainly better than Liverpool’s, even with the latter’s Champions League money for most of the 00’s. Without any genuine superstars such as Drogba, Torres or Rooney, Spurs have quality cover in almost every position.
Secondly, Redknapp may have reputation as a wheeler and dealer, but at Tottenham this is undeserved. The number of players who were brought in by Jol or Ramos or through the young system is still very high. Redknapp’s ability to get the best out of players such as Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Corluka, Gomes and particularly Gareth Bale has been impressive. Without spending much of Levy’s jealously guarded money he has still produced the effect of new signings. Bale has gone from the bogey player who, in 24 games was never on the winning side for Spurs, is now in the running for best winger in the Premiership.
Tottenham had, for a long time, been a sleeping giant in the Premiership. The other team that should have enjoyed such a status was Newcastle. Yet in 2008/9 Redknapp managed to lift Spurs from the foot of the table while Newcastle hopped on the managerial merry-go-round and were relegated. The comparison, while somewhat harsh on the Tynesiders and favourable to Redknapp demonstrates the comprehensive turn-around that the man has overseen at the club.
While ‘Arry might not be the straightest arrow in the league, he is however a damn fine manager who likes to play exciting, attacking football. At Spurs, if not elsewhere he has bought judiciously and intelligently. He has broken the impenetrable “Sky Four” lock, reinvented more than a few players, Lennon and Bale being outstanding examples of superb management and taken his side into the Champions League group stages. Although its not the easiest group to get out of, Redknapp might well fancy his side to take points of Inter at White Hart Lane. If they manage to avoid home and away defeats to Inter and beat Bremen at home they have every chance of progressing. After all they do have a genuine “faaaaaaaacking football manager” in charge.