Now Harry Redknapp has left Tottenham, and that all the weeks of rumour and innuendo in the press, contract negotiations conducted in public, backstabbing and dirty tricks has culminated in there now being a vacancy at White Hart Lane, is it right to suggest that perhaps Redknapp has provoked this saga and contrived to force his own dismissal?
Of course on Tuesday Redknapp said he was outraged at talk he had left Spurs that evening, and that it was ‘an absolute liberty for people to be putting around this rumour on the internet’. Quite ironic for Harry to say that it’s a liberty for people to be spreading rumours, given Harry’s history of telling everyone about all the players he’d love to sign.
Also on Tuesday he asked ‘why would I resign?’ Well I would say that though he wasn’t going to resign, he may well have provoked his own departure, or at the very least forced a showdown with Daniel Levy. His comments to Sky Sports News last week about how ‘you don’t let good managers have only a year left on their contracts’ were nothing if not provocative.
He has admitted in the last week he would have taken the England job if it was offered. He admitted last year he was very tempted by an offer to manage middle-eastern club Al Ahly. On Twitter respected journalists suggested he was touting himself for the recently vacant position at Monaco and he may even have been touting himself for the recent positions at Chelsea and Liverpool.
He has brought in Paul Stretford to help him in contract negotiations. Stretford is Wayne Rooney’s agent, believed to have persuaded his client to hand in that transfer request last year, and has previously been charged with misconduct by the FA. In that case he was found guilty of lying in court. Bringing him to contract negotiations was I think an aggressive move by Redknapp.
Also you could argue that when he vehemently denied he was leaving, that meant that he definitely was leaving. Redknapp is nothing if not a charmer who like the ministry in Orwell’s 1984 says one thing one week, then says another thing a week later and hopes no one remembers what was said previously.
See his statements on Tottenham’s season at various points. One week Spurs are going for the title. Then he’s saying we want 3rd place. Then its ‘we want to be the top club in London’. The finishing 4th ‘is a good finish’. See him saying here how it’s unlikely Spurs will do business on the last day of the transfer window, where they duly signed Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen, sold Roman Pavlyuchenko and almost sold Giovani dos Santos. He is not one for telling the truth and nothing but the truth.
He has also left clubs before in this manner. He left Portsmouth twice acrimoniously. Firstly he resigned in a huff and promptly joined rivals Southampton. Second time he left at the first hint of the devastating financial trouble for Spurs. At West Ham (echoes of the way he left Spurs) he left after criticising the board for not giving him enough transfer funds. At Southampton the team was relegated under his management and he left them in the Championship to go back to Portsmouth.
He’s not a fixture on his former chairmen’s Christmas card lists. He’s done this sort of thing before. He has history in acrimonious departures from clubs he’s managed. I may be jumping the gun here in suggesting Redknapp wanted to leave. But his comments in the press (especially to Sky Sports News) and his hiring of Stretford indicate to me at least that he contrived to force his own dismissal.
Had he got the England job in March, he would have left Spurs a hero and been largely forgiven for leaving the club. Managing your country is the ultimate honour, something Spurs fans I believe at the time would have readily accepted. Now the end of season collapse and Chelsea’s unlikely triumph in the Champions League means there’s no Champions League football, no bragging rights for finishing as the top London club.
What could have been a great legacy left by Redknapp has been tainted and sullied by both Spurs’ collapse and his protracted departure.