I wasn’t very surprised when I saw that Juande Ramos had been sacked as Spurs manager, after all, it had been on everyonse lips for a few weeks, even if I thought it was a bad move. What did surprise me though, was the news that Harry Redknapp had been appointed straight away as his successor. Though I must admit, I thought that sacking Ramos would be a very bad move for Tottenham, I have revised that opinion somewhat.
It would have spelled disaster for Spurs if Ramos had been given the bullet, and they had been manager-less for a while while trying to find his replacement. But Levy seems to have handled this one very well, approaching Portsmouth and Redknapp before letting Ramos go, and therefore making the transition as smooth as possible. Indeed then, I think that the appointment of Harry Redknapp is a very shrewd decision by Tottenham.
They have, for a long time, had some really top quality players. I’m constantly amazed at their midfield ranks (they seem to collect them somehow) and they have undoubted quality across the back line. While they obviously miss Berbatov and Keane and Defoe, Pavlyuchenko is a proven goal scorer at international level and Bent has shown in the past that he can do it in the league. Which is why it has been such a mystery why Tottenham have never really made an impact on the Premier League or in Europe, and especially why they were so toothless so far this season.
In Harry Redknapp though, they have a manager who appreciates the ‘nitty gritty’ of Premiership life. Known for his wheeler-dealing, Harry has a great ability at taking a group of players, often outcasts from other clubs, and moulding them into a genuine team. He has the motivational skills and the relatable attitude that work wonders to create a team that all pulls in the same direction. And this seems to be exactly what Tottenham have been missing – since Jol was dismissed.
In a similar way, Martin Jol was a guy who brought the squad together. One of football’s good guys, he is a man who every player would want to play well for, and indeed, he did very well for Tottenham, with a couple of 5th placed finishes before he was bizarrely sacked. I can see Harry having a similar impact. The squad that he has inherited is a fine one, we all know that. So if Harry can work his magic and bring them together, get them playing as a unit, I think he will do very well.
I must admit though, I do think that Ramos would have turned it round this season if he had been given the chance. Obviously things weren’t going well and he can’t complain, but I’m sure he won’t be out of work for long and he certainly would have got a big payoff out of it. The real losers here then, are Portsmouth. Because they now have a team of Harry’s, but no Harry to lead it. They have players brought together by Redknapp, who was getting the best out of them, and now they have to find someone else to take on the task.
Which means that they must be manager-less for a period while they find the right man, which will always effect any team, but also, just who is the right man? Is there anyone else in football who can carry on the work Redknapp was doing? Could anyone else have got Defoe and Crouch in one side, and resurrected their form to become a genuinely potent partnership? Pompey will have to hope so.
I did wonder initially just why Redknapp chose to leave Pompey for Spurs. He has clearly been happy there and they were well on their way to challenging for a European spot, and now he’s jumped into the deep end of a relegation battle. and indeed, when he left Portsmouth last time, it didn’t exactly go well for him. But that was an ill advised move to their bitter rivals, and I think a move to London will be much better for him.
I wouldn’t even be surprised to see Tottenham have a very good season now, and I don’t think he’ll be fighting relegation for long. And depending how soon Pompey can find their ‘right man for the job’ and how well he does, I could even see Spurs finishing above them this season, which would be rubbing salt in their wounds indeed. So Harry has returned to London, and Spurs have three points straight away. It’ll be interesting to watch the trajectories of the two clubs involved here, as all that is good about Portsmouth in recent seasons has been down to Harry’s handiwork.
It just goes to show how Football never ceases to surprise us. The routine dismissal of Ramos somewhat overshadowed by a very shrewd appointment by Daniel Levy, Spurs fans will hope he can keep the surprises coming and actually have faith in his manager for once. Pompey fans will hope they can find life after Redknapp, but I would not be surprised at all to see them struggle now. But football is full of surprises…