Let’s get one thing very clear – if you are not a regular reader then you need to understand I am a MASSIVE Manchester United fan (if you don’t believe me have a look)! I respect Tottenham Hotspur tremendously as a club, their history, their legacy, their fans and their passion. I only scream for them when they play any of United’s traditional rivals and so I have no reason writing this!
Harry Redknapp arrived at a rather desolate and bleak White Hart Lane in 2008, the club had won nothing of significance, wait scrap that, they had won NOTHING in a decade and the fans, the sponsors and the spirits that watch over that hallowed ground were close to meltdown.
The Spurs motto is Audere est Facere ‘To Dare is to Do’ and on cue arrived a man that embodied just that in every sense.
He started his managerial career at West Ham United and saw the rise of current stars Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole to name a few (he oversaw and promoted players from probably the most successful youth program in English football). He took them to their highest finish ever of fifth in the league and qualified for Europe (this with a team that two seasons later got relegated!)
Then he got fired. To dare is to do!
From there he moved to Portsmouth where he coached them to the League One title and promotion to the top flight at the same time his former club West Ham got relegated (Karma’s a bitch!).
Shortly thereafter, once again a small dispute with an owner and once again Harry was out on his ass! To Dare is to do!
After a shaky spell at Southampton (and a fight with owners of their appointment of Rugby World Cup winning douche Clive Woodward to the coaching staff) he was back at Portsmouth trying desperately to save them from relegation, which he did, and to put an exclamation on his return and a big middle finger to the previous owner by finishing a club record ninth. Not stopping there he took that team to FA CUP glory at Wembley in 2008 and their first silverware in two generations!
TO DARE IS TO DO!
White Hart lane was indeed dark and gloomy as Spurs sat bottom of the Premier League log 8 games into the season as the somewhat cheery, semi alcohol face of Harry arrived and proceeded to grab Spurs by the scruff of the neck and drag them up the ladder, and quickly. In the Jan transfer window he bought Robbie Keane, Defoe and Palacios (the latter two are still club stalwarts!). Spurs lost in the league cup final to My United and eventually finished the season a MUCH improved eighth!
The next season he led Spurs to their best ever finish of fourth and burst their way into the Champions League, something no Spurs fan on earth would have thought possible less than a year earlier! Not only did they qualify they made it to the quarters only to come up against Jose Mourinhos gazillionaire Real Madrid! Spurs went on to finish fifth in the Premier league behind the ‘big four’.
This season he has managed to keep Luca Modric (who the whole world seemed to want at one point in the summer), sign Scott parker, get the best out of Gareth Bale, loan Adebayor (who was crap at City and now leads the line superbly for Spurs) and sign 40 year old Brad Friedel which turned out to be a stroke of genius solving his leaky goal problem! So far Spurs sit third behind the nuvo riche blue side from Manchester and the REAL side from Manchester – UNITED!
So, why the entire preamble?
Well, Harry set out on a journey with Spurs. He set out with a crumbling club to take them to heights they had never been. Sure he’s done that already BUT I believe he’s not done yet, not by a long shot. I’m not sure I can see Spurs winning a title this season, perhaps it’s too soon to tell but with their squad now strengthened and their re-introduction to the Champions League imminent I believe they could potentially become a seriously big name on a European and perhaps global scale.
I’m sure the luster of coaching his national team must seems desperately appealing, especially since its ready for his turnaround magic BUT coaching England is perhaps the riskiest step in his career and could turn out to be the least rewarding, whereas I believe if he stays at Spurs he can build a legacy that the Spurs fans have deserved since the Linekar / Gazza era!
To dare is to do, and Harry Redknapp could not be a better example of a manager embodying a clubs motto. He is outspoken, harsh, certainly not refined but gets the best out his players both on the pitch and off and has certainly found a home in North London.
As a football fan first and then a United one I truly hope he stays to finish the journey he started a few years ago. I believe the club world would be worse off without his spirit, passion and heart (all the things I believe make me a United fan ironically) and while he certainly deserves his shot as the coach of England, I truly believe it won’t bring him the joy or satisfaction that he seems to have found playing on Europe’s biggest football stage!