Inside Lane: A look back at Harry Redknapp’s reign at Tottenham
PUBLISHED: 14:45 23 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:34 23 August 2014
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Tottenham blogger Henry Tribe reflects on Harry Redknapp’s time in charge at White Hart Lane as the ex-Spurs boss prepares to return to north London with QPR.
“Two points from eight games”. Harry Redknapp has always been the archetypal self- publicist and from the day he walked into White Hart Lane at the end of October 2008 he was not about to raise expectations.
Spurs were clearly in a false position, sitting bottom of the league after a disastrous start under Juande Ramos. But I’m not sure anyone expected what was to come – Champions League qualification in Redknapp’s first full season in charge, followed by wins against Inter Milan and AC Milan en route to the quarter-finals and some of the best attacking football seen at the Lane for a generation.
In the end, Redknapp had raised expectations too high and by the time he left in June 2012, fourth place was no longer good enough for Daniel Levy and the board. As a Spurs fan raised on the mid-table mediocrity of the 90s, I certainly wasn’t so ungrateful.
Redknapp has always claimed football to be a simple game – 4-4-2, players playing in their favoured positions, and the manager’s main job being to send them out with the self-belief to express themselves.
To some it might be considered old-school, but it was the making of the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart. Our home record was excellent as teams feared being taken apart at the Lane – particularly memorable were the back-to-back home wins against Arsenal and Chelsea at the end of the 2009-10 season.
He also bought well, albeit the ‘Arry way. Back came old favourites Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane, while Peter Crouch, Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor were all good signings at the right times.
If there is to be a criticism of Rednapp it is perhaps our diabolical away record against the top four, and a naivety in not being able to shut up shop while still looking to grab the odd goal. It’s also hard to forget the collapse at the end of the 2011-12 season, where a 10-point lead over Arsenal quickly evaporated as Harry flirted with the FA over the England job.
Despite this, his record was excellent – three full seasons in charge, two fourth-place finishes and one fifth place (understandable in a year with Champions League distractions). Wouldn’t we kill for that now? I
still believe that if Arjen Robben
had scored that extra-time penalty for Bayern Munich against Chelsea in the Champions League final, Redknapp might still be sat in our dug-out on Sunday and not QPR’s.
Follow me on Twitter @TribalSpurs