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August 2021

Did ‘The City’ sack Harry Redknapp?

by Richard Bedwell

When they are seeking to raise large sums of money on the financial markets businesses tend to take on experts to advise them on how to present themselves to those markets. What to say, how to say it and, of course, to whom that message needs to be relayed are all part of that advice.

Initially those message recipients are the analysts who specialise in certain areas (oil, retail, football etc.). Their word carries huge weight with the people who actually have the cash burning a hole in their pocket and who need to be persuaded to lend it.

When Arsenal went through that process around ten years ago they were able to present themselves as a long established and respected brand with long serving executives with a proven track record of success in running a profitable business in a highly competitive field.

Although some of those executives were fairly long in the tooth others were relatively young and could reasonably expect to be around for, what was at the time, the foreseeable future.

Other than the sad demise of Danny Fitzman and the departure (once Ashburton Grove was fully up and running) of Keith Edelman, all of the key people have indeed stayed in place and they have continued to keep a firm hand on the tiller.

Arsenal were able to place before those analysts, not just a long season ticket waiting list, but a great record of success on the pitch lead by a manager who was only 52 and who was seen to be everything that a modern, progressive, football manager should be. Highly qualified in both football and economics as well as being fluent in five languages.

The sponsorship opportunities of a brand new stadium were strong and money flowing from those opportunities available in significant chunks upfront – thus reducing the size of the loans required. Even the land associated with the old stadium had the look of being prime real estate. The analysts would have lapped it up.

And now there’s Tottenham seeking to do very much the same thing – except ten years later, in a very different financial climate, based in a very much less attractive area of London and with a very different manager.

Taking their shares off the market ‘to make it easier to raise money’ was just one card they decided to play. The managerial situation is another. Redknapp is thirteen years older than Wenger was when Arsenal approached the financial market, with no history of consistent success on the pitch, no obviously successful youth development scheme established to help fund the future and a declared (under oath, in the High Court) inability to satisfactorily read or write.

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Even being up in said Court and needing to protest innocence of wrongdoing in a financially related matter was yet more muddying of yet more waters. The analysts, whose opinion is both expensively garnered and vital to investors, would not be at their most optimistic – especially when they came to compare the Tottenham offering to that which has become the template for all such deals.

‘You can’t change history’ you can hear them say over the second bottle of claret but you can at least attempt to change the future to make it look more like Arsenal’s. ‘Mr. Redknapp’, they might have said, will need to be replaced with someone of similar stature on and off the pitch. This manager will need to be instantly successful and be given a long term contract in order to reassure us that our investors will not be upset by the continuation of the Clubs’ revolving door policy of the past. Having a wealthy owner to ‘guarantee’ payment of the mortgage is not enough given both the new FFP regulations and his past record of never funding so much as tea and biscuits at half time.

In short, they might have said over the third bottle, Spurs have got to become as much like Arsenal as they can and the Spurs manager has got to be as much like Arsene Wenger as they can get.

Trust me on this, the City is very conservative in such matters. The people they are lending to have to be right and numbers have got to add up now and for the long term, otherwise there will be no loans – at least not at interest rates that anyone is going to be happy about committing to.

So we come back the question of who can replace Harry who meets the requirements of the City and its investors.

AVB certainly looked like the real deal before his man management skills were brought into question at Chelsea.  Tottenham could make an attempt at curing that problem by completely clearing out the old guard at Spurs so that there is a new, AVB created, squad with complete loyalty to him. But that costs money – lots of it – and it involves a great deal of change. As I’ve said, the City doesn’t like revolution even if it’s obviously needed.

So we wait with baited breath because, like it or not, the future of Tottenham has a major bearing on the future of Arsenal.


37 comments to Did ‘The City’ sack Harry Redknapp?

  • elkieno

    We have been the dominant club in the south for many years, until Chelsea oil/gas money cane in and that is not saying we aren’t anymore, but just that we have a real competitor for us now so we have to adapt. I believe we will still be dominant when chelsea finish their 15 min of fame, when the Russian gets bored.
    I also wait with baited breath to see what they do…. And how they do it!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Interesting article and maybe you will not be that far from the truth.
    If we look at the results in league finish under Redknapp one can only say that he has brought them higher than ever before in the PL era. So this cannot be ‘the reason’ to sack him.

    A bit funny in a way that by making his defence and winning the court case (by admitting he can hardly write or read or count) he was digging his own grave as a manager. Won a battle, lost the war comes to mind.

  • Gf60

    I always thought that David Dein was one of the “key people”?
    And there I was thinking that he was a rather important part of our success.

  • I was surprised at the sacking of Rednapp, in terms both of league positions and the general quality of their football. Thus this article suppies an interesting context.

  • If that were true then the job must be going to gary glitter

  • Gf60 – I believe David Dein was opposed to the Emirates move and was very much in favour of the ground share at Wembley, which was why we played Champs League games there for a little while – until Wenger got his way again.

    After that defeat he was really out of matters, and I don’t think he ever stopped opposing the new stadium as a tactic – which is why eventually he was sacked from the board.

    Obviously I don’t have inside information on this, but in terms of the development of the new stadium, I feel it was very much the outsider looking in, when Arsenal started to search for the finances.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    What would Rosie think of all this ? Thats what I like to know !

  • Colin SC

    Scary to think I find myself on this site agreeing when I have supported Spurs for nearly 50 years … I do think ‘Arry’ picking Parker instead of Defoe in our last Villa game sealed it from not only this perspective but also a positional one. That one decision could have lost us the point that would have tipped the scales in our favour this year.

  • barry mitchell

    ridiculous article, levy and co will show arsenal how to build a stadium and actually make some money and not stifle the club. redknapp was sacked because he is a self serving wrong un. he ran up the average age of the squad because the old duffer can only think short term. also no mention of the new training facilities i see. spurs are doing everything the opposite of arsenal stadium wise. it wont be a characterless cinder block and just as history has always shown spurs will show the magpie gypsies how to do things with style and class.

  • Simon Taylor

    I don’t know why some people are still surprised at Redknapp’s sacking. Remember, Spurs were pretty much established in the top six under Martin Jol. Being bottom of the PL when Harry took over was a false position brought about by Juande Ramos’ ineptitude. HR was sacked because when a real test came, he was found wanting. Basically, the contract Levy offered him in February, when Spurs were third and 10 points ahead of Arsenal – – which he didn’t accept because of the England job – was the same one he wanted in June, when Spurs finished fourth, a point behind, and not in the CL, qualification for which was Levy’s main aim.

  • Finsbury


  • Archibald

    Looks like a plausible theory.Although binning off 13 points (at 2-0 up away & knowing you need to revert to 451 but not doing it in time)& losing champions league funding probably has something to do with it.


  • Timmy

    “It is always a treat to read what you had to say” – Wole Soyinka.

    I’ve always wonder if H. R. Actually epitomises the kind of coach that will fit the model levy is trying to create of Tottenham.

    As things stands now, we wait for the coach that fufills the criteria.

  • wouldbebob

    I think you are wrong about this being City related. It’s just more of the same. Since Daniel Levy became chairman, Spurs have had 10 managers in 10 years, and most of the time Levy has also insisted on the DoF and head coach set up, which never works in England. One can only assume this is to avoid any strong personality at the club except him. It is true that when he took over from ‘Carlos Kick-a-ball’ Sugar, Spurs were flirting with relegation and he has taken the club to be regularly ‘best of the rest’ (5 4th or 5th place finishes in the last 7 years), but the constant instability has prevented a full recovery to top group status where they were before the PL era (the so called big 5). There seems little doubt that if Jol or Redknapp had been left in place and supported with proper investment, Spurs would be regular challengers for the PL, but the managers are always undermined. Look at the January transfer window this year for example. Redknapp wanted Tevez and Cahill. Over ambitious you might think, but he got Saha and Nelsen. What chairman in his right mind would add those two to ‘cement’ a CL place? No wonder Hrry did his best to get the England job when it came up! There is no doubt Harry’s mouth was a liability, but he has the best track record for Spurs in the PL era by miles. Not only does he get sacked, but clearly they had no-one lined up to take over. Frankly, a shambles.

  • Sharpehunter

    This article is absolutely spot on. Harry Redknapp has absolutely no fiscal or commercial understanding or ability. All he knows how to do is motivate some footballers in an almost fatherly like manner (whilst probably always making references to his son Jamie Redknapp) and ask for more and more money.

    Other than that, I still don’t get the whole fuss over Redknapp one way or another. He has no european experience, no major trophy wins and has never managed a top league club anywhere. Harry f*ckin Who as my father says. A no mark that would be better off doing TV adverts with that stupid dog, churchill.

  • Iain

    Ha ha. What purports to be a serious article is really just an opportunity to brag how more successful/ richer/better looking your lot are than ours.

    I read loads of Spurs blogs and they are never about Arsenal except maybe in passing but you lot seem obsessed by us.

  • ASNLthruNthru

    Financial aspects were surely part of the reason for Arry being sacked but the reasons pointed out by Archibald seem the far more likely,besides they are much more fun!!!
    Despite us having so much heartache LAST season and securing CL participation for THIS season, seeing the Spuds bundled into Europa made last season something to remember.

  • gayfere

    how can a top manager.a candidate for the england job.lose so many games with one of the strongest squads in the league and not know what to do?terrible tactics and suddenly quite clueless.then to quote”how can the team play with such uncertanty to the managers future”.no club with 36000 gate can compete with the big clubs.neither in wages or transfer fees.i supported him comeing to the club.i support his cant have your cake and eat it.

  • Devonshirespur

    I think you have some points right here but not so much the City but more Daniel Levy. Spurs have a state of the art academy & training facility touching down this summer. We have the new stadium in the pipeline. We have the core of an excellent squad with a lot of young players in amongst it. We have a steady footing in the top 5 of the league with real potential to push on. Levy stopped spending on Harry about 2 years ago and has overall spent very little on the transfer market while off loading a lot of players. Harry was a 65+ year old guy who lived and managed for the moment, not planning too far ahead, not involving himself in the deeper running of the club & academy or able or willing to really impose a philosophy that can run through the club from top to bottom.

    The world has all seen how Barca do things and Spurs want in place the right people to implement a long term plan that will see the club develop on the pitch, commercially and behind the scenes…..Redknapp is clearly not that man.

    With the training facility coming in and the need to attract investment in the stadium the new dawn has to be headed up by a young(er) dynamic modern coach who will raise the profile of Spurs and realise their objectives, creating sustainable long term success.

    I am not quite sure Spurs want to become like Arsenal because in many respects they have failed….their financial superiority, superior youth set up and ‘world class’ coach managed to surpass old fashioned Spurs with their old small stadium in a shitty part of town and with their dinosaur manager by 1 point. The changes and level of investment at Spurs that will take place over the next 5 years must look to achieve something better than Arsenal have since they moved to the Emirates.

  • @Devonshirespur – good luck with becoming the next Barcelona, I hear Pep is looking for work?

  • WalterBroeckx

    To keep a team in the PL while building a new stadium is an incredible achievement. All others who built a new stadium have gone down as far as I know Midlesbrough, Southampton, Bolton, Leicester,… (or have gone bankrupt or both)

    To keep that team in the top 4 is just well out of this world. The money has to be paid back (from who ever has lend it) and lending money costs money.

    Arsenal managed to stay in the PL, didn’t go bankrupt and stayed in the top 4 during all those years. But like I said this is the exception to the usual things that happen to a club that builds a new stadium.

    Some tottenham fans can say that they will show the world that they will do it better than Arsenal. But that is like saying you will be in front of us at the end of the season. You always say that but it still didn’t happen in all those 17 years since the last time it happened.

    In the last 7 years Arsenal has spend around £300M on paying for the stadium. Money that could not be used to make the team stronger. That is enough money to buy 10 world class players.

    So don’t take it light tottenham fans and say: oh we will do it better and will in the mean time beat you in the PL and end up higher at the end of the season.

    You could be facing a real hard time if you ever come to building a new stadium.

  • Shard

    When I saw the article in the Mirror about how Levy had already started looking for a new manager before Capello resigned, I read it as Spurs trying to send a statement about how they have s stable long term plan, to someone. Who? Fans, the taxman? (considering ‘Arry’s ‘Istory with them) or someone else. This seems as logical an explanation as any. I think you might be right. I have no idea where Spurs are with their stadium plans. Their fans might think a new stadium on the way is easy, but it won’t be. Do they even have a site where they can start building? I do think Spurs will have the possibility of minding the transition better (in financial terms) than Arsenal because Arsenal have shown the way. They, if they are smart, can learn from that. On the pitch though, they need their own version of Arsene Wenger (and the courage to stick by him) and as we know… There’s only one Arsene Wenger.

  • rex

    I think you make some valid points. Trouble is for Spurs the Arsenal model has not delivered trophies since the stadium so they are copying decline rather than success.

    The end product of their approach though is that even if all goes well Spurs are the cheap copy of Arsenal. Spurs targeting the Europa League while Arsenal lord it up in the Champions League. Cannot see Spurs getting into the top 4 again.

    TBH though modern football is a money dominated sham. Fans are stuck with just supporting one multinational over another and whatever team of mercenaries they have in tow this year. You really got to close your eyes tight to think of standing on the north bank or shelf in the 70s & 80s. Those days are sadly long gone.

  • Rex, if you don’t like what Arsenal has become then you can always support another team. A lot of clubs have spaces in their stadia.

    But Arsenal has had the image and style of a rich team since Herbert Chapman took over and has never been run by the fans. It seems a bit late to complain about it.

  • david smith

    this is a total “non-article”. the arsenal board scarcely bears a resemblence to the one which oversaw the move from highbury. kroenke, usmanov weren’t invested. david dein was the main player. arsene wenger, harry redknapp or any other team manager is just a football coach and totally irrelevant to a business trying to raise funds. forecasting earnings dependent on champions league qualification is a punt at best and please remember that with nearly two decades of continual appearance money in the world’s most lucrative football tournament, consistent premier league prize money dwarfing that of tottenham’s and a ground with a 24000 seat greater capacity arsenal managed to come 1 point above their north london rivals this season. as a fan i don’t go to see the balance sheet, i go to watch the team and with the recent arsenal policy of selling their best players and tottenham’s policy of trying to keep their’s (modric’s sale to chelsea was opposed successfully)i know where i would rather spend my attendance money.

  • David Smith, I think you are a little confused here. David Dein opposed the move to the Emirates Stadium, and wanted Arsenal to play at Wembley.

  • Stuart

    The fact that Arsenal have not won a trpohy since the new stadium is not really a sign that the club is in decline. It is however a sign that the club have not been able to compete financially with other teams, initially Chelsea & Man Utd, now add in Man City. Maybe the club has not moved forward but that is not a sign of decline, even finishing on less points is not a sign of decline if it is due to other clubs improving and taking more of the points (unless you are speaking relatively of course). Arsenal are punching well above our weight in terms of the level of investment in the team which is something to be thankful for and proud of. The real decline will come when wealthy owners decide they are no longer interested in their clubs who then have to sell us all their best players at knock down prices.

  • Stroller

    @david smith

    So it would appear that you would rather spend your attendance money at WHL than at the Emirates right now. This is on the strength of them retaining Modric, while we sold Cesc, Nasri and Clichy. You say you are a fan but it’s not clear of which club. Or is it both?

  • david smith

    i never suggested david dein was for the move. i just said he was the main player on arsenal’s board and is no longer involved. i also didn’t say i would rather watch tottenham because they kept modric, i said i go to watch the players. in my opinion tottenham have more entertaining players and this is because their transfer policy differs from that of arsenal’s. my point is that with a vastly higher income arsenal managed to attain one point more than tottenham this season and in my opinion they are inferior on the eye.

  • @david smith – I was very entertained by Tottenham’s run in… I just wish they would release a DVD.

  • Stroller

    Yes they were especially entertaining at the Emirates. Pity that some us had to put up with the less entertaining Arsenal at the same time.

  • Notoverthehill

    “Arsene Wenger has been heavily criticised in the wake of Arsenal’s 8-2 loss to Manchester United, and there have been calls for the “humiliated” manager’s head. But Harry Redknapp, who has guided his side to an 8-1 aggregate loss against the Manchester clubs, has received no such treatment.”

    “The fans had nothing before I got here.” “I brought Champions League football to a club that had never had it.”

    2 Quotes from a Spurs fan dated August 29th, 2011.

    Despite Henry Winter’s love-in with Redknapp, the latter was involved in tax evasion with the “dog bank account”. Proof:

    I have sent a copy of that link (article) to the Daily Telegraph for that paper to issue a retraction of Winter’s “disinformation” regarding Redknapp’s “unblemished reputation”.

  • SouthernGunner

    @ Richard

    Was interesting how you closed this article. “….the future of Tottenham has a major bearing on the future of Arsenal.”

    Maybe I’m being a little obtuse, but I didn’t quite understand what was meant by this. Could someone elaborate a little, please?

  • Arsenal1Again

    The sacking of Redknapp didn’t surprise me. He allowed the England Manager position to turn his head and thus show he STILL has no concept of loyalty to a club. He left Southampton without warning when the club were riding high to go to the main rivals, thus causing the Saints to nose dive down the table, he walked out on Portsmouth twice when offered a better deal elsewhere, he walked out on West Ham when Lampard senior got sacked and he showed intent to walk out on Spurs which saw the team lose a 10pt lead in the table. Had Redknapp got the England job – I believe he would have walked out on that too at some point … so no, it was not a surprise.

    Somebody above doesn’t know David Dein’s Son is married to the daughter of Buchler, a director at Spurs, or he was a director.

  • Gary Fox

    “The City” is not really the issue – they are far more interested in who runs the club (Levy) than who runs the team. Harry was sacked for footballing reasons – two seasons in a row, he lost his nerve in the run-in – and personal ones e.g. mouthing-off about a new contract to Sky on the day of Levy’s mums funeral and turning down the contract offer in Feb because he had one eye on the England job. He then wanted the same deal in June but had lost his bargaining power – the England job had gone and the Spurs season had gone tits-up. If Harry had recognised that fact, he might have got a one-year contract but not the 3 year one he assumed he would be offered.

    So now he gets a £3m pay-off, which after tax is about £3m.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Nice analysis Richard, welcome to Untold!

    Spurs are in for a tough time, with or without AVB. With AVB, I’m looking forward to a comedy of errors! Good fun for Gooners!

  • C4

    LMAO @ Gary Fox: “So now he gets a £3m pay-off, which after tax is about £3m.”