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July 2021

After the manager leaves what then? (Or “Redknapp: more of a menace outside than in”)



 Ordinary is Pointless


By Tony Attwood

We were speaking yesterday about changes in management at the clubs, and what would happen after Mr Wenger leaves.

If I were the chairman of a football club, or maybe the man charged with making the club run smoothly for the chairman, one thing I would do would slap a no-comment clause in the contract with any manager I took on.  No matter if he was sacked, if he retired, or resigned – no comment for at least 18 months.

Obviously if it were Mr Wenger I wouldn’t imagine too much of a problem – he’s generally very discrete, but supposing I’d ended up as adviser to the chairman of Tottenham and for some reason had Harry Redknapp as the team manager.  I’d have thought several things upon his appointment:

a) Every club he has been involved with has then gone into administration or liquidation at some time after his tenure.  That may be coincidence, but I’d better keep an eye on things, just in case.

b) He is by his own admission dyscalculic – which is frightening for a man who is central to the buying and selling of players.  His vision of who is a good player or might not be as focused as that of a man who does understand figures.

c) Although profoundly dyslexic also by his own admission he “writes” columns in newspapers.   That is perhaps my biggest worry of all, because if he says something once I have sacked him (as inevitably I would) he is going to put the boot in.

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That is what I would think, and that is what I would want to avoid.  But it seems Tottenham couldn’t or didn’t bother to get a gagging order – or maybe such things are not practical these days.  So now we read that Mr Redknapp “has warned Spurs fans to brace themselves for the departure of Luka Modric.”  (Oh don’t you just love that quaint old-fashioned journo language.  Brace yourselves.   Hold on to the railings – a semi-skimmed journalist coming through.)

Mr Redknapp of course didn’t write that – at best he said it.  But I suspect it is not exactly what anyone who supports Tottenham actually wants to hear.  I remember when I heard that Robin VP was saying he was off.  Not my favourite memory.  I’ve got used to it now, and have actually started to see it as yet another episode in the Flamini Fallacy, but still, at the time I was, as they say, gutted (probably because I wasn’t properly braced).

Anyway, Modric is Croatian (lovely country), plays in midfield and has been one of the players the media have been keen on moving around for a couple of years.  Real Madrid apparently want him.  Chelsea want him.  But Mr Redknapp said that his boss Mr Levy promised to allow Modders to leave this year.

Mr Redknapp is reported as saying, by the Sun (so it must be true): “I would not be sure Luka would start the season at Tottenham. The club would be happy to sell if they get the right money. The chairman [Daniel Levy] said to him last year ‘Give us one more season and if Real come in, I won’t stand in your way’.”

Now I might be wrong, but wasn’t there someone else who was told by Tottenham they could go if an offer came in, and then the member of the board said no this is not true.  Or did I just invent that.  (Sorry, the old memory is not what it was.  Probably never was).

So disruption during the pre-season is not the prerogative of Arsenal.  But like Arsenal with RVP, Tottenham can think, maybe we can get some dosh and spend it on…

Well who?  For Arsenal I am not sure who we would want.  Saying “another full back” is not an answer, because you have to name a full back who is better than we have and who is available and who will drop  the low taxes of foreign parts for the higher taxes of England.  Tottenham however are looking elsewhere: for example at a goalkeeper.

But if Modric goes it will be interesting if the media then do what they do to Arsenal and start saying that players like Bale are questioning the aspirations of the club, and are unsettled, and want to go.  (Actually they have already said that).

We know all about that of course, and although an Arsenal fan born and bred in Tottenham doesn’t have sympathy for the neighbours, any more than vice versa, I think both sides can recognise this player poaching is getting crazy.  The only way round it, as Arsenal show this summer, is to buy big before the other guy goes.  But Tottenham have a problem in that they have yet to build their stadium, and while doing that they will have to borrow money, and that will, as with the Arsenal stadium project, reduce their borrowing power.  Unless their billionaire owner steps in and funds the work himself – in the style that Mr Usmanov wants.   Now that would be an interesting development.

However for a moment, Tottenham and Arsenal are strangely united in being victims of the press speculation about ambition, players moving on, and all that tosh.

But here’s a word for Tottenham fans (not that they need me to saying anything).  Build a great youth system, and it can save you a few shillings a year.  Unless your best youth player for several years gets injured. That’s a bit of a bugger too.  The Tottenham return to the reserve league after the years out of it caused by Mr Redknapp’s dislike of reserves, can only help them.  It will take a few years to recover from the mess that Mr Redknapp caused by dismembering the reserves, but it is vital.  Without it, in my humble opinion, progress is much harder.


16 comments to After the manager leaves what then? (Or “Redknapp: more of a menace outside than in”)

  • Heci

    Redknapp is a prime example of how a manager should NOT use the media. That being if he cares for his club (now ex-club). The way he handles it is to serve his own ego while other managers always do their best to serve the clubs that employ them. I have seen many fans disapprove of Wenger’s silent media tactics but the reality is that it’s best for us to be in the dark as well as our enemies, than for all to know what’s going on all the time with our club.

    To this day I can’t for the life of me comprehend how a man like Redknapp managed to make a career in football management and is considered by the media to be one of the top too. Say what you want about Hodgson but the comparison between the two is a pure travesty and the moment the FA appointed Hodgson instead of Redknapp was one of the most blatant examples to the media and fans that there is nothing in Harry is not really regarded to be very good by the men who should know their football.

    That being said I don’t rate Hodgson much highly either..

  • Timmy

    Good write up sir, and factual at that.

  • nicky

    Having read a pretty robust character assassination of Harry Redknapp as a man, would Tony tell us, IHO, what the guy is like, purely as a football coach. He has been head-hunted and sacked in equal measure, but what are his attributes on the training ground.

  • udehsam

    Silence is strength. I like Arsene for his diplomatic approach to things, he’s saved the club many things in his time. I’ll see who steps into his shoes whenever he decides to call it a day, but for now he’s the best for me!

  • Steve

    Harry Redknapp is a sports writers/SSN wet dream, he gives them exactly what they want. If a story breaks about player A then they know old Arry boy will be available for a quick quote either down the phone or hanging out the window in his range rover.

    The way the media acted about the England managers job was nothing short of disgusting. It was not the fans driving the Redknapp for England it was the media. At the end of his court case(don’t get me started on the roll of the media in that verdict) a sports writer was on talkrubbish radio and said “when the not guilty verdict was read out all the jurnolists jumped up and said that’s the verdict we want” not that’s the correct verdict but “what we want”. Redknapp is either a great manipulator of the media or he has worked out that without the media behind him he is just mr average.

    On the Modric saga Spurs said “give me one more season and we will let you go” well it seems to me that Spurs are making it hard for Modric to leave holding out for a price they know(I suspect) that Real Madrid can not afford in the present climate. I expect Modric to still be at Spurs at the start of the season, but I think old Arry boy is using the media to keep the Modric story going to try and force Real Madrid or anyother club to up their price.

  • colario

    I am not too sure that Wet Hams undoing was entirely due to ‘Arry’.

    Arry was glad to go to Spuds and after all is said and done he did reasonably well (league wise better than ‘GG’). It is sad that Arry now slaggs the club.

    I don’t think GG has ever been disloyal to Spuds although his going there will always for supporters like me a sign of disloyalty to Arsenal.

    If (and all his possible in football don’t we know) Arsene was kicked out of Arsenal, he would have to have a dramatic change of ideals to be disloyal to his former employers.

    It happened to him at Monaco and he uttered not a word in public against the club. Instead set about doing the job he loves and got on with life.
    By the way in an article you wrote about Arsene’s replcement he has already said who he would recommend to place him. When I read the article I couldn’t think of the man’s name and still can’t but I think Arsene said that he is from the Balkans and is now managing a Japanese club.

    When Arsene does step down if he recommends to the board the one to replace him the board would do well to heed his recommendation – ‘Arsene knows’

    Terry Neil was not recommended to Spuds by their former manager. He came and no one could stop the coming disaster. Well disaster for spuds joy for us. It would have happened to us but for the return of the great Don.

  • Heci

    colario, you are right. The man in question is Dragan Stojkovic. He’s a very good friend of Wenger and also Wenger rates him highly, plus they have similiar experience in managing in Japan. I think Wenger was manager of Nagoya Campus while Stojkovic was playing there and their football ideas were quite alike. Though there have been interviews of Stojkovic saying he does have some different views of his own.

  • Heci

    *** Nagoya Grampus, sorry for the typo and double post.

  • Alex

    There are things i like about Harry like his openess.I mean the easy languagge not ala Gazidis .Come on is just football.

    Arsenal players are every season linked to other clubs.You name any first team player an almost they are all linked with other big clubs and the media relentlesly works on it to make us believe there is an exodous .This is every season for us.I am sorry to differ with you in here because for the tiny Totty who else they got except Modric and barely two season only
    Massive difference in quantity of time that we been bashed by the media.

  • fedda

    Off topic: Cazorla confirmed on

  • I have said before about Redknapp, and my apologies for not repeating, that I don’t think he is responsible for the financial failures at all the clubs where he has been.

    And just my own personal view is that there are too many events to be coincidence. Even the sacking at WHU, which was clearly not related to subsequent financial implosion, was, well, curious.

    I believe he is a very good manager of a team – he can pick players and he can find formations to overcome the opposition. But to do this he demands money, money, money and then some, and his wheeling and dealing always seems to come at a price.

    Plus he is the media’s favourite because he says stuff that the media want to print. Like this latest outburst. He may be bitter about being sacked at Tottenham, but he is not doing himself any favours by talking about his exclub like this.

  • colario

    @ Tony. Yes I agree his sacking at Wet spam was curious.

    I also agree that his wheeler dealing does seem to go astray and in the long term the club suffers.

    I wonder if we will ever know the truth as to his demise at spuds.

    I can now confirm that a spuds sufferer I know reads your blogs and agrees with my claim that yes of course they are ‘Arsenal Bound’ but there is a high degree of objectivity not found elsewhere. Keep them coming. 🙂

  • colario

    @Heci. Yes. Spot on. Thank you. I am going now to google him.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Notorious Arsenal fan sacked by Spurs puts boot into former club? How is that a surprise?

  • Spartan, a black coat labrador

    I love this man Tony (in a straight way) ! This is brilliant writting. He deserves a double on the rocks. The main reason I can’t stay away from untold despite you know who`s conspiracy theories!

  • Richard

    Re Harry’s coaching skills – I seem to remember that when it was first mooted the Harry might leave Spurs for the England job the aforesaid Modric was asked if he would be missed at the Club. Modric seemed to indicate that Harry was rarely seen at the training ground and appeared to do very little coaching – a bit like Brian Clough really.
    Harry succeeded because of all the shallow things that have been said. He was a media darling perhaps because he blurted out quotable platitudes or was willing to have words attributed to him because of his inability to write them himself. Chairman afterr chariman fell for it and the rest his history.
    Football has now moved on, not least in the area of finance and Tony is very right in saying that having a strong youth and reserve set up, precluding an over dependence on the transfer market, is vital.
    Once again Spurs are playing catch-up and with the stadium situation still unresolved (ten years after Arsenal first started to raise funds for Ashburton Grove)they don’t appear to be playing their cards very well.