I don’t think it would be fair to class me as a Harry Redknapp fan. I know he’s beloved by a lot of people ‘in the game’ and at present he is the flavour of the month with the success he has brought to Tottenham since he took over as manager. I tend to balance that, though, with some of his earlier managerial movements between Southampton and Portsmouth, which left a bad taste in me mouth, but apparently as I’ve been informed – that’s football. Life goes on and so does football.
Following the draw against West Ham which dented their chances of finishing in the top four, Mr. Redknapp has been making noises about Spurs going on to win the league, maybe not this season, but soon. It’s an interesting time to be making such a statement, but there’s something canny about it that is appealing. What makes it all the more of interest to me is that I think he is absolutely right.
Conversing with a friend recently I was outlining the merits of the first choice eleven of the top five clubs and then the level of strength in depth and tactical flexibility those sides have. In my humble estimation not only does Tottenham Hotspurs have a better first eleven when all play to form than any of the other top five, but the level of tactical flexibility already seen in some of their European ties, is marginally greater than their rivals.
Gomes in goal may be a liability at times, but beyond that the central defence is solid, the full back options are impressive, it’s when you get into their midfield and attack that the strength and options really begins to shine. Palcios, Sandro, Huddlestone, Jenas, Modric, Kranjcar are tasty options to have just in central midfield. When Robbie Keane needs to leave to command some level of first team action that says heaps. Look at the diversity you get with Defoe Van Der Vaart, Crouch and Pavlyuchenko. Little chinks that strengthen the squad coming in like the great winter purchase of Steven Pienaar.
The steps Spurs have taken must be remembered to be part of a work in progress. They have not had to deal with the challenges and demands of Champions League football as well as higher expectations of league placings. There is also the relatively new feeling of being able to challenge the ‘big boys’ on more equal terms and not coming up short against ‘lesser’ sides. Sides like Manchester United and Chelsea are proven in this field, which is the reason they win titles. Arsenal were proven in this field, but of late (like the last 6 years or so) they have proven to lack the substance needed to turn pretty football into trophy-winning and especially league-title winning football. Spurs have a great opportunity to do that.
Missing out on the Champions League will actually be a blessing in disguise to their efforts in winning the league next season. As they are on the up and if the state of the other clubs is anything to go by this season, they have every chance, with a few more canny investments in key areas, to press a decent claim to winning the title as soon as next season.
Though Redknapp won’t earn a sainthood in my books, his achievements at this level are rightly being applauded and he has every reason to be confident that should that level of support continue from behind the scenes and with the fans he can bring trophies to White Hart Lane. It could even include that much coveted Premier League title. Funnily enough, though, if the buzz around the England management is correct, he will only have next season to achieve this before he assumes the hardest job in English football.