All eyes on self-anointed fackin’ football manager, Henry James Redknapp this weekend, as his oft abysmal QPR side are tasked with the responsibility of avenging their boss’s summer dismissal against the club who did a good deal of the dismissing. Well, all of the dismissing if we’re being honest.
There’s almost certainly some people who’d like to see karmic justice dished out in this meeting of minds- dirty great platters of the stuff if preferable. Those who believed Redknapp was just innocent collateral damage in a mad chairman’s scheme to run a football club into the ground. Why else would Levy fire the People’s Choice other than if he was a wibbling nutcase hell-bent of carnage?
True enough, the sun shone brightly on Tottenham during ‘Arry’s four-and-a-half year reign. Rock-bottom to Champions League quarter finals in one-and-a-half seasons is quite an achievement to put it mildly. There was heart-stopping stuff along the way, too. Redknapp’s now legendary vague tactical approach clearly lent itself well to a free-flowing laissez-faire brand of attacking football and it was one heck of a ride at times. But it was perhaps the England Manager-elect’s vision of the future where the troubles lay. In that, he didn’t seem to have one.
The old cliché that he’d taken Spurs as far as they could go is a tired one, but you can’t look beyond the fact that his last five major signings of his tenure at White Hart Lane were Adebayor (loan) Scott Parker (fairly injury-prone 31-year old) Friedel (mad old) Nelsen (?) and Louis Saha (busted up). Not exactly the foundations of a New World Order.
Now we’ve got ourselves one them contemporary football managers we’ve heard so much about, with everything geared towards safeguarding far beyond merely the next trading window. A young, dynamic coach to go with our sparkly new training ground and defined transfer policy. It’s Captain Buck Rogers in 25th Century. It’s the way forward.
In practically every way, Villas-Boas is Redknapp’s direct antithesis; his antipode; his polar opposite. Where one might tell a player to circumnavigate themselves along the apex of the centre-circle at a rate of 13.4km an hour, straight-talking ‘Arry would tell ‘em to round around a bit and stop asking so many questions. One’s the darling of the media, old china plates with the boys in the studio, always good for a quote; the other appears as an impassable smokescreen of Venn diagrams and convoluted business-talk. One is all about tactics and preparation, the other is, according to Rafael van der Vaart, er, not so much.
In the quest to tie together some neat narrative strands, the tabloids might be hoping for a QPR win tomorrow. They’ll use the headline Rope-a-Dope with the word ‘Dope’ in big red letters and everyone will nod their heads knowingly. Even if this is the case, and we do stumble against the League’s worst, I’m still mighty confident that we made the right choice and that our future is in secure hands. Indeed, even Mr. Redknapp himself is impressed with his predecessor’s work so far:
“He’s doing a fantastic job there and long may that continue for him. He got a job but it wasn’t my job. When he got the job I was out of work. I’ve got no problem with him. He seems like a nice guy.”
‘I don’t spend my nights worrying about what he’s doing. I will shake his hand and invite him for a drink whatever the result.”
Nice touch, Harold.
Quotes from the Daily Mail.