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.
I think you know you might be up against it when it’s Monday morning and Alan Shearer is writing a column in the Nation’s biggest selling newspaper discussing your limitations as a manager and strategist. That’s Alan Shearer writing a column on tactics. Tactics. Never mind the face-meltingly stupid act of booing your own team half-way through their third game of the season, if Wor Al is giving out the managerial advice, to anyone other than Claude Anelka, then football is well and truly f***ed.
Trouble is, MOTD’s finest student isn’t even at the front of the cue of those lining up to have a pop-shot at Villas-Boas. Suddenly every low-level media grunt is wading in. Has he learned from his mistakes at Chelsea, wondered Robbie Savage, sagely. They’re just not playing for him, exclaimed Paul Merson. Presumably on heroin.
Tottenham didn’t play well on Saturday. Norwich could’ve easily won had it not been for Friedel’s age-defying nimbleness and sturdy wrists. These are both facts. It is also true, however, that for AVB to be under such a weight of pressure so early is just plain depressing. Being modern thinkers and all, would it not sound feasible to them, that it might take more than, ooh I don’t, a month, to implement an entirely new system into a football club? One which has seen several new players coming in over the summer, while also bidding adieu to its two most creative midfielders and club captain? It’s a stretch to imagine, granted.
Well they all loved ‘Arry didn’t they? Top, top manager.
Those whingeing in attendance on Saturday, while clearly not helping, you’d hope were part of demented minority, not even deserving of remark; but these supposed experts are getting paid for this sewage-pipe analysis.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor was it built with Mickey Quinn as site foreman.
Oh and the French hate us now, too.
So that’s just great.
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