Archive for November, 2008

Look away from White Hart Lane, the sights are too ugly

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Harry Redknapp has been installed at Tottenham Hotspur for a week now and this evening he sees his Spurs team face Liverpool with the North London side buoyant following a 4-4 draw at Arsenal. The Reds have the best start to a Premiership season ever which is the sort of position which chairman Daniel Levy wants to catapult his side into.

Redknapp’s appointment has raised mostly applause anywhere except the South coast where they seem to have tired of their club becoming his to toy with. Harry wants to leave because of a Director of Football, Harry joins Southampton, Harry comes back. The soap opera drama of Fratton Park always centres around Harry and now he has walked away saying he wants to go to a bigger club they seem to have got bored of his machinations.

So they should. It is not two months since Harry was speaking with the voice of Portsmouth to condemn the supporters who racial, homophobic and fairly horrible abuse at Sol Campbell. At the time Harry said of Spurs fans “How do you do that in front of your kids? What kind of a nutter must you be? What kind of human being must you be when you take your little kids to football and shout filth? It can’t be right”.

Are we to think that Harry has changed his mind? Was Harry wrong about the fans who he now needs to back his revolution at The Lane? Only a fool would say he was.

However Harry is not dishonest. Far from it his approach to the the game with one of the straightest bat around. He shows a disinterest – if not a contempt – for the opinion of supporters.

As Hitchcock said of actors supporters to Redknapp are cattle and what they think and what they say is either objectionable in the case of the Spurs fans or ignorable. Spurs area big club – he says – but virtue of the size of the support but those supporters are to pay up and shut up and allow him total control of “their” club.

None of which is a criticism of Harry Redknapp, of Daniel Levy, of Portsmouth or of Spurs just that in this footballing world where we as supporters increasingly believe that the game is being run for the benefit of drifting TV viewers and big companies looking for brand alignment Redknapp’s hypocrisy and his attitude to the fans who watch his clubs that reduces them to serfs is typical of the relationship that supporters now have with those who they support.

It is the demand not for support but for fealty. That relationship is an ugly one.