Posts Tagged ‘Harry Redknapp’

Does Rafa lose on Robbie after the dust settles at Liverpool?

Friday, February 6th, 2009

The school of thought says: Rafael Benitez must have faith in the abilities of David N’gog – the Liverpool striker he is left with as cover after the departure of Robbie Keane – else he has made the management error of the century and blown The Red’s best chance of a title in years.

Keane returned to Tottenham Hotspur to a captain’s welcome – although one wonders if the fans will have something to say on that, we know how they treat players they see as Judases – and Rafa was left with a striking problem that seemed symptomatic of a wider discontent off the field at Anfield. It is turmoil – we are told – and Benitez has failed sign a replacement losing between £8m and £5m on the player who is now Spurs’s gain.

Spurs are back tracking in a bid to avoid relegation. There is an irony in that Keane, Jermaine Defoe et al benefited from the North Londoners actually sticking with a manager for once in Martin Jol and moved forward towards the top of the Premiership but their attempts to stay in the division revolve around changing as many things as possible and they will be ignoring the desperate laughter that comes from Southampton when they talk about Harry Redknapp and avoiding relegation, and the second attempt at a last laugh that comes from Portsmouth’s Fratton Park.

In Keane they have (re)signed a player who spent most of the last few months trying and failing to fill the not inconsiderable boots of Ferndando Torres and seemed only to justify the idea that while Keane was good he was never worth the £20m paid for him. Keane was not a player without his advocates while at Spurs – especially in the National media who are often accused of being infatuated with all things White Hart Lane – and one can only suppose that Benitez took a chance that those advocates were correct. It was graduation day for the Liverpool number seven but unlike the “load of rubbish” signed from Scunthrope or the guy who came down from Celtic with the usual questions marks over differences in the English and Scots game he did not make that step up and this cost Benitez some £5m/£8m.

Has it cost his title aspirations? That is doubtful. Keane has proved – in so much as we assume he would get no better at Liverpool – that he is no replacement for Torres and that should the Spaniard get injured or require resting then the Irishman is no more able to replace him than N’gog and the title is lost. The £5m/£8m then is more of a damage limitation exercise with Benitez having bet on Keane making the grade and lost, but he only lost the £5m/£8m and not the £20.3m, nor the £12m/£15m which Spurs have paid.

Thus we have context for Keane: That he is not good enough for a team that aspires to the top of the Premiership. If we know he is not worth £20.3m, do we think he is worth £15m? Rafa has lost £5m/£8m by buying high but he has – in Harry – found the sucker to take on what he has found out is not fit for purpose and at a price which minimises the deficit Liverpool suffer. To give that a context Liverpool are Manchester United buying Juan Sebastian Veron for £28.1m and Spurs are Chelsea allowing them to minimise the loss by paying £15m for someone who goes on to prove that he was not good enough in the first place.

Benitez and Liverpool are left with egg on their faces after a transfer gamble went wrong, but Harry Redknapp and Spurs are left with the meal that does not taste quite right.

Why can’t Spurs fans sing about Sol when other fans can sing about disasters?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Four men have been charged with singing what is a very offensive song about Sol Campbell after a unified decision by “people in football” that things had gone “too far”.

Harry Redknapp led the charge against Spurs fans – how ironic – and he was right to do so, His comments about not being able to understand the mentality of a Father who sings a racist, homophobic and generally nasty song in front of his son is echoed through out the land. Almost no one outside of a football ground will understand the reason why such chanting is necessary, as will a good few people inside it.

All of which is right and proper – although raises interesting questions – but why was the line drawn at Sol Campbell and Spurs?

As a Bradford City fan I have this season had to sit in a football ground listening to home fans singing mocking songs about the fire of 1985 on more than one occasion – in fact I can tell you having ill advisedly sat at Huddersfield Town with the collection of supporters who sit on the river bank side closest the away fans delight in it – so why is it that no one has been arrested, cautioned, questioned, accused of behaviour likely to cause affray or any of those other laws which – rightly or wrongly – are being used against the Campbell chanters?

I’m no legal expert so I’m not able to answer that question returning to Redknapp’s bafflement at the mindset of people who would engage in such chanting and adding my own belief that some self-policing in the form of right-minded fans booing the offenders would not go amiss. After all football fans seem capable of booing almost anything else.

It seems that the Campbell chanters are guilty of committing an offence at the wrong place and the wrong time and to be made an example of – they get no sympathy from me – but how much the lessons will be learnt by fans the length of the land, and what those questions are, is debatable.

Will the police be arresting Huddersfield Town supporters in the situation out lined above? Would they have moved in against the Bradford City fans who sang songs about cockle pickers at Morecambe last year? Will they arrest the guy behind me who shouted that Barry Conlon was a useless twat and should be substituted on Saturday?

What chanting is acceptable? David James believes that anything not racist or homophobic is allowed while others would suggest it is anything legal but the morality of grown men screaming swears until faces turn red at kids barely out of their teens troubles me greatly. I would suggest the people singing songs about the fire are worse than those swearing, being racist to or homophobic towards players but I’d say they were all under line of what should be acceptable.

I wonder about football when it has to look for law and browbeating debates on manners to decide whether or deliberate offence of these kinds are socially acceptable.

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.