It’s certainly been the busiest week of the calendar year in football, up to now. With John Terry being stripped of the captaincy, Fabio Capello disagreeing with the FA’s decision and then being called to explain himself and promptly resigning. Then, throw in Harry Redknapp’s acquittal during the week and you have all the makings of a highly controversial – and some would say, exceptionally coincidental – week in football. The press are having a field day; they’re like pigs in… mud.
I may be the only one but I am pleased that Redknapp escaped without charge because he will now take over the England role, without doubt, either on a part-time role until the summer or permanently in the next few weeks. This, I should point out, has absolutely nothing to do with my love of England or Redknapp. Not in the least; I have all but lost interest in International football in recent years (primarily due to the treatment of quality managers like Eriksson and Capello) but I think that the Londoner moving into the England role will signal the end of Tottenham’s upsurge, if not this season then at the very least next.
You see, for the little I think of Redknapp’s ability as a manager or tactician, he appears to have finally got himself a squad together that thrives on his man-management skills and they have gone from strength-to-strength in the past 2 years but I feel that they are in a very crucial stage. The next few months will see them either qualify for the Champions League for a second consecutive year and strengthen further in the summer or, do something akin to a what Leeds did a decade or so ago and miss out, losing their best players over the summer and failing to replace them with adequate quality.
The likes of Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric will not stay if a) Harry Redknapp leaves for the England role which then leads to b) Tottenham replacing him with a manager with different ideas, philosophies and without the desire to cow-tow to all of his favourite players like Redknapp does with his.
There are only two managers that I think could do something different with Tottenham that would reap similar rewards, whilst being able to hold on to and simultaneously attract the best players: Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez and I can’t see either man being interested. Mourinho is the most in-demand manager on the planet, and rightly so. He will walk from Madrid in the summer, having won La Liga, and have the pick of any club he desires. Tottenham will not be it. In turn, Rafa Benitez will then walk in to the Real Madrid job (unless my campaign to get his job back at Liverpool succeeds) and Tottenham will be left with not much to choose from.
With Arsenal not sure what typeof form they want to be in from one week to the next and Chelsea seemingly on their way down, the only real obstacles to the Red’s attempts to re-enter the top 4 this season and in the foreseeable future is their own inability to score and Tottenham. And while I hate having to rely on other team’s bad fortune, in this case, I will happily see them take a massive blow to further my own side’s cause; you have to take all the help you can get these days.
I think there are some very interesting days ahead for English football and, from my point-of-view, particularly for Liverpool. Redknapp leaving his current position will be a huge blow for the club and if Liverpool can get their form together and start putting a winning run together, particularly at home, then there will be nothing stopping us from catching Tottenham (this season and going forward) but we have to be fully prepared to pounce when the time comes.
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