The time has finally come. As was echoed in the views of many fans last night on Twitter, Harry’s position had become untenable. Redknapp’s comment last week that he needed a new long-term deal to ensure the players had certainty in his position was laughable given previous statements that the constant speculation linking with the England job had no bearing on the team’s performances. It’s almost as if the agent Paul Stretford had been brought in specifically to engineer a clumsy parting of the ways between his new client and Spurs.
The foundations for the split were, of course, laid in the late-season collapse from mid-February. Spurs collected 16 points from their 13 games past this point. At least this run of results finally stopped Harry referencing the 2 points from 8 games when he ‘rescued’ Spurs and their stock of top 6 talent in October 2008.
That Harry would have left Spurs for the England job is not in doubt, as he has since admitted as much. He can be forgiven for this. What is less forgivable is the obvious distraction he allowed the potential new role to become to Spurs’ objectives in 2012. By way of comparison, Roy Hodgson must have known he stood a good chance of getting the England gig but his mid-table WBA side picked up more points than Spurs in the run in. Other mitigating factors for Spurs’ decline, such as fatigue and tactics, can also be blamed on Redknapp. It is clear that the media-loving Harry thoroughly enjoyed seeing his cheerleaders in the press pack prepare the ground for his inevitable elevation to the England job, and was not prepared to stop the stories from filling the back pages.
In the interests of balance, it must be said that Harry has done a lot for the club. He was brought in with a brief to clean up the mess left by Ramos and get Spurs back on a solid footing. He has more than achieved that in his time. The final month of the 2009/10 season will live as long in the memory as the inaugural venture into the Champions League the year after. He brought out the best in certain players and encouraged a style of play which harked back to the traditions of Tottenham.
Despite this, Harry never won over all the fans, even when Spurs went on their run which took them within four points of top spot in early February. The late season collapse merely confirmed his failings in the eyes of his detractors; that he was overly concerned with furthering his own career and media profile. For many seasons Harry’s ambitions and those of the club could be reconciled. Once Capello resigned the fallacy of that arrangement was laid bare for all to see.
Over the next few days Spurs will be linked with a host of managerial names. Though Levy has made recruitment mistakes in the past he must be backed in his pursuit of Harry’s replacement. More importantly than that, the new manager must be supported by all Spurs fans straight away. Whoever he is will face unprecedented pressure from Harry’s mates in the media at the start of next season. While I wish Harry all the best, the Spurs will go marching on!