Well, well, well. I gather Harry Redknapp awoke on Monday morning feeling pretty damn silly. After all the talk of the Tottenham Hotspur manager being the ready-made replacement for Fabio Capello with England, the Football Association have since made their first move to bring in West Bromwich Albion’s Roy Hodgson to succeed the Italian.
The aptly titled ‘people’s favourite’, Redknapp was the preferred choice by many to take over the heavy reins left by Capello. Since the latter left his post in February, the same day the former was found not guilty of all tax evasion charges, man in the media have questioned Redknapp on the role and whether he would be interested. After previously admitting it would be the ‘ultimate job’ to undertake, the Spurs boss has flirted profusely with the idea of taking up the position with the national team.
His dreams, however, appear to be over after waking up from a two month hibernation to see the FA have indeed plumped for Woy, with the news breaking late on Sunday evening. After rubbing his eyes with disbelief, the People’s Champions has gratuitously accepted he won’t be offered the role unless talks between Hodgson and the FA indeed break down.
Redknapp was never right for the role anyway
The Twitterverse went into absolute meltdown when the news broke across the media outlets late at Sunday. Many questioning how Hodgson got the opportunity over Redknapp, what will happen to Redknapp and Spurs and whether Hodgson is the right man for the role. The fact of the matter is, the West Brom boss was always the stronger candidate for the position.
Despite the numerous calls from high profile members of the game, such as Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and, most recently, Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside, to instil Redknapp almost instantaneously after Capello stepped down, Hodgson, for me, was always the better candidate for the job.
The 64-year-old ticks all the required boxes from the FA, with his international experience standing him in better stead than the Spurs manager, while his emphasis on youth will have appealed to the four-man Club England team charged with securing the next England manager, especially to Sir Trevor Brooking.
Yet, many are still of the opinion that he was the second choice, behind Redknapp, no matter the FA are saying on Monday. Finances have undoubtedly played a defining factor in his choice, with Hodgson out of contract at the end of the season compared to the 12 months remaining on Redknapp’s Spurs deal, no compensation will have to be paid to the Baggies, unlike the reported £10m Daniel Levy was asking from the FA.
Furthermore, his wages will be significantly lower than what Redknapp was thought to be asking (£5m per year for someone who tells player’s to ‘run about a bit’ unlike the reported £2m that someone with a tactical head on his shoulders is thought to be asking for). The finances will better used elsewhere, for example, on promoting the England youth academy at St. George’s Park, something that I envision Hodgson will have a strong input in after his work with the Swiss national side between 1992 and 1995.
Where does this leave the Spurs boss?
Throughout the time period leading from Capello’s resignation to Sunday evening when the news broke, Spurs’ form dipped dramatically to the point that the win over Blackburn was only their second in 10 games. Despite at various points over the last two-and-a-half months claiming otherwise, it was painfully obvious that his head had been turned by the chance to manage England.
The performances dropped, the player’s looked disinterested and Redknapp allowed the speculation to get the better of him. The fans took note of this and discussed the all too serious scenario that he lost the dressing room as a result. Even if that wasn’t the case, despite reports last week suggesting otherwise, he has certainly lost the admiration from the fans.
Spurs’ 2-0 win over Blackburn will have gone someway to alleviating the pressure currently hanging over Harry from the fans, and still gives them within a decent shout of finishing third, should they pick up maximum points against Bolton, Aston Villa and Fulham and rivals Arsenal draw or lose on their remaining two games, and should that happen, one can see Redknapp staying with the club next season.
But, many feel as though it is too late to turn the fans opinions back around. For the second time in as many seasons, the results completely differed from the first half of the season compared to the second. Is fatigue a problem? Exhaustion of the player’s, some of whom have played almost 40 games this season, or is it just down to Redknapp’s poor tactics?
The latter seems to be the general consensus from the supporters and perhaps the reason why Hodgson is the favourite to take over the national side. However, with a year still to run on his current deal at White Hart Lane, this summer is going to be a pretty pivotal to the future stability of the club. Does Levy persist with Harry or sack him and bring in a new man? Again, the majority appear to favour the latter.
Either way, the timing of the news couldn’t be more appropriate. Spurs, as previously mentioned, are still in with a decent shout for finishing in the top three and it’s no coincidence that the form dropped when the England role became available. However, with the position now, seemingly, filled by Hodgson, Redknapp’s focus can switch squarely back to that of the Premier League.
But is it too late to really turn the fortunes around on the pitch? Of course it isn’t. If Spurs still finish in the top four, it will be a success and credit where credit to Redknapp if, and that is a big if, the North Londoners still secure Champions League football next season. Nevertheless, the news that Hodgson has been approached by the FA must surely leave Redknapp in an interesting predicament as to where to go from here. Does he see out the remainder of his contract in the hope that he will be offered a new deal or will he face the wrath of Levy at the end of the season? All presumptions at the moment and all that matters right now is the remaining games of the campaign, with Bolton first up on Wednesday.