Old Harry’s Game – A Dan Raywood guest blog

The past few days has seen former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp claim that he was close to winning the title whilst he was manager.

Well if I had worked harder at school, I would have got better grades in my exams. If I hadn’t have been so tired at Glastonbury in 1995 I’d have seen Elastica. If I wasn’t so tight on buying football tickets, I’d have got one for Spurs v Newcastle at the weekend….scrub that one.

The Spurs team of the Redknapp era had a wonderful midfield of Van Der Vaart-Parker-Sandro-Modric-Bale that would evolve into the Gareth Bale show a season or two later. As Spurs fans we are reminiscent of that as a great era, although the current offering of Lamela-Chadli-Eriksen with (currently) Mason and Capoue providing defensive cover may get the similar rose-tinted treatment in years to come.

The squad then, now mostly departed but still playing for QPR, Stoke and Hull, was very strong, and it can be agreed that had we have had a prime Robbie Keane or an in-form Adebayor, that team could have gone on to bigger and better things.

But let’s not ignore the reality, the Redknapp era saw the management refuse to rotate exhausted players on the grounds that “Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst never needed a break”, that too often opportunities to purchase a much needed striker were missed, and when we did make the signings we wanted, the C-list options of Ryan Nelson and Louis “glass ankles” Saha were purchased. Yes Louis made the effort in the 5-0 win over Newcastle, but strikers were there and to paraphrase Jose Mourinho following the loss of Juan Mata, it wasn’t the failure of the player to perform, it was the failure of the manager to get the best from the player.

Spurs had some excellent players in the attacking third – Pavulychenko, Crouch and Defoe, and untold youth players who I never heard about. Could one of those not be coached to a level of acceptable level of form and performance? The failure Harry was not in the lack of funds to get the best players, it was in getting the best of what we had.

There is plenty of romantic reminiscing about the Redknapp era, in the same way I suspect Manchester United fans do about Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominance. Yes we looked strong, yes we qualified for the Champions League and progressed well in it, but bad decisions were made and let’s hope that history treats us well for the next challenges.

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