by Darren Walsh
Well, who saw that coming? We were all analysing and debating the huge match to come on Monday night, and then the FA drop the bombshell that Roy Hodgson is in negotiations to become the new England manager.
First of all, I believe that he is as good a candidate as anyone. He has international experience which sets him apart from any other choice, and as we know, the pool was fairly limited anyway. Alan Pardew is only settling into a successful time at Newcastle, while Martin O’Neill would not leave Sunderland so soon after arriving.
Ah but what about the main contender I hear you say? The FA’s choice (we thought), the fan’s choice (supposedly), and the media’s choice (undoubtedly); Harry Redknapp. It has seemed a fait accompli since Fabio Capello walked out, but it has not come to pass.
So what are the reasons?
Money may be the main one. It would have cost the FA 8 million to get him out of his contract at Spurs, and maybe they thought that he wasn’t such an outstanding hire above all others to deserve that type of belief.
Another possible reason, and this is the one that the papers will shove down your throat, is that he’s too much of a loose cannon, that he can’t be trusted with such a prestigious position. That Hodgson is more of a company man and will be the 21st century Ron Greenwood. The problem with this for me is that Redknapp will be cast in the Brian Clough role, who got passed over for Greenwood in 1977. If any journalist makes this comparison between the 2 time European Cup winner and the man with one FA Cup to his name, I implore you to stop reading and make fun of the writer on Twitter.
So what about Spurs? It is a fair bet that Daniel Levy had already accepted that Redknapp was on his way, and was already thinking about the 8 million he would have to play with. Replacements would have been thought of, feelers put out to gauge interest. Harry had already left mentally too; the players have complained about poor training sessions, lack of set piece work and changes in formation from training to match days. It’s clear that Harry had metaphorically packed his bindle and had one foot out the door.
If Redknapp has the choice, he will surely want to stay now. There isn’t a bigger job in the Premier League that he can get, not unless Roman Abramovich makes a surprising move. It is quite possible that Redknapp has been agitating with Levy to let him go without fuss; he now has to repair that relationship if he is to survive beyond this summer. It is the same with the players, who must have been ready to impress an incoming manager and now, might be stuck working with someone who was ready to walk out on them. He also has to get the fans back onside too, with some who were barely tolerating him to begin with. A strong last few games and a top four finish will help to sooth all strong feelings.
Of course Levy may think that there is no way back for Redknapp and still go ahead with the search for a new manager. This is probably the most popular option right now for Spurs fans, who have seen the team’s form fall off a cliff in the second half of a season twice in the last two years, and think that a new man could drive the club onto greater heights. That may be true, but remember that Juande Ramos didn’t exactly move things forward after taking over from Martin Jol.
If Levy does go down the new manager route, there will be plenty of attractive candidates to choose from. Brendan Rodgers has the right type of qualities that are in demand at White Hart Lane, while Roberto Martinez has shown in patches what he can do. Jose Mourinho was always an outlandish rumour, but he will surely stay at Real Madrid until he can deliver the Champion’s League to the Bernabeu.
There is, however, one outstanding candidate whose appointment would signal that Tottenham are for real. While hiring someone like Rodgers or Martinez would be a bold move, there would also be doubt that they could handle the pressures of such a big club. This man, however, has had success at every club he’s been to, with experience all over the world as well as Champion’s League glory. I believe that with the right backing, he would make Spurs regular title contenders and a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. Furthermore, he has worked in England recently and has stated that he wants to remain in London.
The stage is yours, Fabio.