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Harry Redknapp was a good manager for Tottenham Hotspur. At times during his three year tenure we played some of the best football I’ve ever seen from a Spurs side. We had Bale marauding down the left (mostly) and Lennon tearing it up down the right. in the middle we had Modric controlling the game like few other players on the world stage managed to do. He had a magnificent side to work with, so it’s plain to see why we were decent. But off the pitch it was a different matter. Redknapp constantly stuffed a wedge between the Tottenham support and his own agenda. He also made it clear he wasn’t willing to accept a long term contract when it seemed certain that he would be made England manager. But mostly, his career at Tottenham would be remembered for the football we played.
So it’s no surprise that Andre Villas Boas had his work cut out for him. Before he’d even begun to implement his philosophy there were some Tottenham fans baying for his blood. Indeed after the first home game one individual was dressed up as HR in some sort of plea to get the wheeler-dealer back at Spurs. Even now, when the squad is well-placed to challenge for a Champions League place going into Christmas, the doubters remain. Lets get the situation straight though: AVB is going nowhere. No matter how fondly you remember our previous manager, Villas-Boas is the man in charge. That isn’t going to change. Despite Redknapp’s dismissal, Daniel Levy isn’t a quick-fire chairman. Redknapp went because of the off-field antics, and not because we failed to qualify for the CL.
AVB needs time to build the squad and playing style that saw such successes gift-wrapped to the Porto faithful. His time at Chelsea can be dismissed due to the politics being played by senior players and the oligarch. It isn’t fair to judge him on that. Two years must be the minimum; whether we qualify for Europe’s elite competition or not. And his task isn’t simple. He has to find a way of producing on the pitch, the way we have done in recent history, without the craft of two genuine world-class players in Modric and Van der Vaart. He has to do this with a new ethos and and new players. Dempsey isn’t Rafa, and Dembele, as good as he is, certainly isn’t Luka. And yet results are coming. We’re winning games, through skill and, sometimes as any team needs, luck. The games we have lost were never because we were outclassed. Even the drubbing from Arsenal was a lot closer than the score would suggest – and that’s before we even consider Adebayor’s dismissal.
So give him time. All managers need it. He talks in the right way, he hides his own agenda deep beneath the needs of Tottenham Hotspur, and – most importantly – he will do all he can to ensure we remain a force in English football – smiling all the way.