On the 26th October, 2008, Spurs hired Harry Redknapp to become their new manager. At the time they were bottom of the league with two points from eight games. Just over two years later, they are sixth in the league and only six points behind United and Chelsea. They have qualified for the Champions League knock out stages and defeated the reigning European Champions on the way to doing so. More importantly for Spurs fans (probably), is the tremendous victory against Arsenal coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Things are looking good in North London.
Both Harry Redknapp and Jermaine Defoe have recently come out and said that this Spurs team should be considered title contenders. So with so much noise coming from White Hart Lane, can they really be considered title contenders or are they still living the dream of recapturing their glory days?
Firstly, let’s look behind the scenes at the club. Financially, Spurs seem to be in pretty good condition. Now I’m by no means a financial expert but the majority of articles I have read online regarding Spurs finances have been generally positive. They never seem to be shy on spending a few bob on new players, and whilst they are rumoured to be in around £80mil of debt, this does not affect the financial stability of the club. The club also has plans for a new stadium, either by moving to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 games or by redeveloping White Hart Lane. Either way they’ll be looking at capacities of way over 50,000.
Secondly, let’s take a look at the playing squad. If I’m being honest, I rate Spurs playing squad as one of strongest in the EPL, with probably only United and City having stronger squads. Before I get a million comments telling me I’m mad, I’m talking about depth of squad, not starting 11, the full 25 man squad. Saying that, their starting 11 isn’t too shabby. They have possibly the greatest player to ever grace the green in Gareth Bale (or so some pundits would have you believe, oh and comparing him to Messi? You’ve got to be kidding!). Rafael Van Der Vaart could go down to be the bargain of the season for a shockingly low £7.5 mil. Couple in Defoe, Modric and Lennon and you’ve got a pretty solid attacking line-up. All in all, Spurs have shown that on their day they can match anyone (see 3-1 against Inter, 3-2 against Arsenal and 3-0 against Werder Bremen). But they have also shown that they can be defeated by anyone too (see 4-2 Bolton, 1-0 against West Ham and 1-0 at home to Wigan). That, I believe, brings me onto my last point.
Harry Redknapp has worked a minor miracle at WHL. Taking Spurs from bottom of the league to the Champions League knockout stages in two years. He has done this playing simple, attacking football. What he lacks in tactical knowledge, he clearly makes up for in man management. Because when he connects with a player, he gets the best from them. It doesn’t work with everyone (just ask Darren Bent) but when it does, fabulous things happen. Gareth Bale went 150 games (give or take a few) for spurs without winning a game before Redknapp came along, leading him to be nearly loaned out to Forrest. Saying that, Spurs have severely lacked tactical prowess in some of their losses this season. Losing 1-0 to both West Ham and Wigan doesn’t exactly smack of title aspirations. How often in games that Spurs have been losing in has Redknapp’s only answer been to lump on another striker. There have been times when this tactic has worked, others when it hasn’t. But when that’s the only thing you bring to the table, you aren’t going to get away with it over a 38 game season. This is where I feel Spurs will eventually fail, where it all began, with the manager. Harry Redknapp has not got the managerial prowess to win the league for Spurs, and in my opinion, the best thing for them would be to hope he gets the England job. Because with him at the helm, they will never be anymore than a fourth spot side.