x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Redknapp blew Tottenham's big chance

With Arsenal and Chelsea struggling, last season was Spurs' big chance to shine, writes Richard Jolly. Yet ultimately Harry Redknapp was the architect of his own downfall.

Blame Arjen Robben. Or Ivica Olic or Bastian Schweinsteiger. Or, indeed, Marton Fulop.

Had Bayern Munich not missed three penalties in the Champions League final and its subsequent shootout, Chelsea would not be European Champions. Had West Bromwich Albion’s reserve goalkeeper not turned in a calamitous, final-day performance against Arsenal, Tottenham, and not their North London neighbours, would surely have come third in the Premier League.

Either way, they would have been in next season’s Champions League and Harry Redknapp would still be employed. It illustrates how narrow the margins are and how events beyond his control influenced Redknapp’s departure.

After inheriting a team at the foot of the division and coming fourth, fifth and fourth in three full seasons, taking Tottenham to the Champions League quarter-finals after beating both Milanese teams and playing some superlative football, it is harsh.

Yet last season was Spurs’ big chance and, ultimately, they blew it. With Arsenal on their knees after their summer sales, with Chelsea enduring their worst league campaign in a decade, with Liverpool overspending to underachieve, Tottenham, boasting the talents of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor, sauntered into third place.

Losing it cost Redknapp his job. Fault lines were already apparent in his relationship with chairman Daniel Levy, a manager who likes his every whim indulged in the transfer market versus a man who enjoys hard bargaining, before then.

Looking for an extended contract at 65, Redknapp erred in thinking he was the long-term choice.

Without Champions League football, he wasn’t even the short-term option.

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