x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Harry Redknapp is on shaky ground after Tottenham's late-season slump

Manager's future is uncertain at White Hart Lane, despite not getting the England job, writes Duncan Castles.

Harry Redknapp has overseen a run of just five wins in 15 games for Tottenham. Tim Hales / AP Photo
Harry Redknapp has overseen a run of just five wins in 15 games for Tottenham. Tim Hales / AP Photo

Remember that early February afternoon when Harry Redknapp was acquitted of two charges of tax evasion just hours before Fabio Capello's forced resignation as England coach?

The loveable Tottenham Hotspur manager's ever voluble support team gathering round to celebrate his innocence and proclaim his accession to national team throne.

Why waste time with an appointments process?, they asked as the English Football Association attempted to present a plan to replace Capello with a man qualified not just to lead its senior team, but an overhaul of its entire coaching structure.

Journalists were not the only ones getting ahead of themselves.

Patriotically impatient for the job, Redknapp was quickly drawn into an at times daily circus of questions on his intentions once the FA had done the decent thing and paid Tottenham Hotspur for his release. The problem was he also had no patience for the job specification.

When a discreet attempt to sign up Pep Guardiola came to nothing, the FA selected Roy Hodgson without even inviting "the people's choice" for an interview. In between times, Redknapp had allowed his Spurs star to sink into a sequence of just five victories in 15 fixtures.

Now the only Redknapp contract worth discussing is his one at White Hart Lane, which is due to expire at the end of next season. Now would be the natural time for a satisfied chairman to discuss a renewal. Daniel Levy has not.

Asked if there were plans and a senior Tottenham executive replies in an ominous conditional: "Anything would happen only at end of season".

The well-informed word is that Levy would have happily had Redknapp taken off his hands by England with a generous compensation payment thrown in.

He has tired of being publicly undermined in the transfer market when, for example, his manager argued that Luka Modric be permitted to join Chelsea last summer.

Nor has it been forgotten Redknapp once tried to offload Gareth Bale for £3 million (Dh17.8m). The feeling among some of Tottenham's expensive acquisitions is that Redknapp's preparations can be archaic, his man management infuriatingly quixotic.

Can the team's late-season slump - five wins in 15 matches - be explained by inadequate physical training? Has an admirably attractive game plan been found out?

With Champions League qualification headed to the wire, Levy is not in a position to dismiss his manager, though a plethora of candidates have been sounded to replace him.

Intriguingly, Tottenham have recently explored the option of appointing a technical director - a presence that is to Redknapp as silver crosses are to vampires.

All of which leaves the nation's favourite appealing to the jury again.

"I feel I've done a good job," said Redknapp last week. "If people don't recognise what you have done, or don't feel that you have done that well, I can't say 'Look how good I've done chairman, here I am'."

Ah, you just have. Let's see if Levy is ready to listen.

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