A new season and a new farce at White Hart Lane, although given the predicament Tottenham find themselves in, the board's decision to act now in replacing Juande Ramos with Harry Redknapp could well prove to be the decision that saves their season
Harry's game has us fans dreaming
A new season and a new farce at White Hart Lane, although given the predicament Tottenham find themselves in, the board's decision to act now in replacing Juande Ramos with Harry Redknapp could well prove to be the decision that saves their season. Exactly a year ago to the day the chairman Daniel Levy gave Martin Jol his marching orders he has called in Redknapp to fix a team who have cracked at their foundations.
Hailed as Spurs' saviour when he joined in 2007, Ramos brought the club their first piece of silverware since 1999 with a League Cup triumph over Chelsea in February. A poor run of form followed - just three Premier League wins - but this could be overlooked since Spurs were busy clearing an extra space in the trophy cabinet and with a place in the Uefa Cup secured. With the double Uefa Cup winning Spaniard at the helm, season 2008-2009 would be our time to challenge. A Spurs fan dreaming out loud not, for the first time.
Spurs' problems up front are well documented, and to a large extent, Levy and his fellow board members are more to blame than Ramos. Dimitar Berbatov's protracted move to Manchester United in the summer was the worst kept secret in football, and yet they sanctioned the deal just minutes before the European transfer window closed, giving Ramos no time to find a replacement capable of filling the void left by the sales of Berbatov and Robbie Keane (to Liverpool), who both contributed to well over 50 per cent of the north London club's goals over the past two seasons.
But the loss of the prolific strike duo does not explain the problems in defence and midfield. On paper the club have a solid spine of Jonathan Woodgate, Ledley King, Jermaine Jenas and Didier Zokora, while the summer additions of David Bentley and Luka Modric was supposed to give Spurs at least a fighting chance of keeping in touching distance of a Uefa Cup place, a more realistic and tangible goal than the much fabled quest to break into the top four.
But Ramos's signings, or perhaps more poignantly, director of football Daniel Comolli's signings, Heurelho Gomes, Giovanni Dos Santos, Vedran Corluka and Roman Pavlyuchenko have failed to produce or excite the fans, which ultimately played a part in Comolli joining Ramos and his assistant Gus Poyet in clearing their desks at White Hart Lane. Redknapp, a manager with a proven track record of transforming the fortunes of underachieving teams, is the perfect manager to answer the club's SOS. He saved Portsmouth from a similar situation when he returned to the club in 2007 and took them to FA Cup success last season.
The former West Ham manager has more tactical naus than he is given credit for and, but for an ill-timed BBC documentary, could be the England coach instead of Fabio Capello. Redknapp knows what type of players will get the club out of trouble. If he does not have them at his disposal, which the league table currently suggest he doesn't, he will use his network of scouts to find them when the transfer window reopens in January.
He has a tendency to sign players he has previously worked with, so Portsmouth fans should brace themselves for approaches for the likes of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and, perhaps even the most audacious of them all, former Spurs captain Sol Campbell. "Champions League? You're having a laugh," a favoured chant of opposition fans. But survival, and perhaps even mid-table respectability, now a real possibility.