If I were Harry Redknapp I wouldn’t take the England job.
I know this is controversial and I know this easy to say from my position of being an armchair fan and not the man who has always been touted as a ‘players-manager’ who has the skills necessary to lead the national side, but, from my objective position I honestly think that Harry should stick with Spurs. He is enormously popular with the Spurs fans and the British footballing community as a whole, he has a chairman who has backed him throughout his stay of power and he has created a team capable of challenging for serious silverware without the spending power of a team like Manchester City. In Spurs he has found his ideal fit and though the lure of the national team must be enormous for a proud Anglofile and football man I think he could be on the verge of something pretty special at Tottenham.
In his time as Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has transformed the club. He took the job with the club right at the bottom-end of the Premier League and with the strong support of his chairman he has returned Tottenham to the glamorous heights of the English top-flight, a far cry from the situation he inherited.
In the years leading up to Harry’s appointment as boss, the likes of Martin Jol had flirted with Champions League qualification and the re-establishment of Tottenham as one of English football’s major forces but, ultimately, he fell short of taking the club to the crest of the wave. Redknapp though, has taken Tottenham all the way to the Champions League and not only did he take them there but he inspired a refreshing, open and attacking Spurs side to go all the way to the last eight in their first ever attempt at the competition.
If Harry were to leave for the national job then this would be his legacy. He would leave behind him some enormously fond memories and though he may not quite have taken Tottenham right the way to the top, he has undoubtedly given them an almighty push in the right direction. He would depart the club on the very best of terms and would leave his successor in the role with some outstanding tools in place to work with. Without the mentorship of Harry Redknapp would we, for example, think so highly of players such as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric? Sure, they are extraordinary talents that would struggle not to blossom anywhere and under anyone’s guidance but could anyone have handled such precocious talents with the care and enthusiasm of Mr. Redknapp? I think not.
It is this potential legacy of Redknapp at Tottenham that would make it such a shame if he were to go. He has lifted the club off it’s knees and to the verge of a second Champions League qualification and an outside shot at a title challenge. The turnaround has been enormous in his reign of power at the club, and if their success is to continue then they would be forever indebted to his services.
Sadly though for Spurs fans, the writing does appear to be on the wall. In one extraordinary day Harry Redknapp has gone from facing up to a potential prison sentence for alleged tax evasion, to being fully cleared of any charges against his name and to being the undoubted front-runner for the job that would forever consign his reputation as merely a “wheeler-dealer” to the history books. To be offered the national job when in his sixties would mean the world to Redknapp given his lifelong passion for the game and it would provide such an affirmation of his success and public appreciation that I can’t see him turning it down.
I can, however, see him approaching his expected talks with the FA with enormous caution and with a determination to carry out negotiations on his own terms. By this, I mean that I would expect him to demand great authority and freedom as well as the luxury of being able to remain in charge of Spurs at least until the end of the season.
Harry has done too much good work over the past few years at Spurs to just leave them at the drop of the hat and just a month ago things seemed as though they would come together naturally after the season and after the Euros. Fabio Capello was set to guide England through the tournament and to leave at the end of his contract and Harry Redknapp was well set up to part with his beloved Tottenham side having secured Champions League qualification and potentially having landed some silverware. An enormous amount of water has of course passed under the bridge since then and in yesterday’s dramatic twists and turns of events a greater sense of urgency has been forced upon the situation.
I think the FA will ask Harry to take the job with immediate effect on an England-only basis but if Harry wants to stay with Spurs until May before taking the post on this basis then I think he is well positioned from a bargaining point of view to do so. The FA are in desperate need of a popular English manager and Redknapp is the very epitome of this. The FA will want Harry and though I don’t think he should, I am pretty certain that he would take the job.