Harry Right to Rebuke Fans?

by Sam Wheatley

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Tottenham Hotspur fans last night shamed themselves miserably by booing their own players following a draw at home to Sunderland. Sometimes Harry Redknapp is indefensible, but last night his reaction was spot on.

“What have they got to moan about? They’ve seen of the best football in recent times here,” Redknapp said, “I don’t think anyone can be disappointed with us.” So what were the Spurs fans moaning about exactly? The bones of contention seem to be that the squad that ‘Arry harps on about being extremely strong isn’t fulfilling its potential, and that one dodgy game after European competition is acceptable, but two isn’t.

Firstly, the squad is better than Spurs have had it certainly within the last ten years. The dead wood that was symptomatic of previous White Hart Lane regimes has been more or less shifted, and the Tottenham substitutes bench even looks half-decent. Is the squad as good as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal’s? Probably not, but it’s certainly better than when it was adorned with the likes of Jonathan Blondel and Mbulelo Mabizela. Last night, Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Jenas, Kranjcar, Palacios and Pavlyuchenko made up the bench. All are fine players in their own right.

Even after two less than impressive results, Tottenham are better placed to achieve European qualification under Harry Redknapp than in previous seasons, aside from the two fifth placed finishes under Martin Jol. The fact that Tottenham finished fourth and are in the Champions League is down solely to Harry Redknapp, as much as I dislike admitting it. Another thing he tried to ensure for future success is that the side is relatively young.

With that youth comes a fairly obvious level of inexperience. Few of Tottenham’s current squad have played in the Champions League proper, and the result is an inevitable period of adaptation. Not only that, there is a psychological barrier to overcome. Once you ‘ve played and beaten Inter, the European Champions, how do you get yourself up for Bolton away or even a home game against Sunderland? The evidence suggests that it is difficult, and Spurs aren’t the first team to succumb to a lack of motivation against less reputable teams.

The other side of the coin is that if Harry thinks his squad is so good, they should be able to cope with injuries, of which they had several last night against Sunderland, and playing a game every few days. In my opinion, the squad is just short of being in a position to miss the likes of van der Vaart, Modric and Defoe, but Harry’s still building (although bare in mind that he is no longer a wheeler dealer). A lot of the rubbish has gone, and some players are yet to bed in properly. This start to the season is far from apalling – the start under Juande Ramos was appalling in which his team notched a miserly two points from eight games.

The worrying element to this story is Harry’s sarcasm regarding the Spurs fans. They’re not a set of supporters to be crossed as they usually seem to get their way. Perhaps in this instance, they’ll appreciate Redknapp’s honesty. About the supporters, Redknapp added “They’ve had it so good over the years, you see. When you keep winning league championships every year, you get upset when you don’t win.” I can’t see that this will go down too well, but maybe those fans that booed will have a moment of clarity when they consider where their club were when Harry took over and where they are now.

With the seemingly impenetrable force of the big four combined with the position that the club sat in when Redknapp took over, it was inconceivable that Tottenham would even have the opportunity to play Inter in a competitive fixture. He made it happen, and he’s managing a Champions League club for the first time. I don’t think they’ll be too far off the pace when it matters later in the season, and there have already been some magical European nights.

Spurs didn’t play badly last night; Steve Bruce admitted his fears of a heavy loss due to the way Tottenham played in the first half. According to Asamoah Gyan, the former Manchester United defender gave his Black Cats a real dressing down at half time. Tottenham could have had a penalty as well, and Bruce can be credited for his half-time team talk.

For once, I agree with Redknapp. The supporters’ amnesia must be eradicated to keep morale high in the camp, otherwise the glory days – and these are glory days for Tottenham Hotspur – may be gone again, before you can say “boo”.

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  • Shannon

    Yes, to my mind booing your team should be reserved for when they show a lack of effort. Our lads tried hard last night but were unlucky.

  • Toogs

    I’m sorry but I disagree. It hasn’t just happened once or twice. It happens all the time. Redknapp is tactically useless, brings in good players to the club, but when the players aren’t performing all up to scratch, their is no resilience. We are very one dimensional and are very predictable,we hardly ever cut up defences either as we use the black and white get the ball down the line and send in a hopeful cross. If we don’t sort ourselves out and don’t take advantage of the players we have against these rubbish teams like Sunderland, we will eventually lose these players to other clubs and even better managers who will use them how we should have used them in games. I personally think vdv should be on the right to cut inside and link up with the attacking midfielder and striker, I think we should use kranjcar in attacking midfield behind the striker with modric playing behind him. Kranjcar gets goals, vdv gets goals, bale will get goals and hopefully Defoe will get goals. Iv noticed that every cross we do, as both wingers are literally on the wing and we only have crouch and vdv in the box, and when crouch doesn’t win the header and gets cleared, we have no one picking up the 2nds and just get counter attacked. Their cannot be any more excuses now, we have the players, we need redknapp to get the tactics right or we will lose these players and lose our European spot, even channel 5

  • John

    We are called supporters for a reason. We are supposed to support the team, not boo them when we don’t win. Shame on the morons who did that.

  • jono

    Totally agree boo-ers should find themselves another team,booing is unacceptable it does nothing good.Would you boo your kid or family member if they were playing badly for their school or club?
    Remember Tottenham is Family!!!!

  • John

    Toogs: I assume your application for Harry’s replacement is on Levy’s desk? You’re a typical fan. Think you know everything better than someone that has been in the game all of his life. He put us in the champions league; likely to do it again when our injured players return and we find our best form. Did you complain a week ago? I guess not. What will hurt us is if people like you bitter the great players we have by booing them off the pitch, and they decide to leave when their heads get turned. Stop it.

  • http://routenote.com/blog Luke

    Interesting post. I personally don’t have any problem with booing a team when it’s justified. The Spurs fans have no reason to boo. As much as I don’t like Harry, his son or anyone vaguely associated with him, he is absolutely correct when he says “they’ve never had it this good”. At least they haven’t for 50 odd years. Harry (the w*nker) is doing a superb job at the Lane and anyone who claims to support the Spuds claiming anything else needs to grow up a bit.

  • parklane2908

    I disagree with Redknapp. Yes we have seen some of the best football in recent years, but we need to be more consistent. We played some fantastic football against Inter both home and away yet when it comes to Bolton and Sunderland, we seemed not to bother. If we are to play Champions League football again next season, we MUST beat the “smaller” teams. After Inter, we should’ve collected 9 points in 3 games. We have one. Harry made 1 sub last night. He needs to learn how to rotate a squad. Put fringe players in who WANT to play and WANT to fight to be in the starting X1 for all matches

  • http://routenote.com/blog Luke

    You are in a better position than you ever have been, when Harry took over you were bottom of the table. These things take time, just try to enjoy the ride.

  • John

    We are a flare team. We play exciting attacking football and results are more expected at the European level because, frankly, there are a bunch of teams that have no choice but to play negative football in the premium league just to stay there. We haven’t coped well with that yet but we will. The blame Harry crowd are completely offside. He will work it out and when he gets tactics wrong the daggers come out. Try to remember the many times he got them right. Glass half full and the boos stop.

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