If a week is a long time in politics, then Tottenham Hotspurs’ fans may be forgiven for thinking that 24 hours is a long time in football. On Wednesday morning Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp was found innocent of all charges brought against him by the HMRC. Fans believed that the focus could return to football. However within a few hours England manager, Fabio Capello had resigned and Redknapp was immediately installed as the hot favourite to succeed the Italian. There has been an acknowledgement amongst Spurs fans that Harry Redknapp my leave at the end of the season; now there is a real possibility that he may be gone much sooner than anticipated. There is perhaps little doubt that the Lilywhites manager will be on the FA’s shortlist of candidates. Arguably though, Redknapp will be better off at Spurs. The club well run by Daniel Levy, may offer more chance of honours, especially in comparison the FA’s running of Club England, which at times appears to lurch from one blunder to another.
The handling by all parties of the Terry incident has put the FA in the position where England are now without a manager or a captain only four months before the finals of a major tournament. There is just one friendly scheduled between now and the end of the season, which will be overseen by Stuart Pearce. This gives the FA some time, but perhaps not much. The preparations for the tournament would suggest that a manager should be in place by April. One problem, should Harry be the preferred choice, for both the FA and for Tottenham, is that with Spurs excellent season there is a strong possibility that come April they may still be pushing for honours. Tottenham and Redknapp should not want to part at such a time and this may certainly reflect badly on the FA if he did. However, leaving sooner would appear unlikely, considering Harry’s acknowledgement upon leaving Southwark Crown Court, to Daniel Levy, the Club and to the fans of the support he has been shown during his ordeal.
Alternatively, leaving after the end of the season may not suit the FA, given this would leave just a few weeks before Euro2012 for preparation. There is the possibility of managing both Spurs and England. Is this feasible though? If Spurs have crucial matches at the business end of the season, would it be justifiable for Redknapp to be absent because of England duties? Without doubt the Spurs manager appears the popular choice for the role. Players (past and present), managers and the media have all come out in favour of Redknapp being the right man for the job. Redknapp has stated that as an Englishman, managing England should be the pinnacle of his career and that if offered the chance, he would find the role extremely difficult to turn down.
From taking over in December 2008, Redknapp has turned Spurs around, improving each year to where they are a genuine force and in doing so, playing the kind of attractive football that Spurs are traditionally renowned for. There is unfinished business for Harry, with The Lilywhites looking good to be playing Champions League football again next year and still challenging for the title this. Perhaps what should not be underestimated though is the attachment Harry has for Spurs and the players and fans for him. Spurs players appear to relish the freedom and trust Redknapp places in them. On Saturday, Newcastle may well be in for a torrid time with Spurs playing for their manager. Also, Harry acknowledged how emotional he felt with fans chanting his name at the Wigan game. Undoubtedly, they may be chanting his name throughout the Newcastle match in an effort to persuade him to stay.
Ultimately if offered the position, the decision will be Redknapp’s. This may well be the hardest decision he will face in his career.
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