22 May 2012


Author: michaelcalvin | Filed under: Blog


The news for Tottenham is bad, and likely to get worse. There’s a black hole in the budget, a sudden surge of pessimism, and an understanding that no one, and nothing, is safe. Life at White Hart Lane changed irrevocably with Didier Drogba’s last kick for Chelsea, which removed Spurs from next season’s Champions League.

Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, wasted no time in embellishing his reputation as football’s fiercest negotiator by writing formally to covetous clubs like Barcelona, informing them that Gareth Bale is not for sale. That’s the equivalent of telling a pickpocket not to bother stealing a wallet, because it contains no cash or credit cards. Nice try, chum. It won’t work.

Tottenham must brace themselves for similar overtures involving Luka Modric, who tends to become unusually chatty when he reports for duty with the Croatian national squad. Expect a slew of reports highlighting his ambition to move to a club with appropriate opportunities. They won’t all be products of a translator with a vivid imagination.

Most intriguingly, rumours about the future of Harry Redknapp are starting to surface. Roberto Di Matteo’s squad had barely sobered up, on their return from Munich, before the Tottenham manager was being linked with a shock move to Stamford Bridge. Given his intuitive understanding of the modern media, this might not have come entirely as a surprise.

Whispers linking him to Liverpool’s shortlist, which is turning into the War and Peace of wish lists, might be fanciful, since Ronald McDonald and Bob the Builder are also getting mentions. However, nothing should surprise us as football’s silly season gathers momentum. Idle minds will get busy. Theories will be stretched, logic will be defied.

Fortunes can change with terrifying speed. Gold tarnishes very quickly. Even before this self-inflicted setback, there was a sense that Redknapp’s star was on the wane. It was as if Tottenham’s fans, and Levy, had accepted the inevitability of his accession to the England manager’s job. They were ready to move on.

Gratitude, like loyalty, is in short supply. Some of the more extreme critics are labelling Redknapp as tactically naive. More measured observers, who detect fault lines in the relationship between manager and chairman, cite Tim Sherwood as a growing influence at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp is not the type to hang around if he is not wanted. This could get messy. Very messy.

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