Wednesday 26 November 2014

Spurs pay up for the 'barrow boy'

Published 02/11/2008 | 00:00

If Russell Brand needs cheering up this week, the West Ham United fan could look at the changing fortunes of Harry Redknapp.

This time last year the then Portsmouth boss's house was the subject of the kind of highly publicised police raid which you'd more usually associate with the discovery of an Islamic terrorist cell. The Old Bill, as is their wont, had tipped off the British media about the impending swoop, corruption in football being the subject of something of a political panic at the time.

One year on, Redknapp has faced no charges and the raid turns out to have been illegal. To make things even better, the East Ender has landed a plum job at Spurs, replacing precisely the kind of foreign manager beloved by that section of the football media which likes to deride Redknapp as a "barrow boy", among other such expressions which have more do with snobbery than common sense.

You'd wonder at the motivations of a political establishment which seemed to regard a bit of transfer jiggery-pokery as a grave threat to the moral fibre of the nation while gleefully sending out youngsters to take on the Taliban with inadequate body armour and rehabilitating Peter Mandelson, for my money a far more dubious character than Harry Redknapp.

In the meantime, the moralisers seem to have moved on to the pressing problem of smutty comedians with Joey Barton taking the new Spurs boss's place as a walking affront to tabloid standards of decency in football.

The last laugh belongs to the man who has already begun to turn Spurs around just as he's done with every other club, Southampton apart, he's managed. Long may he prosper. English soccer has too long been used to make handy headlines for policemen and politicians who should be getting their own house in order. I'd take a football man like Harry Redknapp over any of them.

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