Harry Redknapp finds doubts emerge over long-term future at Spurs
WHAT now for Harry Redknapp? His disappointment at being overlooked for the England manager’s job is raw and he may come to regret the announcement on Thursday that he will be a BBC pundit during Euro 2012.
After all, any criticism, however mild, of Roy Hodgson will be regarded as sour grapes from Redknapp, who previously caused himself problems when he criticised Fabio Capello’s tactics on television.
He could do without the publicity and certainly do without the potential aggravation.
But the bigger issue for Redknapp is what happens at Tottenham Hotspur.
The club picked up signals last week that Redknapp might not get the England job – an interpretation they drew from the Football Association rebuffing their attempts to get information on the position – bringing to a halt any succession plans that chairman Daniel Levy had considered. For now at least.
Levy and Redknapp have never been a natural fit although both men, to their credit, have made their partnership work impressively, while the club stood four-square behind the manager during his recent tax evasion trial for which he was extremely grateful.
But Levy is understood still to be taken with the prospect of eventually employing a younger head coach to work alongside a technical director, with the chairman overseeing the buying and selling of players.
There has been tension over transfers between Levy and Redknapp and it is set to be a tricky summer given the uncertainly over the futures of prize assets Luka Modric and Gareth Bale.
The move to the club’s new £45million training ground at Bull’s Cross, close to the M25, and the expectation that Redknapp would get the England job, appeared to present an ideal opportunity for Levy to reinstate the model that Spurs employed – with mixed success — in the past.
It is no surprise, then, that coaches such as Swansea City’s Brendan Rodgers, Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martínez and — even — former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas may well have featured in Levy’s thinking, though no approaches were made as the chairman waited for the FA to make its move.
At the same time, it is believed Levy sought guidance on potential technical directors even if the previous incumbent, Damien Comolli, failed to work successfully alongside Martin Jol and the Juande Ramos.
The likelihood is that Levy will now put all thoughts of a change on hold, especially as Spurs have finally stabilised, with two league wins, and appear likely to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The immediate question is what happens with Redknapp’s contract. It runs until the end of next season, when the manager will be 66. Having initially tried to secure a new deal immediately after Capello’s resignation, Levy – and Redknapp – understandably put the talks on hold.
But as the FA took longer to appoint Capello’s successor, and Spurs’ form deteriorated, there was less chance that the talks would be revived.
Redknapp is now set to be left in the uncomfortable position of going into next season with a contract that only covers that campaign, which will raise doubts about his future.
Levy would appear in no hurry to revive the talks, although he could simply be waiting to see if a Champions League place is secured.
Either way, it would appear that Redknapp’s position at Spurs has been weakened somewhat with the manager also having to reflect on whether he has the enthusiasm to continue to make the 280-mile round trip from his home in Dorset to training for the rest of his career.