Jack Pitt-Brooke: Harry Redknapp tumbles at Tottenham just months after reigning supreme

Spurs manager left in a weak position by their failure to qualify for the Champions League

From two points in eight games to fourth place and the exit door; the Harry Redknapp era at Tottenham has been defined by friction, dynamism, and the overwhelming football force of momentum.

As recently as this January he was hailing the greatest Tottenham team of his generation, presiding over the best attacking football in England, breathing on the necks of the Manchester clubs, and enjoying a higher profile than any English manager since Kevin Keegan. To suggest than that he would leave like this was absurd.

In mid-January Redknapp said that his team, comfortably third in the Premier League, would have beaten the great Tottenham side of 20 years before, which won the 1991 FA Cup. "They had a few special players: Gazza, Gary Lineker, and Gary Mabbutt was a good player," Redknapp reflected. "But you'd fancy this team would be stronger than that now."

There was not much dissent. In the autumn Tottenham won 10 out of 11 league games. They were the only unbeaten team over the Christmas period. They were, unambiguously, the best team outside Manchester.

But the drama of Redknapp's rise could not be sustained. And the day when he reached the peak of his profile also unleashed the forces which brought him down. On the morning of 8 February Redknapp was acquitted of charges of tax evasion. That evening, Fabio Capello resigned as England manager. Redknapp started the day in the dock, and ended it on top of the football world.

Redknapp was favourite for the England job, with the bookmakers, the players and fans. Three days later Spurs eviscerated Newcastle United 5-0, while the fans at White Hart Lane implored him not to take up the anticipated offer.

The presumption was that Redknapp would be offered the job, and would take it. He did not loudly distance himself from it. In Spurs' next game, at Arsenal, Tottenham raced into a 2-0 lead. This would have given them a 13-point margin over their local rivals, and set Redknapp up to beat his 2009-10 finish and go straight into the group stages of the Champions League.

But it did not go that way. Tottenham collapsed, Arsenal won 5-2 and the spiral began. Spurs won one of their next eight league games. Redknapp denied that the England speculation made a difference, but the players' performance suggested otherwise. The possibility that Redknapp might not be there beyond the summer appeared to distract them. "That is the biggest load of nonsense I've ever heard in my life", Redknapp said, when asked about it.

As Spurs' form fell away so did their hopes of a title challenge, and then a procession into third, and then an FA Cup final. Many held Redknapp responsible for this, as the team lost focus. By the end of the season, as Spurs fought their way into fourth, there was even a sense that his presumed departure for England might be welcomed.

Of course, frustration with fourth shows just how well Redknapp had done at Tottenham. He inherited a mess from Juande Ramos, and the famous two points from eight games in 2008 was indeed abysmal. Redknapp took them into the Champions League and beat both Milan sides.

Modern club football, though, is all about momentum. And by this spring it felt as if Redknapp's use to Spurs, and their enthusiasm for him, were on the wane. The England link had changed the dynamic. There was no desire to extend his contract far into the future.

"They don't care whether I'm the manager next year, they wouldn't lose any sleep over that or whoever comes," Redknapp said of his players, in March, during the England speculation. "That's football: footballers are footballers, they play the game, they come in every day and train, somebody else comes in the door tomorrow and it's 'the king is dead, long live the king'."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor