James Lawton: Levy's realism let Redknapp build the team of his dreams

He has made a side of lovely creativity without the need for an ocean of red ink

Harry Redknapp has had a few nightmarish days just recently and he faces the potential for a few more when he stands trial for tax evasion in January. In the meantime, though, it is hard to imagine anyone in football better qualified to sing a few lines of that old Lovin' Spoonful hit "What a day for a Daydream".

They came to mind, at least here, when Redknapp, just a few days out of the operating theatre, greeted Tottenham's eighth win in nine games with the arresting declaration that his sweet-flowing team might just finish at the top of the Premier League.

You can call it what you like, including fantasy or perhaps a bad case of amnesia in view of what happened when Manchester City performed such clinical destruction at White Hart Lane early in the season, but some romantics will surely be tempted to sing along.

Remember those lyrics?

"What a day for a daydream,

What a day for a daydreamin' boy,

And I'm lost in a daydream...

Dreamin' bout my bundle of joy."

Redknapp's hard-eyed old pro coach Joe Jordan naturally counselled caution when Redknapp celebrated with such enthusiasm his team's rise to third place with a typically eloquent defeat of a cowed Aston Villa.

Jordan talked in more measured tones of Tottenham's ever-strengthening claims for a place in the top four and a return to the Champions League action they illuminated so brilliantly for a little while last season but, still, it wasn't so hard to understand some of Redknapp's exhilaration.

Not many trades are so insistent on living in the moment as the football one and Redknapp was in a way merely following the instruction of the great old football character Joe Mercer, a high achiever both as a player and a manager. "Never forget," he advised his protégé Malcolm Allison, "to celebrate your victories because in this game you can never be sure when the next one will come along."

No doubt Joe would have said the same to the man who is obliged to move from that operating theatre to a courtroom via a high pressure phase of the season which will culminate in a trip to City. Granting him the indulgence of a little pure optimism shouldn't be too much of a push for any neutral occupant of the football planet.

Few midfields have been quite so easy on the eye as the one comprising Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, a unit always beautifully geared for attack and now superbly underpinned by the security offered by Scott Parker. Currently, Redknapp may indeed be a daydreamin' boy but who can say he hasn't done his work with consistent invention and enterprise? He has made a team of lovely creativity and considerable bite and without the need for an ocean of red ink.

However, it also needs to be said that in a football age hardly littered with examples of loyalty and commitment and even the vaguest attempts to live within your means, Redknapp has received an outstanding contribution from his chairman, Daniel Levy.

Some of us suspected that this somewhat austere figure from the world of big money was merely cranking up the profit levels when he stood so firmly in the path of Chelsea's plan to sign Modric. There was, after all, the precedent of Dimitar Berbatov, who got his move to Manchester United on the transfer deadline as Spurs were enriched by more than £30m.

But the more Chelsea and Modric applied pressure, and the more Modric mourned his lost chance to join the likes of Yaya Touré and Wayne Rooney on the financial superhighway, the more obdurate Levy became. At one point the worldy-wise Redknapp was close to cracking.

He spoke mournfully of the difficulty of remotivating a player who had thought he was so close to a life-changing fortune. Perhaps, Redknapp theorised, Spurs should cut their losses, sell Modric at the top of the market and re-invest in a player who would be more inclined to immerse himself in the club's future.

Levy was immovable – and he insists that it will be precisely the same story with Gareth Bale when Barcelona, or some other mega-force, begin to apply the kind of pressure which prised Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri away from Arsenal and near broke Arsène Wenger's heart.

Redknapp's own heart has, of course, received another kind of buffeting, but then it has been at no cost to his belief in a certain way of football – or his right, at 64, to be the same kind of daydreamin' boy who, when he was a youth player at Spurs, hung on the words of Bill Nicholson, Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay – and, when he moved to West Ham, played alongside Bobby Moore.

If anyone wants to argue, he can quote some other lines of that old song, the ones that say:

"And you can be sure that if you're feeling right,

A daydream will last along with the night,

Tomorrow at breakfast you may pick up your ears,

Or you may be daydreamin' for a thousand years."

Either way, sweet dreams, Harry.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballArsenal vs QPR match report
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
i100
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all