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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot