James Lawton: Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and the FA have sabotaged Harry Redknapp's career

Against Milan and Internazionale, Spurs played with adventure and bite

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy may have a superior view of how the finances of football should work but when it comes to the heart and the soul of the game he has declared himself a dullard.

It is scarcely credible that Levy's chagrin over missing out on a place in Europe – which in the end was decided not only by the superb resilience of Chelsea and their Champions League win but a set of circumstances that may never be repeated – has been the trigger to sack a man who in four years took away the ache of decades.

Whether or not Redknapp is precisely your cup of Rosie Lee, one fact is beyond any dispute.

Not only did he turn Spurs away from the possibility of relegation, he made them look like Spurs again, which is to say an authentic football team which before the distraction of the vacant England manager's job and what seemed like the near certainty of its manager being lured away was playing some of the most engaging football ever seen in the Premier League.

Yes, ultimately, Spurs came up a little short of a serious challenge for the title but their chances of Champions League qualification were without question damaged by the instability which came with the Football Association's delayed move to appoint a successor to Fabio Capello.

In fact the ruling body can stand beside Levy in the dubious honour of sabotaging at a late stage of his career the English manager who did most to suggest that it simply wasn't true that native football men were incapable of producing a game of genuine inspiration.

Against Internazionale and Milan, Spurs played football of adventure and authentic bite. Luis Figo, no less, said that the development of Gareth Bale was an astonishing achievement. Rafael van der Vaart was beautifully nurtured, Luka Modric skilfully re-motivated.

But then the FA announced it had only ever had eyes for Roy Hodgson. However you rated the impressive professional claims of Hodgson, it was still a gratuitous insult to the man who had so brilliantly re-animated one of the nation's most famous clubs.

Quite possibly it was the trouble Redknapp had before a jury cleared him of tax evasion that worked most heavily against him at the FA – certainly it was worry over the business activities of Terry Venables that ultimately denied the national team the services of arguably its best manager since Sir Alf Ramsey.

No doubt Redknapp will re-surface in the game but this is hardly the point. He made a niche at White Hart Lane and it was one that promised the highest achievement. Some might say that mark had already been reached when Spurs produced such thrilling football at home and on their brief but thrilling adventure in Europe. It was a game with which some of the denizens of White Hart Lane had once been familiar and Harry Redknapp brought it back.

Unfortunately, Daniel Levy apparently didn't get the point. He was counting the cost but missing the value. Spurs, you have to believe, are the poorer.


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