Harry Redknapp yesterday backed down in the saga of his squad's unsanctioned Christmas party in Dublin this month by stopping short of fining his players and instead ordering them to make a donation to charity during a squad meeting that was described by club sources as "amicable".
As revealed in The Independent on Saturday, the Tottenham Hotspur manager chose not to fine the players the maximum two weeks' wages permitted under the agreement with the Professional Footballers' Association. Instead he asked for a donation believed to be around the same amount that the players paid for their night out in Dublin – about £2,000 – to be given to a charity of the club's choosing.
Redknapp had calmed down considerably since his original response to The Sun's revelations on Friday morning that Robbie Keane had secretly organised the party outside Dublin under the pretence of a golfing holiday. He banned the players from speaking to the media after the victory over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday but that result, as well as the win over Manchester City last week, have softened his mood.
The players were spoken to as a group by Redknapp at the training ground. Keane will continue as captain despite his crucial role in organising the festivities. However, the club will still listen to offers for him in January, although they accept that his wages of around £60,000-a-week will be a problem for any potential buyer.
The Spurs manager said that he was most angry that they had not been completely truthful with him about the nature of the trip. He had no objection to them going to Ireland to play golf but he did not want them drinking or putting themselves in any kind of situation where they could potentially find themselves compromised.
Redknapp felt most let down by the senior players who had gone on the trip, some of whom had hired a private jet to take them to Ireland. However, on reflection he felt that Spurs' momentum and their strong position in the league – they are fifth and two points off the Champions League places – could be damaged by a draconian fine.
It is understood that more than 16 members of the squad, the number originally identified as having gone on the trip, went away to Dublin on 8 December. The disclosure of the trip has precipitated something of a witch-hunt among the players who have their suspicions about who leaked it. None of them felt they had much of a defence even if Redknapp did express his displeasure about Christmas parties two days after the Tottenham players had returned from theirs.
The Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes said that the team's two recent victories were testament to the strength of a back four currently without the injured Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate. "They are unbelievable," he said. "They give me so much confidence. They work so hard. Michael Dawson is an unbelievable player, Benoit [Assou-Ekotto] on the left, Charlie [Vedran Corluka] on the right, Sébastien Bassong, they are in such good form at the moment."Reuse content