Harry Redknapp is likely to order his players to make a donation to charity rather than fine them two weeks wages for going against his wishes and holding a secret Christmas party in Dublin this month. The Tottenham manager is furious about the breach of his rules but has left any disciplinary action until after today's game against Blackburn Rovers.
Under the terms agreed with the Professional Footballers' Association, Redknapp is able to fine the players a maximum of two weeks wages but, angry though he is, he considers that to be counter-productive. Redknapp did not conceal his fury at the 16 senior players who made the trip to Dublin last Tuesday at his weekly press conference yesterday, but he did show that he has not completely lost his sense of humour over the incident.
"I don't have any sympathy [for them not being able to go out], it's part and parcel of being a footballer," Redknapp said. "You're well paid for it. I'm a football manager – I wouldn't go out and get drunk and fall around and pull some old slag. I'm not that stupid. Even if you wanted to do it, somebody would catch you out. Having said that, Tiger Woods didn't do too bad."
While the players kept the trip a secret until yesterday – they told Redknapp at the time it was a "golf holiday" – they committed the cardinal sin of making their manager look daft. Two days after they returned, following a fight between the Stoke City manager Tony Pulis and James Beattie over their Christmas party, Redknapp was asked about the subject and said his players would never take the "liberty" of having a party without his knowledge.
Redknapp feels particularly let down by Robbie Keane, the captain and ringleader, who he brought back from Liverpool in January. Keane was among the worst performers in the defeat to Wolves, the first match back after the Dublin trip, and was dropped for the Manchester City game. Redknapp would like to sell him but recognises that Keane's stock is dropping rapidly in football and he would be unable to recoup his money.
Redknapp said yesterday: "I'll be dealing with it all, I promise you. It will be dealt with. I wouldn't want to say what I'm going to do. I was shocked. Other teams let their players have parties.
"Bolton were in Ireland having a party, Manchester United had problems at their party last year. I just didn't want my players having one. I don't believe in them and I don't see why they should happen in today's football. They're more trouble than they're worth. They were told not to do it."
Redknapp said that he "didn't have a clue" his players had gone. "We'll deal with it and move on. There's no problem. It's not a distraction. They've not been fighting. I haven't heard anything negative about their party – you hear things about some of the parties other clubs have had and there are some stories to tell. But they didn't ask my permission and they will have to take the consequences of that, which they will do.
"Every club has problems with Christmas parties, people acting stupid. You [reporters] can go out, get drunk, fall over and be stupid, but as a footballer you can't do that. People are waiting to catch you out and take pictures so you can't do it. You must understand that. You get very well paid and you leave yourself open to this kind of thing."
Despite his image as a throwback English manager, Redknapp has never been a frequenter of pubs either as a player or a manager and he takes a very dim view of drinking among his players. Keane will find it difficult to regain his place in the team ahead of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe. He has been used on the left wing but with Niko Kranjcar now coming into form and Luka Modric on the way back from injury – although he will not be part of today's squad – that is also unlikely.
This latest incident has been regarded in private at Spurs as a consequence of having a lot of British – and one Irish – players in the squad, for whom drinking is a more ingrained part of the culture. Only one of the four to miss the party, Gareth Bale, was British. The others were Wilson Palacios, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani dos Santos.Reuse content