Harry Redknapp has risked inflaming Tottenham's already fractious relationship with Arsenal by claiming he sympathised with Emmanuel Adebayor's controversial goal celebration for Manchester City last weekend.
Adebayor sparked furious scenes at Eastlands by charging the length of the field to celebrate his strike in front of the visiting contingent from north London. A steward was injured in the ensuing fracas and Adebayor was forced to issue a swift apology for his role in the incident.
The Togolese is set to pay a heavy price for his desire to make a point to his former supporters. He has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association and is also facing a violent conduct charge for raking his studs down the face of Robin van Persie, the Arsenal striker.
Adebayor is bracing himself for a lengthy ban but he found a supporter in Redknapp last night, who blamed "idiots" and "nutters" in the Arsenal section for causing trouble.
"I've got no time for people kicking anybody or being violent on the pitch and he was wrong to run the length of the field," Redknapp said. "But it's very difficult when you're getting abuse through the game like he was. It's not celebrating a goal that cause riots, it's idiots who want to start riots. What did Adebayor do, really? If I had been standing there and we had been giving him grief all game, I would probably say: 'Fair play.' I'm not saying it's right, what Adebayor did, but what nutters want to cause riots? Why do people need to shout abuse? Why can't they just watch a game of football? There must be something wrong with you if you want to do that."
Tottenham started work on their new £30m training ground in Enfield, north London yesterday, with chairman Daniel Levy insisting that the cost of building the facility and the proposed new 60,000-seat stadium will not affect Redknapp's transfer budget. "The money has been ring-fenced and won't have an effect on the team," he said.