Redknapp celebrates year of few 'gambles'

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The Independent Football

Although Harry Redknapp freely admits he took a chance by swapping Portsmouth for Tottenham Hotspur a year ago, it was the curbing of the London club's own reckless gambling habit that helped pave the way for his, and their, current success, he believes.

Spurs will kick off at home to Stoke City today in third place in the Premier League having amassed 68 points in the 12 months since Juande Ramos was removed, with the Spaniard's final league game coincidentally a 2-1 defeat at Stoke, who Spurs host today.

Redknapp agreed to take over a club that had garnered only two points from eight games on the proviso he was given sole control of deciding which players were to be bought and sold. That meant the chairman Daniel Levy had to jettison the post of director of football, under which a number of expensive recruits struggled to make an impact at White Hart Lane.

Almost all were foreign players with no experience of the Premier League and Redknapp lost no time in reversing that policy, starting by bringing back Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane, who had both been sold under the previous regime, and adding Peter Crouch, another former Spurs man.

"No disrespect to the previous manager but it must have been hard having someone else choosing your players," Redknapp said. "That was key. He had players given to him by someone else. I couldn't work that way. I made it clear to Daniel Levy. Alex Ferguson wouldn't do that, Arsène Wenger wouldn't do that and nor would too many others.

"I brought players in that weren't gambles – Crouch, Defoe, Keane. I knew what they could do and what they were like as people. Wilson Palacios had played in the Premier League so he wasn't a gamble either. You have to stand and fall on your own judgment."

Ledley King was one man Redknapp was happy to inherit from the previous regime and the England centre-back is in negotiations over a new contract. His current deal expires in the summer but Spurs have an option to extend for another year and Redknapp is keen to keep him. "He is a big part of this club, as a player and a person," he said.