Spurs go back to the old school

Sam Wallace
Monday 27 October 2008 01:00

Harry Redknapp will bring in Tim Sherwood as his assistant today after his remarkable appointment as manager at Tottenham Hotspur was sealed by the club's first Premier League victory over Bolton Wanderers. Redknapp announced that he had been assured by the chairman, Daniel Levy, that he would be in complete control of all transfers after the club abandoned their director of football system.

Redknapp will speak today to the former Tottenham and England midfielder Sherwood, who is currently working as a television pundit for Setanta. Redknapp, whose team won 2-0 with goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Darren Bent, has a contract at Spurs until 2011. "I nearly went to Newcastle and people said I didn't want to take on the challenge of a big club," Redknapp said. "I would have regretted it for the rest of my life if I hadn't taken this challenge on."

Sherwood, who previously turned down the chance to be Redknapp's assistant at Portsmouth, is expected to agree terms today. Redknapp said that he would also bring in Kevin Bond, a friend of his with whom he worked at Portsmouth and Southampton. Bond was sacked by Bournemouth this season. He had previously been out of football, having been dismissed by Newcastle, where he was assistant manager, when he was caught up in the BBC Panorama investigation into corruption in football.

It has been an extraordinary 48 hours in the history of Tottenham, in which Levy responded to the club's perilous league position by sacking the head coach Juande Ramos, director of football Damien Comolli and first-team coaches Marcos Alvarez and Gus Poyet on Saturday night. "I'm not going to ask him [Levy] to go and buy [Cristiano] Ronaldo for me," Redknapp said. "There'll be some players out there in January who he'll bring in for us. I'll just deal with the chairman, talk to Daniel. It'll be up for to him to bring the players in."

Top of Redknapp's list is understood to be the French international Lassana Diarra, who was a key player for him at Portsmouth. He is also understood to be looking at the free agent Stephen Appiah who is a holding midfielder available to sign outside the transfer window after a legal disagreement with Fenerbahce. Portsmouth were paid £5m compensation for Redknapp and he suggested that their financial problems could force them to sell in January.

Having turned down Newcastle before they appointed Kevin Keegan last season, Redknapp said that he was convinced he had made the right decision this time. "Maybe I didn't want to leave Portsmouth at the time, I was happy there," he said. "Everything was fine, we were going great. It worked out right because we won the FA Cup. But, at the moment, things are going to get a bit tighter. The owner has been fantastic there, but the club needs a new stadium, a new training ground, and money's tight. I knew how things were. It's a good little club. It couldn't have gone better, really."

Before thinking better of it, Redknapp said that he had been approached by Tottenham before. It was well-known that he was considered for the job before they appointed Ramos last year but it would also appear that they almost appointed Redknapp when Martin Jol was struggling in February 2007. As it turned out, Spurs turned around their season with a 4-0 win over Fulham, Jol survived and Spurs finished fifth. "I could have come here 18 months ago," Redknapp said. "I nearly came here when Martin Jol was here. Things happened. The team started doing well."

Redknapp said that he had been told that priority would be surviving relegation "The record was [before the Bolton game] eight games, two points, so you're in trouble," he said. "Anything else is a bonus. The priority has to be league points. We have to go up the table. Tottenham is a big club, a big club. Whether they're languishing at the bottom of the league or not.

"Clive Allen picked the team [yesterday]. I met the players, had a chat with them, came on the coach, got into the dressing room and got cracking. I only joined the club last night, so I didn't know who was fit and who wasn't. I didn't even know Jonathan Woodgate was injured. I liked the look of the side Clive put together. We don't have time for me to sit in the stands. We had to get on with it."

The decision to sack Ramos was made so late in the day that the matchday programme still carried the Spanish coach's notes. "Let me assure you all that everybody is united in our aim of addressing our poor league position by producing positive results," Ramos wrote. Having discovered that the club was not as united as he hoped he later released a statement yesterday. "Results are what counts and we all know how this world works," he said. Now we just have to see if this decision is the best one for the team to recover and have a good season."

The chairman Levy, who has now sacked five permanent Spurs managers, said that Redknapp fitted the bill. Levy said: "With his great knowledge of the game and his excellent motivational skills, Harry has inspired his teams to consistently overperform, while his preferred attacking style of playing the game sits comfortably with our club's history, heritage and the type of entertaining football our fans want and expect to see."

Playing Luka Modric in a free role behind Pavlyuchenko, the lone striker, in a 4-4-1-1 formation got the best performance yet from the Croatia international and Redknapp said that he thought that got the best from the midfielder. "I felt that's his position, behind the front," he said. "It freed him up. He's a free player. He reminds me of Eyal Berkovic. It's a problem playing him in a 4-4-2 formation – he's not a central player. But if you give him the ball, he'll do special things And he mucked in. He was terrific."

Harry Hotspur Redknapp's route to the Lane


Took over in December 1983. Won the Third Division title in 1986-87 season. Resigned in 1992.

*West Ham

Joined in August 1994. Won the Intertoto Cup in 1999-2000 season. Left the Hammers in May 2001.


Won First Division title in the 2002-03 season, gaining the club promotion to the Premier League for the first time. Controversially resigned from post at Fratton Park in November 2004.


One year in charge from December 2004. Relegated from Premier League in May 2005 after finishing bottom.


Rejoined in December 2005. Led side to first FA Cup win since 1939 with 1-0 victory over Cardiff at Wembley.


Aged 61, takes over at White Hart Lane.

Why the 'big clubs' come calling for Redknapp

*England, Newcastle United, Spurs: whenever a 'big job' comes up Harry Redknapp's name is mentioned, and now he's taken one. Why is he in so much demand? The 61-year-old is one of the most experienced managers in the game. Portsmouth's progress under him has been remarkable. When he began his first spell there, in March 2002, they were heading towards the third tier.

*But Spurs have aspirations to succeed in Europe. Redknapp has never managed in the Champions League. Portsmouth's FA Cup win in May was the first time he had won a major trophy. Their main aim at the moment is avoiding relegation. Redknapp has twice saved Portsmouth from going down, and he also masterminded an improbable escape for West Ham.

*What are his strengths? He is a excellent judge of a player. He is a manager with a knack for reviving players whose careers appear in decline.

*Sounds great. Why did he not get the England job? The FA was nervous about the cloud of suspicion which hangs over his transfers dealings. Redknapp denies all allegations and has never been arrested or charged.

Glenn Moore

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