Am I getting obsessive about 'Arry? While the team are 'Walking the Walk' these days it's definitely Harry who is 'Talking the Talk'. Mrs JG2 says that everything according to me nowadays is 'top, top' and if I say 'for sure' once more she's tearing up my bus pass. She says that I've even developed a facial tic. Mind you she is not a reliable witness and to suggest that I snuggled up in bed the other night and whispered 'Arry, Arry' let's try 443 for a change' is just going too far. She is to be treated as a hostile witness from now on.
Harry has hoodwinked the media, the players, the fans and clearly me into thinking that there is more to himself than meets the eye. So when he says 'We are going to attack, co's that's all we know' opponents, managers and pundits tap their noses and observe that Harry won't be fooling them. They get ready for a 451 formation and are shocked when we play with two strikers, four attacking midfielders, two overlapping full-backs and a 'fly' goalkeeper.
So why have I been so slow to join the 'Harry Redknapp Love In'? Remember them? Great group. Well firstly I am clearly a soccer snob. I grew up in London and went to school with a playground full of miniature 'Arrys' and had my dinner money frequently charmed or threatened out of my pocket for some dubious venture.
I am not given to taking things at face value. In my view there's always more to everything than meets the eye. I am particularly wary of the 'What you see is what you get' facade. But Harry would like us to believe that really that's all there is. In this complex world is honesty the new black? Is transparency the new opaque? Is an arm round the shoulder as technical as it gets? It's a con and I'm not falling for it. Will the real Harry Redknapp please stand up.
To tell you the truth I really want my manager to eat Guardian chalkboards for breakfast and Pro-zone lightly sprinkled with back copies of shredded Zonal Markings for lunch. I want complexity; I want strategy; I want tactical substitution; I want analysis and depth. I don't want, 'Just go on and f****** run about a bit'. I want Mourinho with all the trimmings: ice, lemon and little umbrellas that open; I want the manager, like Billy Nick to be more famous than the team: Tottenham HarrySpurs it is then . I don't want empty clipboards. Mind you poor old Chris Hughton, the man who did more for office supplies than Ricky Gervaise, has just been sacked so perhaps Harry is on to something
Harry never writes anything down; or looks anything up; he rarely gets out of his seat except when he gets the cramp; he spends most of the training sessions wandering about enjoying the scenery; old fashioned fool that he is he loves 442; plays the same players until they break a leg and even then is loathe to substitute them until the 91st minute. Harry doesn't tinker, or do short term micro management in business speak, like Benitez who is doing so well at Inter Milan. Oh wait.
Despite all these failings the team is in the knockout stages of the Champions' League; still in touch at the top of the Premier League; he is tipped to take over from Ivor Capello when he and Mr. Berlusconi are sleeping with the fishes; we are playing football 'Tottenham style', happy just to score more more than the opposition; and all this despite the fact that our injured players make The Lodge look like a field hospital dressing station in the Great War.
On Tuesday we were in Holland against an FC.Twente a team that were slicker and faster than I remember them from White Hart Lane. We beat them at home 4-1 with Van der Vaart sent off for a second bookable offense and a couple of Pavlyuchenko penalties. That was an open game too. On Tuesday they scored three but it was never going to be enough.
We qualified with ease for top, top spot in our division thus avoiding the Big Beasts in the next round. Even Harry admitted we could do without drawing Barcelona in the next round. I like a man that knows his limitations.
They gave us a bizarre Robinsonesque goal but while we were still laughing we gave them one back via a harsh penalty from which they eventually scored. The first was dis-allowed because Gallas was ahead of Landzaart before he even took it. Defoe got his first Champions' League goals, one from a clever Lennon assist and the other a tap in after Palacios had skinned, gutted and jugged a defender. Wilson's shot was pushed into the path of Defoe. Two for him then and technical KO. for Wilson.
They scored from an excellent free-kick and a superb cross and header. But three is never enough against Spurs at this level (18 goals in 6 games) and despite Kranjcar and Jenas being injured we went home in high spirits.
Now we face a somewhat down at heel Chelsea at White Hart Lane and having failed to collect three points against Birmingham this would be the ideal time to put Harry's philosophy into action. Something along the lines of 'attack, attack, attack.' the motto incidentally of the US 34th . Infantry Division. Sounds about right. In their last 6 games they have recorded just one win and three losses and were beaten on Wednesday in the Champions' League. We are unbeaten in six at home at the Lane. Chelsea as underdogs, whatever next.
I'm always wary of the 'Good time to play' theory because Spurs seem to do better when we are not expected to do the business. Or rather we used to be. All the things we couldn't, wouldn't, or shouldn't do we seem to have done lately, including a new one for the list, topping our Champions' League group.
We might make the top four again and get through to the last 16 of the Champions' League. Or we just might do better than that. Harry has no doubts and if you listen to him, we most certainly will and who's to say him nay?
So as 10cc nearly put it in 'Dreadlock Holiday' in the 70's
'I don't like Harry, oh no: I love him.'