Respect to Redknapp

First of all, I would like to clarify that I am a die-hard Manchester United fan, and have been ever since I can remember watching football. The thing I love about them is the way they power through obstacles and always manage to get the job done. They may not do it as cleanly or with as much flair as some other teams, but you can’t really argue with 18 (possibly soon to be 19) league titles, can you? 
That being said, the way Tottenham Hotspur have shaped up in the last couple of seasons really is commendable. From mid-table also-rans to an integral part of the “Big Six” that the Premier League title race now has to account for, to Champions League quarterfinalists, their steady but rapid rise has been nothing short of impressive. And I attribute this rise to the way Harry Redknapp has been running things ever since he took charge.
Rather than trying to buy his way to a title like the other “Big Six” side Manchester City, Redknapp has shrewdly built a squad that, aside from being balanced and completely compatible with each other, also has a lot of depth. His transfer-window signings have been relatively quiet, but have had a HUGE impact on the face of English football. It started when he picked up players like Nico Krancjar and Younes Kaboul from his previous job at Portsmouth, then came Luka Modric and more recently signings like Gallas, Van der Vaart and Steven Pienaar have ensured that they can hold their own in Europe. Not to mention the fantastic emergence of a certain Gareth Bale.
I think the secret to Redknapp’s success is that he really knows how to get the best out of his players, and has built his team in such a way that unforeseen absences from the starting lineup have been instantly negated by the replacements. For example, when Michael Dawson was ruled out for a chunk of the season, we saw Alan Hutton coming in and doing an excellent job filling in for him on the left.
Heck, he’s even made Peter Crouch into a pretty reliable strike force! And if not Crouch, he has players like Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermaine Defoe in reserve, both of whom can come in and change the face of any game.
Another thing that has endeared me to Tottenham lately is the fearless attacking brand of football they play. They push forward and create opportunities for themselves regardless of whom they are playing against or what the scoreline is. It’s a refreshing change from the common tendency in English football to pack in your defense once you’re a goal or two up. Granted, they were pretty defensive against Milan, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess!
I’d even go so far as to say that if United get knocked out of the Champions League before them (God forbid), I would definitely support Tottenham, for the simple reason that, loyalties aside, I really like the way they play football.
I would also like to mention an article I found by former Tottenham and Liverpool defender Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock, who has summed Harry Redknapp up in a couple of paragraphs. It didn’t really shape the way I wrote this post, but just confirmed what I already thought.
THE SECRET BEHIND HARRY REDKNAPP’S SUCCESS AT TOTTENHAM

Tottenham’s achievements in the Champions League this season have been a joy for me to see at every level. Not only am I delighted to see my old club dining at the top table with Europe’s elite, playing a fearless brand of attacking football, but also for my old boss Harry Redknapp to be picking his wits against some of the top managers in Europe. The transformation he has made at the football club is incredible and he fully deserves the plaudits that come his way.
Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, football has a habit of pigeonholing you. While many saw me as little more than a tough tackling defender, the perception of Harry prior to his arrival at White Hart Lane was that he was a small time manager unable to cut it at a big club. In the last three years he has proved all those doubters wrong with his exploits at Tottenham, so much so that he is odds on to be the new England manager when Fabio Capello departs. Everyone that has worked with him won’t be surprised at his success; it is just a shame it took the rest of the media a long time to work it out.
The secret to Harry Redknapp’s success is ultimately down to his man-management of individual players. It is clichéd term but he has the uncanny knack of making you feel 10ft tall and capable of beating anyone, which rubs off collectively and makes you feel motivated as one. He wasn’t afraid to tear a strip off you should you need it and he didn’t hold back with anyone. I remember I was having an absolute stinker against Manchester United and the more I tried to resolve things the worse I got and I remember Harry’s own special way of getting me back on track “Oi Razor, get warmed up, you are coming off in a minute” – needless to say it got the desired response from me. Redknapp just knew which buttons to press with players and that is why he is so successful in bringing the best out in them.

Harry’s other great strength is his ability to unite the whole football club. From the players right down to the tea lady, it is a fun place to go and work. Training can often be a chore at times but Harry always makes it an enjoyable experience. Even if you have had a bad result at the weekend, Harry would be even more upbeat to ensure that your heads didn’t drop and you wouldn’t dwell on it. I have played under managers, who would remain moody, or hold grudges against individuals following a bad result and their negativity would rub off on the rest of the team. Redknapp is the complete polar opposite as he understands that morale and confidence is just as significant in succeeding, as raw footballing ability. I bet those Tottenham players were as nervous as hell at half time against Milan, but you can guarantee that Harry will have defused that with a few choice words to ensure that the team went out and finished the job in hand. I have read journos in many papers this weekend claiming that Spurs beating Milan ranks as Harry’s finest hour as a football manager and while I’m not certain of that, it certainly proved to his doubters that Redknapp is a top class football manager who has what it takes to mix it with the best in Europe. Those who have played under him always knew that at the right club Harry could do it and it appears that the rest of the football fraternity is finally waking up to it as well.

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Writing credits: Rishi Iyengar. Student at Fergusson College, Pune, and die-hard Manchester United supporter.
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