Interesting article on 'Arry...


Well-Known Member
Jul 10, 2008
An article from Football365 which probably echoes alot of spurs supporters opinions on 'Arry. Well at least thats the impression I get reading some of the comments left on this forum...,17033,8746_6538491,00.html

Quite possibly the most annoying thing in football is when a manager or player that you absolutely cannot stand starts performing so well that you are forced to admit that they are actually quite good. Don't you just hate that?

It is almost impossible to do when you have spent several years indulging in withering criticism of him and those who have always liked him. You were always so certain the man was a stinker and you just can't let go of the idea.

Dislike, if not outright hatred, is an important part of our football culture because it allows us to vent much negative emotion that builds up inside of us through the course of everyday life.

We need to have heroes and villains in football if we are to enjoy the weekly drama to the full. If you hate everyone you're a joyless bugger but similarly, if you're uncritical of everyone, you're missing out on the chance to assign and then vent some serious negativity onto someone who can't even answer you back and to whom you are completely anonymous. This is also why comments sections under articles like this are so popular; they allow a relatively, though not totally anonymous, way to exorcise your love, wit, bigotry and anger at anyone and everything.

So we all build up a small army of football people who we really rather enjoy seeing do badly and hate to see do well.

Sometimes this is for a specific reason. For example I can't stand Bolo Zenden largely because of how the Boro resurrected his flaccid career. How he scored the winning goal in the League Cup final and was voted Player of the Year and how he then rewarded this faith and devotion by jumping ship at the first opportunity to sit on the bench at Liverpool where he was almost always rubbish for two years, hoovering up money for doing sod all. Now I see his floppy hair playing its trade at Sunderland, I am always happy to see him kicked off the park and he still looks pleased to be substituted as though doing too much work is anathema to him. Bah. To me he embodies the football mercenary and Everything That Is Wrong With The Game. This is somewhat unreasonable and harsh, I know, but someone has to be a villain, and for me it's him.

But while my Zenden dislike is borne out of some specific reasons, my dislike of Harry Redknapp is not. I just instinctively don't like him. Never have. But I can't say specifically why, really. All the years of the self-pity of being down to the bare bones, all the clumsy tapping-up of players in the media is in the mix somewhere, as is the way the press all love him and say he's brilliant even when he's saying and doing really obvious things that anyone could do. I recall one journo saying he was a brilliant man-manager simply because he'd subbed a player who'd had a good game, two minutes from the end, so he could get a big cheer. I mean, everyone does that. It's basic stuff.

Then there's all the cheeky Cockney chappy, wheeler-dealer business as though he's a character from Only Fools And Horses, which I also couldn't stand and which also went on and on and on for years. I even loath the apostrophe in front of 'Arry. Oh yes, I could moan on about him for hours and thoroughly enjoy myself doing so and I'm sure so could many thousands of others in football.

I certainly have always thought he's been held in higher regard as a manager than his results justify, winning very little in a very long career. The idea that he will, court cases allowing, almost certainly be the next England manager fills me with unspecific, vague horror and even more shamefully I know I would be take some pleasure from England being put to the sword under Redknapp just to prove my prejudice that he's no good. Shocking really, I know, but I'm sure you know how I feel because you'll certainly have felt like this about someone in football before now.

But here's the thing, I bloody love watching Spurs play. Every game I see is simply fantastic football. Their combination of defensive vulnerability and cutting edge makes every game open and exciting. This is in no small measure due to the way Redknapp sets them up and the kind of players he signs. They are simply the most attractive combination of skill, flair and direct play available to watch in the league; a captivating mixture of intricate tippy-tappy and direct, biting incision and because they're leaky in defence, the opposition are always in with a chance, thus forcing Spurs to keep attacking.

They can't shut out a game; hell, they seem to actually prefer being in arrears for 45 minutes, which is great for us neutrals. The belief and confidence they play with must be credited to Redknapp. He hasn't done this on a meagre budget of course and Redknapp himself used to say of the top clubs when he managed lower down, that it would be easy to manage a top club full of top players, but playing successful and entertaining football is no mean feat.

I wish Spurs were not managed by Redknapp so I didn't have to admit to his success and suggest that perhaps the marriage of his attacking instincts with Tottenham's money and tradition is proving a very good blend indeed. After another fantastic game against Liverpool it is pointless and self-defeating for me to continue to pour scorn on Redknapp or pretend that this quality of play is somehow inevitable without him at the helm.

The critic in me still wants to point out the he often sends out team set up so badly that they're three or four down at half time but the football fan in me loves the fact that they can still recover from such situations so frequently.

I'll never learn to love Redknapp but this season I am loving the football his team is playing and would be delighted if in this topsy-turvy season, they actually could keep it up for long enough to have a proper pop at the title, even though the idea of Redknapp managing a league-winning side makes me feel nauseous because it would be hailed in certain quarters as the greatest achievement since Christ turned water in to wine.

Learning to love the people you hate is supposed to be a small step on the road to enlightenment, I'm not sure I've taken too many steps down that road yet but there is simply no other side I'd rather watch right now than Spurs.

Buy Johnny's excellent book from Amazon here or you can buy it in your local Waterstones. We highly recommend it as a funny, warm and interesting read. It was long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year 2010, you know. And he can't even spell his own name.

You can also follow Johnny on Twatter @ JohnnyThe Nic


aka Hugh G Rection
Oct 23, 2005
I actually enjoyed that, although the amount of love we're getting from the media is unsettling to me. I dont like it!


Patient Zero
Jun 13, 2008
I read F365 regularly and they definately dislike 'Arry more than pretty much any other figure in football. Regularly mocking him for things he says to the media and questioning his managerial record.

Although it is nice to see them admit that we are the most entertaining team in the league!