And so, the long, drawn out saga of Harry Redknapp’s appointment as England boss has begun.
Ever since Fabio Capello’s acrimonious departure last week from the job universally agreed to be the most difficult in world football, Redknapp has not so much been linked with the post as been carried on the shoulders of a nation, heralded as the savior of English pride.
The small spanner in the works remains Tottenham’s continued success this season.
A brace from new boy Louis Saha helped Spurs to a 5-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday to keep them within touching distance of league leaders Manchester City, while the vapour trails left behind by the likes of Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor and Luka Modric still hung over White Hart Lane long after the elated Spurs faithful had made their way home through the bitter winter night - It was a performance befitting of a side billed as the most attractive in England.
Now with the FA's inquiry into Redknapp’s availability impending, rumours today have linked former beloved forward Jurgen Klinsmann as his successor, with the Mirror reporting that Chairman Daniel Levy has already put out feelers over Klinsmaan taking over at White Hart Lane.
With the likes of Jose Mourinho and Frank Rijkaard already linked with the post, Tottenham fans are right to be somewhat wary of a man who endeared himself to them in two spells during the 90’s.
Spurs have spent the best part of the last five decades trying to replicate the success of a bygone era, and such is the nature of the club keen on romantic notions and slick football that past heroes are often looked to in order to bring about a bright new era.
“The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning," said Danny Blanchflower famously, voted recently as the greatest Spurs player of all time. "It's nothing of the kind. The game is about glory. It is about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out to beat the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.” It is with that oft-repeated vow that Spurs managers have taken on the task of rekindling the sleeping giant in north London.
Two of Tottenham’s main exponents of the beautiful game of years gone by, Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles, have had a crack of the whip in the Premier League era with little to no success.
The match made in heaven with Ardiles at the helm proved to be anything but that as Tottenham rummaged around the lower half of the league (despite the arrival of a certain German forward in the summer of 1994) for a year before he was sacked amidst a cloud of controversy, while Hoddle fared little better in conveying how the game should be played at White Hart Lane.
Elsewhere proof if ever there needs be of the perils of fan favourties taking charge of their adoring club came as Kenny Dalglish further tarnished his once glistening reputation following Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat against Manchester United on Saturday.
The iconic former number 7 was forced into a humbling u-turn after his indignant post-match interview in which the Scot denied all knowledge of any tension following Luis Suarez’s refusal to shake Patrice Evra’s hand on his first full game since being banned for racially abusing the United defender.
Progress at Anfield has certainly been made under Dalglish since he was summoned from a cruise ship to haul up the Red sinking liner that had gone off course with Roy Hodgson at the helm.
But if ever there was an iceberg that looks capable of taking the Dalglish/Liverpool partnership under it’s the rumbling race row that has seen a club revered for its illustrious history entrenched in a race row that it has exacerbated by its own indignant stance.
The Telegraph report today that Suarez’s future at Anfield is in serious doubt after the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, were forced to step in and take control following the defeat against United as the issue threatened to take on a new lease of life once more.
Dalglish’s place in Liverpool’s history is set in stone because of his achievements there. But there is something more intangible that cold hard statistics can’t demonstrate – the dwindling reputation of a man so revered, and that is something Spurs fans must fear if Klinsmann returns.
A trip into football’s past is littered with the reputations of former fan favourites who have arrived on a wave of popularity, and only a select few have been able to live up to the unabated hype with doing damage to their legacy.
Of course, Dalglish has enjoyed success as a Liverpool manager before and is only one game away from securing yet more silverware for the Reds when they step out for the Carling Cup final against Cardiff later this month.
And for every Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer there is a Pep Guardiola, who has slotted seamlessly into the Barcelona machine; the Catalan club have the chance to claim their 14th trophy under Guardiola when they go up against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final in May.
While Klinsmann has previous managerial experience at the highest level – he is often credited with kick-starting the current German national football team revolution that took them to the World Cup semi-finals in 2010 – the history of Tottenham’s former managers should be enough to ward them off a romantic appointment.
The fact remains that for Tottenham, a club seemingly on the cusp of something special, to look to the past would be a dangerous game to play when the future looks so bright. When choosing the next Spurs manager to carry on from Redknapp’s exceptional work, rose tinted glasses are certainly not required.
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