A day that Tottenham had hoped would mark the end of a five year distraction for their manager turned on its head as Fabio Capello’s reign as England manager ended with a bang far bigger than he was ever able to achieve on the pitch during his time in charge.
Hours before Capello's shock resignation, Harry Redknapp stood on the steps of Southwark Crown Court, fresh from a not guilty verdict in the case bought against him by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs yesterday, and declared his personal ‘nightmare’ over.
"It really has been a nightmare, I've got to be honest, it's been five years and this case should never have come to court. It was horrendous" the Spurs boss told the gaggle of reporters hanging on his every word.
This was a time to celebrate for Redknapp and his family after two weeks of his personal financial dealings splashed across national newspapers and over the internet.
Having missed Tottenham’s game against Liverpool on Monday after his flight from London was cancelled due to bad weather, Redknapp - a man so endeared with football after 25 years as manager he spent the buildup to Portsmouth’s 2008 FA Cup final game against Chelsea engrossed with Rochdale's League Two playoff with Darlington - was given the green light to return to doing what he knew best with no distractions.
That lasted a sum total of around five hours. While he declared he was ‘entirely focused’ on Tottenham’s upcoming fixture against Newcastle on Saturday there is little doubt Redknapp’s mind will currently be swimming with possibility as the camp of reporters outside his house continued to add to his warped existence over the Spurs boss.
FA Chairman David Bernstein’s answer to the Redknapp question (‘wait and see’) to reporters came a similarly elusive press conference which came with an overtone of Redknapp being the immediate target for the job.
Redknapp has made little attempt to disguise his desire to be the next England manager in the past, nor has he shied away from extolling the virtues of managerial prowess.
“I’m a fantastic football manager,” he told the courtroom while given evidence during his trial, and it would seem there a few in England, or indeed the England squad who would disagree.
The growing call from England’s leading lights for Redknapp to be appointed immediately is growing by the hour. Wayne Rooney through his not-inconsiderable weight behind Redknapp on Twitter while Rio Ferdinand also got in line behind the Spurs boss, posting on Twitter his personal backing for his former boss at West Ham.
Never before has there been such public fervor for one man to become England manager, nor has one candidate been so heartily endorsed by the men he is destined to take charge of.
And if all had gone to plan, starting with the FA’s handling of John Terry being stripped of the captaincy, then a seamless handover with little disruption over the summer could have taken place.
Now the FA have never found themselves in a more difficult position, forced to move for their man five months early at the behest of the nation, but it is certainly in Redknapp’s best interests, and Englands, to reject the call of his country for now.
Speaking at a press conference, Bernstein hinted at his desire to go after Redknapp sooner rather than later, with the Euro's at the forefront of his mind and little mention of an interim boss.
"I'm not going to get into any discussion on any individuals, We will do this as quickly as we sensibly can. It will be interesting to see who comes to us and we'll be putting together a shortlist," he told the assembled press, while not discussing a potential interim manager.
Stuart Pearce may have been announced as taking charge for the upcoming friendly against the Netherlands but the message that 'popular opinion will matter' points to only one man in the long run.
The former Portsmouth manager (rightly) makes great play of the state of the team he took over in 2008 occupying bottom spot in the Premier League, and the transformation undertaken with him at the helm.
it has always seemed Redknapp’s exit strategy to leave Tottenham with a Champions League spot for next season, topping up his pension fund with a few years in charge of England before slipping quietly away to life in Poole with his beloved wife Sandra.
Few would have anticipated Tottenham’s potential title charge this season. Redknapp maintains the current crop of Spurs stars, led by a smattering of virtuoso performers, have a ‘title in them’ even he wouldn’t have envisaged occupying third spot in the league as Luka Modric demanded a move across London to Chelsea in August.
While off the pace in the title race the season still holds much promise. A season defining run of games has already begun, with Manchester City and Liverpool done and dusted in recent weeks while Newcastle, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea await in the coming weeks and months.
An FA Cup 5th round tie against Steveange is also in the offing, with both Manchester clubs already out of the running for the famous old trophy. The job for Redknapp at Tottenham is not yet complete.
A distinguished managerial career hasn’t exactly been laden with the trophies he perhaps deserves, his ‘wheeler dealer’ persona possibly denying him the shot at the big time he warranted before Tottenham came calling.
An F.A Cup triumph with Portsmouth in 2008 and promotion to the Premier League with the same club in 2003 mark the pinnacle of his career in terms of silverware, while Tottenham’s ascent to the Champions League is a less tangible, yet no less meaningful, highlight.
Now, this season, he has the chance to define his club career before going for one last hurrah. The lure of England will be great, as will his desire to come to the rescue of his country, but perhaps the best outcome for both parties is for his appointment to not be until after the European Championships.
Of course there is his own future to consider. The England job has once more proved itself as the final resting place for managerial reputations, a poisoned chalice for anyone drawn to the light and the faint hope of ending the Three Lions 46-year barren spell in major trophies.
Managers with far superior records than his have failed, Capello the latest man to enter the job on chariot and leave it being ushered out of the back door.
Redknapp is on to a good thing, why would he risk all he has spent so long proving by leading an England laden with doubt and controversy in to the European Championships, and risk damaging his time as England boss, that has been on his mind since Capello announced he would step down after the Euro’s, before it has even really begun?
The temptation for Redknapp lies in his patriotism and the promise England once more have shown. Should he take up the reigns either now or over the summer, Redkanpp would join with one of the most promising England crop of youngsters since the ‘Golden Generation’ emerged in the latter part of the last century.
Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck, Joe Hart and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to name but a few have offered a tantilising glimpse of what could be in the future, while if there is a man to get a mentally battered team such as England playing and believing in themselves, it is Redknapp.
But for now, Redknapp is riding a wave higher than ever before in his career, and the call likely to come his way from England should be resisted.
After coming away from his time in court with his reputation still in tact it could now be time to make an unpopular move in order to ensure his footballing reputation does the same thing.
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