Two months is a hell of a long time in football.
Rewind back to mid-April and Harry Redknapp, if the national press was to be believed, was the most wanted man in English football. An entire nation lay in wait, beckoning him to continue his fine work of leading Tottenham Hotspur into the 2012/13 Champions League, before leaving White Hart Lane to take up the post of England manager before Euro 2012. Odds-on favourite with a number of bookmakers, it appeared a matter of time before Redknapp was announced as the man to lead the Three Lions into Poland and Ukraine.
Fast-forward to the middle of May and the previously vacant England hot-seat had been filled by Roy Hodgson and Spurs place in the Champions League had been stolen in the most grandiose of circumstances by Chelsea. But Redknapp remained a man still very much in charge of his own destiny. He had a year left on his contract at White Hart Lane. Despite their European success, the Blues remained managerless – Redknapp was mooted as a contender. An offer from an unnamed club in the Middle East was reported, whilst AS Monaco, the 2004 Champions League finalists based in the tax haven but who have fallen on hard times in recent years and will subsequently spend a second season in Ligue 2 next year, were approached by ‘representatives’, claiming to work on behalf of Redknapp.
However, that was then, and this is very much now. Roman Abramovich has handed Roberto Di Matteo a two-year contract. Officials of Monaco never approached Redknapp and appointed Claudio Ranieri instead, and the Middle East offer would appear to have been and gone. With his parting from Tottenham, Redknapp would appear to be on the managerial scrapheap, paying the price for attempting to force through a new long-term contract – through the puzzling appointment of Paul Stretford, the agent, to conduct negotiations – when relations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy were frosty at best.
Following the tax evasion scandal, his open flirtations with the FA and the failure to take Spurs to Europe’s top table having been in such a strong position at the turn of the year, its difficult to understand how the former Portsmouth boss thought he had such a powerful hand to take to the table, especially given the notorious stubbornness that Levy takes into negotiations. To call it a misjudgment would be an understatement.
So what now for the 65-year-old? At first glance there aren’t many options out there that would appear enticing. The England job has gone. The big jobs in the Premier League appear sewn up and thats before you take into account the geographical limitations that commuting from his Sandbanks home – from which he is not interested in moving – bring.
Regardless of that and looking further afield, the big clubs in Europe appear sewn up. Redknapp could be attracted by the lifestyle that may come with managing in the MLS, having played in the NASL during the 1970’s, or could be interested in the financial rewards that a short-term deal in the Middle East could bring. However, it’s difficult imagining him somewhere else quite so soon.
Having been the longest-serving Tottenham boss since 1991, Redknapp would now appear set for a spell on the sidelines, pondering what might have been had he remained at White Hart Lane, wondering what is yet to come, and whether he’ll get another opportunity to test his managerial wits at the top level.
Eight weeks ago, that would have most likely been the furthest thing from his mind.