Thursday, November 19, 2009

Harry Redknapp Launches Scathing Attack on Spurs Squad Players

Spurs sit in fourth place after getting off to their best start to a league campaign in some time. But Harry Redknapp has indicated to his team that he is not prepared to sit on his laurels by lashing out at certain squad members for complaining to the clubs Chairman about not playing enough.

Tottenham's star has risen exponentially since Redknapp joined in October 2008. Sitting bottom of the table after their worst start to a season since 1912, Spurs moved to bring in the former Portsmouth boss.
His influence is there for all to see, as Tottenham rose from the depths of the Premiership to actually launch a concerted attack on the European positions of the league. Only a final game defeat to Liverpool denied Spurs what would have been one of the great feats of the Premiership age.
With the wind in their sails, Spurs were expected to challenge for those elusive European positions this year. As luck would have it, they would entertain Liverpool in the first game of the season.
Spurs ran out comfortable winners over the team that finished second last year, and the stage was set for a good start to the season.
Eleven games later and Tottenham sit in fourth place above challengers Manchester City, Liverpool, and Aston Villa.
Much of this progress can be attributed to Redknapp's influence on the team, but it is worth noting that he has spent £71.5 million in only one year at Spurs.
For the most part, the money has been spent very wisely. Spurs were lacking firepower since the sales of Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Jermaine Defoe. So when Harry went looking for new strikers, it came as little surprise to see him re-sign both Defoe and Keane, before adding Peter Crouch to the mix.
These signings were quite significant, but perhaps his most important signing has been that of midfielder Wilson Palacios.
The Honduran was added to give Spurs some steel in midfield, as Redknapp reckoned that Spurs "lacked character in a battle." He was right.
Over the years, players have come in at Tottenham with the attitude that they have made it to the big time because Spurs are such a massive club and have then gone on to produce little on the pitch. This attitude has been endemic throughout the club over the years.
However, that attitude has begun to change since Redknapp came in.
Palacios bolstered midfield and all of a sudden certain players who had always thought that their position was unassailable were under threat.
There has been a massive culture change at Spurs in a little more than one year, and Harry deserves much credit for actually making these players work for the right to represent their team on the pitch.
Over the last 30 years, Spurs have gone through too many managers who were not equipped to tackle the culture of underachievement that had become part of the fabric at White Hart Lane, and Redknapp has now moved into the second phase of this culture change at the club.
Whenever a culture changes in an organization, it is normally met with fear, trepidation, and a general level of mistrust.
Changing your organizational culture is the toughest task you will ever take on. The organizational culture has been formed over years of interaction between the participants in the organization and changing it can feel like rolling rocks uphill.
Knowing that Spurs were burdened with players who were sitting on fat pay cheques and contributing very llittle, Tottenham Hotspur changed the players working conditions to try and force some of them into leaving.
In the summer, Spurs pulled their team out of the Reserve Squad Premier League.
All of a sudden, players were looking at going through a season without a game of football.
The focus was placed on Tottenham's ever-improving Academy side and many young squad players were sent out on loan to get experience.
While others were left to fight it out for the first team.
This obviously had a huge impact on players—not getting games. Now Harry has lifted the lid on how some disgruntled players have decided to complain to the clubs Chairman rather than the manager.
What I found amazing is that agents will ring the chairman [Daniel Levy] and complain about their player not playing, you know, ‘What is your manager doing, why is he picking this player?’” Redknapp said.
That’s something that’s new to me and I find it strange and very difficult to deal with—if a player hasn’t got the courage to come and see you himself and ask why he’s not playing and get his agent, who would know nothing about football anyway, to ring.
“He [the agent] is only there because [the player] is a money-making machine. He’s got no interest in the player when he finishes his career probably, but will ring up the chairman and ask why you’re not picking this particular player.
“I’m lucky that the chairman doesn’t take any notice and he tells me about these idiots who ring him. But I just find it amazing that they have the nerve to do that, and I’m amazed that the player is weak enough to let his agent ring up the chairman and ask why he’s not playing. 
“He should be coming to see me, knocking on my door. But that is what’s going on and I’ve come across it more and more in recent times.”
The broadside seems aimed at players like Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermaine Jenas, David Bentley, Giovani Dos Santos, and Alan Hutton, who have all found their chances limited this year.
At least two of those five are expected to move on in January after AS Roma and Zenit St. Petersburg announced their interest in Pavlyuchenko, while Bentley has been linked with a swap for Manchester City's Martin Petrov.
There needs to be many components in place for clubs to change. For a start, it's particapants actually have to want to change.
It then begins with the chairman, who has to understand how the current culture works and how it can be changed. He then puts together a team to bring in his vision of how the organisation should be structured.
Levy made one massive mistake with Juande Ramos as manager and Damien Comolli as Technical Director, so he went back to traditional methods and chose the most traditional of managers for the task.
Redknapp has been in management since 1984 and is one of the few managers to have reached 1000 professional games.
His history is there for all to see, and now he is the key influence on Tottenham's future.
So far, he has done a very good job.
But the progression off the pitch will only be recognised if he can make progress on the pitch.
To do that, Spurs must finish in the top seven. So far they are on course, but as any Tottenham fan will tell you, they're used to false dawns, and hope that this is not another.

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