AVB's battle to emerge from Redknapp's shadow at Spurs

By Neil Ashton


Andre Villas-Boas has a major problem as manager of Tottenham - his name isn’t Harry Redknapp.

Every decision, every tactical switch and every selection is gauged against Redknapp’s achievements.

Alternate goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Brad Friedel? Oh, Harry would have handled it differently.

Lurking: Andre Villas-Boas is quietly attempting to make his mark

Lurking: Andre Villas-Boas is quietly attempting to make his mark

Put the players through detailed DVD presentations before matches? Harry did it a different way.

Drop Jermain Defoe after a hat-trick against Maribor and replace him with Emmanuel Adebayor for the trip to champions Manchester City? Harry would never have done that.

Everything Villas-Boas is doing at Spurs is being judged against the backdrop of Redknapp’s three-and-a-half year spell at White Hart Lane.

He stalks every corridor at Tottenham, with conversations still centred around his achievements at the club.

Redknapp restored order after Juande Ramos’ chaotic regime and turned Tottenham into a genuine force in English football again.

They returned to Wembley under Redknapp in 2009 for the Carling Cup final and were eventually beaten on penalties by Manchester United.

A year later, Redknapp was named manager of the year after guiding Tottenham to a fourth-placed finish and Champions League football.

They went on a spell-binding journey in Europe, thrilling crowds at Inter Milan and AC Milan with their exuberance before they fell away in the quarter-final against Real Madrid.

Redknapp spoke of his Spurs team being one of the most exciting sides since Bill Nicholson’s Double winners.

Gareth Bale, among others, flourished in a forward-thinking team that Redknapp was convinced could go on to challenge for the title.

Fans' favourite: Harry Redknapp's shadow hangs over Tottenham

Fans' favourite: Harry Redknapp's shadow hangs over Tottenham

Last season they finished fourth, but Tottenham wanted a change of direction under a young, ambitious new coach.

It was the choice of Daniel Levy, a decision that appeared to be based on personalities rather than league position.

It is time for Tottenham to move on.

Redknapp is part of Tottenham’s history, a successful manager who was moved on by the board at the end of the season

He is highly-regarded by Spurs supporters and staff, quite rightly after their three thrilling seasons under his leadership.

Nearly six months on and he is still being talked about in Spurs circles, a shadow over Villas-Boas as he makes his own changes.

It was always going to be difficult to replace a man of Redknapp’s standing within the game, particularly after the Portuguese coach’s chastening experience at Chelsea.

Tough task: Spurs are attempting to keep track of the big boys

Tough task: Spurs are attempting to keep track of the big boys

Villas-Boas is a complicated character, but he is the man entrusted to take the team into the top four. He has his own methods and no-one at Tottenham is able to fault his work ethic.

There have been changes to the training ground approach and the serious side to Villas-Boas has been transmitted to the players.

He is paid to make decisions and although there are major doubts about Villas-Boas’ managerial acumen, he is the man Tottenham backed in favour of Redknapp.

It is a big call by Levy, but it is his appointment.

There is no going back, too late to turn back the clock after the events that led to Redknapp departing in the summer.

Villas-Boas is a different beast, but Tottenham believe in his methods and he should have their unequivocal backing.

They are aware of his character traits and it is taking time for those ideas to be ingrained in the players’ psyche.

Focus: Villas-Boas is desperate for success at White Hart Lane

Focus: Villas-Boas is desperate for success at White Hart Lane

The target is the top four and beyond, but it has been a difficult start to his career at Spurs.

Naturally, as a former Chelsea coach, there is an element of doubt among Spurs supporters. He arrived as an outsider and it is taking their time to warm to him.

At Tottenham has the platform to succeed, a maturing squad with the ability to challenge for Champions League football.

Despite a disjointed start to the season they have had their moments, notably the 3-2 victory at Manchester United when Villas-Boas was coming under increasing scrutiny.

This weekend they are playing Arsenal at the Emirates, an opportunity for the Portuguese coach to carve his way into north London history.

Spurs are above Arsene Wenger’s team in the Premier League, a point ahead as they prepare for kick-off on Saturday lunchtime.

If they can get something from the game, it might just turn out to be an even bigger result for Villas-Boas.



The comments below have been moderated in advance.

AVB should not be compared to Harry Redknapp. He has inherited a side that has lost its best player in Luka Modric, who by the way was leaving regardless of who was in charge. He has two of the mainstays of last season's defence injured, and the player brought in to try and replace some of what Modric brought to the side has been injured as well. Add to all this a lack of form from a number of players, and he's got a lot to contend with. Harry had great players, who on their day played great, but for other extended periods they were average at best and had no real tactical options to try and cope with that lack of form. AVB has perhaps made some decisions I wouldn't agree with, but so did Harry, and so do all managers.

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What was the purpose of this article? To point out Harry's 'achievements' while at Tottenham? AVB needs time and the media and the so called fans calling for his blood need to give him a break. He didn't sell Modric, he didn't sell Van der Vaart and he sure as hell didn't pick who was bought and accept the fact we haven't replaced our midfield metronome nor bought strikers. Our team is a shadow of what it was through no fault of Boas, the team has a lot of injuries, is struggling to adapt to a coach who plans for games and he's fighting a constant battle with the media who are all too keen to stick the boot in and the 'fans' who are pining for the return of the one dimensional manager. How would we be playing under Harry under the current circumstances? He couldn't pick up points with a full team for weeks early in the year. The coach isn't the problem!!!

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wouldnt even be in this position now if Rednapp got what he wanted which was Tevez and cahill instead of Saha and Nelson...typical Levy

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Spuds are awful

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I'm not a Spurs fan but why the media obsession with Redknapp? He won the FACup with Portsmouth, OK that's his miracle, but for me he's more a personality with a gift for overspending than a tactical genius. AVB will achieve as much as Redknapp, given time. But Spurs fans need to realise they are probably as big as they'll ever be, on the sidelines. If Arsenal can't compete, how will Spurs? Bale out next summer.

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Levy appointed him to take Spurs in a new direction, well he's certainly doing that, only trouble is it's downwards.

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SACK AVB! AVB isn't upto managing a Prem Club. No point in saying anymore.

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what a stupid article ..ive been to many spurs games and the fans never mention or even care bout ''arry'' coming back .. its only you in the media that are bothered about your beloved harry and need to face the fact if avb did get sacked they wouldnt reappoint harry so let it go and give avb a break.

Click to rate     Rating   15

As a fan of Tottenham Hotspur for over 60 years and a season ticket holder for most of that time, i have seen a mixture of good, bad and indifferent managers I was not and never have been a fan of Harry Redknapp.He may be the rent-a-quote favourite of the football journalists, but most Spurs fans saw straight through him. His often quoted statement that he saved us, was a feat most managers could have achieved.If his major signing of Wilson Palacios was the answer,it was not such a big problem as he lead us to believe. AVB wanted Moutinho, he was given Dempsey, let us put things in perspective, we did not win anything with Redknapp, and were not likely to.Harry has only ever won one FA CUP against a mediochre championship side.AVB has already achieved more and needs the full support of the board, and to be allowed to select his own team. Lets wait until he has a season or two behind him before we let Harry's mates at the press stab him in the back

Click to rate     Rating   21

AVB is no tactical genius. The Man Utd result was fluke. He has inherited a great fisrt team squad that seems to be going backwards at a rate of knots. What happens when we don't qualify for Champions league at the end of this season? Levy will most likely sell Bale claiming he supported the manager for a season but money is tight blah,blah,blah. I would have preffered him to have kept Harry and given him the funds to go out and buy a world class player upfront, in midfield and in defence. So what if Harry's head was turned by the England job, who wouldn't take a job that was the pinnacle of your career(be honest in yourselves). Now all we are hearing from the Lane is that we are catching Arsenal, if this is the height of our ambition we are deluding ourselves.

Click to rate     Rating   6

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