It seems as though the inevitable has finally happened. This morning in a press conference at the Tottenham Hotspur Training Lodge Harry Redknapp, flanked by Club chairman Daniel Levy and first team coach Joe Jordan, announced that he would be leaving the club once the teams 2010-11 campaign ended.
Many were not shocked by the news, since Harry has been flirting with the English FA about taking over the national team since the World Cup ended last summer. Add that to his tax evasion trial set to occur this summer and it seemed like this separation was inevitable.
However, I think all in attendance, and all Spurs fans in general, were shocked when Harry announced that he was not leaving for any of the above reasons, but was in fact "headed back to where it all started for [him] as a manager". Yes, Redknapp is returning to take the helm of AFC Bournemouth. Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell, said in an interview with the Guardian this morning that he was "pleased to be bringing on a manager of Redknapp's quality" and that both Harry's history with the club, Harry managed Bournemouth from 1982-93 and played there for a number of years prior, and his ability to get the most out of a group of less talented players was an important factor in the hire.Speculation is already rampant about the transfer fee that the club received for Harry's services. If you remember, Spurs paid £5 million to Sevilla for Juande Ramos' service back in 2007 and Jose Mourinho commanded a transfer fee of £8 million when he left Inter Milan for Real Madrid. Many wonder how the Cherries, currently playing in League One, could have possibly managed to pry Harry Redknapp from Tottenham's grasp.
Many are saying that it was, in fact, Sandra Redknapp who forced this deal. Sandra is, of course, well known for being a better finisher than Darren Bent, but she is also quite fond of the South Coast. It is widely believed that she was furious at having to leave Portsmouth for the hustle and bustle of London, but she went along with it for a time, hoping that it would be like many of Harry's other stops, short-lived. Harry has now been at Spurs for almost 3 seasons and Mrs. Redknapp is ready to head back to the area she considers home.
Daniel Levy, had extended Harry's contract through 2013 back in July so I can't imagine that he let him out of that easily. However, if Levy felt like the damage done by any possible conviction of Harry on tax evasion would do to the club would outweigh the benefit of keeping him on he may have let him go at a discount.
With Redknapp now out of the picture after this season, I'm not sure where Tottenham will turn next. We all know what the rumors for the transfer window are like, but add those rumors to a search for a new manager and this next few months will probably be unbearable. Let's bring out the list now, it's doubtful Spurs will be able to attract the likes of Jose Mourinho to the club. In all honesty, I'd love to bring back Martin Jol. Other candidates will likely be Sam Allardyce, Owen Coyle, and perhaps even Slave Bilic (who would certainly work well with our Croatian contingent).
As a Spurs fan, I am devastated, but football is a business and these things happen. We will all miss Harry Redknapp. He presided over one of the most successful periods of Spurs football (though it has only lasted these 3 years). Spurs will be a completely different side without him and I'm not really looking forward to that.