We all know that in life coincidences happen, take yesterday as an example; Something very similar happened in two very different sports, to sides of the same name, in locations 4863.85 miles apart. NBA side San Antonio Spurs lost to mid-table opposition Utah Jazz after resting key players, whilst earlier in the day Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) rested key players and lost a game to mid-table opposition in the form of Norwich.
The coincidences don’t stop there; add in to the mix that if you were to average out the NBA standings nationwide, you would find San Antonio would be the fourth best team in the NBA and Tottenham are currently fourth in the Premier League – just plain spooky right? Maybe it’s not just coincidence?! Don’t be silly.
But the more you think about coincidence, the more you think that it is strange Spurs’ poor run of form coincided with mass calls of ‘Harry Redknapp for England’ – is this just another coincidence or an event that could ruin Tottenham’s season?
There is no denying that something major has happened to Tottenham; In Spurs’ first 19 games of this Premier League season they won 13 games, lost 3 games and drew 3 games taking a massive 42 points and were comfortably sitting third in the Premier League. Since the halfway point of the season Spurs have only won 4 games, losing 5 games and drawing 5, taking just 21 points from 15 games. Things weren’t supposed to be like this for Spurs, especially with everyone talking about an ‘easy run-in’ for the London club, but something changed.
I looked at the results and after the midway point of the season, Spurs were still performing well and managed to register 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss during their next 6 games, not bad. The turning point in Tottenham’s season for me was the away game at Stevenage in the FA Cup. A strong Spurs side were easily held by League Two opposition to an uninspiring 0-0 draw, the magic of the cup or something more sinister? The following matches would help decipher.
The next two games saw Spurs lose 5-2 to neighbours Arsenal before going on to lose 3-1 at home to Manchester United, big defeats in important games, but with an ‘easy run-in’ it was still all to play for. Such defeats would have dented confidence, but looking at the league it was hardly the end of the world.
Was it just a coincidence that when I checked, these 3 games, the start of Spurs’ indifferent form, were in close proximity to Fabio Capello’s resignation as England Manager and the world and his wife calling for Harry Redknapp to be his replacement. The results also coincided with an international break that heightened the circus around Harry Redknapp even further. Such events are hard to ignore and label as purely coincidental.
We see outside factors that can have a positive or negative impact on player or team performance in football all the time – look at what happened to Bolton following the Muamba incident. Bolton looked down and out and deep in the relegation battle, Muamba collapsed on the pitch at Spurs, fought for his life and survived which lead to Bolton winning two crucial six-pointer games in a row directly after the incident. Had Muamba lost his battle for life would the outcome of these games have been different? Were Bolton’s two wins in a row linked to what happened to Muamba or is it just coincidence the events happened in close proximity?
When you look at the Harry Redknapp situation it was only ever going to be a negative for Tottenham Hotspur. Redknapp has worked with that team to get them where they are now, he has knitted them together, helped create a great team spirit and also settled the club down as the majority of those connected with the club, from players to fans, is comfortable and happy with his tenure and the direction the club is heading. The threat of him leaving, a threat that has hung over Spurs, must have some affect on the players mentality and also everyone connected with the club.
For me there was a show of disrespect by football towards Tottenham and Harry Redknapp after managers and players both publically backed ‘Redknapp for England’ ahead of the most crucial months of the season. Managers won’t talk about other clubs players (unless your Mancini), players won’t publically talk about situations at their clubs with managers etc (unless you are Joey Barton), but it seemed everyone was justified to back Redknapp for England. The Premier League had to send out a reminder to all clubs that it was against Premier League rules to talk about a manager who is under-contract leaving that position, but it was too little, too late, the damage was already done.
So as we look back on a period that has completely changed Spurs’ fortunes we need to ask ourselves whether the speculation that has surrounded Harry Redknapp taking the England job has affected Spurs’ performance or where it is just another coincidence as Spurs hit a bad run of form? For me this isn’t just coincidence, uncertainty surrounds Spurs which has only been heightened by those within football and also the media that has affected the teams performance in a negative way. Spurs could be labelled as one of the biggest chokers in Premier League history and end up with nothing this season and in my view it will be no thanks to the ‘Redknapp for England circus’ – it is now time for ‘Arry to show his true man management credentials before his Spurs side throw it all away and he walks in to the sunset with England.