Why Levy took massive gamble with Spurs future by dumping Redknapp
"Look, it's their club, their money. If they want a different manager or a different style, that's up to them. It all goes in cycles. There was a time when older managers were in vogue and right now it's younger ones." - Harry Redknapp
There was so much more for Harry Redknapp to achieve at Tottenham. Those who say he had taken the club as far as he could are wrong. The breaking point between 'Arry and chairman Daniel Levy was how each man saw the manager's role.
At 65, Redknapp had seen and achieved too much to consider changing his approach to fit Levy's vision. He railed against football directors, questioning their relevance, and also routinely bemoaned the lack of young talent across the country - both of which are major planks upon Levy wants to build the club's future.
With a different chairman and a different benefactor than Joe Lewis, Redknapp would still be in charge. But as he stated last week, "it's their club, their money". Basically, 'we agree to disagree and thanks for the memories'.
Levy and Lewis will have been scratching their head over Tottenham's failure to bring through more of their own talent. Great resources were committed to signing the likes of John Bostock, Danny Rose and Dean Parrett, but only Jake Livermore enjoyed relative success under Redknapp and Ledley King stands alone as the last homespun player to play for England.
Under a new head coach, Parrett, Rose and Bostock may not be lost to Spurs and Levy will feel more confident that the time and money thrown at signing the next batch, like Souleymane Coulibaly and Nabil Bentaleb, will be justified.
Redknapp wasn't ignoring their academy graduates just for the sake of it. It was simply a case of a different approach to team building. He made the players he inherited, like Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, better and backed himself to improve the signings he made.
He restored the club's pride and rebuilt its reputation not just in England, but around the world. This was again the club of Bill Nicholson. Old boys were added to his coaching staff, ex-players welcomed back to the club and training opened to the fans.
While all this was going on in the background, Redknapp led Spurs to a first Champions League campaign - and it should've been a second if not for UEFA.
And this is the challenge now for Levy - can his and Lewis' vision improve on what Redknapp has established?
For us, there are four key questions Tottenham's powerbrokers must address:
Tim Sherwood was initially brought back by Redknapp to work with his midfielders. He is now development coach and tipped by some to become technical director. The return of former players like Sherwood and Les Ferdinand has been a massive success. Will the new manager be committed to maintaining this local culture?
Redknapp is a showman. Always quick with a quote. He's big news, not just in England, but around the world. Through Redknapp's personality, Spurs have seen their profile lifted around the world. The hole now left in Tottenham's global marketing plan cannot be underestimated - only Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola could adequately fill it in terms of media exposure. How does Levy make up for this loss?
KEEPING SQUAD TOGETHER
The new manager will need to have enough experience and profile to assure the club's major players of a better future. Bale, Modric and Rafael van der Vaart will all need to feel confident in the new man. Can Roberto Martinez or Andre Villas-Boas carry the same pull as Redknapp?
ONE STEP BACK FOR TWO STEPS FORWARD
Spurs fans should take heart from Sherwood's mooted promotion. Having worked with the club's youngsters as development coach, Sherwood is their best chance of a successful promotion to the first team. It'll be a shrewd move by Levy and a sure sign to fans of where the club's direction is headed. But, if it takes a season or two for the club's best youngsters to find the required consistency, how does Levy, Sherwood and the new head coach sell that to a support that were celebrating victories over Milan's big two barely a year ago?
Like Sir Bobby Robson and Newcastle United, Redknapp and Tottenham were the made for eachother. The perfect fit. The question is: Can Levy catch lightening in a bottle twice?