How Tottenham fell out of love with Harry Redknapp
When Harry Redknapp stood on the steps of Southwark Crown Court in February after being cleared of tax evasion, the last obstacle to a golden farewell to his career looked to have been cleared.
The pieces appeared to be falling into place for the 65-year-old as hours later Fabio Capello resigned as England coach and Redknapp was immediately made "The People's Choice" to succeed the Italian.
Tottenham were third in the Premier League and playing a thrilling brand of football as they stood 10 points clear of their faltering north London rivals Arsenal.
Redknapp is now out of work after a parting of the ways with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, as the complex and often uneasy relationship between the pair was fractured beyond repair.
Happier times: Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy (right) and now former manager Harry Redknapp. Photo: Press Association
Since that day in February, Spurs suffered a decline that saw them finish fourth behind a recovering Arsenal and Redknapp see his dreams of managing England disappear when the Football Association decided Roy Hodgson was their preferred candidate.
And then, in an unlikely final twist, Spurs saw their place in Europe's elite stripped away as Chelsea pulled off a Champions League triumph against all odds by beating favourites Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final before overcoming Bayern Munich on penalties in their own Allianz Arena to lift the trophy.
Redknapp told BBC Sport only this week that he would have taken the England job had it been offered - now he has no job at all as the credits roll on his White Hart Lane career.
The writing has been on the wall for weeks as the whispers that Redknapp would not survive the summer grew to a scream. He said he wanted assurances about a new contract at Spurs as his current deal had only 12 months to go - and once they were not forthcoming in talks with Levy the game was up.
Spurs had played some of the most attractive football seen in the Premier League season after Redknapp assembled a team of pace and potency that at one stage threatened to finish even higher than the third place they held.
And yet that failure to reach the Champions League, the result of slipping below Arsenal to allow Chelsea that possibility to take their place, seems to have been the final shove that set the train of events in motion that led to Redknapp's departure.
Redknapp admitted he had an "odd couple" relationship with Levy. The perception was that the manager always wanted extra additions to his squad while the chairman has an enviable reputation as one of the toughest, shrewdest negotiators in the game.
The relationship between manager and Spurs fans also had its moments. It seemed to be based on grudging respect rather than outright affection.
In the defeat at QPR in April the travelling support made their displeasure with his approach known as they chanted "Gareth Bale - He Plays On The Left" then "Aaron Lennon - He Plays On The Right" after a tactical switch saw the pair swap sides.
The manager still has a right to feel harshly done by after bringing back some of the most exciting times in White Hart Lane's recent history. He has made his contempt for those who refer to him as a "wheeler dealer" publicly clear and he has every right to do so.
When Redknapp succeeded Juande Ramos in October 2008 Spurs were four points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League after taking only two points from eight matches. In May 2010 they were in the Champions League for the first time in their history.
Spurs provided some wonderful moments as they reached the last eight, beating Inter Milan and AC Milan on the way, before losing to Real Madrid. So there is irony that a failure to get back into that competition looks to have been the trigger for Redknapp leaving White Hart Lane.
Redknapp will feel entitled to point at his body of work and ask could anyone have done better. The demanding Levy obviously feels the answer to that is "yes" so the search will begin for his successor.
Everton manager David Moyes is the bookmakers' favourite and appears to possess all the credentials Levy would require.
In a decade at Everton Moyes has kept the Merseysiders punching above their weight without too much cash to spend, taking them into the Champions League qualifiers in 2005 and finishing above neighbours Liverpool in seventh place last season despite large-scale spending across Stanley Park.
Moyes is hugely respected among his peers and by players in the game. He is regarded as a modern coach as well as manager and is notoriously reluctant to spend money unless he feels he is receiving value for money - which will certainly appeal to Levy.
The only doubt surrounding Moyes' suitability for Spurs appears some rather ludicrous theory about whether he is "glamorous" enough and whether he plays football in their flowing tradition. If Levy is conducting a search for a time-served Premier League manager rather than a beauty contest, then Moyes would be his man.
Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez is another candidate having been courted and flown to Miami for talks with Liverpool's owners before they appointed Brendan Rodgers. Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas and the out-of-work Capello may also eye the job with some relish.
Whoever comes in may find a crowded "in tray" with speculation continuing over the long-term White Hart Lane futures of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale.
The big story, however, focuses on Redknapp and what his next move will be. He hardly leaves Spurs with his reputation as a football manager tarnished - indeed there was still widespread bemusement in many quarters that Spurs think they can do better.
Dubai-based club Al Ahli have been linked with an approach for Redknapp in a lucrative two-year deal but he may wish to bide his time before making that commitment.
For all the trauma and disappointment he will feel at his parting with Spurs, it is highly unlikely football has seen or heard the last of Harry Redknapp.