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Harry's Hotspurs!

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Robbo Robson | 15:11 UK time, Thursday, 6 May 2010

Well I can't help but feel pleased for Harry R.

It's earned me a nice meal out for the wife and meself (if she lets us come of course) from the bookies. And to all them doubters who coughed up their beer through their nostrils when I tipped Spurs for fourth all them months back - well, bow down to a greater power.

Of course, it wasn't a snap judgement on my part. As with these blogs, it was thoroughly thought through. Outside of United and Chelsea, Redknapp had the best quartet of strikers in the division. There was evidence of a sterner spine in the side with Wilson Palacios in for the brave, willing, but aimless Didier Zokora.

Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar and Tom Huddlestone can keep the ball well. Aaron Lennon, his hand wafting like a Jane Austen heroine holding her hanky out, is very difficult to stop (and for my money a bit less prone to what seasoned pundits are now calling the Wright-Phillips Cul-de-Sac).
Spurs players celebrate Peter Crouch's goalLet the celebrations begin
Admittedly, Sebastien Bassong and Michael Dawson have surprised, Ledley King has been solidity itself when he's been roused from his Paul McGrath-patented settee, and Heurelho Gomes has transformed from galumphing giraffe to goalkeeping Godzilla in 12 months.

The real revelation in recent weeks has been the form of last season's albatross around Redknapp's neck, the permanently pointless Gareth Bale.

Pushed further forward, he's reminded me of nothing less than a 'tacheless 21st century Gerry Armstrong. And if you young 'uns think that might be damning him with faint praise, then watch some reruns of World Cup '82 to see what I mean.

And you can't deny Redknapp his rejoicing either. Of course 'Arry could wrap a room full of reporters around his little finger. He's so skilled at the ever so 'umble art of media relations that he spent this week claiming that Man City can bully a club like Spurs out of a transfer. That'll be the Spurs that coughed up 42 million quid on players this season, will it Harry?

But clearly Redknapp's skills in the communication department extend to his players. He's not found it difficult to lure players he likes from one club to the next. The trail from the horribly broke Pompey was followed eagerly by many.

I suppose Robbie Keane might argue otherwise, but Keane's one of them players - a barrel-chested bantam on the pitch - who might not take too kindly to being rotated. Crouchy looks at the revolving door policy that is Harry's front two as at least meaning that you can get in half the time. Keane possibly took it to mean the opposite.

And I'd have to add that Redknapp's been blessed with a couple of bonuses this season that I wouldn't have expected. David Bentley hasn't exactly turned from show pony to shire horse, but he's put in a good shift in the absence of Lennon.

And Roman Pavlyuchenko, linked with just about every club in the world from Borehamwood upwards over the January window, has returned to nab vital goals to keep Spurs up and running. Young Roman is still more than capable of Bendtnering one towards the corner flag or being so off-target he's almost Berbatoff-target, but he's been vital for the club this season.

If there was one aspect of the fourth place play-off that delighted most, it was the fact that Man City's - and Roberto Mancini's - particular brand of squeamishness when it comes to forward-thinking was nullified by a side that was put out to attack.

I fully expected a pretty nervy, edgy affair of the type Mancini and Rafa Benitez conjured up at Eastlands a while back. That game was so risk-averse I almost expected the announcement next-day of a new insurance company called the Liverpool and Citeh.

Spurs went for it, and in so doing, earned it. I'm not sure how much stock the FandAbuDhabi investors put in flowing football entertainment, but clearly Mancini hasn't been in the business of entertainment since he wrote the theme tune for the Pink Panther.
And for the same reasons, I'm pleased that a positive mindest has seen them pip Villa and Liverpool too. O'Neill, with a budget not dissimilar to Spurs has managed to assemble a squad that possesses all the variety and colour of the landscape of Humberside.

O'Neill always looks like an earnest and schoolmasterly mole behind them specs, but James Milner apart, his team play incredibly predictably. Lots of men behind the ball, plenty of pace upfront.
Martin O'Neill
You boy! In my office now!
Alan Hansen never tires of telling us how centre-backs find pace 'frightening'. If he ever played Doctor Who then you'd have an inevitable scene in which the Time Lord steps out of the Tardis on to a new planet and utters the most chilling words imaginable: 'Oh My God! We're on Planet Agbonlahor!

Of course, O'Neill also loves his big lumbering centre-forward. John Carew is as big and lumbering a land mammal as we've seen in this country, but even so, Emile Heskey's made him look like a delicate sprite sprinkling fairy dust all about him this season.

Without Milner, who's been utterly brilliant, they wouldn't have got anywhere near sixth.
How will Spurs do next year? Well I can't see Harry not adding to his squad. They could still do with another striker, although Harry's missus is apparently as good if not better than Darren Bent ,so he's always got options.

I doubt, strangely enough, that they'll endure as long as the miserly Man City would have done in the Champions League, but it'll be damn good to have someone else other than the Usual Flaming Suspects.

So good on yer 'Arry. You've taken a rich bunch of underachievers up to the top table for a change. All I'd ask is that, on the budget you get, you could stop playing the 'umble pauper. 'Cos it just don't wash, mate.


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