Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Rednapp Factor

The Spurs match is not until Wednesday, but the butterflies have already started. There are relatively few games in the season that get the fans this nervous, but the Spurs derby game is one of them. At least it is now with the arrival on Harry Rednapp.

Prior to last Sunday morning, I would have said we were virtually guaranteed the three points against Spurs. Juande Ramos was lost at sea and his players had turned on him. It would have been like taking sweets from a baby. However, having said that, has anyone actually tried to take sweets from a baby? I bet its harder than you think.

Anyway, the arrival of Harry Rednapp at Shite Hart Lane on Sunday morning was a genuine shock. Although perhaps not to the Pompey fans, who know his money-chasing, short-term ways. Only Rednapp could have managed Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth (twice) and be hated by all of them. That tells you a lot about the man.

Similarly, his move to Spurs will be a dagger in the heart of the Hammers fans, who enjoyed some good times under Rednapp in the '90s, I think finishing 5th at one point. Along with winning the FA Cup at Pompey, those two achievements are probably the highlights to date of Rednapp's CV.

And now he has the vast weight of Spud-Expectation on his shoulders. Rednapp has never managed a "big team" before with big transfer budgets and big ego players. However, I have a sneaky feeling his is going to be quite good at it. The Spurs derby may even regain its status as the highlight of the season in future years, rather than being just one of the bigger games.

Hence the butterflies have begun early. On paper, Arsenal have found a little form recently and should be comfortable winners. If we focus on our own game and maintain a high tempo, then no problem. However, the crucial thing will be whether the players are up for it - are they going to fight for every ball, work for each other and tackle like their lives depended on it? If they do not, then Wednesday evening could bring a nasty surprise.


Obsinho said...

I hate the idea that a new manager coming in makes a difference.

Ramos is a much better manager than Rednapp. I am certain most people will not disagree with that. Apart from Spuds, but they would certainly have said the same 10 months ago.

The Spurs team have the same problem they had before Rednapp came in - poor defensively, weak in the middle and not great defensively. Especially with suspensions and an injured Ledley King.

We play our game, we win. I think it should be that simple.

Ted said...

A new manager can create a short-term impact - its a change of scene arojnd the place, a new vibe in the dressing room, some different banter, the players up it a little to impress the new manager, some players who previously were not getting a look in now get their chance.

Its all pretty routine stuff. However, whether it works long term depends on the underlying quality of the squad. Unfortunately, I don't think Rednapp will take too long to get Spurs out of the relegation zone.

That said, if they lose to Arsenal tonight and the Scousers at the weekend, then heads could easily drop again.

It will interesting to see whether Adams can have a similar effect at Liverpool tonight - a match which on paper, Pompey should get thrashed.