Redknapp: Out of frying pan, into fire?

Now that his trial by jury has ended will the Tottenham manager take on trial by media that comes with the England job?

    Redknapp: Likeable, popular and most importantly English - but is he setting himself up for another trial by media by considering the top job? [GETTY]

    It has been a strange few weeks for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. Very strange indeed.

    Instead of coaching the team who sit third in the English Premier League, the Englishman has spent the last two weeks in court fighting for his freedom and reputation.

    While his Tottenham side planned their defence against Liverpool at Anfield, Redknapp was defending his honour in a courtroom.

    It was as manager of Portsmouth that Redknapp was accused of tax evasion alongside Pompey owner Milan Mandaric.

    The pair were charged in 2010 although the investigation into a Monaco bank account had been dragging on since 2006. It was a case the Spurs boss believed should never have got to court.         

    During the trial Redknapp revealed a love for his dog Rosie, a hatred of text messaging and claimed to be the most disorganised man in the world. Perhaps he would not have chosen to air this in public but it was not the time for the straight talking Cockney to start talking wonky.

    When Redknapp was acquitted of the charge on Wednesday, many believed his sleepless nights would be over.

    Then a twist of fate caused some to reconsider.    

    Redknapp deserved a nap but he was not going to get one. Ironically the resignation of England manager Fabio Capello later that day meant the most peaceful place for Harry Redknapp would have been in a cell.  

    On the day Redknapp was cleared to manage England one day, the England manager was handing in his resignation to the FA. One day suddenly seemed like it could be an awful lot closer.   

    A communication breakdown between the FA and Capello had prompted a shotgun divorce, a disagreement over John Terry and the England captaincy appearing to be the final straw.   

    The Italian’s resignation put Redknapp back in the media spotlight before he had even had a chance to pop the champagne. As the most palatable successor to Capello’s throne, Redknapp had turned from prosecutor’s villain to the nation’s savour in a matter of hours.

    The 24-hour news channels and social media sites like Twitter were awash with players, managers, former players, former managers and the public calling for King Harry to reign. His success with Tottenham was clear for all to see, even clearer was the fact he is and will always be very English.

    The Southwark Crown Court jury had just freed the man that the FA, if they have not used up their measly commonsense quota already this year, would approach first for the position.  

    If the bookies have it right, Harry needs to decide whether to continue his cheerful gig at White Hart Lane or take the plunge with England and hope he does not drown like his predecessors. 

    If Redknapp accepts the England job he could soon learn how easy time in a courtroom is.

    "If Redknapp accepts the England job he could soon learn how easy time in a courtoom is. A tax evasion charge is a battle of epic proportion, but the England job is like entering a nuclear war."

    A tax evasion charge is a battle of epic proportion, but the England job is like entering a nuclear war. 

    The role is often fathomless in its hopelessness; just when you think you are making progress you run into a penalty shoot-out, or your captain is charged with racism. Add into the mix a circus act of journalists and high public expectations, a future England manager should consider their blood pressure and mental health before embarking on such a hostile journey.

    Despite the obvious and innumerable pitfalls, I still cannot see Redknapp shirking his national duty.

    The ‘impossible’ job, as it is known, is the ultimate turn on for a man with Harry’s self-belief and conviction (as in confidence, not as in criminal offence).

    Redknapp told the press he has not even thought about the England job and that his focus remains on Tottenham, but one wonders whether he would say the same under oath. Let us remember he has referred to the role as the ultimate ambition for any English manager in the past. 

    The England players and fans have already made it clear they want an English manager and the likes of Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand are calling for Harry Redknapp. Are the FA going to ignore these pleas? Will Redknapp let another man jump in front of him in the queue?

    As a Spurs fan, I wish he would. As an England fan... we need him. 

    Joanna Tilley is a freelance journalist working with Al Jazeera on the Sport website. She has worked at Sky News, Sky Sports News, LBC Radio., TNT Down Under and Wanderlust magazine. Follow her on Twitter (@joannatilley) or her blog, mythoughtonsport.

    Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites.


    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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