With only 9 points from 11 played, Spurs are at the bottom of the Premier League table, but looking ahead to Sunday’s trip to Manchester City, the Guardian’s Russell Brand refuses to believe Tottenham are going down. “Harry Redknapp is already a hero, in a handful of games he has not so much rejuvenated Spurs as redesigned them,” gushes the exiled comedian.
In the popular 80s TV show The A-Team there was in each episode a mandatory scene in which the hapless gang would be imprisoned in a barn or a workshop only to emerge with a tractor that they’d expertly souped up into an agricultural killing machine like Blue Peter terrorists. “Uh oh,” I used to think as a child. “Don’t lock Hannibal up in that aircraft hangar – he’s a CDT Rodin.” Still, week after week hubristic super villains would intern the A-Team in craft-fair weapon’s factories instead of simply shooting them in the head.
Harry Redknapp has created this team of Liverpool-vanquishing Euro champs with bits and bobs he found lying around White Hart Lane. “Hang on! If I just put Luka Modric behind the forwards.” It’s not as if Modric’s previous position had been the car park or in the bath, he’d just been deployed too deep or too wide or too something; it’s not like Ramos was giving him booze before matches and yawping “Get stuck in mate”. Now Modric is again looking like a world-beater.
This is the sort of thing that confuses me in football; was Juande Ramos actually a blithering idiot? A chancer from Sevilla riding his luck making decisions on the roll of a dice and the kinky whims of his missus? No, he was a brilliant, experienced and successful manager, so what the hell was going on? Did Ramos prior to games deliberately unsettle David Bentley, perhaps staying the night at his house deliberately knocking over ornaments and scoffing at family photographs? No, he was probably encouraging and nice.
I suppose in a way it’s not that baffling; one could use a Stradivarius to fiddle out Vivaldi or to smash a prostitute over the head – it’s not the violin that decides whether to be a maestro or a misogynist, it’s the operator.