"It was beautiful but now it's sour" sings the character Judas at the start of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. I couldn't think of a better way to describe the relationship shared between Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy and now former manager Harry Redknapp. Redknapp was sacked by Tottenham on Thursday to conclude what was a week-long storyline, one that brought with it plenty of uncertainty and rumors regarding Redknapp and his team that missed out on Champions League football. It's very likely that we'll never know all that happened on Wednesday when Redknapp and Levy met for one final time before Spurs announced Redknapp's departure from the club. With that said, this breakup is one that has been coming for quite awhile.
Harry Redknapp sacked; where it went wrong: The start
Spurs were within reach of the top spot in the Premier League table back on the morning of January 22 as they headed to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. Two goals in three minutes landed the hosts ahead 59 minutes into play, but Tottenham then rallied back thanks to a tally from Jermain Defoe and a wonder-hit from Gareth Bale. Defoe then had an opportunity to score a game-winner in stoppage time, but he was an inch or two shy of connecting on a cross sent into the box by Bale. Scott Parker then committed a foul in the opposite box, Mario Balotelli buried the penalty, and Spurs would never again threaten to climb into the top two spots in the league table.
Harry Redknapp sacked; where it went wrong: The England gig
Fabio Capello quit as England National Team manager on February 8, just hours after Redknapp had been cleared of tax evasion charges. Redknapp was the immediate public choice for the open job following Capello's announcement, as fans around the country voiced a "Harry for England" mantra. At the same time, according to some reports, Redknapp and Levy were in discussions regarding a contract extension for the then Spurs manager. It seemed very clear, however, that Redknapp was waiting for a call from the FA, a call that never came. Spurs struggled in league play throughout March and April (more on that later), and Roy Hodgson eventually received the England gig. It had been suggested by some even before the end of the season that Levy felt personally betrayed by Redknapp publicly flirting with the England job, and that is why no significant contract extension was offered to Redknapp over the past couple of weeks.
Harry Redknapp sacked; where it went wrong: The collapse
Tottenham held a double-digit lead in the league table over rivals Arsenal in February, and Spurs jumped out to a 2-0 lead during the first half of the February 26 match at the Emirates. The Gunners rallied to score five unanswered goals in that game, however, and that defeat was the launching point of a run that saw Tottenham win just one league match in nine. Arsenal found a return to winning ways at that same time, and they eventually replaced Spurs as the league's third place side. Tottenham never again jumped back ahead of Arsenal, and Spurs failed to qualify for next season's Champions League despite finishing fourth in the league due to Chelsea winning this year's competition on May 19.
Harry Redknapp sacked; where it went wrong: The contract
In short, Redknapp wanted a lengthy contract extension, while Levy was only prepared to offer his manager an additional year. It's also been speculated that Levy was upset that Redknapp had openly discussed the matter with reporters. One such instance occurred last week, when Redknapp stated that he would have taken the England job had it been offered to him. This conversation came at the same time that Levy was dealing with the death of his mother. While only Redknapp and Levy know all of the details regarding their relationship, it seems very clear that Redknapp did himself no favors over the past month.
Harry Redknapp sacked; where it went wrong: Overall
Redknapp told reporters on Thursday morning that he believes he would have been sacked even if Spurs would have earned Champions League football. Perhaps such comments are proof that Redknapp truly doesn't "get it" when it comes to being a manager at this level. Football is a results-based business, and Levy desired both Champions League matches and Champions League money for his club. Things would be very different over at White Hart Lane today had Spurs finished the season third in the league table. They didn't, and now good 'ol 'Arry is looking for a new job.
I hear Philadelphia Union could use a new manager.