Chauvelin’s long-awaited debut:
LEST WE FORGET…
I have taken it upon myself to remind everyone that this is October 2018, and we are fast approaching a very important anniversary.
Yes, ’twas on 26 October 2008 that Mr Harold Redknapp was appointed Tottenham manager. I write now as although that date of the month is still some days away, we have just played our eighth league match. Scarred upon our collective memories ten years ago Juande Ramos had received the right royal order of the boot after his eighth game, because Spurs had collected just 2 miserable points out of a possible 24, our worst ever start to a season. We had lost to Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Villa, Portsmouth, Hull and Stoke (you may notice that all of these clubs have hit the skids since, some in a big way, the Curse of the Cockerel strikes!) and drew with Chelsea and Norwich. The final league match for Ramos against Stoke was a real nightmare; Bale and Dawson both saw red, Stoke had received 2 penalties, and a sickening collision between Gomes and Corluka led to Vedran being stretchered off on oxygen. Spurs were rooted at the foot of the table and the joke doing the rounds was ‘what’s the difference between Spurs and a triangle? A triangle has three points.’ Ho blooming ho.
However, out of the gloom came a most unlikely saviour. Daniel Levy turned to that right diamond geezer ‘Arry Redknapp, the darling of the tabloids, to rescue the lilywhites in their hour of need. Even though ‘Arry only spoke to the players briefly (Clive Allen and Alex Ingelthorpe were in charge for one match) and watched on from the stands, Spurs immediately broke their duck with a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Welcome relief from the incessant sarcasm and more importantly, a possible new start? The sudden dismissal of Martin Jol the year before and the arrival of Ramos had a mixed reception because Jol was a popular figure who had been denied achieving a top four finish only by the ‘lasagnegate’ incident. The news of his sacking breaking during a match was seen as very disrespectful. Despite winning the League Cup our form was patchy at best during Juande’s reign, and Redknapp’s appointment meant that the continental experiment with having a coach overseen by a director of football was over – for the time being at least. Redknapp insisted on being a proper manager, the Boss. Comolli was shown the door as well. Uncertainty was over, there was an old style gaffer back in sole charge. The immediate effect of the new man was dramatic and surprising. After the Bolton win we faced the old enemy at their new palace of varieties, Arsenal. Back then they were still a potent force, a challenger for titles. You couldn’t make the timing up and as if to prove this was being scripted by Hollywood, Spurs came away with an amazing 4-4 draw after two late, late goals. ‘arry had arrived in style, and if anyone was in any doubt that this man could change our fortunes, we then beat eventual runners-up Liverpool at home, and City away. We climbed the table to finish a respectable eighth. Spurs were genuinely on the up, and we’ve been getting better ever since, in my humble opinion. Ten years ago, eh? Seems more like a hundred.