Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How's Harry getting along?

My mum always said to me, “If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all”… so for that reason I haven’t posted anything for most of this season. But it's been too long without having a rant on this blog so I thought it was probably time to share my opinions, especially today as so many spurs fans will be stuck online waiting to buy Carling Cup final tickets.

Who'd have predicted back in September what's happened to us since? Certainly not me. Ramos’ departure was a major shock, but no doubt the right decision as we really had hit the skids. Poyet was a casualty of war, whereas Comolli’s exit was a long time overdue and one member of the THFC staff who hasn’t been and won’t be missed. The biggest surprise to the whole episode to me was the timing of it. I’m pleased that Levy had the balls to act decisively to try to move the club forward.

In terms of Harry’s appointment, I was slightly surprised (but not disappointed) that we didn’t again try a foreigner. I think Harry is one of the best British managers in the game, and compared to all his peers in the top flight of English football (i.e. all nationalities) I would describe him as ‘very good’, but certainly not ‘great’. All in all, not a bad appointment and the fact that it was done quickly was particularly pleasing.

But despite the speed, any new manager wants to build his own squad (and none more so than Harry)… so despite Levy’s best intentions it is indeed another ‘season of transition’. Regardless of changing the manager though, I guess that’s not such a huge surprise after losing Berbatov and Keane last summer.

So how good is Harry? He’s been described as everything from a messiah to an idiot. Well he's often quick to point out that when he took over we only had two points. In fact, in the early part of this season Ramos averaged 0.25 points per match, compared to Harry who's currently on 1.57 points per match. So yes, that’s a much better return, but considering some heavy doses of good fortune at the Emirates and at home to Liverpool, not to mention the obligatory honeymoon period for a new manager, and things aren't exactly perfect. One league win in seven isn't great and despite now occupying the heady heights of thirteenth, the bottom two-thirds of the league table is incredibly tight. But compare Harry’s record to Ramos and BMJ and it makes interesting reading. In their first seasons in charge, the Spaniard and the Dutchman both managed us for 27 league matches and both accumulated 39 points, giving them a points per match of 1.44 (marginally short of Harry’s current performance).

And in the cups Harry's led us to another trip to Wembley. But after the embarrassing second leg debacle against Burnley last week I'm not exactly crowing about it. And in the FA Cup there's no shame being knocked out by the reigning Premier League, Champions League and World Club champions, but the lack of fight shown in the second half at Old Trafford was disappointing and not what we expect from a side with such a historic cup pedigree. We’re also still in the UEFA Cup, but with our league form as it is I can see this competition being rapidly de-prioritised.

If I was a teacher writing a school report, I guess I’d say that, “Harry’s had a reasonable start, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.”

Anyway, we might be having a tough season but I don’t think we’ll be relegated. And who knows, we’re only 90 minutes away from some more silverware and a place in European competition for next season. Harry’s had a positive impact on us so far, and although life isn’t necessarily all rosy, he’s taking us in the right direction. At times in the first half hour last night we looked great, moving the ball around with confidence and flair. But once Beattie had pulled a goal back for Stoke we looked nervous, even with a two-goal lead. Harry needs to ensure we see more of the former and less of the latter. Is he the right man for the job? I’ll make my mind up in the summer, but for now I’ll continue to get behind him and support the appointment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Harry the person who got the away fans at Pompey arrested?