The scene was set at the beginning of last season – Manchester City had spent over £100million on new players in their chase of that all elusive fourth place and the ambition of playing in the Champions League. However, money doesn’t necessarily always get you what you want and so, it was Harry Redknapp’s Spurs side the snatched it from them to become the first side since Everton in the 2004-05 season to break the monopoly of the so-called “Big Four”.
Now, Harry Redknapp isn’t exactly everybody’s cup of tea and his somewhat ambitious statements of late are not going to be winning them over anytime soon. “I feel we could contend for the title. We have got the players here.” proclaimed Redknapp. “We have to aim for it. “We could win the Championship.” Certainly the fans will be hoping when he says Championship, he means the Premier League. Odds of 33/1, make them fifth favourites overall, suggest that they will do well to challenge over the coming year.
Having finished fourth last season, Spurs will now enter this seasons Champions League in the play-off round where they face Young Boys (*insert your own jokes here*) of Switzerland – considering that they could have met with Dynamo Kiev, Sampdoria or Auxerre. Speaking after the draw Redknapp said: “We’ll be favourites, obviously, but we have to give them utmost respect.” £20million is at stake and if Spurs managed to overcome this two-legged hurdle, then they will be into the Champions League proper, where they will be mixing with the big boys.
Last season – without being clichéd was a fantastic one for Spurs. Everything seemed to go right for them, four wins out of their opening four games saw them joint top of the Premier League with Chelsea. All season long they managed to maintain stability and keep in check at the top of the table – never dropping below 7th place all season long. There were victories over Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool – even a 9-1 mauling of Wigan. Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch managed to keep Robbie Keane out of the starting 11, so much so, the Irish man was loaned out to Celtic. A collective 67 goals – 18 of them coming from the aforementioned Defoe, made Spurs the fourth highest scorers in the league.
Ahead of the new season, Redknapp has done minimal business in terms of boosting his squad. Sandro, the highly-rated Brazilian midfield has signed for the club from Internacional. Also, after the successes of last season, Redknapp himself has extended his contract which will see him remain on as manager until 2013. Similarly, Luka Modric has signed a bumper six year deal at the club. Name such as Herurelho Gomes, Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Modric, Defoe, Ledley King – all consistent in their performances last season suggest why Redknapp, who has a bit of a reputation of being a ‘wheeler-dealer’, has chose not to delve into the transfer market. Instead, he is choosing to go with what worked last season.
Redknapp has done something that previous managers have failed to do over that past couple of years – and that is to instil belief in his team. There seems to be an aura around this bunch of players and it proves that copious amounts of money does not need to be spent to reach the Champions League (play-off rounds). Therefore, in terms of prospects for the season ahead – these words sum it up perfectly – more of the same Spurs, more of the same.