Posts Tagged ‘Harry Redknapp’

Weekly Photoshop – Joe Cole


This week’s theme was new Liverpool signing Joe Cole. After weeks of speculation over where he would sign, Cole surprisingly chose to leave London and head north. I’m sure Harry Redknapp must be gutted.

I never quite understood the clamour to sign him; he hasn’t consistently performed for several seasons now. Of course injuries have taken their toll but if he was that good, Chelsea wouldn’t be letting him go. A decent signing considering he’s free but I bet Benayoun has more impact as his replacement at Chelsea.


joe cole liverpool

It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but I worry for the future of this relationship...


More here.





Road To Wembley – 5th Round – Southampton vs Portsmouth


Since November I’ve been following a team in the FA Cup all the way from the 1st round to the final in May. As luck would have it I’ve only had to focus on two teams thus far thanks to some impressive results. I completely forgot to do a 4th round preview (which would also have had a 3rd round review) so it’s time for a little recap.

fa cup

Four games from Wembley (three if you count the semi finals).

We started off following Conference side Luton Town who faced League Two side Rochdale in the first round. After a victory in the replay, Luton went on to beat another League Two team in the second round – Rotherham. So far, so impressive.

The third round saw them face League One Southampton but the extra step in class was too much, Southampton winning 1-0. By all accounts it was a close game but that extra bit of quality told in the end. Southampton’s reward in the fourth round was a home game against Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town, again a game which would have been in the top flight not so long ago.

Southampton's top scorer.

As it happens they both played Championship football in 2008/09 but Southampton’s administration and subsequent relegation put paid to that to this season. Perhaps it was the fact they took four points from Ipswich in 08/09 or maybe it was just the magic of the cup but either way the match ended with a 2-1 victory to Southampton.

Defender Wayne Thomas scored a peach of a goal to give Southampton the lead and they wrapped it up in the second half with a strike from Antonio, before Counago got a late Ipswich consolation. With the victory Southampton become the only remaining League One side in the competition (I think Nott’s County are the only other lower league side left).

So we’re up to date at last and to make things interesting Southampton have a cracking opponent this weekend – their arch-rivals Portsmouth. I’m kind of glad the focus is on the home team here as I’d be writing all night if I was looking at Pompey’s recent history.

Predicted teams from the Guardian.

Having gone through administration, Southampton are now stable again, albeit in mid-table in League One. They have a new owner in Markus Liebherr and I read somewhere that when he took over it was one of the few instances where creditors got all their money back, which is nice of him.

Portsmouth on the other hand are about a week away from going bust at any given stage and have had more owners this season then a pyramid timeshare scheme run by Bernie Madoff. As it stands, they exist and the TV money this game brings in will help something or other no doubt.

Portsmouth's next owner?

In many ways the cup has been a nice distraction for Portsmouth, as they’ve put aside their awful league form to despatch first Coventry and then Sunderland to reach this stage. They haven’t won in the league this year so the occasional cup win is probably keeping spirits up.

Though Southampton are two levels below Portsmouth these days, they’ve never lost to them in four FA Cup meetings and are unbeaten at St. Mary’s the last five times the sides have met. That said, Pompey bashed them 4-1 at Fratton Park in the last match (though it was five years ago now).

Here’s what Lawro thinks:

Everybody knows there is absolutely no love lost between these two. For Portsmouth, with all their financial problems, to get another game out of this tie would be more use to them than to Southampton.

Verdict: 2-2


Thanks Lawro, I’d advise to bet on anything but that result. I love how there’s no analysis just a random prediction. Though judging how he’s kicking the Sportboys’ arse in our predictions battle maybe you should put a cheeky tenner at 15-1 on it! If you’re into online betting those are pretty good odds.

Smiley man.

Personally I think Southampton might be in luck. They have a new-born baby on their side (random story I know), there’s no better time to play Portsmouth and the fact that the Premier League side are only very slight favourites suggests this will be a close one. Alan Pardew has tended to play decent football as a manager and I’ll back them to win 2-1. If I can bothered I may even do a minute by minute on it tomorrow lunchtime. On second thoughts maybe not.

Grumpy man.



Season Previews 09/10 – Portsmouth



Last Season: 14th.

Say hello to your new teammates: Frederic Piquionne, Steve Finnan, Aaron Mokoena, Antti Niemi.

Close the door on your way out: Glen Johnson, Peter Crouch, Djimi Traore, Sean Davis, Sol Campbell, Lauren, Noe Pamarot, Glen Little, Jerome Thomas.

Predicted star: Hard to pick one when there are hardly any left. A lot will depend on Niko Kranjcar who is the best player still at Fratton Park. He has already announced he will leave next summer but he’ll hopefully give Pompey fans one last season of creative play.

A golden goodbye?

A golden goodbye?

Needs a big year: David James will be very busy this season as a disintegrated Pompey side will no doubt struggle all season long. He showed signs of ageing last season and bear in mind he is 39 years old after all. If he has a good season however, he’ll go to the World Cup. The result of this is if he has a good season, he might just ensure Portsmouth don’t go down.

One to watch: Frederic Piquionne has been signed on loan from Lyon and scored twice on his pre-season debut against Rangers. He might be a good bet to score ten goals this season, which would go a long way to helping Portsmouth fight for survival.

What they want to happen: The takeover to go through, some players to come in rather than go out. Survival.

Nightmare scenario: The takeover doesn’t go through, Pompey go down, administration and the related consequences follow.

Plan A: Find sixteen players to play and form a bench. Try and use the duo of Belhadj and Kranjcar to create something down the left and use the pace and unknown quality of Piquionne to surprise a few people.

Plan B, just in case: Erm, rely on Kanu to produce a random bit of skill? He’s even older than James despite what his passport might say.

He gets stuck in his old age.

He gets stuck in his old age.

Predicted finish: 20th.

Why? I have nothing against Portsmouth and would sooner see many other clubs go down ahead of them but I just can’t see them staying up with the squad they currently have. Since last summer Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Sulley Muntari, Glen Johnson, Lassana Diarra and Pedro Mendes have all been sold, Sol Campbell released and Sylvain Distin likely to be on his way too before the window closes.

The reason for all this is that after spending big for several seasons and winning an FA Cup, the loans are now due and Pompey have no money with which to pay them with. No team could survive that level of talent leaving and they find themselves going into the new season with just 22 players, four of which are goalkeepers. The defence is old and slow and Steve Finnan will do nothing to improve it. There is some midfield quality in Diop and Hughes but neither of them are as good as Diarra. Kranjcar remains the player on whom they will completely rely on but he only played 21 league games last season having been seriously injured.



In terms of goals, Paul Hart will be relying on loanee Piquionne as you can’t rely on old man Kanu or Championship man Nugent. It’s an interesting signing but not one which will prevent the inevitable. As for Hart himself, you feel he’s only there as he’s cheap. It doesn’t really make sense that a man feted for his work with young players is at a club full of thirty somethings. The only hope for Portsmouth is that the takeover by al-Fahim goes through at some point before January, allowing for desperately needed reinforcements. Without this I think it will be an end to Pompey’s seven year stay in the Premier League.



End of Season Reviews – Tottenham, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan




Where they finished: 8th & Carling Cup finalists.

Season in five words: Ramos sacked, ‘Arry saves day.

Successful season? Two points from eight games. Two points from eight games. Two points from eight games. Sorry, it was drummed into me so many times by Harry Redknapp this season. Yes, Spurs started very poorly and Ramos rightly had to go, but it’s not as if they didn’t have a wealth of talent plus a multi million January spending spree to help get them out of trouble. Harry has always been one to take credit for everything good and pass the blame for anything bad and that has not changed this season. He did well to lead Spurs to 8th, even making them remarkably solid at home, though it remains to be see if he can buy the right players to push for the top six. He’s more than fond of buying players because they’re available and not because they’re needed (see Keane, Robbie).

Defining moment: Ramos and Commoli leaving. Specifically the latter, who as ‘Sporting Director’ was ultimately in charge of transfers and made huge errors of judgement in his time in the role. By reverting to a system where the manager chooses the players, Spurs have ensured they won’t be in a situation where a need for a defensive midfielder is answered with the signing of Darren Bent.

Player of the year: Aaron Lennon finally turned his pace and skill into relatively consistent performances. Palacios provided the midfield bite they’ve lacked since Davids left and will be a key player next year. Modric grew as the season went on.

Goal of the season: Bentley’s hit and hope against Arsenal.

Flop of the season: David Bentley came with a big price tag but found himself behind Aaron Lennon for most of the season. Gareth Bale is still without a league win in a Spurs shirt, Jenas seems to be out of favour under Redknapp.

Highlight: Redknapp’s first two games. Coming back from two down with four minutes to play to draw 4-4 at Arsenal, followed by a (very lucky) home win over Liverpool.

Summer homework: Resist the temptation to sign ‘name’ players like Owen, Viduka, Cisse and buy what’s needed instead. Central midfield and a left winger are a priority. A big man wouldn’t go amiss.



West Brom


Where they finished: 20th

Season in five words: Nice football, no end product.

Successful season? No. A third relegation in seven seasons sees West Brom once again unable to bridge the gap between Championship and Premier League. Rooted to the bottom pretty much all season, some late victories gave hope but in reality it had been over for a long time..

Defining moment: Failure to sign impact players in January. Consider what Beattie did for Stoke and you realise how badly West Brom needed someone who could score five or six goals in a short span. Chris Brunt had a good run but it was too late.

Player of the year: No one stood out really. Brunt had decent season, as did Koren and Greening.

Goal of the season: Slim pickings – this free kick by Brunt is quite good.

Flop of the season: Luke Moore was disappointing and Arsenal loanee Jay Simpson faded after a bright start.

Highlight: A couple of 3-0 home wins against Boro and Sunderland.

Summer homework: Sign players that will keep West Brom in the Premier League if they get promoted next season.



West Ham


Where they finished: 9th

Season in five words: Out of uncertainty comes promise.

Successful season? Yes, eventually. Early season was uncertain of the pitch with the owners virtually bankrupt and inconsistency on the pitch. Zola replaced Curbishley in September and had a poor start including seven games without a win. After Christmas however, things began to look up and West Ham finished the season playing stylish, attractive football whilst being solid at the back. There’s not too much money to spend but the future looks bright.

Defining moment: Signing Steve Clarke as Zola’s number two. A key part of Chelsea’s recent success, just look at how disorganised they became once he left and before Hiddink showed up. He’s the perfect assistant for Zola and together they are putting together a good team.

Player of the year: Carlton Cole played his way into the England squad while Upson, Ilunga and Collison all had goo years.

Goal of the season: A fantastic team move finished off by Carlton Cole.

Flop of the season: Diego Tristan isn’t really up to it anymore is he. Savio has yet to justify his rather high fee.

Highlight: 4-1 away at Portsmouth.

Summer homework: Keep hold of Cole and the other England boys. Try and sign some experience to help push on the young players like Tomkins and Collison.





Where they finished: 11th

Season in five words: Complacency costs a European spot.

Successful season? It could have been. Steve Bruce had Wigan in the battle for seventh for most of the season but the side switched off once the 40 point safety mark was reached. Bruce’s best players were sold in January and a run of eight games without a win right at the business end of the season meant Wigan slipped down to 11th and cost themselves a bunch of prize money and a Europa league spot.

Defining moment: Selling Palacios and Heskey. Wigan would win just three times after they left. It cost them Europe.

Player of the year: Zaki was excellent until Christmas and then completely fell away and failed to score again. Palacios was good until he left and Tottenham’s revival with him mirrors Wigan’s decline without. Figueroa, Bramble(!) and Valencia were solidly consistent for most of the season.

Goal of the season: When Zaki was still playing well, he could do this at Anfield.

Flop of the season: Mido hahaha.

Highlight: 5-0 vs Hull early on.

Summer homework: Seeing as they’ve lost Steve Bruce the emphasis is now on finding an adequate replacement. In Roberto Martinez from Swansea I think they’ve found someone. An excellent young manager who gets his team playing lovely attacking football. It will be interesting to see who he brings in and who he can keep. Valencia looks on his way so it will be the usual case of trying to find players other clubs haven’t thought about or rejected a la Zaki, Palacios, Valencia etc.




Weekly Photoshop – Ledley King


Tottenham’s inspirational sicknote captain is our theme this week. I wanted to make Ledley into the 70’s toy Stretch Armstrong but there were no large enough pictures to use from Google. All I can advise is to NEVER, EVER use the search terms ‘stretch toy’ in Flickr. My eyes, my poor eyes…


The tug of war between Redknapp and Capello certainly won't help Ledley's injuries

The tug of war between Redknapp and Capello certainly won't help Ledley's injuries


The rest of this week’s entries can be found here. It’s Alan Shearer next week. Looking forward to that.




Previous entries: MowbrayRedknappMegson, and the rest.

Weekly Photoshop – Harry Redknapp


SUCCESS! Another second place for The Sportboys this week as we continue our good recent form. I think the prize is a Cricket book. Better than nothing I guess. 

It’s a bumper double edition for you as our theme is the pot of gold that is Harry Redknapp. From his wheeler dealer time at West Ham to his blame game way at Spurs, via an FA Cup win with Portsmouth – there’s never a dull moment with Sir ‘Arry of Redknapp. 


We’ll start with an facial analysis:

Those lines will only get deeper the longer he stays as Spurs boss.

Those lines will only get deeper the longer he stays as Spurs boss.


and we’ll follow with a psychological study of  his attempts to blame poor form on his predecessors whilst taking any credit when they win:

I'm sure there's a joke about in here somewhere about slipping the bellboy some money.

I'm sure there's a joke in here somewhere about Redknapp slipping the bellboy some money.


The latter was sent too late to make it in but the first image and rest of the gallery can be found here.




Previous entries: Megson, Anelka, Bendtner and the rest.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Tottenham Live Minute by Minute!


Live UEFA Cup action as Ukraine’s finest take on London’s finest, north London’s finest, N17’s finest (just about).


Spurs play a weakened side as they try to get knocked out so they can concentrate on surviving in the Premier League. Harry’s been moaning (as usual) about having six matches in seventeen days. The price of success hey? We are only at the last 32 stage here. The winners get to play Aston Villa or CSKA Moscow.


Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna, Chigrinsky, Ischenko, Rat, Jadson, Fernandinho, Lewandowski, Willian, Ilsinho, Gladkyy.
Subs: Khudzamov, Fedetskiy, Shevchuk, Duljaj, Seleznyov, Luiz Adriano, Chyzhov.

Spurs: Gomes, Gunter, Huddlestone, Dawson, Chimbonda, Jenas, Zokora, Parrett, Bentley, Giovani, Campbell.
Subs: Jansson, Gilberto, Smith, Bostock, Mason, Obika, Bent.


Bent is on the bench and Dean Parrett makes his full debut. Keane was signed too late to play. Croatia star Dario Srna plays for Shakhtar.

Kevin Ratcliffe (who has never played for Spurs) and Tony Jones provide the commentary for Channel 5. Their budget must be pretty low. Either that or no one good could be bothered to travel to the Ukraine. Everything about this match screams low budget and can’t be arsed. The analysis (we have Colin Murray anchoring), the kick off time, the teams, this minute by minute… 

Spurs have a pre match huddle – “Come on boys let’s just stay like this so we keep warm.”

Spurs huddle, (San Antonio) Spurs huddle, Spurs' Huddle(stone)

Spurs huddle, (San Antonio) Spurs huddle, Spurs' Huddle(stone)


1 min: Spurs kick off.

2 mins: Lots of strange lines on the pitch, some kind of protection from the -7 degree temperature.

5 mins: The ball flicks off Parrett in the box. A snap shot from Jadson goes wide.

7 mins: Nothing really happening so far. Shakhtar have quite a cool orange shirt.

Day glow

Day glow

8 mins: Jenas stick out his leg on Fernandinho and gives away a free kick.

9 mins: Srna hits it straight in the wall.

10 mins: A deep crossfield ball finds Rat-a-tat-tat, whose first time volley flashes wide.

12 mins: Bentley. Cross. Overhit. I may need a keyboard shortcut for that sentence I think.

15 mins: Chimbonda fouls Fernandinhho. The free kick comes in and causes some confusion. Suspicions of a Parrett handball.

18 mins: Spurs have a decent spell of possession.

19 mins: This leads to Bentley finding some space. Cross. Dealt with easily. I don’t really understand why he’s regressed so much this season. Perhaps he should spend less time kicking footballs off rooftops and more time practising his crossing.

21 mins: Shakhtar completely in control here.

26 mins: Gladkyy wastes a great chance. A deep cross comes in and he chests it down whilst going past Chimbonda at the same time. He then fluffs his lines completely slicing away from goal when standing on the edge of the six yard box.

27 mins: Another great chance. A low cross from the right byline flashes across the face of the goal but no Donetsk player can get their foot to it to poke it in.

31 mins: I’ve just noticed Chimbonda is wearing 97 on his shirt! I know squads are big these days but seriously.

Yep, that's 97.

Yep, that's 97.

32 mins: Giovanni has Tottenham’s first attempt of the game. A close one too! He’s on the left hand side of the box almost by the byline and decides to shoot at goal despite having no angle. His curling effort clips the outside of the post. The keeper was struggling.

34 mins: Ilsinho carries the ball forward, waits an age and shoots at Dawson.

40 mins: Bentley lines up a free kick. Straight at the keeper. Rat gets booked for encroaching so Ratface Bentley gets another shot at passing it straight to Pyatov.

41 mins: Bentley takes it again. He surpasses himself and hit it straight at the wall. So predictable.

43 mins: Rat hits a decent shot but Gomes saves comfortably.

44 mins: Ping pong football in the Spurs box but it’s eventually cleared.

Half time: The ref blows his whistle right on 45 mins. He must want his half time cuppa. Or maybe something stronger. I may go the same way as the ref, it’s been that sort of scrappy game.

Shakhtar have dominated really bar one Giovanni shot for Spurs. Bentley has been justifying his reputation as second choice Tottenham right winger. Stanley Victor Collymore is providing some good analysis (as is Pat Nevin), it’s just a shame Colin Murray is making stupid points. 


46 mins: Shakhtar kick off the second half.

48 mins: A great chance for Shakhtar. William has time in the box. He controls and shoots across goal with his let foot but Ilsinho can’t quite get to it and it goes wide.

51 mins: Pyatov races out of his goal to clear a ball, makes a mess of it, but the onrushing Jenas can’t guide it into the empty net. Three defenders crowd him out and clear. 

55 mins: Spurs showing a bit more attacking ambition at the start of the second half. Darren Bent is warming up. I imagine he’ll come on for Frazier Campbell who’s been a little anonymous thus far.

58 mins: Nothing to report at the mo. I just sipped some tea if you’re interested.

60 mins: Dawson gives away a soft free kick about 30 yards out. Fernandinho belts it at some pace but it deflects over.

61 mins: The resulting corner comes to nothing.

65 mins: Spurs are pretty solid at the mo, and are doing a good job of frustrating the home side. The crows are starting to whistle loudly.

68 mins: Some changes are afoot. No not an sudden spell of good football but some substitutions. Ilsinho off, Luiz Adriano on for Shakhtar. Ilsinho goes straight down the tunnel. I imagine this is more because he’s cold and wants a shower rather than being annoyed at coming off. Bent coming on for Giovanni.

72 mins: A half chance for Spurs. Sort of. The ball falls to Parrett in the box and he tries to lift it back central over the oncoming keeper. He doesn’t though.

73 mins: Gomes annoys ‘Arry with some sloppy, rushed distribution. Spurs annoy me with some sloppy, boring football.

77 mins: A Spurs break see them three on two and bearing down on the Shakhtar goal. Parrett plays in Bent but the ball is just knicked from his feet by Ischenko.

78 mins: GOAL! Shakhtar 1-0 Tottenham! Donetsk make a change with Gladkiy off, Seleznov on. Jadson swings in a teasing free kick and with his first touch Seleznov heads it in. Brilliant substitution! Gomes came and missed and nearly knocked himself out in the process while the centre-backs were nowhere to be seen. Comedy from the Spurs keeper


Yet another blunder...

81 mins: Gomes is treated for a few minutes but eventually is alright to continue.

84 mins: Shakhtar press for a second. Spurs resorting to long balls. 

88 mins: GOAL! Shakhtar 2-0 Tottenham! Jadson scores a lovey second goal but once again terrible defending by Spurs. He has the ball on the right hand side of the pitch starts to dribble infield, dribbles a bit more, plays a nice one two with William, dribbles some more until he is past the penalty spot, then shoots across Gomes, wrongfooting everyone and scoring. No challenge forthcoming, so he ran and ran and picked his spot. Harry not pleased with that. I am though…

89 mins: Bostock on for Parrett.

Full time: Shakhtar 2-0 Tottenham! A little bit of effort on Spurs’ part to try and snatch an away goal but Shakhtar close it out. They fully deserved this victory, Tottenham were woeful and created nothing at all. Donetsk on the other hand kept testing the Spurs defence with teasing crosses and eventually found a way through. Jadson then showed what happens when your ‘defensive’ midfielder is Jermaine Jenas as he waltzed past about six Tottenham players who decided it wasn’t worth trying to tackle him and slotted a lovely shot into the corner. I’m glad this finished early, I’m off to watch Masterchef.



Keane Back to Spurs?


So it seems that Robbie Keane may be moving back to Spurs for around £15million. I don’t really get the thinking behind this on Spurs’ part. A year ago Jermaine Defoe left as he wasn’t getting games as he and Keane couldn’t play together due to both being about five feet tall. Are we to expect that this has now somehow changed in the intervening twelve months? Is Redknapp planning to play just one of them alongside Pavlyuchenko? All three of them together? I know that for the time being Defoe is injured but in a month or two this problem will need solving. Another example of Tottenham’s short sightedness in the transfer market, something which will be discussed in more depth later this week.





Sunday Roundup



Blimey, seems that last post was a bit pre-emptive. We’ll start with the news that Spurs have finally got rid of Juande Ramos and replaced him with Harry Redknapp. Perhaps more importantly, they have also got rid of Damien Comolli. Arriving from Seville a year ago, Ramos came with a reputation as one of Europe’s brightest young coaches. A year on he leaves Spurs bottom of the table with no wins this season. The unbalanced squad is full of promising youngsters and has a wealth of attacking midfielders (hey, if it works for Arsenal…) 

Despite winning the Carling Cup last year, his league record was nothing special – 35 games brought just 10 wins, 11 draws and 14 defeats. For a club with top 4 ambitions, 41 points over that period of time just isn’t enough. There is also the remarkable anomaly that whenever Gareth Bale is in the team, Spurs have never won a league game (15 and counting now). Moving away from that, I think Redknapp is good appointment. He should steady the ship and gradually move them up the table. His record at Portsmouth was excellent and given time he should be able to create a decent team out the various bits and pieces he now finds himself with. Although he is meant to be picking the team against Bolton today, what price their first win of the season coming away at Arsenal on Wednesday?

Going back to an earlier point about Comolli, his removal should help Tottenham build a better squad that addresses their needs (defensive midfielder, defensive midfielder, defensive midfielder). Adopting a policy of buying young talent to later sell on at profit is fine but ultimately the team should come first. Going back to Martin Jol (now top of the Bundesliga with Hamburg) the manager would state that he needed payer x (a defensive midfielder ironically enough) but because of Comolli would end up with Darren Bent. The whole Dimi Bertatov fiasco doesn’t need going over again but needless to say that it should have taught Spurs that it’s not always about the balance sheet figures. It’s no secret that Daniel Levy and ENIC are looking to sell just as soon as he can market Spurs as a team in the Champions League but they need to realise that to do so they need a bit more stability and strategic thinking and not just worrying about sell on values or squeezing an extra couple of million from Manchester United. 




Anyway moving on, today we see Liverpool face Chelsea at the Bridge in the big game of the day. It will be a good test as to where Liverpool’s title ambitions really lie.  Whilst a win would be fantastic I think Rafa will be delighted with a draw, especially considering Chelsea’s home record and the fact that Torres is out (I just don’t see Robbie Keane troubling Terry and Carvalho).

Arsenal face West Ham at Upton Park, looking to build on the last couple of games and keep in touch with the leaders. Their season has been a bit stop start but with the return of their first choice defenders they should have enough to overcome the Hammers.

Congrats to Hull too for continuing their march up the table and providing me with a wealth of cheap fantasy football players. I did find it slightly patronising how the media are saying plucky little Hull are joint top. They’re not. They’re third – goal difference counts for a reason.



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