As Tottenham triumphantly march into the last eight of the Champions League, it is time to salute the brilliance of their English boss Harry Redknapp.
When Redknapp replaced Spanish disaster Juande Ramos in October 2008, Spurs were four points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League. Now they look comfortable at the top table of European football and it is easy to imagine the best is still to come.
Resisting the best efforts of AC Milan to hold on to an aggregate 1-0 win, courtesy of a famous first leg win in the San Siro, the White Hart Lane fans who have waited a generation for a return to the glory days must be pinching themselves in disbelief.
It has been a meteoric rise from the ashes led by the outstanding boss, who guided unfashionable Portsmouth to silverware with an historic FA Cup Final win over Cardiff just five months before accepting Tottenham’s invitation “to manage a big club before I retire.”
Redknapp England’s top boss
Redknapp has been a success in management ever since his first job in 1982/83 when he saved Bournemouth from relegation to the bottom rung of the Football League and knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup in his first season.
He was a big success at West Ham United – the club he graced as a player in the 60s and early 70s – until he was sacked out of the blue for apparently upsetting chairman Terry Brown in 2001. Since then Redknapp has had the strength of character to manage both South coast rivals Portsmouth and Southampton.
But the return to North London, where he grew up in the Tottenham youth ranks before he was signed by West Ham as a 15 year-old, has been the move that has confirmed Redknapp’s emergence as the outstanding English manager of his generation.
And that in a nutshell is the bad news for Spurs fans.
There can be little doubt that Redknapp mst have one eye on taking over as England manager when Fabio Capello moves on after Euro 2012. As he has already stated: “As an Englishman it would be hard to turn down. It’s the pinnacle of your career.”