Redknapp made a last-minute gut call without telling anyone that clinched Champions League claims Allen

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

When you think about iconic moments in Tottenham’s history, that 1-0 match against Man City simply has to rank near the very top.

Spurs went into that game away to the now-Champions knowing that a win would see them qualify for the Champions League ahead of the Citizens.

While this may not seem like an iconic moment for a Pochettino team, this was the first time Tottenham had ever qualified for the competition.

The majority of Spurs fans will still be able to picture that Kaboul cross the Crouch header as if it were yesterday, but Clive Allen has now revealed that it almost didn’t happen.

At the time, Harry Redknapp had a wealth of choices up front, with Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko, and even the experienced Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Clive revealed that in the discussion with Redknapp, himself, Kevin Bond, and Joe Jordan, the consensus was that Crouchy would start on the bench.

However, it seems that Harry had a change of heart at the last minute, something that may have changed the history of Tottenham Hotspur.

Clive Allen said (Up Front – as quoted by the Standard): Harry often worked on gut instinct — and it led to some baffling ­decisions at times. You wouldn’t understand why some players were in from the cold or dropped without warning.

Sometimes I’d sit with [fellow coaches] Kevin [Bond] and Joe [Jordan], the three of us shaking our heads in confusion.

The City game was the ultimate ­example. If you’d asked Kevin, Joe or I before the game how we were going to line-up, it would never have been the way we did that night.

The big decision was who would play up front. Crouch and Jermain Defoe? Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko? Pav did well in big games. Pav and Defoe? Maybe Eidur Gudjohnsen could play? He’s got so much experience at big clubs. Should we play one up?

Harry didn’t want to play Jermain in attack on his own.

We knocked it around for ages. Eventually, after a lot of agonising, the consensus was that Crouch should start on the bench. The players arrived and Harry began addressing them, spelling out the importance of the game, urging them to keep their heads and outlining general tactical information before naming the team. “… and starting up front, Crouch and Defoe,” he said.

The players got up and left the room. Kevin, Joe and I sat on the back row and just stared at each other. I ­whispered into Joe’s ear: “Er, I didn’t think it was Crouch and Defoe — has he made a mistake?”

Joe didn’t say a word. Not one of us thought Crouchy would start.

I assumed Harry just got a feeling and wanted to go with it. It was a big surprise and maybe the chairman wouldn’t want to hear such decisions were made in this way, but that’s what you get with Harry.

Spurs Web Opinion:

I love hearing anecdotes like this and I’m sure that I share the same thanks with other Spurs fans that Harry had the change of heart. Who knows where we would be if he didn’t.

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