Return of the ‘Knapp – Portsmouth vs Spurs Preview

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A couple of weeks ago Carlos Tevez scored against West Ham at Middle Eastlands and waved a hand of apology at the away fans who rewarded him with applause. You could feel the love. This weekend we’re at the opposite end of the scale as Harry Redknapp returns to Fratton Park. It’s a game that few others this season have the potential to match in terms of perceived treachery. Barry’s trip back to Villa was only notable for the bloke waving false tenners somewhere near Gareth’s ample backside whenever he took a corner, Berbatov is a poor man’s Scumbell as far as the WHL crowd are concerned, Michael Owen going back to Anfield in a Man U shirt might be interesting but only Badebayor’s journey back to the new Library is liable to get the same crowd reaction as when Harry takes his place on the bench on Saturday afternoon (and that’s only if the coach parties that make up the crowd at Islington’s largest tourist trap have been briefed properly).

The fans abusing and turning against a former favourite is in general a modern day media and TV hype fuelled phenomenon. Has what Redknapp done to a town where his success saw him awarded the Freedom of the City and he oh so nearly had a civic clock tower bell named after him been enough to justify any, let alone the expected, level of vitriol? Can Harry be blamed for the mess that Portsmouth now find themselves in? Money is at the root of Pompey’s problems and as Harry himself is never slow to point out, the huge profits made on the sales of players such as Diarra, Muntari and Defoe would suggest that it’s at the doors of the board and owners that those irate with their club’s plight should be protesting not at the gates at the end of Bill Nicholson Way. There’s no reason to suggest that the money problems wouldn’t have occurred or wouldn’t be just as bad if Harry had not walked out on 25th October last year.

But what about that ‘walk out’? Was it such a shock to Portsmouth fans? He’d already done it once before, in December 2004, that time taking over at Southampton, their nearest rivals. Now that really is taking the piss and you can’t blame anyone for giving him everything he got when he went back for the league game there the following April. His second spell as boss brought tangible success with the FA Cup win and European football for the first time, but there will always have been nagging doubts that he would tempted again if another club showed him a bit of leg at the right time, indeed he nearly succumbed to a bit of figurative Geordie flesh in January last year.

Any animosity against Redknapp just boils down to disappointment that he left when he did and that the foundations he laid were handed to fumbling apprentice Donkey Adams rather than a master builder. Portsmouth fans hoped that the relationship between them, their club and Harry was such that he’d stay and bring them more success but like us now they were just borrowing Redknapp from West Ham and fooling themselves if they thought any different. After eight years at Upton Park as a player and nearly seven as a manager how could it be any other way? At Spurs we know that Harry is doing his best for us and we’re grateful he’s here, but when he goes and wherever he goes to, he’ll be no ‘Judas’, he’ll just be moving on and Pompey fans need to do the same rather than use the current Tottenham manager as an outlet for their misplaced frustration.

Paddy Power: Portsmouth vs Tottenham 1st Goalscorer: Peter Crouch 11/2


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