LONDON: Ousted Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp believes that his departure was inevitable even if they had not been barred entry to the Champions League by Chelsea’s Champions League win.
Spurs finished fourth but Chelsea, who finished below them in the Premier League, ‘snatched’ their right to a place in Europe’s elite competition because they had that right as holders of the Champions League, a status they achieved by defeating Bayern in Munich in last month’s final.
Speculation had been increasing over the past week that relations between Redknapp and chairman Daniel Levy had been cooling. Redknapp had one year remaining on his contract and had expressed some concern over the need for greater long-term security.
Redknapp, interviewed outside his home by broadcasters, put a brave face on the parting of the ways, perhaps cushioned by what has been reported as a possible £3m severance deal. But close friend Jim Smith, himself a former top division manager, said: “He’ll be torn apart.”
Now 65, Redknapp said: “I am disappointed, of course. It couldn’t have gone better for me, the football we played, finishing fourth and fifth was great, great players . . . so I loved every minute of my time and the fans have been amazing. Also the support at the club when things were difficult [over his tax case] I’ll never forget. They were special.
“I had a great time there but that’s football. The people who own the club make what decisions they think are right and I abide by it. I don’t hold grudges or worry about what could have been. We all move on.
“I’ve left behind some fantastic players. I think it was a team tha could have won the Premier League in the next year or two. I just wish I could have gone and been part of that.”
Asked about his talks with Levy, Redknapp said: “Daniel just said it was nothing to do with contracts or me asking for anything; it was a case that the club wanted to have a change so that’s there option. They own the club, they can do what they want.”
The speculation about the England job after Fabio Capello’s resignation, said Redknapp, had not been a factor.
Redknapp said: “I kept my counsel and in the end it was nothing to do with anything like that. It was just a decision that the chairman decided they wanted to make – him and the owner – and they can do whatever they like. It’s their club.
“We finished fourth in the league and were just unlucky but I think it would have been the same outcome if Chelsea hadn’t have won [the Champions League]. That’s the feeling I’d got; I think the chairman would have gone down the same road.
“That’s football. All you can do is leave the club in better shape than you found it and I did that for sure.”
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