Early Doors

The Cockney Messiah

Early Doors

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Tottenham's sacking of Juande Ramos was a masterstroke in burying news.

By delaying the announcement until late on Saturday, they ensured there was no mention of it in most of the Sunday papers, and it was a whisker too late to make Match of the Day.

It would be as though nothing had happened. Of course, when the new man gave his first interview people might be suspicious about the sudden deterioration in the standard of Ramos's English.

But otherwise, they could draft in Harry Redknapp without having to endure the unforgiving glare of the media spotlight.

Sadly, Spurs were forgetting something. There are newspapers on a Monday, too. And websites, TV, radio - blanket media coverage, basically.

And everyone agrees that, while Redknapp is obviously a good appointment, Spurs remain an utter shambles.

It seemed strangely appropriate that such a bizarre and dysfunctional managerial reign should end at close to midnight on a Saturday evening.

The Tottenham players, had the small matter of a match to contend with in a matter of hours, and were faithfully tucked into bed. Bed, in this case, being the name of a tacky nightclub in Woking.

Early Doors was also enjoying an evening on the ale - a pint and a half of Mild usually does the trick - and possibly failed adequately to process the news when it filtered through to the hostelry.

On waking, bleary-eyed, on Sunday morning, Early Doors wondered if it had all been a dream.

ED was greatly relieved to discover it had not spent the night dreaming about Harry Redknapp, and the story was true.

Redknapp is an opportunist, and he knows a no-lose situation when he sees one.

Spurs were never going to go down, and they are certainly not going to now the waxwork dummy formerly known as JR has been sacked.

They could have appointed Bruce Forsyth and seen a major upturn in their results, yet Redknapp will be hailed as a genius when he guides Tottenham to that 11th-place finish.

Redknapp seemed quite impressed that he could fetch a £5 million fee, saying it was hard for Pompey to turn down.

However, it makes him worth only half as much as Frank Arnesen, whose poaching from Spurs by Chelsea in 2005 helped provoke all this nonsense.

You have to feel for the Portsmouth players, whose intensive language lessons to understand Redknapp have proved a complete waste of time.

Now the Pompey players have gone to the bother of learning Cockney, surely that is all the reason the club needs to appoint Alan Curbishley and not Sam Allardyce or Avram Grant.

The consensus among pundits is that a continental-style 'director of football' management structure cannot work in the Premier League, and Spurs have duly done away with theirs.

But that is absolute guff.

As Arsene Wenger said at the weekend, any system can work as long as it is done properly and everyone knows their role.

When he worked at Sevilla with director of football Monchi Rodriguez, there didn't seem to be a problem, as Monchi unearthed gems such as Dani Alves and Luis Fabiano, and Ramos inserted them into a winning team.

Good players are good players, whatever country you are in.

The inherent problem in Ramos's relationship with Damien Comolli is that there wasn't one.

In a post-sacking rant, a 'close friend' told The Sun that Ramos considered Comolli "a dimwit" and that the Frenchman ignored his player recommendations.

Ramos had players bought for him that he neither wanted nor needed, while the heart of the team was ripped out and not adequately replaced.

That is Tottenham's fault, not the system's.

Chairman Daniel Levy whined about the summer's transfer disasters in an open letter to the fans, as though he had no choice in who the club bought and sold.

"Robbie Keane's departure was undoubtedly the shock of the summer." he moaned. "I was as disappointed as any of you when he informed me that he wanted to join what he described as his favourite boyhood club."

Early Doors has a suggestion: if you don't want to sell Robbie Keane, don't sell him.

- - -

In his assessment of Liverpool's 1-0 win against Chelsea yesterday afternoon, Rafa Benitez showed what happens when you spend too much time doing interviews on Sky.

Rather than the result being a case of picking up three points or beating a rival, it became all about sending a message or, in Benitez's words, a "massive message".

Nobody could be very sure to whom this message was being sent, and what information it contained that could not be gathered by looking at the Premier League table.

If you want to send a message, use a carrier pigeon.

- - -

Early Doors has rarely witnessed more slick passing, determined running or tough tackling at Wembley.

Sadly for English football fans, it was being done by the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.

A couple of weeks after last year's Wembley NFL game, England got stuffed by Croatia and the helmet-wearing, hot dog-eating gridiron stars were duly blamed for wrecking the pitch.

The Wembley ground staff have four months to get the playing surface in order ahead of England's next World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in March, but ED sees no reason not to blame the Yanks anyway should Fabio Capello's boys cock it up.

Last year, 'special guest' John Terry was roundly booed as he was introduced to the crowd - handily getting him prepared for the treatment England got after the Croatia debacle.

This time organisers played it safe by trotting out Rebecca Adlington and predicted the crowd would be just sober enough not to boo a girl.

They were half-right. Although Adlington's two Olympic gold medals bought her enough respect to get a decent reception, British soul wannabe loon Joss Stone - who is rubbish at sport - was not so lucky.

Rather curiously, Stone sang God Save The Queen with an American accent, getting lightly jeered in the process.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "They put eight players out to defend and there was no space to work the ball, only space to cross. We didn't win one cross. This is not the football we normally play. We need to play and touch the ball, as we do not have big strikers. That's what made me angry, I told the players to take a touch but they were losing confidence to do that. Rafa Benitez is intelligent. He knows and I know that we don't have a two-metre tall centre-forward." Big Phil Scolari on what passes for intelligence these days.

FOREIGN VIEW: "Black hand" - Real Madrid are whining about the referees in Spain again. This time after beating Athletic Bilbao 3-2. Some people are never happy.

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