The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
“I just told him to tell Pavlyuchenko to fucking run around a bit.” —Harry Redknapp
The thing you have to realize is that Harry Redknapp is coaching on a level at which direct tactical instruction would be blinding.ARTICLE PRÉCIS
Some say Harry Redknapp’s tactics are simplistic. Others are like, “no they’re not.” Still others are barely even paying attention. When your mere presence is food and light to the players who trail in your wake, you don’t just blunder into a room and start garrumphing about wingers who cut inside in the 4-3-3. The Benítezzes and Mourinhos of this world live like they’re auditioning for Zonal Marking or trying to prove that they know more than the pundits. Well, get one thing straight: Knowing more than the pundits isn’t Harry’s game. For him, it’s a glance, a word, a touch—in desperate times, maybe an entire sentence, filtered through Dr. Jay Kettle-Williams for safety—that makes his players respond. We’ve always known this, but now Rafael van der Vaart has made the truth explicit:
Harry is a very special man, that’s why I already feel at home at Spurs. It feels like I’m back on the street. There are no long and boring speeches about tactics, like I was used to at Real Madrid. There is a clipboard in our dressing room but Harry doesn’t write anything on it! It’s very relaxed. The gaffer gives us the line-up 20 minutes before we go out to do our warm-up. And the only words he speaks to me are ‘You play left or right, work hard, have fun and show the fans your best’. Then the defenders get an instruction about who to mark at corners and free-kicks – and that’s it.
There is a clipboard in the dressing room, but Harry doesn’t write anything on it. And why would he? Live like a baron, play your Wii and beat Inter on the weekends. Harry Redknapp’s greatest tactical innovation is the life-tactic he’s given us all.
Read More: Harry Redknapp
by Brian Phillips · November 17, 2010