With Harry Redknapp leading the shortlist of replacements for Fabio Capello as manager for the England national team, it might be time for Tottenham fans to envision a future without him.
One of the most capable managers in football, Redknapp has kept the Spurs in league contention year after year. Currently residing in third place, Tottenham has been playing perhaps the most complete football through 12 games (after Manchester City), with world-class talent at almost every position.
Since his hiring in 2008, Redknapp has guided the Spurs from the regulation zone to a Champions League berth in 2009. While he has yet to win major silverware with Tottenham, the Lilywhites have always been in the conversation with Redknapp at the helm.
Redknapp, a capable wheeler dealer, would leave behind an extremely lucrative Premiership job should he be selected to replace Don Fabio. While many will apply, here are eight men best suited to fill the cheeky chappy's shoes at White Hart Lane.
Fired in late May of 2011 by Chelsea after leading the Blues to their first domestic double ever in 2010, Carlo Ancelotti might be the trendy choice to replace Harry Redknapp should there be a vacancy at Tottenham.
The 52-year-old Italian manager has not taken a coaching job since being let go by the West London club, preferring to wait for another opening in the Premiership. He still lives in London, so is well placed to jump at any local offer in the top division.
Ancelotti is a proven winner even at other clubs, winning two Champions League trophies with Serie A side AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. Many questioned Chelsea chairman Roman Abramovich’s harsh dismissal of Ancelotti instead of letting him ride out a bad stretch, a sign of how well the Italian is still respected in England.
If Redknapp is to go, Tottenham should have Ancelotti near the top of their shortlist to replace him.
While his English preference would be a return to the Reds, King Kenny Dalglish seems too entrenched for there to be an opening in the near future. Spurs, on the other hand, offer similar (if not greater) talent and a willingness to pay the premium for top talent, which should be enough to lure Benitez if an offer is forthcoming.
Benitez was most successful with Liverpool during his early years at the club, winning the Champions League in 2005 with a legendary 3-3 win in penalties over AC Milan in Istanbul. Unfortunately, he never could win much domestically, adding only the 2005-2006 F.A. Cup to his list of major English silverware.
Benitez was dismissed by the front office on June 3, 2010 before taking a job with Serie A powerhouse Internazionale. He would only last six months with the team and has not taken a managerial job since.
With a deep interest in returning to English football, expect Benitez to be in the running for Redknapp’s seat should it ever be vacated.
If Tottenham feels like promoting from within, Kevin Bond might be their man.
Currently Harry Redknapp’s trusted assistant, Bond lacks top-flight managerial experience, but has managed some at lower-division sides like Stafford Rangers and Bournemouth. He returned to Redknapp’s employ after being fired from Newcastle United amid allegations of corruption.
Bond assisted Redknapp while the two were employed by Portsmouth and won, so it’s a fair bet he could keep the status quo at White Hart Lane. Still, his lack of experience at this level might deter support from some fans.
A team like the Spurs could do better, but it would be a fine show of loyalty if Bond were to take Redknapp’s spot.
Currently the manager of Bolton Wanderers, Owen Coyle could be looking for a move up with his side facing the distinct possibility of regulation after the current season.
Coyle’s major achievement on the sidelines was to gain promotion with Burnley for the first time in 33 years. They were 1-0 winners of Sheffield United in the Championship playoff final in 2009, but were subsequently relegated a year later.
The 45-year-old Scot bolted for Bolton before that could happen, but hasn’t had much top-flight success there either. The loss of American Stuart Holden has damaged the creativity in the Trotter’s midfield, a significant factor in their current 18th-place standing.
Coyle has been vocally supportive of Harry Redknapp’s prophesized move to England manager, which might be construed as a shrewd angling for his Tottenham seat. While Coyle wouldn’t be Spurs’ first choice, he should be on the list of possible targets.
With Aston Villa having a quiet yet solid season, manager Alex McLeish could be a fine fit for the Tottenham job. What McLeish is doing with a good, but not great, Villa side has not gone unnoticed among top footballing organizations, meaning that he could be seeing a big money move in the near future.
The 52-year-old Scot has only seen defeat at Aston Villa three times this season, one of only six other Premiership sides who have been beaten three times or less. Villa is in good company, with the other five sides snuggly in the top six.
Currently in eighth place, Aston Villa has European dreams, but it wouldn’t be the first time for McLeish. The Scot earned multiple Champions League berths with Glasgow Rangers in the SPL as their manager between 2001 and 2006. He earned his first English silverware with Birmingham City, beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final.
McLeish could be in for a move to the higher echelons of English football if Villa can make a European appearance this season. The Spurs might be wise to make a move for him if Redknapp does indeed leave.
The dream candidate by most standards, José Mourinho would certainly top the shortlist of candidates to replace Harry Redknapp at Tottenham if he could be pried from Real Madrid.
Mourinho has had success almost wherever he has gone, currently occupying first place with Los Blancos over vaunted Barcelona in La Liga play. He’s managed at big-name clubs like Porto, Chelsea and Internazionale, winning league titles for each. He’s struggled to slow down the Catalans while at Real Madrid, but that hasn’t kept them from contending in the Champions League year after year.
The 48-year-old Portugal native has undeniably some of the best credentials out there, and would be a huge get for Spurs should he ever leave Spain. The North London side has been rumored to already have tried for Mourinho earlier in 2011, but was rebuffed.
Still, if things head south for Madrid in the coming months, Mourinho might be looking for an out. If Redknapp leaves, Tottenham wouldn’t be a bad choice.
Few could have predicted Newcastle United’s impressive run in the Premier League, with the exception of head man Alan Pardew. With his team on everyone’s lips, Pardew’s stock has never been higher, and could be well suited to a North London move.
Pardew’s Toon Army ran off an 11-game unbeaten streak to start league play, and has since only lost once; a 3-1 decision against league-leading Manchester City at the Etihad.
With a core of creative French players and a positive team mentality, Newcastle looks to have serious staying power. Pardew, a manager since breaking in at Reading in 1999, has exhibited similar qualities, staying relevant as a manger for lower-division teams until his move to Newcastle in 2010.
Pardew has yet to win major trophies as a manager, his biggest accomplishment being simply gaining top-flight promotion for West Ham in 2005 via playoff despite finishing sixth in the Championship. Like he would be at Charlton Athletic and Southampton in the future, Pardew left West Ham after a long stretch of losing.
With that in mind, it might be premature to hail Pardew as the next great English manager, for it remains to be seen if he can sustain his success with the Magpies. If he can, Tottenham should give him a call.
Currently managing recently promoted Queens Park Rangers, Neil Warnock could finally add a top Premier League side to the long list of clubs he’s managed since 1980.
Over the last 21 years, Warnock has headed 10 different clubs, rising from non-league teams to England’s top division. Warnock made a name for himself by bringing Notts County from the Third to First Division in successive years, narrowly missing out on a Premier League spot when it was created in 1992.
Winner of seven total promotions, Warnock has proven he can fix troubled lower-league teams, but would he be able to excel on the big stage? If QPR can fend off relegation, his chances will only increase. At 63 years old, Warnock might not have many years left on the sidelines.
He won’t be Tottenham’s first choice to replace Harry Redknapp, but Warnock will merit consideration due to his significant managerial experience, even if most of it came outside the top division.