When I think of Harry Redknapp, he constantly reminds me of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Britain’s best-ever film director. The two men hail from the East End of London. Both men had close ties with West Ham United. Hitchcock having supported them and Redknapp having played and managed them. Both men liked to spend the money of their employers whether it was Hitchcock going way over budget or Redknapp and his reputation for spending big money on transfers while he was manager at Portsmouth. And, last but not least, there is a striking resemblance between the two men. If Redknapp gained weight and began making cameo appearances on the football pitch, we may begin to worry.
On Tuesday night in Switzerland, Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur seemed to play the role of a cast of characters from a Hitchcock suspense-thriller. In the opening 30 minutes of the moving picture, the Young Boys murdered Tottenham. They completely ripped Spurs apart, slaying open the Tottenham defense. The first was quite sloppy. But once the Young Boys smelled Tottenham’s blood, all three came in quick succession. All that was missing was Bernard Herrmann’s accompanying Psycho theme song.
The Champions League qualifier drama continued when Sebastien Bassong pulled one back which ended the first half with a cliffhanger. What would Redknapp say to his merry men during the intermission that would motivate them? Would Tottenham be able to salvage anything from this match after being so completely outplayed in the first half?
The second half of the work of art was an enjoyable one to watch, as was the first. There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot. Near misses and big escapes. And when it seemed like the Young Boys of Bern would stick the knife into Tottenham to kill the game, they missed their chances. Only a few minutes after the Young Boys missed a golden chance in front of goal to score, Tottenham proceeded back up field and created something out of nothing when Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko combined for a one-two that allowed the Russian to create an opening and to smash the ball into the back of the net from distance.
This was definitely a match of intrigue. As the game unfolded and each goal went in, it became a suspense thriller as you watched the scenes in front of you but, at the same time, your mind was going through all of the sub-plots in terms of away goals scored and what that would mean depending on which team scored next. There was also the psychological part of the game where it seemed that Young Boys had no fear of the English team at first. But after Tottenham scored each goal, you could see how that effected Young Boys – at least temporarily. And after Tottenham scored their second, the London side started playing with a lot more confidence as they passed the ball around the Swiss team.
The final 3-2 scoreline to Young Boys was a defeat to celebrate for Tottenham. The slaughter could have been much worse. Young Boys played with a confidence and determination that was difficult to match. It was made worse by having difficulty controlling the ball on a bouncy plastic surface. But, at the same time, Tottenham’s performance wasn’t helped by the dire display by defensive midfielder Wilson Palacios who had difficulty stringing passes together. Plus Benoît Assou-Ekotto, whose first half performance was so poor as left back that he was replaced before half-time.
The stage is now set for White Hart Lane next week when the second installment will be played. Redknapp has a lot to think about between now and then. Undoubtedly there will be changes and Redknapp will not want to repeat the same mistakes his cast of characters made on the European stage. But rest assured, no matter what happens next week, the game between these two sides will have plenty more twists and turns. The suspense is killing me.