TEAMtalk's resident Tottenham fan Rob McCarthy gives his take on Harry Redknapp's surprise departure and who the club could turn to next.
Redknapp's exit has come as a shock to many but the more you think about chairman Daniel Levy's decision the more it seems to make sense, although that now solely depends on who the club turns to next.
I've always quite liked Harry, and few can argue that during his tenure at The Lane, Spurs have played some of the best football in recent Premier League history. But behind the scenes the relationship between Levy and Redknapp had clearly become fractured and the former is not a man to be messed with when it comes to finance and what he believes is in the best interests of the club - just look at the Luka Modric saga last summer.
Harry only had a year left on his contract and reportedly wanted a new and improved long-term deal, but given his reluctance to rule himself out of the England running, which whether Redknapp admits it or not did play a part in Spurs' slump towards the end of the season, you could argue that Levy doubted his overall loyalty to the cause and felt it better for the club to look elsewhere.
The Spurs supremo stuck by Harry during his tax evasion trial and subsequent health problems but probably feels that wasn't reciprocated when Fabio Capello quit England and every man and his 'Rosie' wanted Redknapp to lead us at the Euros - including, clearly, the man himself.
All of a sudden a nailed-on third-placed finish evaporated and only after Roy Hodgson was appointed did Spurs actually find their form again to finish fourth - although that ultimately, and unluckily, wasn't enough as Chelsea parked an articulated lorry at the Allianz Arena to win the Champions League.
Harry would quite often moan about the size of his squad but never really utilized it when he should have done, leaving key players to pick up injuries and others to suffer from burnout. Poor old Nico Kranjcar - a talented playmaker in the Luka Modric mould - hardly got a look in when he could have given his Croatian team-mate the odd rest here and there, being just one example.
And Gareth Bale, one of the best left-wingers in world football, playing consistently through the middle - I never quite got that one.
When Redknapp first arrived at White Hart Lane (two points from eight games incase you'd forgotten!) he also pointed out that Spurs were a soft touch and immediately set about making us harder to beat. But nearly four years on there were still too many occasions when the players were clearly not physically and mentally up to the task of keeping pace with the big boys, and Harry has to take some responsibility for that.
I don't think Levy ever really trusted him in the transfer market either, despite an initial splurge following Redknapp's arrival. Hence a surprising lack of spending from a club which can normally be relied upon to make some headlines, normally in the final minutes on transfer deadline day.
Despite all my negative comments, however, Redknapp has still given me some of my fondest memories as a Spurs fan and I thank him sincerely for that. The victory over Arsenal at The Emirates, beating Manchester City to secure Champions League football, the wins over Inter and AC Milan and the football we played in crushing Newcastle at WHL last season, some of the best I've ever seen in my 30-plus years of supporting the club, were all highlights.
But what now for my beloved team, are we to drop back into the pack or push on and make finishing in the top four every season the bare minimum requirement?
Just who the next man to take the White Hart Lane reins is will tell us which direction Levy is looking to take the club in, so let's look at the contenders.
I've always been a big fan of the way David Moyes has done things at Everton, but whether I want my club to be the one that takes the gamble on what he could do if he had some decent money to spend, I'm not really sure. However, one of Moyes's biggest attributes is that players clearly like and want to play for him, and that could be the smartest option if Spurs want to hang on to their top stars.
Roberto Martinez has built a reputation as a manager who likes his teams to play but has been more versed in guiding Wigan away from the relegation places than challenging at the other end of the table so would be a risk, while Jurgen Klinsmann is a Spurs legend but unfortunately legends don't always do the business when they return to their former club as managers (been there, done that with Ossie and Glenn).
Of all the names linked with the club I genuinely believe that Andre Villas-Boas could be best suited to the type of players we have in our squad.
The former Porto boss tried to change things too much, too quickly under Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and paid the price, but the players at Spurs are far more suited to play the type of football he wanted to bring to Stamford Bridge and it could eventually turn out to be a marriage made in north London.
One thing is for sure: Levy needs to act quickly and make the right statement to the fans and the Harry-loving media with his next appointment, otherwise the vultures will be circling ever closer to the likes of Modric, Bale and van der Vaart and a return to the bad old days of being mid-table also-rans could return.