Harry Redknapp’s excuses as poor as Spurs’ performance

Last man back August 18, 2010 29

Harry speaking about the artificial pitch before Spurs 3-2 defeat to Young Boys:

I think it will suit us, the way we pass the ball. We’ve got players with great technique like Luka Modric. We won’t be making an excuse out of it.

Harry speaking about the artificial pitch after Spurs 3-2 defeat to Young Boys:

You have to get used to playing on it. If you play on it every week you get used to it. I don’t agree with Astroturf and I don’t think Astroturf should be used in a competition like this. I left four out because they weren’t comfortable on the pitch in training yesterday.

Sounds a bit excusey to me and UEFA have rightly dismissed his complaints. What his grumblings do, of course, is distract from Tottenham’s limp performance. Yes, they did well to drag themselves back into it but the tie could have been over and done with had the Swiss taken their chances. It had nothing to do with the pitch, it was because Spurs played so poorly in a game they should have been right up for. It’s all a bit convenient for Redknapp to blame to pitch when the finger should be pointed squarely and his players and him.

And even if we do talk about the pitch it’s a non-issue. Modern astro pitches are fantastic. It’s not like the old days of sand based surfaces that would tear the skin from your elbows and knees at the slightest contact. They cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and are meticulously maintained. Sure, they do lack something that grass pitches do, such as bumps, divots, hills, slopes, bare patches, holes, missing turf and waterlogged sections. It’s tough to cope with all right.

The pitch last night was better than the one at Wembley, for example, and it’s not as if all Premier League surfaces are the same. The ball will roll and bounce differently at the Emirates than it does at Old Trafford which is different to White Hart Lane which is different to Stamford Bridge and so on.

Spurs are still in the Champions League, and I expect them to qualify from the second leg, but Harry needs to work a little harder on his excuse making. Or, better yet, the training ground.


  1. bertrand August 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm -

    This is retarded.

    The astroturf may indeed be a factor in their loss. However, good ol’ Harry clearly stated that he wouldn’t use it as an excuse, and yet he did anyway.

    Why not be honest and just say they were outclassed and outplayed?

    ‘You’re clearly an Arsenal fan desperate to find something to talk about other than your own massive problems.’

    With such massive problems, and yet Arsenal still finished one place above Spurs last season.

    i wonder how Arsenal will do WITHOUT such massive problems.

    I don’t understand the need that Spurs fans have of always needing to match up to Arsenal. Everyone knows who the bigger club in London is. And yet Spurs fans are always hopeful. It is a very interesting psychological or social phenomenon imo.

    And I’m a United fan. Not a gunner.

    Although I’d rather be a Gunner then a Spud. Spuds are arrogant and play shitty football, I hope Harry brings them down like he did with all his past teams.

  2. James August 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm -

    yeah when you look at it like that your right John what an achievment c’mon you SPURS

  3. JOHN August 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm -

    Good job we’re not pro then High5, i play for a Sunday league team, but allthough we’re not pro it still takes time to adjust to it, Spurs had one day of training on it and a 90min game 3-2 down when your playing abroad on a fake pitch starts to seem like a real achievment don’t it.

  4. High5 August 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm -

    John A pro team should only take 2 weeks to adjust to a fake pitch, not 6 months

  5. JOHN August 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm -

    I play Football on an astroturf pitch and have done for the last three years but when it was first laid my team went from winning our league 3 years running to finishing 6th from bottom the first year we played on it, once we were used to it we one the league the next 2 years running and are currently 2nd after playing 4 games, it took us a good 6 moths before the team were all confident playing on it. Here are a few differences on astro pitch you can’t turn as quick, when the ball is passed it comes at you much quicker which means you need to up your reaction times, untill you can improve that you have very little control on the ball, as soon as they said spurs would be playing on an astro pitch i said to all my mates they would lose, I have a feeling the game at white hart lane will be very different.

  6. Mes August 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm -

    I’ve coached teams on both artifical and grass surfaces and can state that the ball does run completely differently on both – It’s not so much about the bounce, although that is a factor, it’s more the pace of the ball off the surface (especially when wet).

    The second YB goal was a classic astroturf goal – where the ball is played between the CB’s and a runner comes from deep at pace. It’s very hard for defenders to turn quickly on astro and gain pace, so the runner will have more time on the ball. Because of this, you can’t play such a high line on astro as you would in a normal game, where any CB worth his salt would normally cut off such a pass.

    The result is that you either sit too deep and encourage the other side on or sit too far up and leave yourself flat at the back. In our astro games we normally play a sweeper to deal with this.

  7. Paul F August 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm -

    As a Swiss resident maybe I can counter some of the rubbish posted above. Firstly, the statement that UEFA allow plastic pitches because it snows a lot in some countries: It snows in Switzerland, thats for sure, but in the MOUNTAINS. Last time I checked Berne was not in the mountains. We get some snow in the cities in the winter, but no more than Germany or France, or northern England for that matter. Spurs fans in Berne yesterday would have noticed that it is an exceptionally green city – certainly no issues growing grass here! The plastic at Stade de Suisse is nothing to do with snow. It is because the economics of the stadium are such that they need to use it for entertainment (concerts etc) as well as football, and cannot keep re-laying a grass pitch. This is interesting for shareholders of Stade de Suisse, but should be of no concern to UEFA. UEFA need to be strict on this – no grass, no European competition. Otherwise we’ll continue to see nonsense like last night.

    Secondly YB have not lost all their games except 1 this season. In the league they’ve won 1, lost 2, drawn 2. Add the CL results to that and it is W3 L2 D3. Not the start they were looking for, but hardly a disaster. Everyone here expects them to challenge for the title again this season, despite a slow start. And you know what – that plastic pitch is a big part of the reason why they’ll do well again!

  8. DazzaTHFC August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm -

    If grass and astro are basically the same how do you explain 4 of our players carrying knocks this morning, and how do you explain Tom Huddlestone prv being sidelined for 6 weeks after playing on Astro? you could see the effect it had on our players so why dont you get a life and stop spurs bashing! idiot!

  9. Last man back August 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm -

    I’m curious as to how differently a ball bounces on grass than astroturf. Maybe, a little higher, but it’s not as if it skids off at right angles. Poor excuse making from Redknapp and too many of you have bought it.

  10. Mr Vexed August 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm -


  11. Bazza August 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm -

    Rubbish article! all you need is for the ball to run half an inch different to what it normally does on grass and even the worlds best players will struggle for to complete a successful pass or control the ball.

    What this dribble doesnt highlight is the difference the Thudd had on the game and what a masterstroke by Harry to turn the game around.

    YBs know how to use the pitch and you can see that from the stats, tottenham completed 600odd passes compared to YBs 200odd whereas YBs as a team ran 10km further!!

    At WHL it will be a different story, grass bogs you down more and you will see YBs tire early on.

    As for the spammers on this post, get 4th place then you can come and talk, mugs!

  12. Tom August 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm -

    Exactly Ian.

    To say that Astroturf is like grass is moronic.

    That said, they simply got lucky with their chances. We didn’t.

  13. Ian August 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm -

    I should add that the only reason why UEFA allow it is because in countires that get a lot of snow, e.g. Russia then there is just cause as no football will be played in the winter and that is not keeping in line with their calendar. It’s a compromise. Not ideal at all. You’re clearly an Arsenal fan desperate to find something to talk about other than your own massive problems.

  14. Matt August 18, 2010 at 12:14 pm -

    Have you all lost your marbles? There’s a very good reason why they don’t play on astroturf pitches in the Premiership. Firstly, the ball bounces differently and skids off the surface, making the game harder to read for the players. Secondly, the injuries sustained from these pitches are more frequent and more serious due to the fact you are running on a hard surface as opposed to soil/mud/grass. I think it is a perfectly acceptable excuse to blame the surface; it only wouldn’t be if both teams did not play home matches on a plastic pitch. Paul F is spot on.

  15. Ian August 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm -

    You’re an idiot. Astroturf is nothing like grass. Premier league teams don’t use it because it’s not allowed. You know why it’s not allowed? Because it’s not suitable for football.

    The ball bounces higher and runs quicker and there is a greater threat to injuries owing to the slippery surface and the harder surface.

    You have clearly never ever played football before. You’re making up the fact that you have to help you’re argument which is weak and pathetic.

    Plus Harry attempted to down play the surface before the game because that’s want managers do. There’s no point going out there with a negative mindset. However, you can see by the team selection and the contrast in our performance from the City game that it had a massive affect.

  16. davspurs August 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm -

    What you should be asking is this how can a team beat Spurs so according to you do convincing . Yet be so poor in there opening 5 games on. At present they have won one and lost four. The states tell you the tale . They had 4 shots on target we had 5 So i dont bore you with more we won every other state except two . We scored 2 and they scored 3 one offside . The other one and the most damming one in these shock games is they run 72 miles between themselves and we ran 67 this is the reason i cant wach Spurs live . This is a carbon copy of UtD game at home to Dynamo Moscow they where 3-0 down then they scored just before the break and came back and drew 3-3 then two players failed a drugs test for banned drug Ephedrine they pleaded a bad cold and they got let of with a two game ban and a fine. they also run more miles so also this drug kills by players exhausting themselves you make up your own mind i no the truth extra miles are illegal

  17. Acton_Yid August 18, 2010 at 11:56 am -

    Their first goal was just an unlucky rebound (for us). Their second goal was Pav passing straight to one of them and Dawson getting WAY too tight on the fast Bienvenu, and their third was just Bassong falling asleep, letting the ball pass right by him (schoolboy error) !!!

  18. Paul F August 18, 2010 at 11:50 am -

    I’m no fan of Spurs, but cannot accept this rubbish being spouted about the plastic pitch not mattering. Of course it matters, and it should absolutely be banned in international tournements. Just look at YB’s stats in their league. Last season they played 18 matches at home and won 15 of them, drawing 2. 15 from 18! It is unheard of! Away from home, they lost half their matches. Home goal diff: +28. Away +3.

    The pitch is a huge advantage. Just look at the first 30 mins of the game last night. All of the Spurs players were like bamby on ice, taking too many touches. The YB players turned and moved easier and passed it more confidently. By the second half, the opposite was true as Spurs’ players had started to come to terms with the surface.

    So laugh at Spurs by all means – its funny to see rivals struggle – but dont pretend the pitch doesnt matter. It is criminal that plastic pitches should be allowed at this level

  19. Last man back August 18, 2010 at 11:49 am -

    To say though that these AstroTurf pitches are better than most premiership grass pitches is naive. If this was the case, why do premiership teams NOT have these kind of pitches, especially seeing as they are far easier to maintain during our winters.

    It’s a very good question – maybe because it’s just not the done thing, but when you look at the state of some of the pitches in winter you have to wonder why.

    Does anyone remember the state of Stamford Bridge last season or perhaps the season before. It was bald, bobbly and ridiculously bad. Wigan had to relay theirs last season because it was more or less unplayable.

    Essex – yeah, United played on it in Moscow. England too recently, or am I remember that wrong?

  20. Essex_yid August 18, 2010 at 11:45 am -

    Not an excuse as we should have beaten a team like Young Boys whatever the pitch, however if you actually watch the whole game closey you can’t deny that the ball moved alot quicker, it bounced awkwardly and our players didnt seem to be able to run or turn like normal…but like i said if we want to prove that we are as good as we like to think, we should be beating team like this….didnt UTD have to play on plastic in Moscow last year???

  21. Mr Vexed August 18, 2010 at 11:42 am -

    I don’t agree at all with what you say. I understand what your point is the fact us the physics of a what the ball will do on a grass pitch as opposed to a plastic one is far greater than the differences in grass pitches.

    That said, we were dogshit last night. I can’t help but think that the pitch was a big problem but it doesn’t detract from the fact we were shit.

    To say though that these AstroTurf pitches are better than most premiership grass pitches is naive. If this was the case, why do premiership teams NOT have these kind of pitches, especially seeing as they are far easier to maintain during our winters. The answer is of course they are not really better at all. I’ve played on the stuff and although it’s alright, it’s not the same.

  22. Last man back August 18, 2010 at 11:42 am -

    Having played a lot of football on both grass and astro – admittedly not at professional level, I should add but clearly have no need to – there’s not that much difference between them.

    As I said modern astro pitches are better than some Premier League surfaces.

  23. Echo-6-Charlie August 18, 2010 at 11:42 am -

    Why doesn’t he moan about the offsides ruling on the first goal?

  24. Hogger August 18, 2010 at 11:41 am -

    A modern astro pitch must be so much easier to play on than, say, Wigan’s shitty pitch. Or Wembley.

  25. rpspursfan August 18, 2010 at 11:37 am -

    mate your a nob.

    you clearly just dont like harry or spurs.

    Try playing football on a pitch where the ball bounes completely different and travels along the floor completely differently than what your used too.

    There first goal was a lucky deflection which ended up being a perfect set up, second goal was brutal pace(fair play to that bloke) and the third was a perfectly weighted ball, which im sure with 4 years practice, huddlestone and modric could have played to defoe, dos santos and pav all game..

  26. Last man back August 18, 2010 at 11:31 am -

    Anon – my point is that Spurs play on different pitches every week. There’s nothing that different about the Young Boys pitch, in fact it’s probably better and easier to play on than some Premier League pitches.

  27. anon August 18, 2010 at 11:29 am -

    We played poor yet still had the same number of shots on target

    Oh and the pitch is not an excuse. Young Boys have played on it for years so they know how to use it to their advantage and fans of other teams should keep quiet until their teams play and do well on such pitches.

  28. pad August 18, 2010 at 11:26 am -

    What’s even more funnier than that is that the SPUDS scored two away goals!!

  29. Jacquoranda August 18, 2010 at 11:16 am -

    What’s even funnier is that the Spuds have a plastic pitch at their training ground.

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