Harry baffled by Wenger abuse

Redknapp has insisted that the Frenchman has been put under

pressure by the “sad” and “idiotic” supporters who call radio

phone-ins to air their grievances about their team every week.

Wenger’s men looked set to challenge for three trophies as the

season drew into the home straight but a poor run of form has seen

them fall behind Manchester United in the title race and miss out

again in the Carling Cup and the Champions League. The Carling Cup

final defeat against Birmingham at Wembley in February was

particularly hard to stomach for the Arsenal faithful, who were

sure that their hunt for a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup would

come to an end against Alex McLeish’s strugglers. The influential

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust released a statement last week expressing

their “considerable disappointment” with the club’s continued

struggle to land major honours, and warned that they would be

putting Wenger’s policy of trusting young players rather than

buying experienced ones under the spotlight at the end of the

season. Redknapp, who will lock horns with Wenger in Wednesday’s

north London derby, insists all the pressure on the 61-year-old is

unjust despite his failure to land a trophy in so long. “I don’t

understand how they can criticise him. They have had fantastic

success and play great football,” Redknapp said. “He managed a team

that went a whole season unbeaten. What an achievement that was.

That was amazing to do that. “He has won enough trophies at Arsenal

already. He doesn’t need another to have vindication, surely. His

record stands up anyway.” Redknapp mused last year that the man who

was viewed as a calm professor when he arrived in England in 1996

from Grampus Eight had turned into a “big nutter” thanks to the

pressure of playing in the Barclays Premier League. The Spurs boss

believes all managers are now subject to unfair abuse and scrutiny

from fans calling in to radio phone-ins after every match, with

Wenger one of the many victims. “I don’t understand the criticism

(of Wenger) at all but that’s what you expect in football, you get

that in this game now,” Redknapp said. “If he was angry about it

then I don’t blame him. I would have been too. “If you lose a few

games some people call these silly phone-ins and say: ‘They were

rubbish today. They were absolutely useless’ when they weren’t even

at the game, they were listening to it on the radio or shopping

with the wife. “I don’t listen to them. I’ll turn the radio on and

put Magic FM on instead. I want to listen to some music. I don’t

want to listen to a bunch of idiots. They must have sad lives.”

Redknapp points to Wenger’s touchline spat with Liverpool boss

Kenny Dalglish as evidence that the former Monaco coach is under

greater pressure than ever to deliver a trophy to the Emirates

Stadium. He does acknowledge though that the skirmish with the

Liverpool boss following Sunday’s 1-1 draw shows he is determined

to bring home that elusive trophy. “Suddenly when Arsenal started

to lose he became one of the biggest nutters of all,” Redknapp

added. “He is jumping around more than anyone now. That’s how (the

pressure) gets to you. We all do it. It’s wanting to win.” The

Spurs boss will pile further pressure on Wenger if he manages to

guide his team to their first league double over their bitter

rivals in 18 years. Redknapp believes the Gunners must win all

their remaining games to have any chance of winning their 14th

league title, but admits that he and his side face an equally tough

task in claiming fourth spot off Manchester City. “We need a win

desperately,” he said. “Arsenal have to win all of their games now

and we will need most of our games to make the top four.”