Harry dismisses Comolli claims
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has laughed off Damien Comolli’s claims that he is partly responsible for the club’s recent successes.
Former Spurs director of football Comolli, who this month was named director of football strategy at Liverpool, has repeatedly attempted to take some of the credit for the north Londoners’ revival since Redknapp’s appointment as manager two years ago.
The Frenchman, who was sacked along with Juande Ramos prior to Redknapp’s appointment, was responsible for signing several of the players currently starring in the Champions League and Premier League for Tottenham such as Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Alan Hutton, Younes Kaboul and Heurelho Gomes.
But he also brought in flops such as Hossam Ghaly, Ricardo Rocha, Gilberto and Dorian Dervite.
And speaking ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game against Comolli’s new club, Redknapp had no qualms reminding him Spurs were rock bottom of the Premier League when he left in October 2008.
Asked if Comolli should take any credit for Tottenham’s success, Redknapp said with tongue firmly in cheek: "Yeah, I think he should take all the credit, for sure.
"They were all doing well when I arrived, you know? They were all good; they were all great."
He added: "He brought an awful lot of players in – a lot have gone, a lot are still here that were very good."
As well as being irked at Comolli’s attempts to steal his thunder, Redknapp has another reason to take issue with Liverpool’s new recruitment tsar, who made one of his first pieces of business the acquisition of Spurs’ scout in France, Steve Hitchin.
"He’s nicked him off us," Redknapp said.
"He was really good, an English boy who lived in France.
"We liked him a lot. He would have been our main scout abroad.
"What can you do? It’s his life, the boy, and he’s obviously got a better deal and decided he was going to move on."
Redknapp is not a lover of directors of football, perhaps stemming from his time in precisely that role at Portsmouth.
When Graham Rix was sacked as manager in 2002, the club appointed Redknapp as his replacement.
So when then-chairman Milan Mandaric brought in Velimir Zajec as executive director two-and-a-half years later, Redknapp knew full well the potential existed for his position to be undermined.
"I didn’t stick around," said Redknapp, who quit not long after.
"I was only there about two days.
"That was it; I was off. I didn’t fancy it too much.
"It was never going to work.
"Myself and Jim Smith – Jim was about 84 at the time, I think – we had enough experience to be able to find our own players.
"We didn’t really need someone."
The director of football role has worked on the continent and Redknapp accepted it was perfectly possible Comolli and Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson would make it a success at Anfield.
But in what could be a word of warning to Hodgson, he added: "If people are just going to dump players on you and you’re the manager and you don’t know the players – they’re not your signings – there’s only one person in the end that suffers and that’s you as the manager.
"Because someone’s going to give you a full-back or whatever and you think, ‘He’s crap, I don’t fancy him’, you’re loaded with him.
"Suddenly, you’ve spent £8million, £10million or whatever.
"People only look at you; they don’t think, ‘Well, it wasn’t his decision’."
He added: "I want to make my own decisions: if they’re wrong then it’s down to me.
"I’ll be the one that goes; I accept that."
Sunday’s game is also likely to see Redknapp reunited with Joe Cole, who he brought through at West Ham but missed out on re-signing in the summer when the midfielder moved to Liverpool.
The 29-year-old endured something of nightmare start to life at Anfield but Redknapp was confident he would come good.
He added: "I had complete trust in him as a player because you couldn’t get anyone who works harder than Joe.
"He loses the ball, he chases it and wants to get it back. He’s got great enthusiasm for the game.
"He was an amazing young player, the best I’ve ever seen."