Ended by a fall from a window. If this is how Harry Redknapp’s managerial career has been terminated, it seems quite fitting.
Redknapp was always willing to slip into the ’Arry character for the January transfer routine, rolling down his car window to let us into his dealings at whatever club. Good old ’Arry, he understood the business of the show.
Redknapp saw the bigger picture, always did. He could see the Premier League lives on storylines as much as genuine quality football and he was always available to offer a line. And, of course, it was his side of the story.
But when Redknapp studied the script at Loftus Road for the next four months, he may have seen himself in one tense scene too many.
Had he been able to talk Jermain Defoe or Emmanuel Adebayor into a reunion then Queens Park Rangers' immediate future – and Redknapp's role in it – might have sounded different. But he turns 68 at the start of March, and these knees, Sandra.
So Harry’s knees will join Felix Magath’s cheese and Yaya Toure’s birthday cake in the recent list of bizarre illustrations of football’s capacity for excuses and delusion.
There is more to it than dodgy knees, though, because there is always more to it. That’s not just Redknapp, it’s the way things are. And the way things are moving inside Loftus Road is not of Redknapp’s directing. His superior, Tony Fernandes, has at last begun to dictate an alternative strategy. Les Ferdinand – “‘Sir” Les, “Gentleman” Les – makes for an unlikely villain, but he may well be that in Redknapp’s eyes.
Redknapp’s self-removal was perhaps the most dramatic event of a transfer window that contained some major signings but felt low-key.
Chelsea spent something in the region of €38 million on Juan Cuadrado, which makes him either the fourth or fifth most expensive player in that rather wealthy club’s modern history. It’s not a small event.
Similarly, Wilfried Bony joining Manchester City from Swansea City for €38 million is not a footnote. Still, it was said the window underwhelmed.
But the fact that Manchester City have had to name a 21-man squad for the Champions League – as opposed to 25-man squad – says that it can take time for the full effects of a transfer window to be revealed.
It is City’s spending – and Paris St-Germain’s – in previous windows which has led to this sanction.
Activity in those windows was also a more general factor in this. But Chelsea and City have been cute with Cuadrado and Bony, while Arsenal and Southampton were smart with Gabriel Paulista and Ryan Bertrand and Filip Djuricic. The January window can be utilised for ballast or for renewal and those four clubs have gained a bit of both. Manchester United, who spent a fortune last summer, did little, and it could tell.
But it is at the bottom where a signing can make such a upward difference, worth potentially 10s of millions. Last season Cardiff were relegated on 30 points, but the six clubs above them, from Fulham up to Sunderland, were separated by just six points.
Sunderland, Aston Villa, Hull and West Brom are again part of the bottom seven and again just six points divides them. In this context, if Defoe turns out to be a six-point signing by Sunderland – even a two-point signing – it will be a sound investment.
Gus Poyet called Defoe "a wake-up call" to the rest of his squad and that is a beneficial side-effect. Another is the hurt it caused QPR, who go to Wearside next Tuesday.
Leicester City may yet benefit from that new-player boost. In this “quiet” window Leicester broke the club’s record transfer fee in signing Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric.
Quivering Hull have also invested in a forward, Dame N’Doye from Lokomotiv Moscow, and Steve Bruce has brought in Mike Phelan alongside him. Hull’s next three home games are Villa, QPR and Sunderland, so February needs to be better than January.
Villa, five points worse off than at this stage last season, kept Fabien Delph, added Carles Gil and Scott Sinclair (on loan) but wanted more. They continue to look vulnerable. The consolation for Paul Lambert is that around him, there are others.
When Burnley meet West Brom at Turf Moor on Sunday, for example, it will be thought too early to be described as decisive. But it is for Burnley.
Manager Sean Dyche said he had five targets in January. He got none. The West Brom game is so important because Burnley subsequently face eight of the top nine in their next eight matches.
A plus is that Danny Ings has been kept. But we'll not be surprised if in May Harry Redknapp is on screen saying Burnley, and QPR, are probably regretting the events and non-events of January.
Spurs finally make 'the Lane' their home
It was at the end of October when Mauricio Pochettino came up with his own dodgy knee of an explanation for Tottenham's home form: "Our style means we need a bigger place to play because we play a positional game and it's true that White Hart Lane is a little bit tight."
Since then Spurs have played 13 home games and won nine of them, including the 5-3 victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day.
Though there have been recent home defeats by Stoke, and Leicester in the FA Cup, Tottenham have somehow acclimatised to their home of 116 years and are now three points off third place in the Premier League.
Saturday brings Arsenal to "the Lane", how will Arsène Wenger's team cope with a pitch one whole metre thinner than their own?
Cardiff facing up to with another fall
Hysteria is too strong a word for it but there is something approaching mild panic in Cardiff.
One win in nine league matches, five points taken from the last 27, has left the Bluebirds off the promotion pace.
Cardiff list in mid-table, not wholly satisfactory – though not the opposite. Yet there are some fans who have looked into the future and think it’s called “Wolves 2013”.
That was when Wolves, in their first season after relegation from the Premier League, collected 33 points after 28 games in the Championship. They were relegated to League One with 51 points.
Cardiff, who have just come down from the Premier League, have 34 points after 28 games.
A second successive relegation, a la Wolves, is gnawing and Cardiff’s manager of four months, Russell Slade, is already fielding questions about it.
Presumably he did not mention any of this to Eoin Doyle when he was signing the Dubliner from Chesterfield on Monday.