Harry Redknapp seems to divide opinions within the footballing world. Is he a wheeler dealer or a top British manager that never got the chance at the England job? It’s likely that we haven’t seen the end of Redknapp, even with his dodgy knees the likeable cockney looks set to continue. The jury is however already out on him as a top manager especially after this latest and at times shambolic spell as manager of Queens Park Rangers.
Redknapp and QPR
A number of incidences can be brought into question in which he appeared to be undermined as boss at Loftus Road. First there was the incident with ‘fatty’ Adel Taarabt where he openly dug his player out in front of the media for not wanting to work hard and being overweight. There’s no doubt he was spot on in his criticism for the player but within no time Taarabt was suddenly back in the starting eleven despite not impressing in the slightest. Had Harry been undermined from the powers that be? The dramatic U-turn seemed to suggest so. Alex Ferguson will have his detractors till his dying day for ruling with an iron fist at times but he was a legendary manager and whether he’s liked for his style or not he has to be respected as one of the all-time great managers; his track record speaks for itself. Redknapp would have loved to have that power to follow through with his good honest beliefs but never had the level of respect from players or the boardroom.
There was then the post-match interview where he said that someone was being given a bundle to spread rumours about him and stated in exasperation that he’d “never been at a club quite like QPR”. Had he just had enough of the toxic environment created at QPR? His knees provided the perfect excuse to resign.
Of course it would be unfair to suggest that his hospitalisation is not genuine and everyone will wish him a speedy recovery from his impending knee operation but it definitely looked like he jumped before he was pushed at QPR. Had he lost the stomach for the fight? Or was it the lack of ‘wheeling and dealing’ in the January window that meant he no longer believed he could keep them in the league? His relationship with Tony Fernandez in reality wasn’t as great as he stated with his parting words. Fernandez’s social media statements suggesting that better coaching and management would keep QPR from the drop and not players in the door would have for certain angered Redknapp.
Harry has the likability factor and it’s hard to question his coaching theory, general views and philosophy about the game which are more often than not spot on. You have to question the fact that he’s been with a lot of clubs and never seen the job out though. He has ‘wheeled and dealed’ his way around a number of clubs and not always successfully. He has never stuck it out at a club long enough to see through any progression to its full extent and gets frustrated with the stereotypical personality of many of the modern day footballers. However, sometimes Redknapp’s focus seemed as questionable as the ‘stars’ in his team. Harry isn’t one to turn down a few bucks himself you only have to know that through seeing him in the 888 bet adverts and regularly appearing on television chat shows.
At QPR he failed. He brought in too many over the hill players that were past there sell by dates on massive wages. He brought them in on the premise that they would have experience and know how to benefit the team. However the players are too up their own backsides and busy feathering their nests with media work to be concentrated on being the best team they possibly can be. He needed a younger hungrier squad with things to prove. Maybe Tim Sherwood would be a good fit for QPR. He is still the favourite to take the job despite the fact Fernandez seemingly ruled him out and he would fit perfectly into the surroundings with his over inflated view of himself. Players that think they are better than they are without proving it on the pitch and a manager who thinks he’s the next great thing. It could be a match made in heaven.
Redknapp and England
He was on the verge of the England job before the FA appointed current boss Roy Hodgson. There is a case to suggest that he would have been a better England manager than club manager as he seemed to have a good relationship with English players and would probably have managed the English lads really well. Many including Wayne Rooney openly stated that they wanted to see him given the England job and Steven Gerrard has great respect for him. He was in charge at West Ham United when he brought into the first team the likes of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand all of who went on to be England internationals. Despite what it sometimes may look like with the last few woeful campaigns at international tournaments, players who play for England do care, they do have a sense of national pride and Redknapp may have been able to get more out of them than either Capello or Hodgson. However it was probably his chequered track record that stopped him getting the England job.
In his time Redknapp has been involved with illegal ‘tapping up’ allegations; has been arrested by City of London Police on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting and has been charged with two counts of cheating the public revenue. It has to be said that he was found not guilty but he’s still had a string of shady dealings with the authorities that most people just don’t have or experience.
Redknapp: promotions and relegations
He has achieved promotion from the old third division with Bournemouth in the 1986-87 season but after three seasons was relegated and quit a couple of seasons later. He went on to do a decent job at West Ham but his time at the Boleyn Ground finished under a cloud; he was sacked by West Ham in 2001 after upsetting the chairman with comments made to the press.
Redknapp managed Portsmouth to the Division One title in the 2002–03 season, gaining promotion to the Premier League and kept them in the Premier League in the 2003–04 season but quit the south coast club halfway through the next when they were struggling badly.
He then went to Pompey’s arch rivals Southampton much to the disgust of Portsmouth fans. The Saints had been in the top flight for 27 years but under him they were relegated that season in 05-06. Portsmouth stayed up. The following season his club was languishing in the second tier and he quit as Southampton manager halfway way through the season to go back to none other than Premier League Portsmouth much to the disgust of Southampton fans.
At first it looked like Redknapp would be heading for another relegation, but a fine run of form at the end of the season coincided with the takeover of the club by Alexandre Gaydamak and his very large cheque book which ultimately insured Portsmouth’s survival. 2008 saw his greatest achievement though. Portsmouth won the FA Cup beating Cardiff 1–0 in the final thanks to a goal scored by Kanu. Many still argue that the millions pumped into the club for player acquisition was the real reason for their success.
He promptly left for Spurs and did well taking them to a fourth place finish with 70 points, thus gaining the chance to qualify for the Champions League. Harry’s best spell as manager was arguably as Spurs manager. He guided Tottenham into the UEFA Champions League for the very first time and oversaw their progress to the last 16 of that tournament. They topped their group ahead of holders Inter Milan and defeated AC Milan over two legs to reach the quarter-finals. Redknapp was sacked by Tottenham on 13 June 2012. It seemed a strange decision after a good season but the board obviously didn’t trust him anymore.
In November 2012 he was appointed as the manager of Queens Park Rangers taking over from Mark Hughes but he didn’t do well. With three games of the season to play, QPR were relegated from the Premier League. He managed QPR to a 1-0 victory in the 2014 Football League Championship play-off Final against Derby County returning the club to the Premier League. He had laboured for much of the season with a team of players that were far more expensive and on far higher wages than the rest of the division.
There’s no doubt that Redknapp talks a lot of sense when it comes to football but wherever he is next you can almost guarantee it won’t be for too long. Some would say he always quits when the going gets tough whilst others would say he just looks for opportunities. Whilst he’s easy for the media to warm to, no set of football fans will be completely satisfied with the job he did at their club for one reason or another.