From the old division 3, to a Champion’s League quarter final, Harry Redknapp has had a fascinating managerial career. Filled with high and lows, as well as the unexpected, he has become a character of the English game and has won many plaudits for his playing style and charisma.
Starting at Bournemouth and then moving onto West Ham, Harry Redknapp was responsible for introducing a wealth of young English talent into the premier league. Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand to name a few, were part of the infamous Upton Park academy whilst Harry was at the helm. He also spent money on the likes of Di Canio and Sinclair, players who added quality and experience to a youthful side. A suspect choice of words in an interview meant that Redknapp was moved on, and Portsmouth acquired his services, this was to be the first of two spells that would keep him in the hearts of Pompey fans forever.
Promotion and an astronomical season the following year saw Redknapp’s stocks rise, and a culmination of disagreements with the then Pompey Owner Milan Mandaric, meant that he left, and travelled a short distance along the south coast to Southampton, where he was tasked with keeping Portsmouth’s bitter rivals in the Premier league. His choice to pounce on the managerial vacancy at St Mary’s was met with a hostile reaction by many fans, on both sides.
This move turned out to be damaging as he was unable to keep Southampton in the league and they were relegated, nor was he unable to formulate a promotion push the following year. Again disagreement the directors saw Redknapp resign from yet another club. His unsuccessful stint at Southampton was over.
Coincidentally, his resignation happened to fall just around the time of Alain Perrin’s sacking by struggling Portsmouth. Redknapp described Portsmouth as his “Spiritual Home” and was reinstated as the manager. After successfully keeping them in the Premier League, Readknapp’s revolution was underway. In his second spell at Portsmouth, Redknapp brought in quality players that were off Premier League ilk. Jermain Defoe, Niko Krancjar and Sully Muntari to name but a few added strength in depth and a much needed proficiency in front of goal in Redknapp’s time there.
Perhaps his biggest achievement as a manager, came in 2008 when he lead Pompey to FA Cup glory, a goal from Arsenal old boy Kanu sealed their place in history, and times were good on the South Coast. True to form though, Redknapp yet again moved on to manage an underachieving giant in Tottenham Hostpur.
His arrival was an instant success. Spurs were at the foot of the table and in real trouble. By the end of the season they placed 8th a narrowly missed out on European football. The following season saw Tottenham improve even more, they qualified for the Champions League and looked to be on course of recapturing their glory days.
During his time at Tottenham, Redknapp was vital in, now the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale’s improvement. He moved him further forward, and let him capitalise on his power and speed as a left sided midfielder. Redknapp guided Tottenham to a win over Inter Milan at the lane, and another win over AC at the San Siro. They were eventually undone by Real Madrid in the quarter final, but a 5-0 aggregate loss was overlooked by the enormous success Spurs had achieved in the Champions League. Under Redknapp, Tottenham proved that they were able to mix it with the best and that the European stage was made for them.
Unfortunately they missed out the following year, but the year after that finished 4th again, however Chelsea’s Champions League success knocked them out. Things went from bad to worse for Harry as not only did he lose out on the England managerial position, that he was so widely tipped to get, but he also unfairly lost his job at Tottenham. Everybody was shocked, except Harry who said it was “inevitable.” He was cleared of tax evasion charges but Redknapp’s recent rise had come to an end, and Daniel Levy looked to an inexperienced AVB to take Tottenham forward, and didn’t that work out well!
He wasn’t out of football for long and was appointed QPR manager in late November 2012, but he was unable to stop the rot and they were relegated. Automatic promotion appears to have escaped them this year, and a recent run of poor form has left them 4th, narrowly holding on to a play-off place. They will undoubtedly gain promotion this year, and hopefully we will see Redknapp back where he belongs, the top level of English football.
Admittedly more of a man manager as opposed to a master tactician, his teams over the years have played expansive and attractive football that has entertained millions. Redknapp at the moment has had a dip in luck, but I am sure he will be at the top of his game before long, as he is one of the most experienced, respected and influential British managers of his time.
For Redknapp’s opinion on QPR’s chances of promotion, follow this link : http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26227826