The legacy of Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp is one of the most well-regarded and consistent managers in the English game.
Any club that he has managed has nearly always punched above its weight, despite limited resources. He is one of the best to have never managed a club that could realistically challenge for the title.
He plied his trade with West Ham, Bournemouth, Brentford and Seattle Sounders throughout his playing his career. He began his management career at Bournemouth, and guided them to promotion after several attempts. He successfully managed to keep them in the old second division for three seasons, until they crumbled back down.
After being involved in a car crash where four other passengers were killed, Harry decided to take a break for the 1991-92 season. He recovered fully apart from permanently losing his sense of smell. An Assistant Manager’s job at West Ham was to be his next employment the following season, while being promoted to the top job in 1994.
West Ham is the club one would associate him with most, as he has resided as both a player and manager there. He also had links with the club through Frank Lampard Senior (brother-in-law, Assistant Manager) and Junior (nephew, now Chelsea and England star).
Although never setting the world alight, the Hammers generally maintained a respectable mid-table position during his tenure. To be fair to Harry, that is all that could be reasonably expected with a club of that size. He left the club in 2000 following comments made to a fanzine that upset the chairman.
At Portsmouth, Harry drove the club on to promotion from the Championship and established the club in the Premier League. Although he did depart to bitter rivals Southampton (with little success) after a row with the Portsmouth Chairman Mandaric, he returned and guided Portsmouth to the 2008 FA Cup, which was an impressive achievement. Cardiff were defeated and the boss won his first and only major trophy so far, also guiding Portsmouth into European competition.
Redknapp took over at Tottenham in 2008 following the departure of Juande Ramos. At the time of publishing, Spurs lie in third position, at the business end of the table. This is a stark comparison to the relegation zone position they held when he took over the helm (only two points from eight games).
The fact that he managed to persuade players of the quality of Crouch, Defoe and Kranjcar to follow him from to North London speaks dividends for the respect his players hold for him. Defoe also played under Harry at West Ham.
Redknapp will be most remembered as the great “wheeler dealer” of the 90’s and 00’s. He has always been an active figure in the transfer market with an ability to bring in quality, previously unknown talent that boggles us all to this day. It would be an understatement to suggest he likes to chop and change his group of players, never being afraid to splash the cash if it is available.
The only downside he has suffered with this approach is that he has received negative publicity following allegations of corruption by the police. However, he was cleared of any wrongdoing and managed to successfully sue the service for £1000. This has not refrained people from still being sceptical of his dealings.
Harry Redknapp definitely makes my shortlist as one of the greatest managers to never manage a ‘top club’.
At 62, his hunger for success has never waned and I would not begrudge him some more silverware as he heads toward the twilight of his managerial career.