Harry Redknapp deserves better than Queens Park Rangers
Harry Redknapp deserves better than QPR after impressive stints at Portsmouth and Tottenham, writes Matt Dathan
After leading Tottenham to their second top-four finish in three years and having been the overwhelming favourite to take over as England manager earlier this year, Harry Redknapp must have thought his days of being called upon to rescue clubs were over.
But as the Premier League’s bottom side fell further and further adrift the club’s hierarchy ended their patience with Mark Hughes on Friday to hand Redknapp a £3m-a-year contract and an added bonus of £1m if he steers the west London club clear of relegation.
Redknapp has a wealth of experience. He took Tottenham from bottom of the Premier League into the Champions League the following season, while he also led Portsmouth to their first ever promotion into the Premier League and successfully maintained their top-flight status during two stints as manager when survival had often seemed a distant hope.
While at Pompey, he also landed a historic second FA Cup triumph, and even at West Ham United, he turned the east London outfit into an established Premier League club and ignited the careers of talents such as Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe.
So, for a manager with such a solid CV, he should be rewarded with a club with higher ambitions than pure survival.
Indeed less than a year ago Redknapp was eyeing a title challenge at Tottenham and yet he now finds himself in charge of the one team out of 92 in the Football League without a win.
While admitting the task ahead of him is tougher than the challenge he faced at both Spurs and Pompey, it is not mission impossible.
He has a favourable run of games ahead of him before the transfer window opens, at which point he will undoubtedly put his wheeler-dealer skills into full practice by raiding the market for suitable relegation-battlers.
But if Redknapp fails to save the sinking ship, a highly realistic possibility, one has to wonder whether his chances of ever being given the crack at one of the league’s top clubs will ever come round again.
Maybe, however, Redknapp’s nationality is as much to blame as pure bad luck. English managers are hardly to be seen in the top half of the league, which is no anomaly this season. No English boss ever won the Premier League and the last one to qualify for the Champions League before Redknapp himself was the late Bobby Robson.
If we look at the current top half of the Premier League table, only West Ham’s Sam Allardyce is English, and their eighth place is a surprising position for them to find themselves in.
The remaining six English managers are at Stoke, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Reading – and QPR of course. Three of those are in the bottom four and apart from arguably Newcastle, none of those teams can be considered anywhere near Champions League contenders.
No wonder, therefore, that the FA was forced to turn to foreign managers to take charge of the national team before Roy Hodgson’s appointment.
It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who has just been offered a generous contract for a job in a profession that many football fans would relish the chance to take.
But if we forget about the money for one second and consider it in terms of career development, one can only feel sympathy for a 65-year-old, who has ended up going backwards after proving he can cut it with the industry’s finest.
Despite the evidence suggesting otherwise, Redknapp is not the messiah. But he is an extremely talented and experienced coach who deserves better than perpetually being pursued by football’s most desperate in search of miracles.
Hopefully he avoids the crucifixion which his career will surely suffer if QPR’s season ends in disaster.