Thirty years a Football Manager and still going strong!
This is a favourite place to be interviewed for the football legend
On the nineteeth of October nineteen eighty three a young assistant football Manager took to a football dugout for the first time; and he's been doing it ever since. He seems to know everyone and everything to do with the beautiful game; to some he's just a wheeler dealer 'Jack the lad' from the Eastend of London while to others he's a footballing God.
The first club to trust the former Cherries player was Bournemouth, after David Webb resigned. The fans liked a former player in charge. In the third round of the FA Cup they faced holders Manchester United and beat them by two goals to nil but more importantly he kept them up.
In June of nineteen ninety he was involved in a serious car crash in Italy; he was unconscious for two days after being pulled clear but covered in petrol! The paramedics even covered his face up thinking he was dead! Remarkably he recovered from his 'near death' experience and was soon back in the dugout.
At the end of the nineteen ninety two season he parted ways with the Cherries and became assistant Manager at West Ham; another club he had played for. Hammers favourite Billy Bonds, an ex teammate, appointed him as his number two. Two years later he was given the Manager's job as the board weren't happy with the way Bonds was working.
Finally Harry Redknapp had become a football Manager of a team in the top division of English football.
Managing West Ham
He had so much talent to play with; Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick to name but a few, he also had his own nephew in midfield in the form of Frank Lampard. Every season seemed to get better than the one before and life in the Eastend was lovely jubbley!
At the end of the two thousand and one season Harry was talking to the club about a new contract to carry the good work he was doing; but there was a problem.
"The chairman Terry Brown had offered me a new four-year contract. What I did was talk to a fanzine, made some comments, and sometimes I should be a bit more careful. I sat down with these guys from the fanzine and they started asking me questions and I spoke to them in the way I’d talk to someone in a pub. I said a few things I shouldn’t have said. He read it and got very upset. I walked into his office expecting to sign the contract and walked out without a job!"
Not one to stay away from football Harry was soon back in the game but this time he returned to the South coast and Portsmouth was his destination, but not as Manager but Director of football. Former Arsenal star Graham Rix had a year in the job before Harry stepped back into a job he was more familiar with. He had more than one falling out with the owner and it was only a matter of time before he was pushed or walked; many were surprised he lasted till the end of two thousand and four, citing yet another disagreement and leaving.
Harry was to then take a job that to many was unthinkable; he became Southampton's Manager, and Portsmouth fans felt as if they'd been slapped in the face! He was expected to do at Saints what he'd done at Pompey; but for once his 'magic touch' failed him and Southampton were relegated. Harry kept his job but couldn't get the team to challenge for a place back in the top flight. In December two thousand and five he reversed back to Portsmouth; he was welcome with open arms and the fans that had called him 'Judas' kept silent.
Harry avoided a second relegation thanks to a takeover and getting a few players in. Pompey were on a roll and in two thousand and eight they won the FA Cup with an Eastender barking out the orders.
In a move that shocked the football world Harry left Fratton Park in October two thousand and eight in a compensation package reported to be five million pounds for the FA Cup winners; Harry returned to London only this time it was with North London outfit Tottenham Hotspur, the club he joined as a youth!
Harry was now known as much for his football know how as his dealing in the transfer market and a lot of expectation went along with his arrival.
The target was simple; they wanted to become Premiership Champions and gave the new boss a fortune to try and get the job done. Just as he had done before, Harry went back to clubs and brought in players he'd worked with before.
Jermine Defoe and Peter Crouch were given the task and Spurs really were a team to be feared; Champions League football and the highest finish in the Premiership showed the plan was working.
When the England job came up everyone thought he'd be perfect and then the board let Harry go! Roy Hodgson was appointed by the FA.
Never one to be out of work long, he was back in the hotseat of West London club Queens Park Rangers who were in a relegation dogfight. Even with Harry's experience it was one miracle too many and the Hoops went down, finishing at the very bottom.
In the same season they went to near neighbours and rivals Chelsea, the European Champions, and came away with all three points. He described it has 'one of the best results of my career!'
This season his QPR side are unbeaten in the Championship and look to be heading back to where a great Manager belongs.
A career in football is normally short, either playing or in management. Only the very best stay at the top and Harry Redknapp has proved his doubters wrong time after time.
At sixty six he still has the appetite and desire to win; he'll take on any challenge head on and if it goes wrong he'll take the blame.
Football these days hasn't got the characters it used to; love him or hate him, he is a big character in the game and shows no sign of slowing down.
1. He has never managed a football team outside the South of England but during his playing career he spent three years in the United States.
2. After his accident in nineteen ninety he lost his sense of smell and has a twitch as a permanent reminder.
3. When he was just seven years old his Father took him to his first game at Millwall; on Saturday the nineteenth of October two thousand and thirteen Harry takes his QPR side to Millwall, thirty years after going into management.
The writer of this article is Paul Moore, a football fan.