So Harry Redknapp might not be in the same league as Sir Alex Ferguson, Bob Paisley or Jose Mourinho (prior to this season), but you can’t deny that he has a pretty good track record with clubs - changing their dismal performances and bad luck into something positive and exciting to watch. The question at the moment is - Could he be an ideal replacement for Steve McClaren at Newcastle United?
Harry Redknapp started his managerial career at Seattle Sounders - the club he finished his playing career with in the late seventies. After a third place finish, he moved back to the UK, assisting Sir Bobby Moore at Oxford City.
Bournemouth were the first club Redknapp was really recognised for, even more so now after their ascension into the Premier League and the way they are impressing fans with their style of play and fighting spirit.
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During his time with Bournemouth, he had a number of notable achievements – beating Manchester United 2-0 in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup, surviving relegation to the Fourth Division and four years after taking charge in 1983, he led the Cherries to the Third Division title.
After a vehicle accident in Italy and quitting Bournemouth in 1991-92, Redknapp was appointed the assistant manager at West Ham United from 1992, assisting Billy Bonds. Eventually, he took the main role in 1994.
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Redknapp’s ‘Hammers’ bred world recognised stars like Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole which, when blended with signings like Stuart Pearce and the charismatic Paolo Di Canio, made West Ham United a very exciting team to watch.
Redknapp led the club to eighth and fifth place finishes in 1998 and 1999 respectively. The season after, West Ham won the Intertoto Cup and qualified for the UEFA Cup. Only a string of poor results in the league would cost Redknapp the job – likely a fallout from the extra European games.
In the early noughties, Redknapp had moved on to join Portsmouth Football Club. He had several disputes with Club Owner, Milan Mandaric which resulted with Redknapp resigning and joining local rivals, Southampton – a move that did not go down well with the Pompey faithful.
Consequently, Southampton were relegated from the Premier League and after a fruitless season in the Championship and disagreements with Club Chairman Rupert Lowe, Redknapp left to return to Portsmouth for a second spell. His second spell saw him lead the south coast side to an F.A. Cup victory in 2008.
The season after, he joined Tottenham and dragged them out of the relegation zone and to an eighth-place finish.
In the following campaign, Tottenham finished in fourth, earning Redknapp ‘Manager of the Year’ – an accolade usually awarded to the league winner.
After failing to agree a new contract in 2012, Tottenham Hotspur dismissed Redknapp and he later joined Queens Park Rangers. The club were relegated to the Championship but regained promotion to the Premier League a season later after a Play-Off Final victory against Derby County.
His tenure as manager ended in early 2015 when he resigned due to impending knee surgery.
Quite an interesting career, with plenty of highs and lows.
Harry Redknapp has won the F.A Cup, the Third Division and a Play-Off final, not to mention embarking on a successful Champions League campaign for a club expected to be knocked out in the group stages. He has experience of winning trophies and dealing with pressure which would be a key attribute needed at St. James Park.
In addition, his man management of key players is something that should be noted. At West Ham, he created a strong squad which saw the likes of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick rise up to their potential before going on to win countless trophies with Chelsea and Manchester United.
Arguably his greatest trait might be his passion for the game. He is enthusiastic, driven and always gets the best out of his players.
ONE POSSIBLE DRAWBACK – MIKE ASHLEY
We’ve seen managers come and go at Newcastle United since Mike Ashley bought club shares in 2007 and Redknapp does not take kindly to dictations towards how a club should be managed on the pitch by the powers that be.
Looking back at Redknapp’s previous track record, he had major disagreements with the owners and chairmen at Portsmouth and Southampton so this would surely occur at some point at Newcastle United if he were to take over.
WOULD HE JOIN?
Redknapp said in September that he did not intend to return to the Premier League in any great hurry. However, he told the Daily Mail: ‘If something interesting came up, maybe.’
If Steve McClaren continues his run of poor form with Newcastle United, the 68-year-old seems like an ideal candidate to step in and take over. With Newcastle’s history, they are certainly a big enough club for Redknapp to consider and his experience and management style would restore some confidence from a fan’s perspective.
This is certainly a challenge that Harry Redknapp would relish and given time and funding he could turn Newcastle United back into the force they once were.