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Tottenham needs Redknapp magic to avoid relegation

Tottenham needs Redknapp magic to avoid relegation

Harry Redknapp's move from Portsmouth to Tottenham was another major surprise even in the volatile world of English football _ yet it was typical of the English coach.
The manager who angered Portsmouth fans by leaving for local rivals Southampton, and then went back again, has now swapped the comparatively comfortable life at Fratton Park for a job rescuing last place Spurs from the threat of relegation.
Redknapp led Portsmouth to a rare title _ the FA Cup _ at Wembley last season. He has now decided to move from a team seventh in the Premier League for one which is last with only two points _ with even its own fans fearing relegation for the first time since 1977.
"It's a big, big opportunity to manage a big club before I retire," the 61-year-old Redknapp said in a comment likely to disappoint Portsmouth fans.
Whether Spurs fans will be happy is yet to be seen.
Redknapp's surprise moves from club to club have led fans to question his loyalty and his trophy success compares unfavorably with major names like Man United's Alex Ferguson and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger who have multiple triumphs at league and cup levels.
Redknapp's FA Cup triumph last season is his only major title in a long career as a manager while the man Spurs fired late on Saturday, Juande Ramos, led Sevilla to back-to-back UEFA Cup triumphs before he moved to White Hart Lane this time last year.
Born in London, Redknapp has a reputation for being able to seal transfer deals at cut-price cost at the last minute. Tottenham is a more high-maintenance club which considers itself capable of breaking into the traditional top four _ Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool _ having spent 47 years trying in vain to win the league title under a succession of big-name managers such as Terry Venables, Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle and Ramos.
But Redknapp is an expert at saving clubs from relegation and also getting others promoted. He also gets the best out of players who sometimes seem past their best. Sol Campbell, a former Arsenal and Spurs centerback, is having another standout season for Portsmouth at age 34 and goalkeeper David James' brilliant performances at club level led to his becoming England's No. 1 choice goalkeeper at age 38.
Redknapp also successfully blended England strikers Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch as his strikeforce and tends to go for established, experienced stars rather than young, untried talent.
He is one of the most enthusiastic managers in the game, often with colorful descriptions of players and fellow coaches. He has been in trouble with the Football Association for speaking out about referees and was arrested by police in November 2007 as part of a kickbacks investigation although he strenuously denied all allegations and later won damages against the police.
The arrest followed allegations made by the BBC that he made an illegal approach to try and buy a player and Redknapp has refused to talk to the TV corporation even since.
A moderately successful midfielder with West Ham and Bournemouth, Redknapp began his managerial career in 1983. He spent nine years at Bournemouth's Dean Court, took the team to the second tier of English football and the Cherries famously knocked Man United out of the 1984 FA Cup.
He moved to another former club, West Ham, and stayed seven years at Upton Park before his first spell with Portsmouth which lasted six years.
Redknapp has showed that he wants to be the manager at all levels and does not like clubs appointing other staff above him.
He got Portsmouth promoted to the Premier League for the first time in nearly two decades and then kept Pompey in the top flight during the 2003-04 season. But owner Milan Mandaric brought in Velimir Zajec as director of football and Redknapp quit three months into the 2004-05 season.
Having said he would never move to Portsmouth's south-coast neighbor Southampton, Redknapp did just that a few days later.
Because of the animosity between fans of the two clubs, the move outraged Portsmouth's followers. At Southampton, however, Redknapp was annoyed when the Saints employed the England rugby coach Clive Woodward as director of football. Redknapp also was unable to prevent struggling Southampton getting relegated from the Premier League and, in an amazing U-turn, went back to Portsmouth, leading the team to ninth place in the 2006-07 season and capturing the FA Cup last term.
The club is now playing European football for the first time in its history, although it lost 3-0 at Portugal's Braga on Thursday, when Tottenham also lost 2-0 at Italy's Udinese in the same competition.
Now Redknapp's job is to lift Spurs away from last place in the Premier League, out of the relegation zone and at least up to halfway.
Although no trophy is awarded for doing that, it could be as big a success as last season's FA Cup triumph with Portsmouth.


Updated : 2021-05-10 06:30 GMT+08:00