Good old man of the people 'Arry reads Noel's article below.

by Noel Draper

Henry James Redknapp. Three innocuous little words that, when shortened to two little words, strike fear into my heart. I’m loathed to put them to print, but put them to print I must. So here goes. Ready. Deep breath and…Harry Redknapp. There I said them. That feels better. This fear though, why? Why do I fear these words? Harry Redknapp. Harry Redknapp. I’m saying these words over and over again in my head in an attempt to make sense of it all. Harry Redknapp. Harry. Redknapp. Why do I fear these words?  Am I Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic? No I’m not as it happens because that is a fear of long words. Oh wait, I remember now, it’s not the words that I fear, it’s the person. I fear what he is about to become. I fear for England. I fear for football. English football. 

It might be better to confront my fears by explaining why I fear for English football when Mr Harry Redknapp becomes, if we are lead to believe, the next England football manager. I will do this via the medium of a managerial history. So here goes, buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Harry’s first managerial job was in America, in the now defunct North American Soccer League, at the Seattle Sounders. As a player/coach and later an assistant manager, Harry led, or helped lead, the Sounders to the Soccer Bowl where they lost to Pele’s New York Cosmos. Over the next two years the Sounders finished third on both occasions. Even with Harry’s help. He left Seattle to return to English football in 1979. Seattle Sounders folded in 1983.

Harry’s next role was to assist his old West Ham team mate, Bobby Moore, at Oxford City, an Isthmian league club. The two came together to try and get Oxford City out of this league and into the heady heights of the Conference. Unfortunately they failed and by 1982 Harry was at Bournemouth as the assistant manager to David Webb. A few years later, in 1988, Oxford City folded and were evicted from their ground and the league.

Bournemouth, at the time of Redknapp joining, were languishing near the bottom of the old third division, perilously close to relegation. He stepped up to be the manager in 1983 and steered the Cherries to safety and also knocked Manchester United out of the F.A.Cup. A few years later Bournemouth won the third division with a club record 97 points. After a couple of mid table seasons Bournemouth were relegated back to the third division in 1990. At the end of the 1992 season, Harry left the role of manager and retired from football. A few years later, in 1996, Bournemouth called in the receivers and were 15 minutes from going out of business before a Supporters Trust took over.

The next season Harry was back in football at West Ham as the assistant manager to his old mate Billy Bonds but by the beginning of the 1994/95 season the West Ham board had got rid of Bonds and installed Redknapp as the manager. He stayed at West Ham for seven seasons, establishing them as a Premiership team, before being sacked by the then chairman Terry Brown. During his time at West Ham he had also blooded a few future England players who had emerged from the academy. Players such as Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard who formed part of the so called ‘Golden Generation’.  Soon after he left, West Ham were relegated and nearly went out of business, before an Icelandic consortium headed by Björgúlfur Guðmundsson took full control effectively saving the club.

In the summer of 2001 Harry Redknapp returned to the south coast and became the director of football at Portsmouth F.C. A year later he became the manager  and helped them to promotion to the Premier League before resigning in 2004 after a disagreement with the chairman.

His next move surprised the footballing world as he joined Portsmouth’s arch rivals Southampton with the missive to try and keep them in the Premier League. He failed and Portsmouth were relegated. After one more season Harry resigned from Southampton due to arguments with the chairman. In 2009, even after selling players like Gareth Bale and  Theo Walcott for huge sums, Southampton were handed a 10 point deduction because their parent company had gone into receivership.

Harry then found himself back at Portsmouth in 2005 where he not only kept them in the league but also managed to guide them to F.A Cup victory beating Cardiff 1-0.  He was back at his “spiritual home”. His second spell at Portsmouth lasted three years as in 2008 Redknapp took over as manager of Tottenham Hotspur. In 2010 Portsmouth entered administration, were given a 9 point penalty, were denied a license to play European football, were given another 9 point penalty, went back into administration and let slip that they were £135 million in debt.

So where does this leave us? Well, with Harry Redknapp, the current manager of Tottenham Hotspur, being touted as the next England football manager. that’s where. A man who has been either the assistant manager or manager of seven different football clubs winning precisely one major cup and two lower league titles. A man who has been the assistant manager or manager of two clubs that have gone out of business, two that have gone into receivership, one that went into administration and one that was saved at the last minute by huge foreign investment but still looks quite precarious to this day. All within a few years of him leaving the club. That’s not to forget about the tapping up scandal of 2006, the horse ownership case of 2007, the 2007 defraud and false accounting case and the 2010-2012 tax case.  True he was found not guilty in all of these cases but he was still implemented.

So that’s my fear. My fear that a journeyman manager becomes the next England manager. The trouble is that apart from him there really is very little other choice and that’s when my fear turns into a nightmare.