What Can Harry Redknapp really Offer?
With the world of fantasy football now self-sufficient and the transfer window wedged shut until January, Harry Redknapp must have feared he was destined for storage alongside Jim White and the insufferable Andy Burton. However, the former Tottenham manager appears keen to remain active, perhaps in an attempt to undo the adverse effects of conducting prolonged interviews from the driver seat of his car.
Redknapp was recently unveiled alongside Mick McCarthy as Match of the Day’s new pundit duo but as evident from the efforts of Hansen and Shearer, this is hardly taxing work and is only likely to keep him busy once a fortnight. Step forward AFC Bournemouth, who swooped in to offer the 65-year-old a return to football in the form of an ‘advisory role’.
“I met Harry for a chat this morning and he offered to come in on a voluntary basis,” explained chairman Eddie Mitchell.
“He still has a passion for the club and for football, and he’s got too much to offer for us to let him slip through our fingers.
“It’s been in my mind for quite some time to get him involved, and the timing seems to be perfect for us to tap into his knowledge.” (www.afcb.co.uk)
Redknapp has endured an impressive fall from grace since the turn of the New Year. His Spurs side looked to have third place firmly in their grasp, playing the kind of attractive football that is usually associated with their North London rivals. When Fabio Capello vacated the England hot seat, the tabloids were keen to highlight the credentials of their favourite ‘forthright quote machine’. Sadly though, the wheels slowly slipped off the Harry bandwagon and come May, Arsenal had beaten Spurs to third in the table and Roy Hodgson had surprised the nation by beating Redknapp to the England post. In six short months, Harry went from dead cert to deadwood.
For now, the reputation rebuilding process is on hold although some impatient and irrational supporters have already been calling for his return to White Hart Lane. Redknapp however, will have been seduced by the opportunity to work at Bournemouth, where he’s lived even during his spell with Tottenham. His prior experience as both a player and manager at the club will be perceived as invaluable – having guided the Cherries to their highest ever finish in 1989 – but it remains unclear exactly what he can offer, especially as he will not have any direct input into the team selection or tactics.
In spite of Redknapp’s abrupt refusal to embrace the phrase ‘wheeler dealer’, there’s no denying that he has a significant portfolio of transfer bargains. Tottenham’s policy of ‘buy low, sell high’ would undoubtedly be more appreciated on the south coast, especially after their recent period of financial woe. His arrival may even tempt Tottenham’s vast number of academy stars to join on loan as they seek out first-team football.
Redknapp could also prove useful as head of ‘media and public relations’ given that his relationship with the nation’s press remains surprisingly intact. Anything that gifts the relatively inexperienced Paul Groves more time to assert his playing philosophy on the team, has to be viewed as a positive. In addition, Redknapp could also advise the staff and players on the growing dangers of social media, although he’s never struck me as the most tactically, sorry technically astute manager.
If little else the announcement of Redknapp joining the ranks at Bournemouth should at least spark a degree of excitement or sentimental warmth within supporters. Despite recent events, he is still a household name in English football and could end up attracting revenue through sponsors or his commercial connections. It’s also worth pointing out the Redknapp’s involvement is entirely voluntary, so there’s no harm in having him around, unless of course he wonders into the accounts department.
It’s commendable for Redknapp to maintain his association with the world of football as he awaits his next job offer. The new Premier League season is just a few weeks old and yet Redknapp has already found himself linked with Southampton, West Ham and perhaps most bizarrely, Queens Park Rangers. There’s no doubt he will be touted for the first available vacancy that arises but the man himself has insisted he will only come back for the “right job”.
“I’ve managed good players at Tottenham and at Portsmouth and at West Ham.
“When you’ve been working with top players it’s very difficult to work with inferior players if you like. I think I am capable of managing at the very top level so we’ll see what comes up.” (Independent)
Perhaps it’s slightly hypercritical of me to question Redknapp’s new role when my own club Crystal Palace have recently appointed comedian Eddie Izzard as an ‘associate director’. Then again, after the start to the season the Eagles have endured, we could certainly do with a few laughs and with his marathon expertise Eddie may well find himself on the bench next weekend.
It would seem that the Redknapp effect is already in full swing, as he watched from the sidelines as the Cherries secured a 1-0 win over high-flying Yeovil last week. Perhaps it would be rather fitting then if ‘Arry proved to be the signing of the summer.
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