Whatever you think of Harry Redknapp, and regardless of whether or not you think his downfall was self-inflicted, it is impossible to argue against the fact that his rise and fall in public opinion occurred with startling rapidity. He has fallen from a much-coveted manager on the brink of the national job to much-maligned manager facing a season of unemployment. Unquestionably a talented manager, Redknapp has plenty to offer many teams, yet he may only be interested in a team that has a lot to offer him.
Redknapp is 65. He has won trophies and managed teams in the Champions League; at this point in his career he will not be looking for another mid-table side. How long he has left in management is hard to predict yet any manager approaching seventy must also be approaching the twilight of their career. So, the question is: what does Harry Redknapp do next?
Paul Wilson suggested in The Guardian that perhaps Redknapp, having seen his England opportunity pass him by, might like to try coaching a foreign national team. There are, however, numerous problems with such a suggestion. The first, which is obvious enough, is that Redknapp relies heavily on transfers to facilitate success when he moves club. The attraction of managing a team where this is not a possibility will be limited for Redknapp. Secondly, he has already stated that he enjoys a job that takes up a lot of his time, something that national managers do not have to contemplate. He has also never coached outside of Britain. The chances of him starting now are slim. Clearly these factors are not the be-all-and-end-all for a man who was desperate for the job as England manager. That, however, is a different case entirely.
There are few managers as patriotic as Redknapp, few who still revere the position of national manager above all else. It is unlikely that he will feel this way about other national jobs. Moreover, he has always said he felt that an Englishman should manager England; it would therefore seem strange were he to register interest in another national position.
Moving abroad as a club manager is a possibility yet again there are certain factors that would plausibly prevent this. As before, having not ever coached abroad it seems unlikely that Redknapp’s first choice would be to do so now. Secondly, Redknapp’s main talent as a manager is his man-management and motivation of his players. It seems improbable that he would be anywhere near as effective at this in a country where he didn’t speak the language.
His time in England has also taught us that he would want a club that could offer him a healthy transfer budget. There are not many clubs abroad with both the standing and the finances to suit Redknapp. We often forget how lucky we are in England with the relative wealth of Premier League clubs. Whether or not Redknapp could find a club that suited his needs is debatable, perhaps even doubtful.
Others have suggested that Redknapp could seek one final pay-day in the middle east, following in the footsteps of others like Diego Maradonna, who recently left his post at Al Wasl. As the last decade of football has proved, almost any player or manager can be tempted away by money yet still it seems hard to imagine Redknapp moving outside of England. He may split opinion but Redknapp still has a lot to offer. Were he to stay in England he would undoubtedly bring on-field success to a team that chose him. What would be necessary, as was the case at Spurs, would be to have a chairman who knows the financial limits of the club and clearly sets those out to Redknapp. Portsmouth’s travails prove that no amount of success is worth it if the club then faces extinction.
Redknapp will have options, whether or not they are options that appeal both financially and in terms of football is a different matter. Ultimately, he is the same manager that was being lauded for his remarkable spell at Spurs. He may have had some very public rejections, which damaged his reputation, but his qualities have not diminished. For an ambitious chairman looking for quick success Redknapp could be the ideal option. Knowing his limitations is a must but he is almost certain to improve the on-field fortunes of almost any team in the UK.