Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has been doing the rounds again this week, this time ruling himself out of the running for the Blackburn job that’s just been filled by Henning ‘madness’ Berg, but where could the 65-year-old realistically go next in his career and does he still retain the ambition which once drove him?
The one thing you couldn’t accuse Redknapp of lacking right throughout his career his been ambition and it’s been the overwhelming motivating force during an opportunistic 29-year career in football management. Leaving Portsmouth for Southampton and then returning to Fratton Park after their rival’s relegation from the top flight spoke volumes of a man not afraid to jump from a sinking ship when the going was good.
The way he positioned himself through his influence in the media for the England job was also smart, yet proved his undoing at White Hart Lane at the same time. Nevertheless, the real story to take away from Redknapp’s career is the lack of silverware he’s managed to win which explains his unwillingness to drop down a league and into the Championship, with just one ruinous FA Cup trophy, which went a long way to bankrupting Portsmouth, to show for his efforts of any real substance.
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Now he is faced with a real test of his patience and you sense that in a man such as Redknapp, that’s a precious commodity in short supply. He stated back in August: “When you’ve been working with top players it’s very difficult to work with inferior players. I am capable of managing at the very top level so we’ll see what comes up. England is home to the grandkids and everything else is here,” he said.
“It would be difficult unless it was the right offer [abroad] I really fancied, and was a special offer. Other than that I would look to manage in England in the future. I love the Premier League, I enjoy English football and I enjoy being in England.”
He is thought to have seriously considered making himself available for the Republic of Ireland job when it looked for all intents and purposes that the FAI were going to dispose of the hugely experienced Giovanni Trapattoni last month and he responded to talk of a future international post elsewhere other than with England by saying: “I would consider it, if it was the right job, yeah. If it was something where you had the chance to be successful and do well with that team, wherever it would be, I would be interested, but who knows? You can never say never. You never know in this game.”
It’s clear that Redknapp now holds himself in a certain regard and the hidden code whenever he talks about the ‘right’ job when questioned over his ambition to manage abroad is the caveat that it would take a hell of a lot of money to prise him over there, but that he’s willing to listen to offers all the same.
He’s caught in a difficult position because for many Tottenham fans, Redknapp reached the limit of his talent and a glass ceiling of where he could take the club by achieving top four status and Champions League football back in 2010-11. There’s nothing wrong with that, certain managers are only good in particular situations. His age is nothing to do with it as he seems pretty set in his ways and when you appoint a new manager late on his career, you know what you’re bargaining for.
His loose grasp of the tactical side of the game would surely rule him out of a top six job in the Premier League, yet having managed a club that would count themselves in that bracket and with no viable alternative to move to, will his pride allow him to manage a mid-table team?
Had he taken the Blackburn job, it would have been a move motivated solely by money and not with regards to what he could invest in the team, but what he would take home on a weekly basis in his wage packet. However, his reluctance to move too far away from his Sandbanks home is well-known and is the main reason why he was linked with the QPR and Ipswich jobs.
It’s clear that Redknapp will not take over a club that needs a lot of work doing to it, or somewhere where his reputation could be damaged in what could be his final job in the game. History tends to remember your greatest failures just as much as your successes and the last job he chooses is a tricky one to ponder as he’s really trapped between two stalls.
The Southampton job would seem to resemble his best hope and if he can’t turn it around, he can always just blame it on the poor start made by Nigel Adkins this season and the complete lack of a back four even approaching Premier League quality. Shifting and appropriating blame elsewhere has always been a Redknapp speciality, you see.
Redknapp sounds as if he’s getting increasingly itchy feet out on the golf course and he sounds desperate to get back into the game, but his next career move will tell us exactly how much ambition he still retains. Will he move for money or glory, back to a familiar haunt or will he pursue a completely new task altogether? His career to date has been anything but conventional and he still retains the ability to surprise, but moving somewhere with the aim of building a lasting legacy would be the biggest surprise yet.
Where do you see Redknapp moving next? Is he still a manager motivated by success or money?
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