Harry Redknapp has been saying all week that he should be given a “Heroes welcome”.
After all, just look what HE did for the club: took them from a struggling championship side, to a top 10 premiership side.
However, I don’t think it should be under estimated what Pompey did for him: took him from a struggling championship manager to a top 10 premiership manager.
Prior to his arrival at Portsmouth, Harry had managed Bournemouth (in the third division, who he got promoted – then relegated). He eventually left Bournemouth after becoming disillusioned by the lack of funding available to him.*
His days at West Ham were much better. He eventually became their manager in 1994, and achieved some good results – culminating in finishing 5th (West Ham’s highest ever finish). However it was then a downward spiral, with him being sacked on 9 May 2001.
So – in a 17 year managerial career, he had been promoted once, relegated once, and qualified for Europe once. At Bournemouth, he resigned because he wasn’t being given enough money, whilst at West Ham he spent large sums of money – often not that successful (Marco Boogers and Florin Raducioiu), and only got one run in Europe. Which was a failure. West Ham were relegated two seasons after he left.
So, when a slightly disgraced Harry Redknapp was appointed technical director at Portsmouth in 2001, then manager in 2002, He could not be described as having had a flourishing career.
However, with Mandaric’s money to spend, and other clubs not having money due to ITV’s TV deal collapsing, he was able to gain his second promotion, as Pompey won division 1 in style.
More money spent, and we managed to finish 13th – and then halfway through the following season, Harry quit Pompey and – with little money to spend – got relegated with Southampton.
Halfway through the following season, he returned to Pompey (who were in the process of being bought by Sasha Gaydamak), spent vast sums of money, and eventually Pompey avoided relegation.
He was then allowed to spend more money in the following summer, and we managed to finish in 9th place, just missing out on Europe on the final day of the season.
More money was spent the following summer – by this stage, Pompey were one of the big “buyers” in the transfer markets. Roy Keane commented that it was clubs “like Pompey” that were driving up the prices of players (although he subsequently spent more than us!) – and with all the new talent brought in, we managed to finish 8th, and win the FA cup. It should be noted that a lot of hard work had gone into building the team that one the FA cup. Most of it by Sasha Gaydamak for earning the money to pay for it.
A lot was said about how it was “Harry” who was attracting players to the club at this stage. However (with the exception of Defoe, who personally I was strongly against anyway) this was largely untrue. During Sasha’s reign, we had become one of the highest paying clubs in the premiership. We had set out an ambition, and were making vast strides to reaching it. It was this “ambition” the large wages that was what was attracting players to Pompey. An ambition I believe we still have (as supported by our targets – Pennant [also targeted by Real Madrid and AC Milan] and Saviola [Argentine international, currently at Real], as well as persuading Glen Johnson to sign a new deal, despite speculation of his move to Liverpool).
However, with rumours of financial trouble, Harry quit Portsmouth. In doing so, he ended any chance he had of becoming a true legend at the club, or in the game. He claims it was because he wanted to prove that he “make it at a big club”, and he wanted to prove he could live “outside he comfort zone” (but only if he could stay living at Sandbanks) – however it is more likely that he was afraid that without large sums of money to spend, he would not be able to continue his good run.
If Harry could understand that quitting a club you said you “loved” for a rival – and then claiming you “loved them” since you were a child (when at Pompey, he claimed to be an Arsenal fan, and he grew up playing and managing at West Ham) just is not a way to behave if you want to be treated with respect. Tapping up other teams players is not a way to behave if you want respect – especially from your previous club.
After this weekend, I want to be able to forget about him. Forget about the way he has treated us [the fans] – however I don’t see that being possible, as the man just can’t stop talking about us.
Please Harry? just be quiet!
* It should be noted that prior to him leaving Bournemouth, during the 1990 World Cup, Harry was involved in a serious car crash whilst with Managing Director of the club Brian Tiler, who died along with four other people.
Written by pompeycarpet.
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