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Harry Redknapp

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 02/03/1947


Harry Redknapp was installed as Portsmouth manager on March 25 2002, immediately replacing Graham Rix at the Fratton Park helm having worked with him for the previous ten months in his role as Director of Football at the club.

Redknapp's intial move to Pompey came after a shock announcement on May 9 2001, as West Ham United revealed that they had parted company with their manager, ending a seven year partnership at Upton Park.

The Hammers had just secured their Premiership status after a difficult season but it came as something of a surprise when Redknapp left the club.

Although spending a considerable chunk of his managerial career at Bournemouth, Harry Redknapp was considered West Ham through and through. He began his playing career at Upton Park and had seemed destined to finish management at the same place, having recently committed himself to the East London club in the long-term.

Redknapp began his managerial career at Third Division Bournemouth after succeeding Don Megson - an emergency appointment by a club convinced they were heading for the Fourth Division. But Redknapp's promotion to manager proved to be inspired, and the Londoner quickly became one of the club's most popular managers in their history and is credited with turning around their long term fortunes.

He was soon working apparent miracles - not to mention making headlines - when Bournemouth knocked out holders Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup on January 7, 1984. The club was second from bottom of the third division at the time and the result still ranks as one of their best ever.

Redknapp set about transforming the Bournemouth team and turned them into one of the best sides of the lower leagues. His ability to unearth a bargain became legendary and these signings, combined with the club's impressive youth players, helped the club lift the third division championship trophy in 1986/87 with a record 97 points.

Bournemouth spent the next three season seasons in Division Two, struggling in their first, but achieving a 12th place finish in 1988/89 and reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup. There were high hopes of reaching the play offs in 1989/90, but, not for the first time in Redknapp's managerial career, injuries decimated the squad and a poor run eventually saw them relegated back down to Division Three.

Limited resources and a lack of funding ensured frustrated attempts to make the play offs in 1990/91 and 1991/92, convincing Redknapp to end his 10-year association with the club and announce his retirement from football. However, the lure of the game proved too much and he was soon back - returning to Upton Park as Billy Bonds' assistant manager in 1992.

A dispute between the West Ham board and their popular manager left the way clear for Redknapp to step into the hotseat quicker than he expected and he took charge of first team affairs in August 1994.

West Ham were going through a rough period at the time and Redknapp helped steady the ship at Upton Park, transforming them from relegation candidates to an eventual 14th place finish in his first season in charge. The Hammers finished 10th the following season, then 8th at the end of 1998 and Redknapp continued making small improvements to the team, culminating in an all time best 5th place finish in 1998/99. That season West Ham qualified for Europe via the Intertoto Cup.

The father of former Liverpool and England star Jamie Redknapp, Harry continued to do what he did best at West Ham, uncovering bargain players, whilst continually developing youth and integrating them into the first team set up. Having sold Rio Ferdinand for a world record (for a defender) 18 million, Redknapp managed to boost the club's transfer coffers to previously unseen levels.

He helped nurture other young British talent in the shape of future England stars Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick, as well as bringing in foreign players such as the the entertaining Paolo di Canio and the virtually unknown at the time Frederic Kanoute.

Only the eighth manager in West Ham's history, Redknapp was certainly a tough act to follow for Glenn Roeder, who had worked as a coach at the club during his time in charge.

Having taken over at Portsmouth at the back end of the 2002 season, Redknapp returned to hands-on first-team management after nearly 10 months in the shadows and was hoping to take the club onward and upward with the support of chairman Milan Mandaric.

He did so in dramatic fashion, leading Pompey to the First Division title in his first full season in charge having brought in Jim Smith to assist him and virtually rebuilt the whole squad.

Free transfers and shrewd loan deals enabled Redknapp to recruit an unlikely mix of foreign and homegrown talent, young and old, as the likes of Paul Merson, Svetislav Todorov and Hayden Foxe all excelled at Fratton Park.

Earning promotion to the Premiership in the same season as his old club suffered a last-day relegation, Redknapp acknowledged he would have to work another miracle to keep Pompey up, but he was relishing the challenge.

He picked up the LMA's Manager of the Year award for Division One at the annual dinner after being voted as the top boss by his First Division peers.


(info as at 01/10/03 courtesy League Managers Association)

Reproduced under permission from the League Managers Association.
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