While Redknapp may be the oldest manager in the football league, he has had vast experience in keeping clubs afloat
HARRY REDKNAPP is back in English football after a two-year absence – and he is Birmingham’s ray of hope in a sorry season.
The 70-year-old has been brought in until the end of the season as Gianfranco Zola’s successor to try and save the Blues from a relegation fight we should never have been in.
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Villa, Huddersfield and Bristol City await with Birmingham only three points off the drop.
While Redknapp may be the oldest manager in the football league, he has had vast experience in keeping clubs afloat – so who better appoint to try to ward off League 1 football?
He has worked wonders in his time at Pompey, winning an FA Cup, while also guiding Tottenham to the Champions League for the first time – not to mention going up from the Championship with QPR.
After the complete misery of the past few months, this has given Blues fans a sense of belief that the club can survive in the Championship.
We are a a proper club with great history, but it will be a tough ask to keep us up with our shocking goal difference.
And if Redknapp is still in the hot seat next season, who knows where Birmingham can end up? Let’s just hope it is not a short-term appointment.
What we do know is, if he manages to keep Blues up talks will be held about his future.
In an interview today Harry said he hasn’t got a magic wand to wave, but him and his staff will aim to give Blues a fighting chance.
But tellingly, he also went on to say: “I got fed up sitting around doing nothing. I will come and live up here until the end of the season. If I can keep them up then we can sit down and talk about going forward. The money I am not interested in.”
That tells us that he still has a zest for management and working within football, and it is heartening to know he cares. That said, it is highly unlikely he will manage in League 1 if we do go down.
But it represents something different after so many Blues fans were left bewildered time after time on how Gianfranco Zola kept his job for so long – or got the job in the first place.
Sitting just outside the playoffs in 7th place on goal difference, Gary Rowett’s reign was a distant memory.
By staving off relegation in the first season and two successive 10th place finishes in the league with limited funds, Rowett was held in high regard by the Blues fans.
Blues fans expected Rowett to be backed by the board and to push on for a play-off place around the January transfer window.
However, Rowett was sidelined and Zola came to the club purely on his high-profile name.
The board wanted to bring in a different style of football to St Andrews, but Zola’s way of playing did not suit the players at his disposal. Signs of attractive football were there, but the results weren’t.
Zola did, however, bring in quality in the names of Cheick Keita, Emelio Nsue, Kerim Frei and Craig Gardner, but it seemed the confidence of those and the rest of the squad slowly ebbed away.
Money was thrown at him but the Italian failed to live up to the board’s expectations, winning just 13 points out of a possible 63 with a win ratio of 8.7 per cent.
Enough was enough for the St Andrews faithful as they made their voices heard with chants of “We want Zola out” ringing from the main stand after full-time of the Burton defeat.
Zola then did the honourable thing and resigned from his post – and now there is some optimism back.
What a time for Redknapp to come into the club, with fierce rivals Aston Villa to play on Sunday.
But only time will tell if three games are enough for this fresh approach and for Redknapp to work his magic.
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