While Harry Redknapp does have a reputation as being a ‘wheeler dealer’ and overall a fairly dodgy figure (although do not tell him that), he has had a number of impressive spells in management. You don’t stick around for as long as Harry Redknapp has without having something about you. Having said all that ‘Arry has had plenty of regrettable managerial spells and his brief period at Southampton was certainly not his finest hour. In fact you think he would have ruined his reputation with Portsmouth fans, given he left Pompey to join Saints, but if anything his spell at St Marys actually made him more popular with the Portsmouth faithful.
Redknapp had long and not too shabby spells at Bournemouth and West Ham before he took the Portsmouth job in 2002 and at Pompey he made an immediate impact winning promotion to the Premier League in his first full season. Redknapp then endeared himself to the Pompey fans even further as he kept Portsmouth in the Premier League in their first season back in the top flight. However in November 2004 he fell out with the owners of the club over the appointment of a Director of Football and ‘Arry resigned on the 24th of the month. Portsmouth fans were not happy but things got a whole lot worse when arch rivals Southampton appointed Redknapp as their new boss just two weeks later.
Saints fans weren’t overly keen to see their arch-rival’s manager jump ship, although what probably angered the further were Redknapp’s below par results. In fact from ‘Arry’s first eight league games Saints picked up a measly three points, plunging the south coast side further into relegation trouble. Redknapp finally gained his first win over Liverpool but this was followed by more poor form as relegation looked seemingly inevitable for Southampton. The lowlight for Saints’ fans was a 4-1 loss to Pompey although Redknapp himself was actually becoming more popular with Portsmouth fans again – he had effectively relegated their biggest rival.
After relegation was confirmed, brining Saints 27 year stay in the top flight to an end, Harry still hung on to his job for the beginning of the Championship season. Sir Clive Woodward, a world cup winner was brought into be performance director of the club. Also when I said world cup winner, I was of course referring to the 2003 rugby world cup. Woodward and Redknapp never got on and this, combined with a poor start to the Championship season resulted in ‘Arry leaving Saints in December 2005. His tenure had been a disaster.
Of course just days later Redknapp would walk back into the Portsmouth job as he was hailed by the Pompey fans for managing to relegate their local rivals. In truth, ‘Arry should’ve never left Pompey and his second spell was very successful, winning the FA Cup in 2008. If Redknapp’s move to Southampton can tell us anything its that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Especially when Sir Clive Woodward is on that grass.