Following Queens Park Rangers announcement yesterday of a loss of £65.4 million within one financial year, following their failure to survive in the Premier League, there seems to be a fairly common factor amongst football league sides that experience heavy financial burden, everybody’s favourite bulldog owning manager, Harry Redknapp.
Nobody can quarrel with Redknapp’s managerial record and his eye for a bargain, with Paulo Di Canio and Rafael Van Der Vaart revolutionising West Ham and Tottenham respectively after being brought by each side on cut price deals, yet if you mix Redknapp’s knack in the market with a bottomless pit of wages and agent fees which were given to him at QPR, the result was always going to be the same.
QPR are now just a team jammed with Premier league ‘has-beens’, with many fans probably being surprised that Jermaine Jenas, Clint Hill, Shaun Wright Phillips and Andrew Johnson among others still playing the beautiful game. Yes, none of the above where brought into the club under Redknapp’s control, yet he has now had two transfer windows whilst in charge, where he could’ve had a significant clear out of these older players, yet instead he decided to build upon them, bringing in Yossi Benayoun, Richard Dunne, Niko Kranjcar and Karl Henry into the side, whilst only letting a select few players leave on loan.
Now this isn’t the first time Redknapp has financially damaged a football side, with Portsmouth being the infamous example, where he, partnered with owner Milan Mandaric, spent heavily on wages for players such as Sylvain Distin, Sol Campbell and David James, as well as spending big money, transfer wise on Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson, Lassana Diarra and Sully Muntari amongst others. All of these players bar Crouch where in the Portsmouth team which finished 8th in the Premier league during the 2007 season. Fast forward just seven years and Portsmouth lie 15th in League 2, 72 places under where they were. Redknapp over spent at the club who didn’t generate to cover the costs and wages. The club where crippled financially and had to be placed in administration and pulled back from the edges of bankruptcy.
Now QPR are lucky, they have experienced these heavy loses, whilst surviving due to the clubs wealthy owners, whilst also having a number of admirable assets in Loic Remy, Estaban Granero, Joey Barton, Rob Green, Junior Hoillet, Julio Cesar and Charlie Austin, among others, who could potentially be sold to cancel out the majority of the losses experienced, however do they want these then replaced by another group of players in their mid-thirties, of who will be comfortable in the middle of the Championship for years to come? If not, perhaps it’s time to move on from Mr Redknapp.
Harry is still a phenomenal manager, but times have moved on. This is no longer a world where a manager can jump in the car, drive thirty minutes and convince an England international to join a club for free on ‘thirty quid a week’. Football is now a big money game, and Harry Redknapp sometimes seems far too eager to get someone who’ll ‘do a job’ for a year, or go the opposite way and naively pay over the price for the wrong players. I believe there is still a case for Redknapp to become England manager, away from transfer troubles, away from finances and argument with chairman, where his tactical and man management style can shine. Other than this, therefore are few opportunities where Redknapp will make a mark in the football world.