H Redknapp has publicly stated that he does not feel himself responsible for any of the events subsequent to his departure at West Ham, Portsmouth or Southampton.
My question in this piece is dead simple. Is this view reasonable, or she he be held responsible in relation to his second spell at Portsmouth?
Portsmouth is an interesting topic, not just because they might well be the first EPL club to go into liquidation, but also because the manager, the chairman and the owner from Redknapp days are all under investigation by Customs and Revenue.
This in itself is proof of nothing. All of these people might be found not guilty of anything. But I observe the cases with additional interest, because of the unifying factor: Portsmouth under the managership of H Redknapp.
The Redknapp policy on joining a club has been to introduce a fair number of changes, moving out current players and bringing in his own men and it is the result of this process I want to have a look at.
My first example is an obvious one: John Utaka, who was and remains Portsmouth’s record signing. He is on a salary of £80,000 a week – and that salary was arranged under H Redknapp’s stewardship. So adding together the cost of his salary and his transfer fee, the costs of this unused player would be enough to get the club out of trouble.
So it is interesting to see what H Redknapp said of J Utaka. He said, John “will give us an awful lot up front. We’re bringing in people who are ready to play and it will make us stronger.”
Of course one could argue that this is just a one-off. After all our own Lord Wenger brought in Christopher Wreh, and played him in a cup final. Within a year he couldn’t get into Bournemouth’s reserve team. Except that Wreh cost £300,000 and was considered the fourth choice striker in the club and on a modest, short term contract.
H Redknapp brought in Utaka to play along another big signing, David Nugent. Nugent and Utaka together cost £13m, a lot for a club like Portsmouth. But Nugent never got a regular run in the team, only played 18 games in three years before going out on loan.
But I admit, it would be unfair to single out H Redknapp, when we can look at Ryan Babel £45,000 a week), David Bentley ( £50,000 a week), and others.
Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv
To defend the managers who make such signings people do normally point out that everyone makes mistakes. But by and large Arsenal (if that is to be the comparison) make mistakes occasionally and even less commonly with expensive players. Even when that happens they move the players on.
And of course for Arsenal the losses can be balanced against the income from huge successes, like Anelka, Overmars, Vieira and Henry.
What H Redknapp did at Portsmouth was to take the wage billto over £50m a year often with players who have nowhere to go and no reason to leave. Rather amusingly he is now stuck with trying to offload the likes of Bentley who the Tiny Totts gave a whacking six year contract to. But still he did score a great goal in the reserves against the Arsenal under 18s least season.
H Redknapp’s argument was that it was not his fault that money was wasted – it was the stupid club owner who let him have the money. It is an interesting concept, which seems to suggest that he is willing to ignore the fact that Nugent and Utaka were both expensive, both got long contracts, both got very high wages, and both were then hardly played. Or perhaps if I broke into H Redknapp’s house in Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset, I could argue that it is fault for having a weakness in his defence system.
But is it then just a conincidence that H Redknapp’s ex-clubs have problems? Perhaps it is too much to look at the administration, points deduction and other problems of AFC Bournemouth since he left, but the fact is that Bournemouth along with West Ham, Southampton and Portsmouth have all gone through troubled times since he left.
Perhaps it is all a coincidence, just as it is a coincidence that three members of the Portsmouth hierarchy are under investigation.
We can only wish H Redknapp well at Tottenham and hope that he will continue at his current club using the techniques, methods and skills, that he has used so effectively at his previous clubs. And perhaps we can be thankful that no-one ever let him loose in our club.
Making the Arsenal is the story of Woolwich Arsenal in 1910 told through the diary of a Daily Chronicle football reporter. You can read more and buy it here.
There is also a Making the Arsenal web site, which is currently following their financial collapse 100 years ago. You can go to the site here.