In a surprising turn of events, Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp resigned on Tuesday due to upcoming knee replacement surgery. Redknapp told the board, “[s]adly I need immediate surgery on my knee which is going to stop me from doing my job in the coming weeks. It means I won't be able to be out on the training pitch every day, and if I can't give 100 percent I feel it's better for someone else to take over the reins.”
Redknapp had been with QPR since November 2012, when he took over for Mark Hughes after the club took only 4 points from its first 12 matches. Though the club improved its form under Redknapp, it was unable to avoid relegation and spent the 2013-14 season in the Championship. Yet Redknapp’s boys only stayed in the lower league for a year, as they won the Championship Playoff-Final against Derby County this past May to return to the Premier League. Their return has not been rosy, however, as the club has been abysmal away from Loftus Road, having lost all 11 of its matches away from home.
Couldn’t garner a single point in 11 matches? How is that even possible?
While there is no question that a double knee replacement would put anyone out of commission for a period of time, the timing of Redknapp’s announcement is very suspicious. There have been rumors that Redknapp was about to be sacked due to QPR’s struggles this season, in which they currently sit 19th in the table, in the heat of a relegation battle. If QPR was fighting for a Champions League spot instead of trying to avoid relegation, I think Redknapp would have a trusted lieutenant mind the squad for a few weeks while he got back on his feet. Instead, based on the current situation, it seems like the perfect time for ‘Arry to parachute out of a hopeless situation before the board sacked him.
Redknapp has made the rounds in the Premier League, having previously managed at West Ham United (1994-2001), Portsmouth (2002-2004 and 2005-2008), Southampton (2004-2005), and Tottenham Hotspur (2008-2012) before landing with QPR. He also was once considered the favorite for the England job in 2012 after Fabio Capello resigned, but the job ultimately went to Roy Hodgson. And look how well that has worked out.
Redknapp is one of the unique characters amongst Premier League managers and his absence, even if only temporary, will leave a hole in the landscape. Here are just a sampling of some of Redknapp’s most famous quotes:
Regarding West Ham's former Portuguese loanee, Dani: "My missus fancies him. Even I don't know whether to play him or f**k him."
"I sorted out the team formation last night lying in bed with the wife. When your husband's as ugly as me, you'd only want to talk football in bed."
Regarding Samassi Abou, the former Ivory Coast and West Ham striker: “Samassi Abou don’t speak the English too good.”
Redknapp to the police about himself (in the context of his criminal charges involving fraud and player transfers): "I write like a two-year-old and I can't spell...I can't work a computer, I don't know what an email is, I can't, I have never sent a fax and I've never even sent a text message. I have a big problem, I can't write so I don't keep anything. I am the most disorganised person, I am ashamed to say, in the world...you talk to anybody at the football club. I don't write. I couldn't even fill a team sheet in."
His family is also prominently involved in the game as his son Jamie is a prominent football pundit in the U.K. and you may have heard of his nephew: Manchester City/New York City FC’s Frank Lampard.
It seems unlikely that this is the end of Redknapp’s managerial career. As Ian Darke pointed out on Twitter, Redknapp very nearly went to Newcastle when he was at Portsmouth, and the Toon Army currently needs a new leader following Alan Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace. Harry just might be the perfect person to lead those crazy Geordies.
Might he also follow his famous nephew to Major League Soccer? Redknapp starred for the Seattle Sounders as a player-coach in the late 70s when the club was part of the North American Soccer League (NASL), so perhaps he could be persuaded to come back across the pond to relive his youth? Ole ‘Arry would have the American sports media eating out of the palm of his hand with gems like the ones listed above.
Although this season has been a disappointment at Queens Park Rangers, Harry Redknapp is still a quality manager and his services will be in demand. We at the18 wish ‘Arry a speedy recovery from his surgery so that he can get back on the touchlines soon. Redknapp famously eats a bacon sandwich every night before going to bed, so now is the perfect time for him to relax and enjoy his unique late-night snack and thank the Almighty he doesn’t have to deal with QPR anymore.
Follow Mike Smith on Twitter @thefootiegent