Red­knapp keen to talk

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By John Wragg

HARRY Red­knapp has sug­gested he is open to the idea of stay­ing at Birm­ing­ham City next sea­son – if the Blues win their bat­tle to stay in the Cham­pi­onship this af­ter­noon.

Vic­tory at Bris­tol City would en­sure Birm­ing­ham’s sta­tus, though dropped points could al­low Black­burn and Not­ting­ham For­est to send them down. If the Blues sur­vive, Red­knapp could take a di­rec­tor of foot­ball role. The 70-year-old said: “If they (the own­ers) feel they want to meet me and talk about stay­ing then I’d love to have a meet­ing with them.”

HARRY Red­knapp is ready to come back full-time into man­age­ment with Birm­ing­ham City.

Red­knapp has al­ready had con­tacts on the phone of­fer­ing play­ers for next sea­son and he says he could put a team to­gether.

By this af­ter­noon Red­knapp, 70, is hop­ing to be at home in Sand­banks, Poole, with his Birm­ing­ham res­cue mis­sion com­plete, the club safe in the Cham­pi­onship and a per­ma­nent job of­fer on the way.

Blues need to win at Bris­tol City, or at least equal what Black­burn and Not­ting­ham For­est do in their games, to es­cape a self-in­flicted dis­as­ter.

Red­knapp has dropped the big­gest hint that he’s up for it.

“I want to keep us up and then it’s up to the peo­ple who run the club,” he says. “I haven’t had any di­a­logue with any­body. It’s up to them. If they feel they want to meet me and talk about stay­ing then I’d love to have a meet­ing with them.

“When I turned up for the first meet­ing they said ‘would you come and take the team for the rest of the sea­son’. I was only there for ten min­utes and didn’t start ask­ing for any­thing.”


The deal is likely to be for Red­knapp to take a di­rec­tor of foot­ball role with Steve Cot­ter­ill as first team coach as­sisted by Paul Groves.

In that way, Red­knapp could deal with trans­fers, with Cot­ter­ill tak­ing the day-to-day train­ing. Be­tween them they could de­cide on tac­tics with Red­knapp hav­ing the fi­nal say on team se­lec­tion.

“I think you could get a team to­gether. There are play­ers about you could pick up, let go by clubs, and they could do a good job for you,” says Red­knapp.

“I’ve al­ready had one or two peo­ple ring me from big clubs say­ing if you are look­ing for next sea­son we’ve got a cou­ple of good play­ers we’d let out.

“So I think I’ve got the op­tion of get­ting some play­ers on loan, a cou­ple of good kids.

“Hud­der­s­field have done that this sea­son and Bris­tol City have with the young cen­tre-for­ward, Tammy Abra­ham, on loan from Chelsea, who has scored all the goals.”

The SOB – Save Our Blues – to Red­knapp stopped the rot. He has gal­vanised the squad and an un­lucky de­feat at As­ton Villa was fol­lowed by a tremen­dous vic­tory over Hud­der­s­field that had a full St Andrew’s rock­ing.

“The own­ers might have some­body else in mind. But I could fancy that role as a di­rec­tor of foot­ball. It’s a pos­si­bil­ity but I’m not one for putting my­self up for a job. If they ask me and it’s in­ter­est­ing then great. If it’s not I’ll go back to what I was do­ing,” says Red­knapp.

“I work with BT, I work with a com­pany called Bet Save, I am as busy as I want to be. So it’s not as if I’m chas­ing it. I only want to do some­thing I en­joy do­ing and feel I can play a use­ful part.

“I never say no to foot­ball. I’m al­ways open to it, it’s what I en­joy. Last Saturday against Hud­der­s­field was a great day and I loved ev­ery minute of it.

“Then I was driv­ing home, I couldn’t wait to pick my wife up, go for a bit of pasta, a glass of wine. It’s Saturday night, I don’t sleep, my head’s buzzing, that’s how you get.

“You can’t ex­plain it to peo­ple. It’s a high that’s just fan­tas­tic. But the lows are hor­ren­dous as well when things aren’t go­ing well. There is no in be­tween with me, I am ei­ther up there or down there.”

What­ever hap­pens, whether Birm­ing­ham res­cue them­selves or plunge into the third tier for the first time since 1992, Red­knapp is ad­vis­ing the board to act quickly.

“They can’t throw the man­ager’s job at some­body with a cou­ple of weeks to go,” he warns.


“Some­one’s got to or­gan­ise the pre-sea­son and have a look around the mar­ket, see whose about, bring a few play­ers in, strengthen the squad for next sea­son. Birm­ing­ham have to make a de­ci­sion pretty quick.”

There are few men in English foot­ball bet­ter equipped than Red­knapp to head those im­prove­ments.

He has been taken by the depth of sup­port and the pas­sion of the fans at Birm­ing­ham.

“Twenty eight thou­sand for our last game,” Red­knapp said. “That was fan­tas­tic. A full house. And what a noise they made. The at­mos­phere was great.

“Look at the three clubs fight­ing it out. For­est, two times Euro­pean Cup win­ners. Black­burn, Premier League win­ners. Birm­ing­ham, what a crowd, what a club this could be.

“It does need sort­ing out here, but, as I say, it is up to the peo­ple who own it.”

PUMPED UP: Craig Gard­ner cel­e­brates scor­ing the Blues’ sec­ond against Hud­der­s­field last week

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