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Crouch deal proves Redknapp's quality

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Phil McNulty | 13:12 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

Harry Redknapp may be in the autumn of his career as a manager - but it is about time his achievements at Portsmouth started to be taken more seriously outside Fratton Park.

The revelation today that Portsmouth have had an offer of around £9m accepted by Liverpool for Peter Crouch, and he is desperate to go there, says everything about the job Redknapp has done.

Any critique of Redknapp's career is usually prefaced by a patronising "good old 'Arry" or a simple description of his ability as a "wheeler dealer" in the transfer market.

In other words, call him what you like, but don't call him an outstanding manager.

There is so much more to Redknapp the manager than that and it is time it was acknowledged on a wider scale.

Just look at the team he has assembled at Fratton Park - and look at the players he is adding to it.

Redknapp is a manager who targets good players, has the powers of persuasion to bring them to Portsmouth, and then - rather importantly - gets them to play for him.

Crouch would have been a credible target for plenty of Premier League clubs, but the word on the grapevine since it became clear his days at Liverpool were numbered was that there was only one club and one manager he wanted to play for.

He is now going to get his wish in another statement of intent by Redknapp and Portsmouth - with more high-profile players to join him if other whispers are to be believed.

Redknapp's love affair with Pompey has been chequered, from resigning in November 2004 after the appointment of Velimir Zajec as executive director to an ill-fated spell in charge of rivals Southampton.

Harry Redknapp

He was at Saints when they were relegated - not exactly something designed to hit hard at his popularity in Portsmouth admittedly - and was not welcomed by every supporter when he was re-appointed as manager in December 2005.

Redknapp showed his magic by guiding Portsmouth out of a seemingly doomed position - and since then it has been onwards and upwards, culminating in their FA Cup final win against Cardiff at Wembley in May.

Portsmouth's renaissance under Redknapp has been one of the Premier League's great hidden stories.

Redknapp has rejuvenated the careers of David James and Sol Campbell. He has attracted players of the calibre of Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth and pulled off a real coup by tempting Jermain Defoe away from Spurs.

There have been mistakes along the way - £6m for David Nugent anyone? - but the approach from Newcastle last season was an indicator of the respect Redknapp has among his peers in football.

Redknapp's latest foray into the market means he will have a likely front pairing of Crouch and Defoe next season - and this will be the envy of plenty of Premier League clubs.

Add to this a new 36,000-seater stadium overlooking Portsmouth harbour and Redknapp is going to leave a very healthy legacy.

Redknapp actually rates Pompey's Premier League survival in 2006 as a greater feat than winning the FA Cup - but now he has power to add.

Crouch is another top signing by Redknapp, a player who was under-used by Liverpool and arrives with a point to prove working with a manager who will put an arm around his shoulder and coax the best out of him.

Redknapp will have a few more new faces in place by the start of the season - just in time to make more of his critics eat their words.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Almost good enough to be England manager, if the great and good had any national pride.

  • Comment number 2.

    what critics phil? i have never heard anyone say anything bad about the man, a legend, everything else about the blog i spot on though ;)

  • Comment number 3.

    To allencork ...I mean by "critics" those who adopt a patronising attitude to the work he has done at Portsmouth, you know the "good old Harry" brigade.

    You do not achieve what Redknapp has achieved at Fratton Park simply by being an all-round good bloke with a sense of humour.

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree that Redknapp has done some great deals but, as with a few other managers(most of which are no longer in the game) his reputation goes before him. He does himself no favours, on occassions, by being available to the media, what seems,24 7 on any topic. Also he seems to revel in the 'wheeler dealer' image so i cant understand why people, or indeed the man himself, complain when he gets labelled with this. Just like all managers, for every success story in the transfer marker there is a failure. Marco Boogers,Florin Radichiou(spelling?!),Titi Camara,Joey Beauchamp to name a few.

    IF Harry Redknapp had a lower profile then maybe he would be taken abit more seriously by the powers that be(not that i think hes losing too much sleep over this). Also, and there could be nothing in this, but EVERY time there is a bung scandal whos name is always involved?

    Great season for Pompey and for Redknapp last season, well done to them both but lets not ignore the fact that Pompeys wage bill is probably one of the biggest outside the top four and Spurs.

    Good luck to Pompey,Redknapp and his 'dream midfield' of Diarra,Diop and Muntari.......while he keeps hold of it, that is.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think Harry does a great job at pompey and he has again showed that he is a hidden gem of a manager. Good team ethic, gets the players behind him, achieves things thought almost impossible. The Pompey chairman must wake up everyday smiling!

  • Comment number 8.

    Interesting article. I agree he doesn't seem to get the credit for the incredible job he has done at Portsmouth. A great man-manager to the casual observer (like me), and more hits in the transfer market than The Beatles (who admittedly have no transfer market experience).

    However, his legacy will now forever be tainted. Not for the early-morning raids and corruption allegations, but for his statement whilst working as a pundit for one of the non-Beeb channels during Euro2008. I'm paraphrasing here, but it went something like: 'If England were in this tournament they would be right up there amongst the favourites.' Wow. Bear in mind this was after seeing the likes of Holland, Germany, Portugal and Spain run rings around opponents with incredible ease. And bear in mind that this imaginary England team at Euro2008 would still have had Steve McLaren at the helm. Just wow. Sort your head out Harry!

  • Comment number 9.

    Phil, I'm fairly new to these boards but I detect a tinge of anti-Liverpool in your articles. Am I right or just paranoid?

    After all, I'm sad to see Crouchie leave us as I've always felt he gave his all for us as well as a variety in our play that other players couldn't.

    However, to insinuate that Rafa wasn't a caring, sympathetic manager shows a lack of memory. After all, who was it that stoutly defended his new signing when all the "expert" hacks were pointing their fingers a the "no goals" multi-million pound beanpole strikes?

    If Crouchie goes on to be successful at Portsmouth, and I have no reason to think he won't, I'll be pleased for the lad.

    As to your critique and any bias against Liverpool that is your right of course, but please do so by being up front and honest and letting the facts tell the story too.

  • Comment number 10.

    If Redknapp has indeed signed Crouch for £9m, he has indeed achieved a remarkable coup - and I say that as a Liverpool fan. In 2006 he scored more England goals in a single year than anyone in history, despite being used sparingly, and, since then, his record of goals per minutes on the pitch has continued to be extremely good.

    I think Liverpool are mad to let him go at such a price.

  • Comment number 11.

    is this the same Crouch that only a few days ago McNulty was moaning about being overpriced by Liverpool? Now he's been signed by old BBC favourite Redknapp he's suddenly a fantastic signing? I can't help but laugh at some of the dross I read in these "Expert" blogs...

    could it be because of Redknapp's 24/7 availability for media comment that the BBC don't seem to have a bad word to say about him? the mind boggles.

  • Comment number 12.

    might_mr_red

    Redknapp the old BBC favourite? His 24/7 availability for media comment? This the same Redknapp that pledged never to speak to the BBC again after they ran that corruption programme a few years back? Umm...

  • Comment number 13.

    To woody76...take your point about a few of those signings, but they've all made them.

    Wenger has his Jeffers, Fergie his Veron and Jose his Malouda.

    And, to be fair to Harry, he has owned up to them.

    As for the wage bill, they seem able to pay it and Pompey's fans must be loving the sort of players they are attracting.

    As a sideline, can anyone out there name any more bad buys by quality managers?

    Here's your starter - David Moyes and Per Kroldrup....but let's stick to the Redknapp thread as well.

  • Comment number 14.

    Very selective memory there, Mr Red. If I recall, Phil McNulty's blog stated that Crouch was overpriced at £15m, which was a price quoted by Rafa himself in the past. £9m seems a much fairer price for a guy that barely started a game in the first half of the season.

  • Comment number 15.

    To mighty_mr_red...at a reasonable £8m-plus with add-ons to £11m..not Rafa's original £15m tag!

    Also, we're not sure what needs to happen to get £1m, but my information is the final price will stay nearer to £8m than £11m.

  • Comment number 16.

    Martin Jol and Kaboul for good manager, bad signing, maybe?

  • Comment number 17.

    Personally i think paying £9 mil for Crouch is pretty steep but things seem to be going that way now so can't really argue. Redknapp is a cracking coach, i'm pretty suprised that he's not been given a shot at the england job is quite strange, as a Scot it astounds me that an Italian (eventhough i think Capello is class) gets a go a head of argueably the best english manager/ one of the best Prem managers. The fact he took a good few through the ranks Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and of course Lampard, its obvious that the one person who can put some much needed umph in a Dream Team England side is Redknapp, i mean England are the biggest underperformers in Europe, look at your side, how much is it worth £200mil? if Capello fails give Big 'Arry a shot. It'll probably come off

  • Comment number 18.

    To Mr Mcnulty at 3.30.

    Which part of 'Just like all managers, for every sucess story in the transfer market there is a failure' didnt you read in my original post?!

    As i previously stated, Harry Redknapp is his own worst enemy and THAT is the reason why hes not taken as seriously as he, and it appears you, want him to be. I always remember the quote during the coverage of Euro 2000 when he was on a panel(shock there, him doing media work) and was asked if Real Madrid had paid too much to Juve for Zinidine Zidane. The other pundits come out with the usual 'its alot of money to pay' 'Hes a great player'. Redknapp, 'Well. if Zinedine Zidane is worth 48m then i dont want to know what Joe Cole will be worth in a few years time'. This was the then 19 year old Joe Cole who, in truth, was struggling to live up to the tag that he'd been labelled with by.....Yep, Redknapp himself. Lets face it, Cole only become the player he is today due to Mourinho instilling some discipling in him and explaining to him that he couldnt be a playground player anymore if he wanted to be a success. Could you see Ferguson or Wenger coming out with such a stupid unnessecary comment when asked about an established worldclass player? I think not.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hang on a minute, Phil were you not the same "expert" who claimed Rafa Benitez valued Crouch to highly, and therefore, can have no arguments about the price of Barry?

    Well despite what he is worth to Rafa he has not been denying Crouch the move he craves becasue the fee is perhaps not what he feels is the right price, not to shabby for a manager who doesn't care about his players.

    And, for the all the villans out there and McNulty if your argument that the beanpole who has proved it nearly every time he got on the pitch for club and COUNTRY is worth 15 million pounds but has gone for 9 no way is Gareth Barry worth 18 million.

  • Comment number 20.

    balajazz:

    well he's now back doing interviews with the beeb and did he not appear as a pundit during Euro 2008?

    thanks for the reply Mr McNulty. The point I was trying to make (although not too well when re-reading my post) is that it would have been terrible management for Benitez to set Crouch's asking price at around 10mil and then risk being brought down by another 2-3mil on a player we needed to sell. I agree that around 9-10 million seems a good price for both clubs but i see no problem with the intial valuation of 15mil given that we all know the way player trading works these days.

    In the same way, how can it be seen as disrespectful for Benitez to try to bring the buying price of Barry down by 3-4million when Redknapp has just managed to pull the same move for one of our players who is also an England international with a good goal scoring rate for club and country?

  • Comment number 21.

    I think Redknapp has made a lot more bad buys than most. You mention £6m for David Nugent. Noe Pamarot wasn't a brilliant buy either. You look at his transfer policies and they usually involve buying Arsenal/Liverpool cast-offs. You also fail to mention that Portsmouth have given him a heck of a lot of money in recent times.

    Go back to his West Ham when he made some startlingly bad deals: Florin Raduciou? Javier Margas? Marco Boogers? He's known as a wheeler-dealer because half the players he brings into a club, he has to get rid of. He is a classic 'taken them as far as he can' manager because he is no better than a midtable Premiership place. He doesn't develop a club or a squad, he shuffles from season to season. This man is not a great manager, he's the last of the old school english managers working in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 22.

    On good manager bad signings: Howard Wilkinson (his early achievements with Leeds were phenomenal) buying Lee Sharpe for around £6m, when that was a serious amount of cash for anybody, let alone a player who had lost his pace and, it appears, interest.

    More topically and controversially: Phil Scolari - Deco! Still great at the slower pace of international football but he is too old to change to the Premiership at this stage of his career and I wager that his match winning performances in the fast paced English top division will be few and far between.

    Good luck to Peter Crouch - often appears to be under rated by managers but more appreciated by fans (England and Liverpool to name but two).

  • Comment number 23.

    Gianluca Vialli's signing of Brian Laudrup didnt really go as planned if memory serves me correctly, same could be said for Gabriele Ambrosetti, Pierluigi Casiraghi, George Weah.............the list is endless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Harry has been absolutely brilliant since returning to Pompey. This club is Redknapp and he is taking them to new heights. He seems to be enjoying having a proper chequebook these days and not having to take gambles. He can go out and attract quality and get them to perform for him, something that should never be underestimated.

    A lot of people like to have a pop at Redknapp but have a look at Portsmouth now and Portsmouth six years ago. Look what happened when Redknapp walked out and look what happened when he walked back in.

    Portsmouth are a club going places and considering the competition they have - that is saying something!

  • Comment number 25.

    mighty_mr_red

    Indeed, he has now altered his stance against the BBC. I guess the wording of your post made me reply with such incredulity - 'old BBC favourite'. Hehe

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't doubt that Redknapp is a popular figure but so much of his recent reputation is built on Portsmouth's 2006 survival. No one seems to mention that that season Gaydamak took over and suddenly Redknapp had comparativly huge amounts of money at his disposal. He was able to outspend his relegation rivals by a huge degree in January and then they magically survived.

    If Manaric had been the only money I very much doubt he could have pulled off the same trick. I think that Hodgson's achievement at Fulham last season is far more worthy of praise than Portsmouth's escape with owed so much so throwing money at the problem.

  • Comment number 27.

    alex ferguson - eric djemba-djemba, kleberson

  • Comment number 28.

    arsene wenger - christopher wreh

  • Comment number 29.

    To LFC8LFC...now do not take this the wrong way Liverpool fans, but maybe Benitez needed to take a little bit of a hit on his Crouch valuation to finally do the Barry deal.

    If, as Ibelieve, Portsmouth will end up paying £9m for Crouch, I think that's good business for them and Liverpool.

    Liverpool will have made a small profit on a player they have had for three years and got good service from when they played him.

    I stand by my original assertion that Benitez was wrong to open his bargaining by asking for £15m - he was never going to get that and his subsequent £10m bid for Barry proved it.

    Anyway, let's agree to disagree on that one - all in good spirit I hope - and get back to discussing Redknapp.

    Here's one for all the Kopites out there when we're discussing bad buys and great managers....Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Carter.

    Only fair after outing Moyes and Kroldrup.

  • Comment number 30.

    Harry was my favourite West Ham manager by a distance. During his time the hammers were always good for a watchable match even if not always 3 points.

    Signing Paulo Di Canio was his masterstroke. Most people at the time thought it was a huge gamble. It probably was, but Paulo became one of Upton Park's most loved characters.

    I'm looking forward to watching Portsmouth next season!

  • Comment number 31.

    Crouch is rubbish

  • Comment number 32.

    Bobby Robson - Titus Bramble

  • Comment number 33.

    Sasha Gaydamak's resources have certainly been a huge part in PFC's recent history but when it comes down to it - all these players make a tonne of money and they want to play in a situation they think is right for them. Recent history suggests that Harry can attract some of the very best to Fratton Park despite lots of other clubs being in for a lot of these players.

  • Comment number 34.

    I agree with eyeswide open. Gaydamak's money has been the main reason for Portsmouth's recent success - which has been completely left out of the blog.

    The reason Pompey have been able to attract some of the bigger named players is because they can afford to, and are willing to, pay their ridiculous wage demands - and not because they want to work with Redknapp!

    We will see how great Harry is when the big names begin to get the hump because they're not playing, and how he handles the fans if the club have a slow start to the season.

  • Comment number 35.

    what tickled me was the comment that harry would put an arm around crouches shoulder, how, he'd have to stand on a box to do it,

  • Comment number 36.

    I essentially agree with all PMN has said. Of course you can nit pick around the edges. Apart from the 'Billy Bonds' affair, which both remain silent on, he should still be at WHUFC and I wish he was. It was only because of Terrence Brown, Chairman at the time, that he isn't. In the mould of Venables, Harry is a cockney and of course doesn't sound his aitches so not the sort that the FA want. So who is a great manager in the Prem then if Harry isn't?

  • Comment number 37.

    To PorkyG...you're right about Gaydamak's money, but I do not believe money alone has attracted these players to Portsmouth.

    Just listen to the number of players who go into detail about their desire to play for Redknapp when they sign.

    Of course money is a factor, no-one would deny that, but Redknapp has been a key factor in persuading them to come to Portsmouth.

  • Comment number 38.

    All this talk about Portmouth's success being down to Gaydamak's money not Rednapp's managerial ability is unfair: by that argument, neither Ferguson should be considered great not Mourinho special, as their finances have been more than everyone elses.

    As a United supporter of many years standing I have watched, sometimes with embarrassment, in the pre - Ferguson years how money does not automatically guarantee success (anyone remember the fortunes we paid for Birtles and Davenport, only eclipsed by Malcolm Allison's more eccentric spending at City?!).

    Credit where it's due as Harry, obviously with board room assistance, has created a Portsmouth side that is a credible European place challenger and finally broken the big four monopoly on the major domestic trophies.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Here's one for all the Kopites out there when we're discussing bad buys and great managers....Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Carter."

    We got Jimmy Carter for peanuts.

  • Comment number 40.

    Harry Redknapp - the re-writing of history.

    I cannot understand the credit this guy gets. All of the success Chelsea have had since Abramovich took over has been credited by the media and fans alike to the money they have spent.

    But when Portsmouth use the same technique - ie, spending loads of money, albeit on a slightly smaller scale - its all down to the wonderful work that Harry has done. Did anyone actually see or hear of the amount of money Portsmouth lost according to their latest financial results??

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/p/portsmouth/7339725.stm

    I doubt it because the media hardly batted an eyelid when they were released, but I did, and it was a staggering amount - £23M. Not so much the transfer fees, but the wages. And this coming at a time when the income of Premiership clubs has never been higher.

    Players are not signing for them because of good ol' 'arry, but because they pay nearly 'top 4' wages.

    It appears that this method for success has also completely wiped out any of Harry's failings from the past. Just 3 years ago Redknapp (and Crouch) relegated Southampton - a team that had been in the top flight for 27 consecutive seasons. Ok, it wasn't all down to him, but he did have plenty of time and the January transfer window - more than enough for someone of his managerial and 'wheeler-dealer' ability surely?

    But thats just been brushed aside by the spin created to tell us what a god of a manager he is. But I, and many others like me who form their own opinions rather than following the media darlings, remember the failings as well as the success.

    Lets just imagine Portsmouth suffer in the same way Gretna recently have. Will Redknapp continue to put Portsmouth in contention for Europe without the limitless wage bill provided by Gaydamak?.....

  • Comment number 41.

    I would like to say I never thought the money was the only factor, just a major and possibly primary one.

    Redknapp's charm can undoubtably be a force of nature at times but if the money isn't there to back it up then that charm will never get a look in.

    I would never claim there is only one reason for anything which is why I would never say it's all down to Gaydamak's money. But equally I don't think anyone should claim it's all down to Redknapp either.

  • Comment number 42.

    I admit that Redknapp is a very good manager, but he's not as wonderful as this article makes out. He's had a lot of help from Gaydamak's chequebook along the way.

    McNulty writes:

    "Redknapp has rejuvenated the careers of David James and Sol Campbell. He has attracted players of the calibre of Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth and pulled off a real coup by tempting Jermain Defoe away from Spurs."

    This paragraph is seriously flawed.

    Redknapp hardly rejuvenated the careers of James and Campbell. Any Man City fan will tell you that James was absolutely excellent the season before he joined Portsmouth and City only let him go because he was desperate to leave.

    In relation to Campbell, his career was hardly "rejuvenated" by Redknapp. He started to struggle at Arsenal because he was ageing and struggling with a few personal problems, so he merely moved down a level where the pressure was less acute. I think this so called "rejuvenation" is merely Campbell performing better at a lower level.

    Signing Defoe is hardly a "coup". He's been desperate to leave Spurs for ages. Moreover, I don't think Harry beat off bigger clubs for his signature as the term "coup" would imply. The same can be said for Diarra.

  • Comment number 43.

    £9m a bit steep! Compare that to Spurs who paid £16M for Bent last season and it's a snip. A quality player who will score goals wherever he plays; I reckon £9M is a bit of a bargain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Wow, some of these anti-Redknapp comments astound me. So what if he likes to work as a pundit, so does Martin O'Neill but nobody questions his ability as a manager because of it, the two things are entirely different. The Joe Cole/ Zidane comment that is irrelevant and we must not discount the idea that perhaps his comments aren't necessarily for our ears but are meant for his players to hear. I'm sure it would give a 19 year old Joe Cole a great boost to hear his manager say he can be as good as Zidane and even though he's never quite reached that level he has gone on to become a top quality player so the comment isn't as stupid as you make out.

    I also saw somebody say that he doesn't develop clubs? Hang on a minute, where were Portsmouth when he took over? Languishing at the bottom of what is now the Championship. He took them to promotion, kept them up, established them and now he's gotten them into Europe. I am one million percent sure that had they not had all that previous success under Redknapp Sasha Gaydamak would not have touched Pompey with a bargepole. Now they can afford to pay big wages, attract current internationals and are looking at building a brand new stadium. If that isn't development then I don't know what is.

    Its a results business at the end of the day and it really doesn't matter what his methods are like, Brian Clough was a wheeler dealer, got John Robertson to do all his coaching AND appeared as a pundit but he conquered Europe on more than one occasion and is regarded as one of the best managers of all time. While I'm not saying Redknapp is in that league he has had success and that is all Portsmouth fans will care about. Top bloke.

    As for good manager bad signings:
    Ferguson - Jordi Cruyff, Laurent Blanc, Taibi, Kleberson, Djemba-Djemba
    Wenger - Wright, Jeffers, Cygan
    Mourinho - Boularhouz, Tiago, Ben Haim
    Benitez - Josemi, Nunez, Pennant

  • Comment number 45.

    A good article Phil, and one which I would agree with in the main. I think HR is a great man manager, and I'm glad he stayed at Portsmouth because I think going to a "bigger" with greater financial muscle might have been his undoing. As you quite rightly say, every manager has their transfer ricketts (as in wrong choices, not Michael, although both meanings fit) but HR seems to have greater success than most. David James, Glenn Johnson, Sol Campbell, Defoe, Krancjear, Diarra - and now it appears Crouch - HR is putting together a very decent side. (although not sure where Glenn Little fits into that equation?)

    I think above all he's a realist, and he's honest with his players. I also think a lot of people under-estimate the amount of input Tony Adams brings to the table - I dont think its a co-incidence defensive players at Pompey seem to be improving all the time.

    My only gripe about your piece is the way you seem to be castigating Benitez. As already pointed out he gave Crouchie nothing but support during the initial barren run, and dont you think the reason 15mill was banded about was because Rafa didnt want to lose him, and was trying to defelct suitors?

    My only beef with Rafa is that he never gave the Crouch/Torres partnership a chance to succeed - difficult I know once he stumbled on the torres/gerrard partnership - but I think crouch and torres are intelligent enough to have formed an effective pairing.

    Liverpools loss is definitely Portsmouth's gain - I would have liked crouch to stay, and I think Rafa would as well.

    Above all, i think the most interesting aspect will be to see what HR gets out of the crouch/defoe partnership. If it works for Pompey, would it be transferred to the international scene? and if it works at club level and is tried at international level but doesnt work there, what does that say about HR man management v Capello's tactical prowess? If they form an effective partnership at club level, would capello be brave enough to leave Mr Rooney on the bench? Worms in a can that need to be opened I beleive!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Good article Phil, I do think a few years back Harry Redknapp deserved his "wheeler dealer" tag. But now he can take lesser risks buying a higher calibre of player as he has a stronger budget to work with, and he has made less poorer buys. And to the poster who said earlier that Redknapp's name always seems to crop up when there is a bung scandal is out of order, it's not his fault if that's the case, judge him if he ever gets found guilty. Anyway bad signings I remember a certain Jean Marc Ferri was Houlliers first signing, I think he was gone not long after signing, although to be fair a few ex players fromt hat time I know, reckon he was only brought in to be his eyes and ears in the dressing room.

  • Comment number 47.

    Biggest transfer clanger has to be Shevchenko to Stamford Bridge (regardless of who bought him).


    I would rather have Darren Bent than Peter Crouch. If Crouch Signs then i will have to look for a new premier league team, i just think the guys an advert for Durex.

    Harry has been pretty good in the transfer market, i think Pedro Mendes is a great player, he would be better in Italy or Spain when there is more time on ball and game is less physical.



  • Comment number 48.

    Good deal for Pompey, Liverpool and Crouch.

    As for Redknapp, yeah he's a decent enough Premiership manager and more creative than most in the transfer market.

    Let's be honest though, he's found his level at Portsmouth, on the fringes of the top 6. The same could be said for a lot of the players he's signed - Crouch included.


    As for bad buys by great managers, Juan Sebastian Veron anyone?

  • Comment number 49.

    "Add to this a new 36,000-seater stadium overlooking Portsmouth harbour and Redknapp is going to leave a very healthy legacy."

    Phil, you may be justified in singing the praises of Harry but he can hardly be credited with building the new stadium.

    On the point of bad buys by great managers, do Pool fans remember a certain Djimi Traore, wonder where he is now?

  • Comment number 50.

    Phil, I apologise if I'm reading your comments incorrectly but how is it that Benitez was wrong to set Crouch's original fee at £15m yet Martin O'Neill is absolutely correct to demand £18m for Gareth Barry?

    I appreciate you're not too keen on Liverpool and or Benitez but your latest articles on the club don't seem to make any sense other than to have a dig. This I find really sad as you have a lot of interesting points to make when talking about other matters.

  • Comment number 51.

    question marks against his integrity following police investigations. george graham was also a good manager but taking bungs ruined his reputation. is harry whiter than white?

  • Comment number 52.

    Agree almost entirely, Redknapp is a great manager, crouch is a good signing. But over priced at 9 million with only one year left in his contract! i'd say 4/5 mill would be about fair, as they could always use that fifa's article 17 thingy and get him for about 2/2.5 million.

  • Comment number 53.

    This highlights the whole problem with the Premiership at present, and I can't see it changing in the foreseeable future, namely that good players go in excess to the top 4 and then keep the bench warm.

    It has to be better for Crouch to be playing most weeks, rather than a couple of games a year, but for a Champs league side they have to have players of that level keeping the bench warm to be in it and still finish top 4 in the league.

    You could put together a couple of tremendous 11s from players who are not regular starters for Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, players that would start for at least half the remaining top flight teams every week. To do that though they would have to accept a smaller fortune for their services...

    It says a lot for Crouch that playing is more important to him.

  • Comment number 54.

    ignore his scoring record, forget what you think of his ability.

    just consider;

    9 million pounds for a striker whose contract expires in a years time

    not good business imo

  • Comment number 55.

    please can everyone stop going on and on about how great the man is. i can appreciate that taking a side who only a matter of years ago were going nowhere to an fa cup win is good, and also gives teams outside the top 4 alot of hope in claiming silverware. but do we have to listen to the sound of him having his backslapped every week?

  • Comment number 56.

    Phil, I know you'd like to appear to be the first to acknowledge Harry's abilities - but sadly you're a good 5 years late.

    We knew he was a genius in 2003 when he dragged us from nowhere all the way to the First Division title. Then he led us to 13th place in our first season in the Premiership, with only a couple of additions to the squad. Add to that the miraculous escape from relegation , consistently strong league placings and the FA Cup win (with each of these feats loudly applauded by the fans and media alike) and you can hardly say that he was underappreciated before.

    I really don't understand how signing Peter Crouch in any way demonstrates Harry's "magic". Surely all it proves is that he has a board capable of stumping up the cash? The fact is that if Pompey couldn't afford the transfer fee or Crouch's wages, he wouldn't sign. Harry or no Harry.

    Obviously it helps that they've worked together in the past (like with Defoe), but that alone is not enough to attract a player.

  • Comment number 57.

    crouch is going to portsmouth because he will get a guaranteed start.

    perhaps villa are the only other 'top 6' club that could have offered that.

    end of.

    this is not to diss harry but lets not go mental - if he was that good he would be at a big club either in the uk or abroad.

  • Comment number 58.

    Danny Lang.

    In response to your the 'Zidane comment wasnt supposed to be for our ears' i agree that its supposed to be a boost for the player. However, the original article this was in response to was regarding why Harry Redknapp isnt given credit and not taken as seriously as he, presumably, and the writer of the piece thinks he should be. This is exactly the kind of comment that makes him NOT in the same league as the other managers that are being mentioned in these articles.

    Its too late now, but if Redknapp would have learnt not to be available for comment on absolutely everything and didnt come out with nonsense comments like comparing a struggling, as he was then, young player with, arguably, one of the best midfielders in the last 20 years, he MAY have had a chance for one of the 'BIG' jobs he obviously thinks he deserves and craves.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Bet this gets removed too

  • Comment number 61.

    I think you're absolutely correct, Phil. I've been watching Pompey since long before Harry Redknapp became manager and our progress has been almost miraculous since he took charge. Obviously he couldn't have got us to where we are now without a significant financial input from Milan Mandaric and subsequently a huge financial input from Sasha Gaydamark. He has a great eye for a player and the fantastic knack of keeping players happy so they want to play for him. He's bought the odd one or two duds (every manager has!) but overall his judgement is superb. I find it hard to believe that ANY manager in the country could have bettered his efforts over his time with us considering the resources at his disposal. Now that he has significant financial resources (although I would guess still much less than 7 or 8 other clubs) it will be interesting to see just how much more he can achieve.

  • Comment number 62.

    The carping from some of these posters is unbelievable: how many teams that house larger crowds (and therefore generate more cash) have come up to the Premiership and crashed straight back out again?

    How many teams that have been in the Premiership spent the seasons immediately prior to their promotion facing relegation to the third tier of English football and have gone on to cement their position in the Premiership and won the FA Cup to boot? (How many have won promotion so impressively?)

    Harry took us into the Premiership on the limited (but hugely welcome) resources of Milan Mandaric, buying in experience and skill on a short term basis. Now with Gaydamak's resources he is building a better team and squad and is taking us to places we could only have dreamed about previously.

    The man is a marvel.

  • Comment number 63.

    "Redknapp was interviewed by Newcastle but NOT offered the job"

    That just goes to show what a bunch of clowns run Newcastle!

  • Comment number 64.

    I seem to remember him pulling off the same feat with West Ham, who looked certainties for relegation, one season. And then took them to something like 6th, 7th in the league before he was sacked.

    Brilliant decision that, because apparently he'd taken West Ham as far as the board felt he was able to.

    How many seasons did it take for them to get relegated after he left?

    And as for just being a manager that spends (which seems contradictory to the "wheeler dealer" moniker - odd how people can't make up their minds) what about Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermaine Defoe and Rio Ferdinand? All players he brought through at West Ham.

    Not good enough for England? His work at West Ham has given England at least 5 of their best players. Probably knows a thing or two about getting the best out of them too.

    And before anyone brings up the coaches that actually did the work, perhaps they did so because of the manager that not only hired them, but was intelligent enough to see what they were capable of and allowed them to get on with their jobs.

  • Comment number 65.

    i have to say i think Liverpool will really regrett this, crouch has been a great player form them and letting him go to Pompey for a mere 9 million is one great bargain in any terms for a great striker, and immagine that combination of Crouch and Defoe, that will be very interesting indeed! Well done to Harry thats one great deal!

  • Comment number 66.

    I am a big fan of what Harry has done at Pompey and he certainly deserves more recognition than he gets.
    I would love to have seen him made England manager but I don't suppose he ticks all the right boxes for the saviours of football at the FA.

  • Comment number 67.

    I think Liverpool have concentrated on getting rid of the wrong striker...Voronin is a dead weight but Harry wisely has chosen a striker hungry for more football...not the best striker by any means but has qualities that Harry can bring the best out of...

    Crouch and Defoe as a strike partnership...could be interesting...

  • Comment number 68.

    "I stand by my original assertion that Benitez was wrong to open his bargaining by asking for ?15m - he was never going to get that and his subsequent ?10m bid for Barry proved it."

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Who are you to say that Benitez got his initail bargaining position wrong? What if he'd started off by accepting offers from £9 million, do you think Benitez would've got £9 million? Because if you do, then you really need to come into the adult world. It's called a 'negotiatig position' and ALL managers ask for more than they expect to get.

    And as for your implication in the blog, that Benitez was cold towards Crouch, do you actually follow football? Benitez was his staunchest defender when every serious commentator (and the more laughable ones, like you) were slating him in his first season.

    I've also just read your incredibly biased diatribe against Benitez in your Barry blog and am disgusted that my licence fee goes towrds paying the wages of unknowedgable sycophants like you. I have made a comlaint, and would suggest others fed up with McNulty's brand of 'journalism' do the same.

    Shame on you.

  • Comment number 69.

    Shock horror, another tripe ravaged anti Rafa anti Liverpool article by Nulty. Like countless other have pointed out, i especailly like the bit about Crouch being under used, whilst when we bought him the world and it's dogs slated the 'Spainard' for making a mockery out of England greatest club. Now you want to tell the world the Spainard doesn't know who/what he's losing?? Well it is Crouch who wouldn't sign a new deal, as opposed to Rafa not giving him one. And as for "Arry2 getting the best out of him, well that shouldn't be hard, Rafa has advanced his game and self confidence 10 fold. Just like the Barry article i have to again question the rational behind Nulty's absurd statements.

  • Comment number 70.

    Certain managers are 'loved' by the media others loathed. Harry is in the former group. Also the fact that he is a former Hammer and can therefore do no wrong. As seen by the fact they were not docked points for the Tevez affair. As for managers and their worst signing(s) Peter Reid - Milton Nunez!!!

  • Comment number 71.

    No doubt Harry has pulled another rabit out of the hat but the most prominent and best moves was the acquisition of Lasana Diarra. I believe that was the turning point for Portsmouth Football Club.

  • Comment number 72.

    He's not this outstanding manager so many people seem to be saying - and, by the way, who sold Crouch in the first place?

  • Comment number 73.

    As I have always thought ,that other club fans are only to eager to knock any club other than their own, with some of the sad comments mentioned previously.

    Thousands of other Pompey Supporters and myself are enjoying this magical ride as long as it continues, and will do so hopefully for many years to come.

    Harry does deserve to have some recognition for what he has achieved ever since he came to Pompey. His ablility to manage people should be applauded by all.

    Harry would make a superb England manager with his skills, he would not have to buy any players, just get the best out of them, the players, as he has done here.

    I, and thousand of other supporters would be very upset if he left, but I think he is one England manager who could do the job part time, as long as Tony Adams and Joe Jordan remain at Pompey.

  • Comment number 74.

    HR's building of the current Portsmouth team follows a proven strategy which has been tied and tested by other managers of improving clubs over the years and involves a few simple steps. First, the acquisition of experienced proven players that will bloom for a few seasons at least, eg Campbell, Kanu, James. Second, add players who are on the fringe of top quality squads but lacking opportunities, eg Johnson, maybe Crouch. Third, and this is the tricky bit, try to scout unproven (at the level the club is at) talent . Not a bad tactic, it works, I think "Big Ron" followed similar tactics somewhere. By results, HR's a good enough manager that gets the team working for him. That's the biggest thing and, by results, something Rafa Benitez evidently achieves in greater measure.

  • Comment number 75.

    Peter Taylor - Ade Akinbiyi (£5m for Leicester) - really, really never understood that one. Ever.

    Glenn Hoddle - Sergei Rebrov (£11m for Spurs) - anything Andriy Shevchenko can do, Rebrov...can't.

    Gianluca Vialli / Claudio Ranieri- Winston Bogarde (free for Chelsea) - allegedly earned over £10m over 4 years in return for 11 games. Vialli signed him, then got sacked, and Ranieri didn't like him. So Chelsea tried to sell him, then force him out. Bogarde stuck to his guns, to much general ridicule, and refused to cancel his contract. I wholly recommend his autobiography to hear his take on it.

    Jose Antonio Camacho - Jonathan Woodgate (£13.4m for Real Madrid) - maybe not a great manager either, but still, almost the ultimate in awful signings.

    Graeme Souness - Ali Dia (freebie for Southampton) - good old Graeme believed the story about him being George Weah's cousin and gave him a game. Matt Le Tissier will probably be giving after dinner speeches about that one for the rest of his life.



  • Comment number 76.

    Why does this Everton fan always write about Liverpool? Always having a dig in some way at the club, surely this is poor corespondance?

    Isn't there another club to write about Phil? Maybe time to get over that chip on your shoulder? You are a professional after all...

  • Comment number 77.

    Looks like he's going to go Pompey,besides Crouch didn't get enough starts for Liverpool and he's pushing for an England place.

  • Comment number 78.

    I like Harry Redknapp and what he has done for Pompey is remarkable (I say that with gritted teeth as a Saints fan).

    However what often happens (as is the case here) is that his spell with us is simply brushed aside as if it never happened. His record for Saints was not very good at all, and even if you could forgive him for the off-field issues going on at the time, it was nevertheless his responsibility to pick the team and get us playing.

    He spent most of his time moaning and groaning publicly, and basically palming off the blame elsewhere.

    Still, no-one cares about his time at Southampton and why would they really - only goes to ruin the story!! :@)

  • Comment number 79.

    'Arry is a "a manager who will put an arm around Crouch's shoulder"

    I'd love to see his platform soles when he's doing that!

  • Comment number 80.

    we should all remember peter crouch's skills as a dancer, his best work was done 'on the floor', as they say

  • Comment number 81.

    is it just me or do you think if peter crouch was not 6ft7 he would have been playing week in week out. the man has a good goal scoring record and has a much better touch than people give him credit for. His awkwardness to defend against makes him the player that he is and i personally think he was somewhat ignored by rafa. he has great ability and can play the holding striker role as good as any. I for one would have loved to see torres partnered with him more. as for harry i think its a good bit of buisiness, crouchy will score plenty of goals if he gets the games whoever he plays for.
    As a man i could not help but like the guy he always conducted himself well on and off the pitch and i for one will be sad to see him go, i also wish him all the best and hopefully a few more games.
    as for rafa, lets sell crouchy and keep the human barrel bellyed brolin-esq striker that is veronin, oh dear, even his international coach says hes fat.
    all the best crouchy you deserve it......

  • Comment number 82.

    You really are a Bitter aren't you Phil. There's nothing wrong with a bit of objective journalism but all we get from you is objectional journalism. Personally i've had enough of your anti liverpool rafa diatribes.Day in Day out, So much so that i shall in future rely on other less biased sites for my news. Oh and i notice your comment is the only one that doesn't have a complain about tag with it. Just as well really (it stops server overload).

  • Comment number 83.

    Phil, With Gaydamaks money and Peter Storrie doing the deals they deserve most of the credit you are giving Harry. Yes, he is good at attracting players but am sure like Campbell, Lauren, Diarra etc. we are paying silly wages which often helps persuade the player. You mention Nugent as a flop but he has not been given any sort of chance to prove himself, one of harrys failings as a manager is his stubborn attitude to keep playing his favourites despite continual bad performances.

    Harry is a hero with the new wave of fans since we got promoted and crave success but most of the old school cannot forgive the traitorous move to southampton and the way his ego means more to him than the club.

    Overall he has done a great job as manager no doubt but getting too much praise for things he hasnt done will just inflate his ego more.

  • Comment number 84.

    lucid tentacles 82 - I complained about him and my comment was removed - interesting!

  • Comment number 85.

    I can think of same terrible signings from a terrible Manager.... Actually I could come up with about a 100 million pound team of terrible acquisitions from that manager.

    Heskey, Diouf, Salif Diao, Tallec, Pongolle, Cise, Cheyrou, Litmanen, Biscan, Kewell, Titi Camara, Zeige... and I'll throw in Kirkland for always being injured. (needed a goalie)

    Can anyone think of one Manager who's made a string of worse singings????

  • Comment number 86.

    Who exactly is a critic of Harry? Every time someone mentions his name it's like a big love in!

  • Comment number 87.

    Hilarious! A decent, balanced article, and all the liverpool fans perceive the usual anti-liverpool conspiracy. Well done for reinforcing the stereo-type and starting my day with a laugh!

  • Comment number 88.

    Dear Phil,

    Can you please explain the logic in your two last articles being "Barry saga leaving sour taste" and "Crouch deal proves Redknap ability" in which the least can be said is that you are not really a big fan of Rafa?

    Isn't there anything else going on in the football world that deserves to be written on? just a few examples:
    1. How will Man U adapt with Quieroz and maybe ronaldo leaving? (even being a lifelong liverpool fan, i think those two issues have been more in the news during the last few days)
    2. Adebayor's Saga leaving sour taste.
    3. Will Scolari become the new "special one"?
    4. Will wenger unearth new gems? (flamini - hleb - adebayor left or might leave and he has admitted he doesn't have much money to spend).

    As for your ongoing "complaint" about valuations, please try to understand one principle about trade (football being one since buying and selling is involved in it): any commodity (players are human ones) is worth how keen people / teams are for them and how much they are willing to pay? everything is subjective depending on the parties involved, age and the duration of contract left (is Lampard worth only the 6.5 millions that it is reported Inter did bid for him?...).
    To rafa's and LFC's credit, they were flexible in the crouch issue and respected the player's wishes (i would have loved the torres - crouch parternship but can anybody say that the torres - gerrard one is not working incredibly well). As opposed to this attitude, somebody else are threatening his star player (with ten years of loyal services to the team) that he will rot in the stands without any respect for his wishes.

    I hope that you will convince me and lots of people that you have no "anti lfc / anti rafa" bias.

  • Comment number 89.

    Credit to 'Arry: fair dues, 'nuff said. However, credit should also be given to Benitez for standing by Crouch when he was widely panned by the media in his first season at Anfield; the Spaniard ahould also be acknowledged for for helping to advance Crouch's game; and now he should be given credit for quickly concluding a deal to let the player go to his preferred club when he could have held out for more from other suitors. A healthy balance between the best interests of the club and the wishes of the player. Now if only a certain Martin O'Niel would take note.

  • Comment number 90.

    Deadly Leadley -

    9 million pounds for a 27 YEAR OLD STRIKER whose contract expires in a years time.

    Lampard 8 million pounds for a 31 year old MIDFIELDER whose contract expires in a years time.

    Crouch's price is about right I reckon

  • Comment number 91.

    inane drivel from a phil "i hate liverpool" McNutty and will try to ensure this poor reporting style is reflected in any article i write. What next how Rafa is responsible for the increase in Greenhouse emissions to how Liverpool plotted with Bush to invade Iraq. Shows how poor the standard of reporting has become when they allow biased and poor reporting to be rerproduced on ther eweb sites.

  • Comment number 92.

    I've read some comments about redknapp and his bad signings and but hey i think all clubs have made bad signings. but to say he has made more than most is total poo.

    and as for the only reason they come to pompey is for the money well thats the only reason why they leave us is for more money ie yakubu from £3M to £11m and higher wages what do you think bit of a false statement. or is it the fact that Harry is actually a manager who gets the best out of players who have been pushed aside.

    David james, Sol campbell, and Sylvan Distin all came to pompey for less money. than what they were getting so how you work that one out i don't know.

    David James prems best goal keeper last season.

    Distin, campbell,Johnson ask anyone if they would want them three in there defense and they wouldn't hesitate.

    Harry to be the next england manager na he's too good for that job besides he doesn't fit the criterea he's English.

    for me the best english manager we have and should be recognised for his work he has done for pompey and for football alone.

  • Comment number 93.

    I think the whole "Peter Crouch Fan Club" (inc Mr McNulty) need to put some things into perspective.

    McNulty writes that Crouch is "a player underused by Liverpool..." and obviously seems to have forgotten that there is now a certain Mr F Torres on the Liverpool books. Unlike Crouch, Torres made a big impact in his first season. Crouch had 2 years before then to make such an impact. He showed flashes of being "quite good" but that was all.

    What should Benitez have done? Played Torres less to play Crouch more? REALLY??? What would Benitez' critics have said then. Alan Hansen already incorrectly stated on MOTD that Torres had been rested from too many League matches (at that stage in early April, it was 2 matches when Torres was fit but not in the starting XI).

    Playing them together didn't lead to either particularly exciting or effective football, so that option is out.

    So Benitez is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

    I would have liked Crouch to stay as an alternative to Torres (for when a 4-4-2 is a more suitable formation). But Crouch wants to be a regular starter and that's his perogative. Good luck Peter, but some of your fans (inc the alleged experts) need to think a bit deeper.

  • Comment number 94.

    "I can think of same terrible signings from a terrible Manager.... Actually I could come up with about a 100 million pound team of terrible acquisitions from that manager.

    Heskey, Diouf, Salif Diao, Tallec, Pongolle, Cise, Cheyrou, Litmanen, Biscan, Kewell, Titi Camara, Zeige... and I'll throw in Kirkland for always being injured. (needed a goalie)

    Can anyone think of one Manager who's made a string of worse singings????"

    Five of these players are part of a Champions League winning squad which just goes to prove how much talent Rafa has as he moulded Mr Houllier's leftovers into European Champions. I'd like to have seen the great HR do that.
    And you can add to that list Djimi Traore who was only the second worst premiership defender ever because he played in an era with Titus Shambles.

  • Comment number 95.

    I think you have got it wrong a little or am i misunderstanding things, Crouch was used well for the first 2 seasons, his goal ratio for LFC was 3.3 One Goal to every 3 Games thats good, hes simply become surplus to requirements, hes being pushed out by one of the worlds best strikers! and Kuyt who has enjoyed a great tournament for Holland, However I will agree Harry is a Greay manager and makes portsmouth look like a team to challange and push forwards!

  • Comment number 96.

    stevenicolsleftpeg - to you about your comment,

    Just to hit back at your rubbish,
    Heskey is enjoying a little bit of good football, Cisse was tipped to be a great, however never made it, Like Veron, Like Most Man city players this season and on and on Kewell would be absolutly blinding if he wasn;t injured LFC where not to know that,Zeige wasn;t a Bad buy at all!! and Kirkland is still playing and well may I add, al I can see from your comment is that you tried to victimise LFC and pick out a few bad players, they all have them!

  • Comment number 97.

    to crimlis

    if you would have read my post correctly you would see i was responding to an earlier post (85 i think) and was in fact defending these players you fool. I am hardly going to victimise the club i love.

    Apart from Traore. He will never be forgiven for the Burnley incident.

  • Comment number 98.

    Phil, have pompey not had to rethink the harbour stadium plan after an objection from the Royal Navy?

  • Comment number 99.

    stevenicolsleftpeg

    Obviously crimlis doesnt get the gist of these things. It is interesting that you mention Djimi Traore as the only one of those players you would single out for criticism.

    Didn't the great Arry sign him from us at one stage?

  • Comment number 100.

    I think that this has been good business for both parties, as Portsmouth have gained a decent player who i believe will form a very successful partnership with Defoe and help Pompey challenge for another UEFA cup place. While it was also good business for Liverpool, as they received a decent transfer fee for a player with only one year remaining on his contract and who was used sparingly. Liverpool could quite easily attract a replacement player of similar standard for a similar fee.

    Redknapp's achievements as a manager are certainly something to be admired, as although he has spent money over the last couple of seasons, his initial success at Portsmouth and previously at West Ham was done with relatively low budgets, and so what if he's spent money, look at the amount of money that Newcastle have spent in the past and what have they won?

    As for all the complaints from Liverpool fans about bias within the article, fair enough not all of what Phil has said is true, but this is a blog, the principal point of which is supposed to be an opinion. If you dont want to hear peoples opinions don't read blogs just read the BBC news article.

 

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