Birmingham City: Harry Redknapp named manager after Gianfranco Zola’s resignation

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Redknapp has ‘no magic wand’ for Blues

Birmingham City have appointed Harry Redknapp as their new manager.

The ex-West Ham, Tottenham and QPR boss succeeds Gianfranco Zola, who resigned on Monday after a 2-0 defeat by fellow Championship strugglers Burton Albion.

Blues are 20th in the table, three points above the relegation zone with three games left, and travel to local rivals Aston Villa on Sunday.

“Birmingham are a proper football club but they are in a precarious position,” Redknapp, 70, told Talksport.

Redknapp’s appointment was announced just 16 hours after Zola’s departure, and he says he will initially take charge until the end of the season.

He took charge of Jordan for two World Cup qualifiers last year, and worked as an adviser to Derby County last season, but has not managed in England since leaving QPR in February 2015.

An FA Cup winner with Portsmouth in 2008, he led Tottenham to the Champions League quarter-finals during a four-year spell at White Hart Lane.

In 2016, he was made a director at Wimborne Town and a football consultant for Australian side Central Coast Mariners.

‘I’m not going to turn them into Real Madrid’

Steve Cotterill Harry Redknapp<!–

Steve Cotterill (left) worked with Harry Redknapp at QPR

Redknapp, who will be assisted by former Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill, said: “I got a phone call last night at 7pm from the people at Birmingham.

“I drove to London and had a 10-15-minute meeting with them and said: ‘I’ll come and do it.’

“My wife said to me ‘are you mad or what?’ but I get fed up sitting around doing nothing.”

Blues could be in the relegation zone by the time Redknapp takes charge of his first match.

Should Blackburn and Nottingham Forest both win on Saturday, Birmingham would slip into the bottom three.

After facing Villa, Blues host promotion-chasing Huddersfield Town before visiting Bristol City on the final day of the regular season.

“It’s a real challenge,” said Redknapp. “I’ll live up there until the end of the season, and if I keep them up I’ll sit down and talk about next season.

“It’s not really a risk. They have won two out 22. I haven’t got a magic wand. I’m not going to turn them into Real Madrid. We need a win.”

Zola’s ill-fated tenure

When Gary Rowett was sacked in December, Blues were seventh in the table, but two wins in 24 matches during Zola’s four-month tenure mean they have plunged into trouble.

Speaking as Zola was appointed, director Panos Pavlakis said the Italian’s “pedigree” matched their ambition to “move in a new direction”.

But, after Monday’s defeat by Burton, Zola said: “I sacked myself.

“I am sorry because I came to Birmingham with huge expectations. It is not that I like quitting, but Birmingham deserves better.”

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Gianfranco Zola explains Birmingham resignation

Six memorable Redknapp moments

Redknapp’s appointment marks the return of one of football’s most colourful characters. Here are some of his memorable off-field moments:

‘I’m no wheeler dealer’: Despite his reputation for being busy in the transfer market and giving interviews through his car window on deadline day, Redknapp reacted furiously when called a “wheeler dealer” in a 2010 interview.

Drenched by Spurs squad: Soaked by his players with an ice bucket during a live TV interview as they celebrated qualifying for the Champions League.

Fury at Bent miss: After Darren Bent headed wide from six yards as Spurs drew 1-1 with Portsmouth, he said: “My missus could have scored that one.”

Hit in training: Launched a foul-mouthed tirade after being hit by a ball while speaking to a reporter at Portsmouth’s training ground.

Brought a fan on to play: Sent a supporter on to replace Lee Chapman in a pre-season friendly for West Ham against Oxford City.

Sticks up for Frank Lampard: Under criticism at a West Ham fans’ forum for picking Lampard, his nephew, Redknapp predicted: “He will go right to the very top.” The midfielder went on to win 106 England caps and 11 major trophies with Chelsea.

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