What can veteran boss Harry Redknapp conjure up at Birmingham City?by Mike Holden / 07 August 2017, 16:11Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) looks at what we can expect from Harry Redknapp and Birmingham during the 2017/18 Championship season.
Harry Redknapp was parachuted in for the final three matches of last season and steered Birmingham to safety with two wins, following a shocking five-month nosedive under Gianfranco Zola. New owners Trillion Trophy Asia had sacked Gary Rowett in December, much to the bemusement of outsiders, and the dressing room seemingly downed tools, with the Italian able to muster just two wins in 24 matches. Redknapp supposedly has cash to splash but has so far struggled to sell his vision to most of his first-choice targets.
Observation is Redknapp’s forte and the realm of man-management is where that skill is utilised best. He has an unerring ability to understand what makes any individual tick and players are nearly always responsive to his ideas because he speaks their language and says the right things. Through experience, he has learned to understand that relaxation is key to peak performance and his teams rarely succumb to pressure because he sends players out in a state of calm, with an unshakable belief in their own ability.
"We’ve got very ambitious owners. They've been fantastic. They want to build a team for Birmingham, a team to be proud of. Nobody is going to say at the end of the year 'we finished in the bottom half, it’s an improvement on last year'. I want to be up there challenging and nothing else will satisfy me. The key to this job - the first and most important thing - is signing good players. If you don't sign good players then you're not going to have a good team."
The signing of David Stockdale was a real statement of intent but it hasn’t been followed up by as many new arrivals as originally anticipated. Redknapp will surely go on a mad trolley dash come deadline day but you already get the impression that Blues have failed to capitalise on the renewed optimism from their final-day heroics. Even if Redknapp does eventually satisfy his appetite for new faces, the foundations aren’t solid enough to wage a prolonged game of catch-up in the promotion stakes.