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On this day in 2004: Harry Redknapp appointed Southampton manager

New Southampton manager Harry Redknapp (Chris Ison/PA)
New Southampton manager Harry Redknapp (Chris Ison/PA)

Harry Redknapp was appointed manager of Southampton, two weeks after leaving his job at Portsmouth, on this day in 2004.

The 57-year-old had quit Saints’ south-coast rivals claiming he needed a break from the game.

Redknapp took over from Steve Wigley, who had managed just one win in 14 league games – ironically over Pompey – and with the club third from bottom in the Premiership.

Harry Redknapp to Southampton
Harry Redknapp with Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe (Chris Ison/PA)

Redknapp left Portsmouth after chairman Milan Mandaric brought in executive director Velimir Zajec.

He turned Pompey from a club struggling in the lower reaches of the Championship to a mid-table Premiership team in two-and-a-half years.

Fratton Park director Terry Brady called Redknapp’s move along the south coast “the highest betrayal possible”.

Soccer – FA Cup – Final – Portsmouth v Cardiff City – Wembley Stadium
Redknapp returned to Portsmouth and won the FA Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

But the former Bournemouth and West Ham boss was unable to keep Southampton up as the club’s 27-year spell in the top flight came to an end.

Redknapp left St Mary’s the following December and promptly returned to Portsmouth, where he won the FA Cup in 2008.