If Harry Redknapp isn’t keen on travelling to Australia in his new role for the Central Coast Mariners, it is advisable that the struggling A-League club looks for another football consultant.
And, even if the former Premier League manager is coaxed into flying into Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport, there is a chance that he could end up in Wollongong, rather than at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
Redknapp’s faux pas in calling his new club the “South Coast Mariners” on talkSPORT this week means that he might be looking for a team an hour’s drive south of Sydney, instead of 75 kilometres to the north.
During the same radio interview, Redknapp contradicted Mariners’ owner Mike Charlesworth who had assured fans that the 69-year-old would be visiting Gosford on “at least two occasions during the season and hopefully more during the off season”.
Redknapp’s plan, clearly, is to work remotely for the Mariners from his base in the UK, as he has done this season as adviser to Championship club, Derby County.
“No, no, I won’t be going [to Australia]. It’s a long way,” Redknapp said. “Thirty-odd hours on a plane. I came home the other week and it took me a week to recover. It’s a long way but it’s a fantastic country when you get there.”
Redknapp’s most recent visit to Australia came during March’s AFC World Cup qualifiers in temporary charge of Jordan for a crucial match. Defeat the Socceroos away from home, and the Jordanians would have moved through to the next phase on the road to Russia 2018.
Nine months earlier, the West Asians had secured a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Ange Postecoglou’s side in Amman. So, they should have held no fears in facing up to familiar opponents, having lost only one of their previous seven qualifiers.
Instead, the Redknapp-coached Jordan collapsed to a feeble 5-1 defeat at the Sydney Football Stadium, with their consolation goal coming in the 90th minute.
Given that cameo coaching stint and Redknapp’s dismal record with his most recent Premier League club, Queens Park Rangers – his winning percentage was 34.29 even when games from the second tier are included – it makes little sense for the A-League strugglers to seek his help.
Certainly, his dubious QPR record in terms of player recruitment would do little to enthuse Aussie fans.
Last season, the Mariners set a slew of unwanted records as they finished with the wooden spoon after only three wins in 27 games, including the worst points total for a season with 10 teams or more, and the most goals conceded.
Redknapp is friends with Mariners’ executive vice chairman, Peter Storrie, who is also based in England. They worked together when Redknapp was West Ham United manager in the 1990s and then at Portsmouth a few years later.
Owner Charlesworth, another Englishman, is convinced that the man who won the FA Cup with Portsmouth, and guided Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League, would make a big difference to the club’s fortunes.
We’ve just made one of our biggest signings and that’s Harry himself joining the Mariners on a part-time basis,” Charlesworth told the club’s official website.
“He’s a BBC football pundit and one of the greatest football characters in the game today. This is great news and another huge step forward in the club’s development.”
But in reality, the Redknapp appointment surpasses January’s short-term signing of 37-year-old Luis Garcia – based on his performance in an exhibition game for Liverpool Legends – as Central Coast’s most ill-advised deal of the year.
The 2013 Australian champions, who produced Crystal Palace and Australia captain Mile Jedinak and Valencia goalkeeper Mat Ryan, among others, require more than just vanity signings and publicity stunts. The Mariners are in desperate need of a complete squad overhaul, plus a new head coach to replace former youth boss Tony Walmsley, who had no previous top-level experience when he took over in March 2015.
Few people would question that Redknapp remains one of football’s most endearing and enigmatic characters. He would be welcomed on the TV pundit’s couch when England play Australia in a friendly at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on May 27.
But to suggest that he can offer anything meaningful to Central Coast from his home on England’s south coast is ridiculous.
Even though there is no relegation or promotion in the A-League, the last thing that Australia’s domestic competition needs is to see an already struggling Mariners turned into Australia’s answer to dysfunctional QPR.
Former Herald journalist Jason Dasey is Singapore-based Senior Editor of global football website: 老站出售espnfc老域名出售
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