Belfast Telegraph

Redknapp aiming to weave magic and save Brum

By Robert Jones

Harry Redknapp has returned to management with Birmingham after becoming "fed up" in his time out of football. The 70-year-old was yesterday confirmed as Gianfranco Zola's successor until the end of the season, and he will be assisted in his bid to preserve their Championship status by former Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill.

Zola's terrible run of only two wins from 24 Championship fixtures has left Birmingham 20th, and worryingly only three points above the relegation zone with three games to play, but Redknapp said: "I got fed up sitting around doing nothing. I will come and live up here until the end of the season.

"If I can keep them up then we can sit down and talk about going forward.

"I got a phone call last night from the people at Birmingham.

"I drove to London, had a meeting for 10 to 15 minutes, sat down and said, 'yeah, I will do it, no problem'. I got home and my wife said, 'are you mad?'

"Birmingham is a proper club. They are in a precarious position and we have got the worst goal difference as well.

"I've gone in there, said I will come and do it. The money I am not interested in."

Brum's season began promisingly under new Derby manager Gary Rowett, who had taken them into contention for promotion, before unexpectedly being sacked and replaced by former Chelsea ace Zola.

The club's supporters chanted for Zola's departure during Monday's 2-0 defeat by Burton, after which he resigned.

Redknapp's last job in English football came at Derby last season, as a football advisor alongside then-manager Darren Wassall. He previously led QPR to promotion from the Championship via the play-offs in 2014, and Portsmouth as league winners in 2003.

One of his predecessors as manager, Alex McLeish, who left Birmingham for cross-city rivals Aston Villa in 2011, described the appointment as a "shock" but expects Redknapp to secure survival.

"I am sure that he will keep them up," said the 58-year-old Scot. "He will keep it real and stir them up for the last three games.

"It was a shock, he has taken it until the end of the season."

His first match as manager comes at Villa on Sunday.

• Glen Johnson has signed a one-year contract extension with Stoke.

The former England defender, whose previous deal was due to expire this summer, is now committed to the Potters until 2018.

The 32-year-old right-back, whose past clubs include Chelsea and Portsmouth, joined the club on a free transfer from Liverpool in 2015.

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