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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 17:40 GMT
Redknapp goes back to Portsmouth
New Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp
Milan has taken a massive gamble by bringing me back
Harry Redknapp
Portsmouth have announced the return of Harry Redknapp as manager, just over a year after he quit the club.

Redknapp, who walked out of Pompey in November 2004 and joined bitter rivals Southampton, was delighted the clubs agreed a deal allowing him to return.

The 58-year-old said: "It took me less than a minute to sign the contract, it didn't even have any figures on it.

"The key to coming back was that Milan [Mandaric] wanted me and was big enough to say 'Harry, I want you back'."

Redknapp's return to Fratton Park signals the end of one of football's biggest soap operas.

The former West Ham manager is now back after chairmen Mandaric and Southampton couterpart Rupert Lowe agreed an undisclosed compensation package.

Redknapp takes charge of a Portsmouth team in the Premiership's bottom three and has agreed a contract until the end of the season.
HARRY REDKNAPP FACTFILE
Born: 2 March 1947 in Poplar
Playing career:
1965-71 West Ham (149 games, 5 goals)
1972-75 Bournemouth (101 games, 5 goals)
1976 Brentford (1 game)
Coaching career:
1982-1992 Bournmouth
1992-2001 West Ham
2001-2004 Portsmouth
2004-2005 Southampton
2005- Portsmouth

"If we stay up we'll sit down and talk about it. It's not a money situation or a long contract, I just wanted to come back," he said.

It is a similar position to that of Southampton when he took the reins at St Mary's a year ago.

He failed to keep Southampton in the Premiership and Redknapp admitted: "This is a massive challenge and Milan has taken a massive gamble by bringing me back.

"But if we give it a go and work hard, we can turn it round."

Mandaric was delighted to have managed to bring Redknappback to the club.

He added: "I must say after many hard-working days in the last couple of weeks, it has finally come to the conclusion that I hoped.

"Bringing back the man who left us a year ago, bringing him back to his home, our home. He was the best manager in my time at this football club.

"I don't think I can tell you how pleased I am."

Redknapp, who succeeds French manager Alain Perrin at Fratton Park, admitted he regretted joining Pompey's rivals Southampton.

He said: "It was a bad mistake to go to Southampton and that's not being disrespectful to them, but really I shouldn't have done it for the sake of the fans.

"I know how people must have felt when I left. When I left I genuinely never thought I would go to Southampton."

Redknapp guided Portsmouth into the Premiership and ensured their survival in their first season back in the top flight.

He added: "I had a great time here, the best time of my footballing life."

TO SAINTS AND BACK AGAIN
15 Nov 2004: Portsmouth appoint Velimir Zajec as executive director
24 Nov: Redknapp leaves Portsmouth, citing personal reasons
8 Dec: Redknapp becomes Southampton manager
15 May 2005: Southampton relegated to the Championship 25 July: Sir Clive Woodward, former England rugby coach, joins as Southampton's performance director
24 Nov: Portsmouth sack Alain Perrin as manager
1 Dec: Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric confirms he wants talks with Redknapp
3 Dec: Redknapp leaves Southampton
5 Dec: Southampton turn down Portsmouth's initial compensation offer
7 Dec: Portsmouth confirm Redknapp as their new manager

Lowe was unhappy with the way the affair had been conducted.

He said: "We do not believe that this episode has been conducted within the rules of the game and have made our understanding of the last week available to both The Premier League and The Football League.

"This saga had got to the stage of being an embarrassment for football as a whole.

"Portsmouth have produced a compensation package that is just acceptable to this club and I consider that it is in Southampton's best interests to get on with the future rather than dwell on the past.

"I cannot comment on the quantum of the settlement as both clubs are bound by a confidentiality agreement."

Redknapp revealed Frank Lampard senior, father of Chelsea star Frank Lampard, was the catalyst for his return.

The new Pompey boss said: "Frank came down for the Chelsea game to watch his son and had a cup of tea with Milan.

"Frank phoned me on the way home and said: 'I think he would have you back'. And it went from there."




WATCH AND LISTEN
News conference: Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric



SEE ALSO
Redknapp may take six-month break
04 Dec 05 |  Southampton


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