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Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 10:25 UK

Redknapp hails Cup rival's trading skill

By Peter Shuttleworth

Harry Redknapp may be football's equivalent of Del Boy - but he has hailed Dave Jones as the ultimate wheeler-dealer.

Harry Redknapp talks about Dave Jones

The Cardiff City boss has been forced to trawl the transfer backwaters to turn rough diamonds into crown jewels just to keep a professional football club in the Welsh capital.

"Dave has done wonders for Cardiff," said Portsmouth manager Redknapp.

"His excellent work in the transfer market has kept the club afloat."

Jones has begged, stolen and borrowed to mould a group of players who are determined to prove people wrong.

And his prudence and eye for a bargain in the marketplace has been rewarded with an FA Cup final appearance on Saturday.

At Wembley, the apprentice goes head-to-head with Redknapp, who has a distinguished reputation of transforming flat pop into vintage vino.

So the Pompey boss, one of English football's most highly-rated managers, appreciates better than most how much a footballing miracle manager Jones has performed at the debt-ridden Bluebirds.

Dave Jones
Date of Birth: 17 August, 1956
Place of Birth: Liverpool
Clubs managed: Stockport Co, Southampton, Wolves, Cardiff City
Managerial achievements: Led Stockport to Championship and League Cup semi-final and guided Wolves to the Premier League
Did you know?: Jones has cup giant-killing history against Redknapp when his Stockport beat West Ham in the League Cup in 1996

The Championship club's very existence has been in doubt as they drowned in a debt of 31m.

Yet in spite of the continued cloud over of Cardiff and their off-the-field woes, Jones has inspired the Bluebirds to their greatest season in 40 years.

Michael Chopra, Cameron Jerome, Danny Gabbidon, James Collins, Chris Gunter had to be flogged to keep the club afloat and their combined sale injected a much-needed 15m into the bank account.

An incredible 42 new players have walked through Ninian Park's revolving door during Jones's three-year tenure, while 38 players have gone the other way as the astute boss balanced his books.

"Dave has bought a lot of players on the cheap and transformed them into multi-million pound assets," acknowledged Redknapp.

"When you take over bad teams, your job is to make them better.

"But if you think you can take over a bad team and make them good by being some kind of super coach then you're dreaming and won't last long in football."

Redknapp made his name at West Ham and now Portsmouth by achieving relative success on a shoestring and believes Cardiff fans should not to under-estimate the job Jones is doing at Ninian Park.

And Redknapp cannot understand why Jones's job was on the line earlier in the season even though Cardiff won just once in 11 Championship games.

"Fans can be so fickle sometimes as Dave has done such a great job selling players to recoup vital funds and then once he goes on a bit of a bad run he gets all that nonsense.

Harry Redknapp
Dave has kept Cardiff going but in the fans' eyes, if the manager gets beat on the Saturday then he's useless.

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp

"Dave got almighty abuse from the fans and he was getting hate mail, he didn't deserve that. But people have short memories in this game.

"Now suddenly he's good old Dave and everyone loves him to bits," he said.

"He won't forget the stick he got, he might put it to the back of his mind but one day something will happen when he'll remember how he was treated when things weren't going well.

"Dave's work has effectively kept Cardiff afloat but fans don't worry about making shed loads of money for the club, sadly they are only interested in winning football matches.

"Dave has kept the club going but in the fans' eyes, if the manager gets beat on the Saturday then he's useless.

"I'm glad for Dave he's getting plaudits and credit because he is a top manager and more importantly a top fella."

Chairman Peter Ridsdale holds the purse-strings at cash-strapped Cardiff and both he and Jones know full well that the vultures are circling for their prized assets.

Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ledley are set for big-money summer moves which could net an extra 15m for the Cardiff crisis fund - potentially doubling Jones's transfer takings.

Yet as Ridsdale points out: "When I recruit a manager I tell him the truth about the job in hand.


"I told Dave we've got no money so he knew the challenges. He knew we had to initially sell to survive before a hopefully stable long-term future once the new stadium is opened and the debt is shrunk.

"The great thing about Dave is that he doesn't moan and when we've spare funds available, we'll support him in the transfer market.

"But I can assure you, we were never close to parting company with Dave as I firmly believe he is the man to take us forward as clubs need stability and continuity and stability for long-term success.

"I just asked him one question and that was 'can you fix it?' and he assured me he did."

If wheeler-dealer Jones guides Cardiff to a shock FA Cup win on Saturday, the City job should be his until he says otherwise. But this market trader is no plonker.

Dave Jones's transfer dealings:

Begged: Steve Thompson, Riccardo Scimeca, Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, Darren Purse, Phil Mulryne, Kevin Cooper, Neil Cox, Jermaine Darlington, Andrea Ferretti, Jeff Whitley, Glenn Loovens, Luigi Glombard, Mark Howard, Malvin Kamara, Kevin McNaughton, Nick McKoy, Stephen McPhail, Roger Johnson, Kevin Campbell, Willo Flood, David Forde, Peter Whittingham, Jason Byrne, Iwan Redan, Matt Green, Warren Feeney, Tony Capaldi, Robbie Fowler, Steven MacLean, Michael Oakes, Gavin Rae, Trevor Sinclair, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Erwin Sak.

Borrowed: Jason Koumas, Michael Ricketts, Kerrea Gilbert, Alan Wright, Simon Walton, Ross Turnbull, Kasper Schmeichel, Peter Enckelman

Flogged: Danny Gabbidon, James Collins, Jobi McAnuff, Tony Vidmar, Arran Lee-Barrett, Lee Bullock, Peter Thorne, Darren Williams, Alan Lee, Tony Warner, Stuart Fleetwood, Andy Campbell, Toni Koskela, Cameron Jerome, Neil Cox, Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, Tareq Khalil, Neal Ardley, Willie Boland, Byron Anthony, Jermaine Darlington, Martyn Margetson, Phil Mulryne, Rhys Weston, Michael Chopra, Neil Alexander, Joe Jacobson, Chris Barker, Mark Howard, Iwan Redan, Willo Flood, Kevin Campbell, Curtis MacDonald, Jeff Whitley, Steve MacLean, Chris Gunter, Kevin Cooper, Lee Byrne.

see also
Portsmouth v Cardiff
13 May 08 |  FA Cup
Pompey hope for more luck in Cup
15 May 08 |  Portsmouth
Loovens loving his FA Cup chance
15 May 08 |  Cardiff City
Redknapp hails wonderkid Ramsey
14 May 08 |  Cardiff City
Ledley out to seize rare Cup shot
13 May 08 |  Cardiff City
Parry aiming for Wales comeback
13 May 08 |  Cardiff City
Cardiff saviours
13 May 08 |  FA Cup
Cardiff boss Jones given warning
13 Nov 07 |  Cardiff City
Jones is named new Cardiff boss
25 May 05 |  Cardiff City

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