LONDON — Harry Redknapp quit Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday in a sudden move that could signal the end of the charismatic but outspoken manager’s Premier League career.
Redknapp, 67, cited impending knee replacement surgery as the reason for unexpectedly relinquishing control of a team facing relegation.
“It means I won’t be able to be out on the training pitch every day,” Redknapp said in a statement. “And if I can’t give 100 percent, I feel it’s better for someone else to take over the reins.”
The announcement came hours after the final transfer window of the season closed without the London club’s squad being strengthened to cope with the final months of the season.
Redknapp, who presided over QPR’s 2013 relegation and immediate return to the top flight, leaves the team 19th in the 20-team standings with 45 points still to play for.
“I know what people think — that I’ve been sacked, or stormed off because we couldn’t get the players in,” Redknapp told the Daily Mail. “My son Jamie said that my timing has to be the worst in the world.”
Or the best for QPR’s prospects of survival, as the club has lost all 11 away games. Les Ferdinand, the head of football operations, has taken temporary charge with coach Chris Ramsey while QPR seeks a new manager.
Given Redknapp’s age and struggles at QPR, it would seem unlikely he would gain another Premier League job. Returning to the lower leagues — where Redknapp started his managerial career 32 years ago — might be a challenge too far for a man already beyond retirement age.
But Redknapp harbors hopes of a return to the dugout once he is fully fit.
“I still don’t think I’m finished with football,” Redknapp said. “When I’ve had the operations, I’ll be looking for work again, I know that. I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Now Redknapp is stressing his departure was amicable.
Thumbnail photo via Lefteris Pitarakis/The Associated Press
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