FORMER Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp insists he is not ready to retire from football despite his sudden decision to quit the Premier League strugglers, citing health grounds, yesterday.
His departure saw ex-Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood installed as the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite to succeed him last night, after coach Glenn Hoddle also left the club and fellow staff Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey were placed in temporary charge.
Redknapp blamed his exit on an urgent need for knee surgery and dismissed suggestions of a row with chairman Tony Fernandes over a lack of signings in the January transfer window, which closed on Monday.
But the 67-year-old, who was favourite for the England job just three years ago and has admitted he came close to retiring last summer, insists he wants to return after undergoing surgery.
“Sadly I need immediate surgery on my knee which is going to stop me from doing my job in the coming weeks,” the former Spurs, Portsmouth and West Ham manager said in a statement released by the club.
“It means I won’t be able to be out on the training pitch every day, and if I can’t give 100 per cent I feel it’s better for someone else to take over the reins.
“My relationship with Tony Fernandes has been one of the highlights of my footballing career and I wish the club every success. I am confident they will survive in the Premier League this year.”
He added in an interview with Mail Online: “I still don’t think I’m finished with football. When I’ve had the operations, I’ll be looking for work again, I know that. I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Redknapp conceded the timing of his departure would cause suspicion as it came just hours after the transfer window closed without Rangers having signed a single player.
Air Asia chief executive Fernandes, who has previously spent heavily, had warned fans earlier on Monday that there would be no more arrivals, writing on Twitter: “No more chequebook. Bought all the players manager asked for in summer. Given the right motivation, tactics and coaching, we can achieve much more.”
Redknapp left QPR in 19th place in the Premier League, having failed to earn a single point from 11 away games this season.