HARRY REDKNAPP says leaving Portsmouth to manage Tottenham last year was one of the biggest gambles of his career.
The 62-year-old was lured to Spurs to save the club from a disastrous start to the season 12 months ago, and has since become a huge hit with fans having turned things around at White Hart Lane.
Tomorrow, Redknapp returns to the now struggling Fratton Park outfit for the first time and expects a hostile welcome – especially with former Pompey players Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar en tow.
But the wily campaigner insists the decision to leave the FA Cup winners just days before being awarded freedom of the city, was by no means an easy one.
“They Spurs were bottom of the league and had I failed to turn things around it would probably have been the end of my career,” Redknapp explained. “When I took over at Portsmouth for the first time it was a big challenge because, in all honesty, the club wasn’t going anywhere at that point.
“Then I joined their rivals Southampton, which, looking back, was possibly crazy. And, of course, people also thought I was mad to return to Portsmouth when the club was bottom of the league. I really put my career on the line there, as I did when I joined Tottenham.”
Redknapp is expecting all three of his ex-Portsmouth trio to feature this weekend, and has also been boosted by the news that captain Ledley King has recovered from a hamstring problem to bolster his options at the back.
Similarly, Portsmouth also boast a number of ex-Spurs players in their ranks including Kevin-Prince Boateng, Younes Kaboul, Michael Brown and on-loan Jamie O’Hara, although O’Hara is not eligible to play due to the terms of his loan deal.
Pompey are now looking to make the loan deal permanent in January.