BCFC: Redknapp playing the pressure points?

In the aftermath of Birmingham City’s friendly defeat against Swansea, Harry Redknapp spoke of a need to finalise transfers if the squad is to compete for promotion. Birmingham City have added just four players this summer with one of those – Craig Gardner – already on loan previously.

Birmingham City FC

Brian Dick noted in his post-match video for the Birmingham Mail that

Redknapp was reluctant to talk about what is essentially a meaningless pre-season friendly; he was far more interested in talking about the priorities of building a squad and bringing in new players to St. Andrew’s. He said it’s been another frustrating week not been able to get a couple of deals across the line…

I think there has been a building sense of frustration that for whatever reason, deals aren’t happening. Each week we hear that the club want to bring in one or two players but for whatever reason it has not happened.

Admittedly, the higher the calibre of player a team is chasing the harder it is to sign them and I think that is one of the reasons Blues have struggled this window.

There has been an inference from Blues fans online that Redknapp’s comments are a barb at the board to get the deals done.

It’s not hard to understand why, either. Making the point that Shotton leaving would leave Blues with senior two centre-backs, or that should something happen to one of Blues strikers they are without cover on the bench is obvious.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’s made these kinds of comments either. In 2013 Redknapp made the threat to Queens Park Rangers that they should sign players or he would quit. QPR signed six players that summer in a season which saw them finish 4th in the Championship and win the playoffs.

When Redknapp quit QPR in February 2015 it was due to him feeling “that he could not give 100%” when needing knee surgery – but it came a day after QPR failed to sign anyone on deadline day. QPR owner Tony Fernandes had been adamant on social media that the “chequebook was closed”. QPR finished bottom of the Premier League that season, winning just three games after Redknapp left.

Interestingly Redknapp also had knee surgery in the summer of 2013 but he felt he was able to continue his role then – which would lend credence to his resignation being more about the lack of signings.

If Redknapp is indeed playing the pressure points against the Blues board, I have to admire it. He’s been brought in with a remit to get the club promoted – and from where I’m standing that is not going to happen with the current squad.

I will freely admit that the concept of reckless spending concerns me – but I’m also of the opinion that if the board are going to hire Redknapp with the aim of getting promoted they can’t then complain if he wants to spend money – you know what you are getting with him.

Furthermore, despite all the memes doing the rounds about “getting the band back together” the signings we have seen all look like really good deals.

However, I think Redknapp only has to look into Blues’ recent history to understand that playing the pressure points might backfire. Gary Rowett played hardball, using his popularity with fans and other club’s owners to try and force a new deal which annoyed the board enough into sacking him.

In hindsight that was probably not the smartest of moves – but I wonder how much the board have learned from that and how much more they will tolerate this time – of course assuming Redknapp is playing that game.

Needless to say, August will be interesting.

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