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Harry Redknapp is one of the biggest and best-loved characters in English football. From West Ham to Bournemouth, Portsmouth to Tottenham, legions of fans regard him as one of the game's true legends. Signing for West Ham United as a 17-year-old in 1964, Redknapp went on to make 149 top-flight appearances for the club. In 1972 he moved to Bournemouth and played 101 times before returning in 1982 to take up his first coaching role, as assistant manager, stepping up to take the reins as manager after helping the club avoid relegation from the Football League. A major car accident in 1990 forced him to rethink his career options and, disillusioned with life at Bournemouth, he made the switch to another of his former clubs, West Ham. In an eight-year association with the club he was instrumental in bringing top players like Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, and his own nephew Frank Lampard through the youth academy ranks. Redknapp then headed to Portsmouth, gaining promotion in 2003 and keeping them in the top flight the following season. Off the field things were less rosy, and disagreements with owner Milan Mandaric saw him make a controversial move to bitter rivals Southampton in late 2004. This time he was unable to work his magic, and Southampton were relegated from the Premier League for the first time in 27 years. Redknapp resigned after just a year in the job, courting controversy yet again with a return to Portsmouth. He arrived in the middle of a relegation dogfight, but Portsmouth survived and the following season Redknapp led the side to their highest league placing in almost 50 years. Tipped to take the helm at Newcastle United in January 2008, Redknapp instead remained at Portsmouth, steering the club to their first FA Cup victory in 69 yeras with a 1–0 win over Cardiff City. Despite this success, Redknapp joined Tottenham Hotspur in October 2008, taking over from beleaguered boss Juande Ramos. Within two weeks Spurs were out of the relegation zone, cementing his status as "Harry Houdini," master of the great escape. He has since notched up victories against Liverpool and Manchester City, and led the club to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.

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