Football needs women's touch, says Harry Redknapp

QPR manager backs the idea of female breaking through to take charge of a professional team

Darren Witcoop
Saturday 09 March 2013 00:00
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Harry Redknapp’s QPR entertain Sunderland this afternoon
Harry Redknapp’s QPR entertain Sunderland this afternoon

Harry Redknapp, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, believes attitudes are now changing after throwing his weight behind the prospect of a female manager taking charge of a professional football club.

During Redknapp's 30-year spell as a manager he has seen a sea of change at boardroom level. Karren Brady, the trendsetter, was installed as Birmingham City's managing director – the first women to hold such a lofty position – at the age of 23. On the pitch, Hope Powell, the England women's team coach, was strongly tipped to take charge of then League Two club Grimsby back in 2009.

That historic move never materialised but, on International Women's Day yesterday, Redknapp said clubs could soon take a leap of faith. "It could happen at some level," said Redknapp. "I can't see why it is an impossibility. Women's football is improving and I am sure they have some outstanding coaches. When you look at women's football now, it is amazing.

"The standard of the top teams has gone through the roof. Look at the American team, the England team and there is some real quality football being played now. Just look at the Olympics with Team GB. It's not impossible. We have lots of managers now who were very successful but who never played football. They are great at their jobs so there is no reason why there can't be a woman. It probably won't be in my lifetime, but it is possible."

Redknapp has more pressing matters at hand if he is to remain a top-flight manager himself next season.QPR are still propping up the table and are four points from safety ahead of today's visit of Sunderland.In a week where Rangers reported a loss of £23 million for last season, prompting fears of a meltdown at Loftus Road, the scale of the challenge for the big-spending club to avoid relegation was underlined.

"The debts are high, the chairman and board must understand it," said Redknapp. "They are not silly men and they are successful businessmen.They know what they are doing so I will leave it to them as it's their business.But there is not going to be meltdown because of something I've done. If the [financial] results aren't good that was before I came to the club."

Meanwhile, women players will be allowed to join the Professional Footballers' Association for the first time from next season.

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