Former Birmingham City manager Steve Cotterill has come to the defence of Harry Redknapp, insisting is it ‘unfair’ to suggest he is partly responsible for the Championship club’s financial turmoil.
The Blues were docked nine points last week for breaching the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules, plunging the St Andrew’s outfit into a relegation battle.
And Redknapp, who was Birmingham manager for just 13 matches in 2017, has been forced to defend himself from accusations that the summer spending spree during his short spell in charge is a big reason behind the club’s troubles.
Harry Redknapp saved Birmingham from relegation to League One in 2017, but was then sacked just eight games into the next season
Former Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys was just one who tore into the former manager, saying in an explosive Twitter post he ‘f****d up QPR, Portsmouth and West Ham and might have done at Spurs but for Daniel Levy’.
However, Cotterill – who was Redknapp’s assistant before succeeding as manager – has backed his former boss and insisted it was ‘not his job’ to decide his own transfer budget.
Asked about the criticism of Redknapp, Cotterill told talkSPORT host Jim White on Thursday: “It is unfair.
“Managers’ jobs are to manage the team and work within the budgets that are set out by the board. That is your job.
“A manager is given a budget and he’ll either work within it, spend all of it, spend some of it or, in my case, spend none of it! That’s what happens.
“I’m pretty sure Harry would have never have signed a player that he hadn’t been told, ‘yes, you can sign him’. You just can’t. You don’t do that as a manager.
“So yes, I think the criticism of Harry is unfair.”
Steve Cotterill was Redknapp’s assistant before succeeding him as manager
Cotterill spent just five months in solo charge at St Andrew’s last season, but was unable to make a single signing during the January transfer window.
The damage had already been done from the heavy recruitment drives under previous bosses Gianfrnaco Zola and Redknapp, which did little to improve their fortunes on the pitch.
Asked if he was ever aware of the club’s reckless spending during his time at the club, Cotterill told Jim White: “Yes is the answer to that.
“I knew that because, probably to my detriment in the end, in the January window I ended up getting rid of about five players that probably gave us about £2.5million to £3million back in the bank through wages – players going back from a loan or going to another club. So it all mounted up.
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“People had a couple of years on their contracts – certainly one of them did. So I knew there was always going to be that cut, if you know what I mean.
“But also I didn’t mind that. What I did say to them [the owners] is, if we bring in £3million can I have 500k or 600k back because we need some loans just to balance us off a little bit – but I didn’t get that.
“It’s probably a good idea I didn’t get it because of what’s happened now with the point deduction – could it have been worse?”
Listen to the full interview with former Birmingham and Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill on talkSPORT above