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Redknapp set for worst welcome ever
HARRY Redknapp will be greeted with a crescendo of abuse when he makes his St Mary’s return.
The QPR manager will receive the worst welcome ever afforded to a former Saints boss by home supporters tomorrow.
But fans are being urged to make sure they channel their anger towards Redknapp in a positive way – by creating the loudest St Mary’s atmosphere of the season for what is a crucial Premier League clash.
Redknapp is making his first return to Saints as an opposing manager since he controversially walked out on the club to rejoin arch rivals Pompey in early December 2005.
The seven years and three months since have done little to improve Redknapp’s standing in the eyes of a large amount of Saints followers.
“Redknapp’s reception tomorrow will be akin to the new pope making his first public appearance at a Glasgow Rangers home game,” quipped Nick Illingsworth, who runs the Uglier Inside fans website.
“I don’t know one person who thinks he did a good job during his time at Saints.
“Of all the managers we’ve had, I can think of only two who have polarised opinion to the extent that nobody has a good word to say about them.
“One is Harry Redknapp and the other is Ian Branfoot.
“With Glenn Hoddle, half of the fans don’t like him for the way he left us, but half think he did a great job here.
“Most of the fans I speak to blame Harry Redknapp for taking us down in 2005.
“He had a squad of over 20 players who were tried and tested in the Premier League.
“He should have been able to pick a squad each week to keep us up.
“After we won at Middlesbrough in the March, we were out of the bottom three. There were enough chances left after that to stay up.
“Hopefully we can use Redknapp’s return tomorrow positively to create a great atmosphere.
“Boo him when he appears before the start, but there’s no point keeping up a constant barrage of abuse throughout the game.
“The fans need to get behind the team to start with, as this is a big game for both clubs.
“There will be a lot of tension, as QPR are in the last chance saloon.
“They will have to come out with all guns blazing, and hopefully that will play into our hands.”
Illingsworth added: “It’s not just that Redknapp took us down, it was also that he left us to go back to Pompey.
“The only way he won’t be the most unpopular man at St Mary’s is if Redknapp appoints Ian Branfoot as his assistant!”