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'Houdini' Harry back in Premier League
8:38pm Sunday 25th May 2014 in Football
Harry Redknapp may have seen it all in football but even the QPR boss was stunned by their dramatic victory in the Championship play-off final.
The ex-manager of a string of clubs, including Saints and Portsmouth (twice) saw his Rangers side down to ten men and clinging on for dear life when substitute Bobby Zamora broke Derby’s hearts with a last-minute Wembley winner.
It was Rangers’ first and only shot on target but it will be worth an estimated £120million to the west London club, who secured promotion back into the Premier League at the first attempt, and probably kept Redknapp in a job.
The 67-year-old, who has been promoted with West Ham, won the FA Cup with Portsmouth and led Tottenham into the Champions League, admitted: “It was an amazing finish.
“We were hanging on for extra time and maybe penalties, that was our only hope,” he said after celebrating with the play-off trophy, above.
“We were down to 10 men and under the cosh, it was a real backs to the wall job, but then Bobby sticks one in the top corner.”
The writing appeared to be on the wall for Rangers when, moments after Charlie Austin fired their best chance wide, Gary O’Neil was shown a straight red card for a foul on Johnny Russell.
With half an hour still to play Derby sensed their chance but found Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green in inspired form.
Then QPR embarked on one last counter-attack and Junior Hoilett’s cut-back was mis-controlled by the otherwise impeccable Derby skipper Richard Keogh for Zamora to score.
His chairman Tony Fernandes will certainly be grateful, with the club a massive £177million in debt thanks to the reckless spending of their last stint in the top flight.
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