Hayden Foxe: Harry Redknapp told me his Portsmouth vision - it became the best time of my club career

Hayden Foxe reflected on the Pompey ‘no-brainer’ which produced the best days of his domestic football career.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 1:52 pm
Hayden Foxe is held aloft after Pompey clinch promotion to the Premier League in April 2003. Picture: Steve Reid

The central defender was on West Ham’s books with seven Premier League starts when former boss Harry Redknapp sought a reunion.

He wanted the Australian international to drop into Division One to spearhead a Fratton Park promotion challenge.

In May 2002, Foxe signed up in a £400,000 deal – and it brought the 2002-03 title and Premier League football to the Blues.

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Hayden Foxe celebrates with fellow scorers Patrik Berger and Gary O'Neil during Pompey's 6-1 victory over Leeds in November 2003. Picture: Mick Young

He told The News: ‘Harry told me what he wanted to build at Pompey. It turned out to be the best time in my domestic football career.

‘He knew how to put teams together and told me the players he was trying to bring in and what he was attempting to create. It was a no-brainer.

‘I wasn’t playing a lot in the Premier League at that stage and, in football, you want to play. Sometimes to take a step forward, you must take a couple back.

‘For me, dropping out of the Premier League wasn’t an issue, it was more the project and challenge in front which interested me.

‘Harry brought in a lot of players who, for whatever reason, weren’t in the eyes of the management where they were playing. That enabled him to get them down south.

‘I didn’t have to leave West Ham, but, for me to progress in my career, I thought it was a move I had to make.

I would rather go and play somewhere and keep progressing as a player, than sit there not playing and picking up money.’

Foxe made 46 appearances for the Blues, although never played after December 2003.

Persistent stress fractures to both feet ensured he featured just 13 more times following promotion to the Premier League.

Despite release on a free transfer in the summer of 2005, Perth Glory’s assistant manager looks back fondly on his Fratton Park days.

He added: ‘Not many people don’t enjoy their time down in Pompey, let me tell you.

‘We loved our time there. We lived in Whiteley, we started our family there, with three of my four children born in the area. It’s an easy place to live.

‘I had a very injury plagued career and that was one of the highest points for sure. Apart from playing for my country at the Olympics, Pompey provides my fondest memories of being a professional footballer.’

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