After taking charge of his seventh club following the resignation of Gianfranco Zola on Monday, the 70-year-old admitted he had become fed up with being out of the firing line.
He faces a baptism of fire in his first game with a trip to arch-rivals Aston Villa on Sunday, and warned: “It takes time. I haven’t got a magic wand.
“It’s not really a risk. They have won two out of 22. I’m not going to turn them into Real Madrid. We need a win.”
“If we can keep them up then we can sit down and talk about moving forward. If they don’t stay up, I won’t stay.
Harry Redknapp insists he hasn't got a magic wand to fix things instantly at Birmingham
“I went in there and said, ‘I don’t want anything, but I’ll come and do it’. I wasn’t interested in the money.”
Birmingham will provide accommodation and pay expenses for the former Tottenham and West Ham boss, who will have Steve Cotterill as his assistant.
The club’s Chinese owners moved quickly to replace Zola, who quit after Monday’s 2-0 home defeat to relegation rivals Burton left the Italian’s woeful record at just two wins out of 24 and fans calling for the Italian’s head.
Birmingham’s season began promisingly under Gary Rowett, now at Derby, who had taken them into contention for promotion before unexpectedly being sacked and replaced by Zola. At that point they were they were seventh in the table and only outside the promotion play-off spots on goal difference.
Championship relegation odds 2016/17 Mon, April 17, 2017
Express Sport takes a look at the favourites to be relegated from the Championship, based on the best prices on Oddschecker
Play slideshow Getty Images 1 of 10
Which Championship teams are favourites to be relegated?
By the time they take to the field against Aston Villa, they could be in the relegation zone. Should Blackburn and Nottingham Forest both win on Saturday, Birmingham would slip into the bottom three.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Redknapp inherits a squad Zola described as “scared” perched just two places and three points above the relegation zone, and revealed his wife Sandra questioned his sanity after he accepted the job.
“I got fed up sitting around doing nothing,” said Redknapp, who hasn’t been on the frontline since leaving QPR in February 2015. “I will come and live up here until the end of the season.
“I got a phone call last night from the people at Birmingham. I drove to London, had a meeting for 10 to 15 minutes, sat down and said, ‘Yeah, I will do it, no problem’. I got home and my wife said: ‘Are you mad?’”
Gianfranco Zola stepped down as Birmingham boss on Monday
Redknapp, who took Tottenham into the Champions League and winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth, was last in English football at Derby last season, where he worked as an advisor alongside then-manager Darren Wassall. He also worked with the Jordan national team for two games.
One of his predecessors as manager Alex McLeish, who left Birmingham for cross-city rivals Aston Villa in 2011, described the appointment as a “shock” but expects Redknapp to secure survival.
“I am sure he will keep them up,” said the Scot. “He will keep it real and stir them up for the last three games. It was a shock, he has taken it to the end of the season.”
After the Villa match they host promotion contenders Huddersfield and then visit the similarly relegation-threatened Bristol City.
“Villa as his first game – he couldn’t get a tougher one to choose,” added McLeish.. “If Harry can win that one, the Birmingham fans will be looking to get him tied down immediately.”