But the former West Ham manager made a U-turn after a late change of heart.
Redknapp is now impressed by Joe Kinnear’s impact at St James’ Park.
He said: “I was absolutely nailed on to go at one time, I had really made up my mind to go. On the Friday night I was going to go.
“I went out with my wife and Frank Lampard Senior and his wife Pat for dinner, and I sat down and we had a chat. I just decided I was happy where I was at the time.”
He added: “When the Spurs job came, I thought ‘I’ve turned it down once’ and had heard people say I didn’t want to take a challenge on and didn’t want to manage a big club.
“That irritates you because I’ve always taken on challenges at struggling clubs.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is my last chance to manage a big club’, so I had to take it.
“I have always taken challenges on. Who else would be stupid enough to leave Portsmouth for Southampton and then go back again?”
Redknapp said: “At the time I was surprised when he got the job, everybody was surprised,”
“But Joe has proved what you can do if you know what you are doing.
“He has gone in there with a bit of common sense, got on with the job and he’s turned it around.
“They have got good players and I would love to see Joe get the job permanently.”