Harry Redknapp: five claims from his autobiography
Former West Ham and Spurs manager has plenty to say as Daily Mail serialises his memoirs
HARRY REDKNAPP'S "explosive" autobiography will be published later this week, and the Daily Mail has got its hands on a preview copy. With a 55-year career in football, the veteran manager, who started out as a youth-team player with Spurs in the 1950s, has plenty of anecdotes to tell.
Here are five of the most eye-catching claims from his book, Always Managing:
He made Gareth Bale the player that he is: There were rumours that Redknapp was not convinced by Gareth Bale when he was Spurs manager, but he rubbishes that idea and claims that his tough love turned Bale into the world's most expensive footballer. "Whatever faults I may have, I do know a player," he insists.
"He drove me mad in training. Technically, he was outstanding but he always seemed to be playing with his hair." He says Bale seemed too "soft" to be a defender, so it was his decision to employ him as a winger, and later as a floating attacker in the middle of the pitch. He also instructed the physios to ignore him if he went down in training in order to toughen him up.
"The bottom line is that Gareth can play anywhere," he says. "I think Carlo Ancelotti, his coach at Real Madrid, will view him the same way as me — a free spirit, not tied to any one position. His biggest test will be to step out of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo with confidence. That won’t be easy."
Ruud Gullit made Chelsea's Champions League win worse: Redknapp attended the game in Munich in 2012 as the guest of his son Jamie, who was working for TV. He watched from the Sky Sports box knowing that if Chelsea won then it meant his Spurs side, which had finished fourth in the Premier League, would not qualify for the Champions League as their place would be taken by the Blues.
"You all know what happened," writes Redknapp. But not only did he have to contend with the result, there was the misery of seeing others celebrate. "Ruud Gullit was there and was carrying on right in front of me like a lunatic. He had nothing riding on the game – Chelsea had sacked him, for heaven's sake – but he didn't care. Ruud was jumping around, cheering, singing, banging on the windows to draw the attention of the Chelsea players – and, when they looked up, in the background was me, feeling probably at my lowest as a football manager."
He once hid £30,000 in his tracksuit: While Redknapp was in charge of Portsmouth, Paul Merson, who had gambling problems, arrived for a match against Millwall with £30,000 in cash to pay a bookmaker and begged his manager to look after it.
Redknapp agreed. "I couldn't leave it in the changing room, but I almost always wear a suit on the touchline," he recalls. "That day I changed. I put a tracksuit on so there was more room to conceal these readies."
Unfortunately when he stood up and left the dugout to give his team instructions the money came loose and started sliding down his leg. "I slid into my seat and didn't move, stuck in this awkward position in case the money moved again." Luckily he didn't need to rant and rave as his side won 5-0, and Merson successfully paid off his debt.
Bobby Moore was betrayed by West Ham: Redknapp may have played for and managed the Hammers, but he is less than complimentary about the club's treatment of Bobby Moore, England's World Cup winning captain.
"Now he's dead you can't move for pictures of him around the place. It disgusts me," he states. "Bob's got it all now. The old South Bank named after him at Upton Park, statues outside the ground and at Wembley Stadium. They even use his name to sell West Ham United merchandise these days... When he was alive they didn't want to know him. I saw him get slung out of there for not having a ticket."
The FA is incompetent: Redknapp was widely expected to be appointed England manager when he was cleared of tax evasion and Fabio Capello quit the job in early 2012. Instead they handed the job to Roy Hodgson. "I wouldn't trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it," rages Redknapp in the book.
He denies that he has a problem with Hodgson but points out that he, rather than Hodgson, was seen as the "people's choice, the only choice".
The stars were apprently behind him as well. "All the senior players seemed to be up for me to get the job. I got quite a few text messages at the time from players saying they would love me to manage England: Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry," he adds.
Redknapp also reveals that he had plans for Brendan Rodgers, the current Liverpool boss, to become his number two. ·