Always Managing – My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp

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I like to read all sorts of different books because you never know what you might learn. I love football, yet I’ve mostly stuck to reading about my beloved Chelsea and our numerous ex-managers!

I’ve always admired Harry Redknapp, he seems like a genuinely nice, honest man and his teams play some nice football. During Euro 96 I unknowingly started talking to his wife outside Wembley before the England v Germany game and almost had his Son’s ticket for the match as it looked like he wouldn’t make it. It was only when the double of Jamie Redknapp appeared that I realise who I was chatting to. She asked around and tried to get me a spare ticket but it wasn’t to be, I never forgot it. She was even going to put me in a taxi home after the game to make sure I got back safe as I would’ve been on my own and I was only 16 back then!

Anyway I digress. I found the book very interesting. The chapter on Sir Bobby Moore, (yes I know he isn’t a Sir but he bloody well should be!) was very hard to read. As someone who has only ever heard the stories of our heroic win in 1966 and the partying my family did after I didn’t really know what happened to the players.

For a club like West Ham to throw Bobby Moore out of a match for not having a ticket but after his death use his name for a stand and to sell merchandise is just shameful. Why did he not receive a knighthood when other football players have? I think it would be safe to say if the England football team ever win another trophy they would all be given a Queen’s honor!

You don’t always realise as a supporter what it is like as a manager but this book opened my eyes to some things. Managers often get the blame for poor performances, which usually results in the sack but sometimes it is the players at fault! A club will never sack 11 men if they can sack 1!

It made me wonder about what went on at Chelsea this season and whether we will ever get to the bottom of how a largely unchanged team went from being Champions to finishing 10th! As someone who never really understood Mourinho it would seem that a lot of what happened revolved around him, we may never know the real truth. Unless in a few years time the current crop of players are all a bit hard up and decide to write a book!

Personally given the current situation with John Terry I hope that he isn’t treated the way Bobby Moore was. Clubs talk about players showing a lack of loyalty and committment and those 2 sentiments do not apply in the case of JT. He was loyal throughout his career to Chelsea and he deserves now to have that loyalty repaid in the form of a job for life.

As Harry says in the book, players like BM should be used as the benchmark for what the club stands for and the committment you expect as a player. It isn’t just about how you perform on the pitch but also off the pitch. And yes, before anyone says it JT has a chequered past off the pitch but was also cleared of charges against him but why should the truth matter 😉 He has done so much more as an ambassador for Chelsea on and off the pitch than gets widely reported; if you choose to do a search online you’ll see countless positive stories about him.

For many JT is what Chelsea should be, a man with the fight and determination to win games no matter the personal cost. As he said ‘We don’t lose to Tottenham on my watch’!

If you are a football fan then you will enjoy reading this book, regardless of your club allegiance. I wonder how England would have fared with Harry in charge, but we’ll never know. I think it’s fair to say he couldn’t have done any worse than some of our managers, but the bigger issue is the players.

Just read the chapter about QPR and you’ll see what some of the modern players are like. I’ve long thought that clubs should do more to develop footballers as individuals and not just for their footballing talent. A lot of players come from underprivileged backgrounds and are offered all the best things in life with no guidance and no career prospects outside of the game. They could be forced into retirement at any time between the age of 16 and 40 for some players and then what, when all they know is kicking a football? I bet half of them wouldn’t even know how to clean their own boots!

It makes me glad to have started watching football before all the big money  players and success came to the club. It meant I could appreciate it all as it happened but when a tough season comes along recognise that will sometimes happen. If someone told me as a 10-year-old standing in the Shed End Terrace back in the early 90’s that Chelsea would win the Champions League one day I would have laughed. But that’s football for you, you never can tell!

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