Keeping Pompey up better than winning the cup: The games that changed Harry Redknapp's life

The former West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham and QPR boss shares the defining matches of his career with FFT's James Maw...

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West Ham United 1-1 Sunderland

First Division. August 23, 1965.

The first team had been beaten 3-0 at West Brom on the Saturday, so when we played Sunderland on the Monday night, Ron Greenwood made a few changes, and I was given my debut. As we walked off at half-time, their left-back Len Ashurst turned to me and said something like: "If you try and go past me again second half, I’ll do you." Fortunately he didn’t.

West Ham 0-1 Stoke City (2-2 agg)

League Cup semi-final second leg. December 15, 1971.

We’d won the first leg up at the Victoria Ground 2-1, and were confident of going through. We went behind but Geoff Hurst had the chance to take us to Wembley with a late penalty. Gordon Banks only went and saved it! The winners would play Chelsea in the final – we fancied our chances, but unfortunately lost the second replay 3-2. I didn’t win a trophy as a player and I often look back and think how close we came.

Seattle Sounders 1-3 New York Cosmos

NASL. April 9, 1976.

My time in America was an unbelievable experience – Seattle was a great place. Geoff Hurst, Mike England and Alan Hudson also went over there and we all took our families. The wives would go down the lake for a barbecue, then after training we’d all spend the afternoon together. My first game was the packed opening of the 58,000-seat indoor Kingdome. The noise was incredible. Pele played for the Cosmos, and scored twice, which added to the occasion, even though we lost.

Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United

FA Cup, Third Round. January 7, 1984.

United were FA Cup holders, we were a struggling Third Division team. Nobody gave us a chance, but I’d be a liar if I said I saw it coming. Their team was full of internationals, and almost every one of our players left on a free transfer at the end of the season. But on the day they were all superb. The result put me on the map as a manager. A couple of years later, I got Bournemouth promoted to the old Second Division for the first time in their history.

Portsmouth 2-1 Manchester City

Premier League. February 11, 2006.

Winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth was a huge achievement, but keeping them up in my first season back takes some beating. We were eight points adrift with 10 games to go, but picked up 20 from the last 10 matches. This win was the turning point. We were 1-0 up and playing fantastically, but from nowhere Richard Dunne equalised with six minutes to go. We looked done for because we were so far adrift – but with the last kick of the game Pedro Mendes hits a thirty-yarder. We celebrated in the dressing room like we’d won the cup. Everybody was going mad. That day was special because it helped me get back in favour with the people at Portsmouth since before I left.

Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League. May 5, 2010.

When I arrived at Spurs they were struggling, but I didn’t change the team too much. The Champions League was the dream and we managed to get there in my first full season. We went into this game one point ahead of Man City with two games to go, but I just had the feeling we needed to get the job done on the night. It was tight, but Peter Crouch got the goal late on that won it for us. It was massive for the club, but also a great opportunity for me to test myself as a manager against the very best in Europe.

The interview was originally published in the January 2014 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe.