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Harry Redknapp: The Games That Changed My Life

Harry Redknapp

August 23, 1965: West Ham 1-1 Sunderland

"As we walked off at half-time, their left-back Len Ashurst turned to me and said: ‘If you try to go past me again, I’ll do you’"

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

December 15, 1971
: West Ham 0-1 Stoke

We’d won the first leg [of the League Cup semi] 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 saved it! The winners would play Chelsea in the final, but unfortunately we lost the replay. I didn’t win a trophy as a player and often look back at that game.

April 9, 1976
: Seattle Sounders 1-3 New York Cosmos

My time in Seattle was an unbelievable experience. The wives would go down to the lake for a barbecue, then after training we’d all spend the afternoon together. My first game was the 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, but we lost.

January 7, 1984
: Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United

United were FA Cup holders; we were a struggling Third Division team. Nobody gave us a chance [in the third round tie] but I’d be a liar if I said I saw it coming. Almost every one of our players left on a free transfer at the end of the season, but they were all superb. That put me on the map as a manager.

March 11, 2006: Portsmouth 2-1 Manchester City

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 was the turning point. We were 1-0 up and playing fantastically, but from nowhere Richard Dunne scored. We looked done for because we were so far adrift – but with the last kick Pedro Mendes hit a 30-yarder. We celebrated like we'd won the cup. That day was special – it helped me get back in favour at Portsmouth.

May 5, 2010: Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham

Spurs were struggling when I arrived, 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 City with two games to go. Peter Crouch got the goal that won it for us, which was massive for the club, and a great chance for me to test myself as a manager in Europe.

Interview: James Maw. This feature first appeared in the January 2014 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!

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