Saturday, 7 June 2014

Harry's Games: Inside the mind of Harry Redknapp by John Crace

Whatever Harry Redknapp is, "football genius or wheeler dealer", there is no denying he is one of football's most colourful characters, ideal material for a biography. So what of this one?

Well the book obviously takes you through Harry's long football career but breaks it up a bit with every second chapter looking at Harry's 2012 tax evasion trial and the subsequent period where he was a shoe-in to take over as England manager. The other bit of controversy (again not guilty) looks at bung allegations relating to transfers of Rio Ferdinand and Amdy Faye, although these are just mentions really.

The career chapters take Redknapp from "working-class boy in post-war London" through to his appointment as QPR manager with all the rest in between:

- a quick summary of his playing career where he was unlucky to emerge as a winger when "wingers began to go out of fashion"
- a quick mention of his time as assistant manager to Bobby Moore at Oxford City
- moving to Bournemouth as asssistant to David Webb and Don Megson with a caretaker spell in between (first game a 9-0 loss) before becoming permanent manager
- subsequent managerial spells at West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Portsmouth again, Spurs then that appointment at QPR

Along the way the author tries to bring some insight into the real Harry (the strapline for the book being "inside the mind of Harry Redknapp") but I don't think there is anything here you won't know. There is the talk about how Redknapp "knew a decent footballer when he saw one" and how "some players described him as tactically naive", more about how Harry was in it for himself ("money had always been more attractive to Redknapp than prestige"), and how "when people are caught in his warmth, he makes them feel like world-beaters; but when the light goes out, they feel hurt and a bit lost."

So no new insights here but an interesting book, although I don't know how it compares to the other Harry Redknapp books out there, on a guy who "over the years, has acquired the status of national teasure. Football writers like because he gives 'good quote' and the fans like him because his teams generally play entertaining football."

Amazon UK link: Harry's Games

Publication date: 18 April 2013

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