Harry Redknapp: I'm A Celebrity winner cheated death, avoided prison, brought on a fan as a substitute and starred in viral video

Of course, those of us that know football already knew he was one of the game’s biggest characters, a man with a tale to tell and a manager with an eye for a player.

As a manager of Bournemouth, West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Spurs and QPR, he became known as a coach whose teams always played the kind of football the fans wanted to see, although his lack of silverware – he only won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 and the Intertoto Cup with West Ham in 1999 – always rankled with him.

Nevertheless, Redknapp has never been anything less than entertaining in a career in football that’s lasted over half a century, as these examples prove…

He didn’t really rate himself as a player…

Redknapp started his playing career with the youth team at Spurs. It was only when he moved to West Ham, aged 15, that he started to make an impression.

Breaking into the first team in the 1965-66 season, the 18-year-old midfielder would find himself in a team laden with legends, not that that did the Hammers any good.

“Even when they had Moore, Hurst and Peters, West Ham’s average finish was about 17th. It just shows how useless the other eight of us were,” he said.

His managerial career didn’t start too brightly…

Having cut his teeth in management at Seattle Sounders in the now defunct North American Soccer League (NASL) in the late 1970s, and as an assistant to Bobby Moore at Oxford City, Redknapp got his first gaffer’s job in England as boss of Third Division Bournemouth in October 1983.

But it didn’t start well for him. In his first game in charge, against Lincoln City, the Cherries lost 9-0 – a defeat that remains the club record to this day.

Remarkably, though, Redknapp turned the team around, saving Bournemouth from relegation to the old Fourth Division that season and even knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup in a memorable upset at Dean Court.

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He nearly lost his life in 1990…

During a trip to Italy in 1990 to watch the World Cup Finals, Redknapp, along with Bournemouth’s club director Brian Tiler had hired a minibus to take them and some friends to the matches, including the quarter-final featuring the hosts against the Republic of Ireland.

After the game in Rome, the group got back on their bus and headed back to their hotel but tragedy was just around the corner.

At around midnight, on a road near Latina, just south of Rome, a car travelling at 90mph on the wrong side of the road smashed straight into the bus.

The three young men in the car died instantly, as did Redknapp’s friend and colleague, Brian Tiler.

Initially, the emergency services thought Redknapp had died too, even pulling a blanket over his head as he lay motionless.

But he survived, albeit with a fractured skull, several broken bones and an horrific gash to his left leg.

He would also lose his sense of smell and, briefly, his sense of taste too.

“When I look back on the accident now, it hasn’t altered my outlook on life although I suppose for a while it puts all things into perspective,” he said later.

He is the star of one of football’s greatest ever viral videos…

If you haven’t seen this clip then you must have been living under a rock for the last few years.

We make no apology for showing it again here though because it is classic Redknapp.

On one hand, he is the ultimate pro, continuing with the interview despite the distraction.

On the other, he looks like a man who is about to do something he’s really going to regret. Either way, it’s still brilliant.

He could have gone to jail…

In Janaury 2013, Redknapp stood trial at Southwark Crown Court accused of cheating the public revenue.

While he was acquitted of all charges, his brush with the law did leave him shaken.

“Was I scared of going to prison? Yes I was. You’re relying on 12 people who might not like you," he said.

"They might have been Arsenal fans for all I knew. One had a stained jacket, for goodness sake."

He doesn’t like the modern world…

Computers scare Harry. So do machines. And pens for that matter.

"I write like a two-year-old and I can't spell,” he confessed.

“I can't work a computer, I don't know what an email is, I can't, I have never sent a fax and I've never even sent a text message.

“I have a big problem, I can't write so I don't keep anything.

"I am the most disorganised person, I am ashamed to say, in the world… you talk to anybody at the football club.

"I don't write. I couldn't even fill a team sheet in." 

Talking of team sheets…

There isn’t a moment in the day when Harry isn’t thinking about football.

He even planned and plotted his line-ups for Tottenham in bed.

“I sorted out the team formation last night lying in bed with the wife,” he once admitted.

“When your husband's as ugly as me, you'd only want to talk football in bed."

He ran over his beloved Sandra…

In 2016, Redknapp was dropping off his wife Sandra at the shops in Bournemouth when her coat got caught in the car as Harry drove off.

The trouble, however, was that one of the wheels of the Range Rover went straight over her leg, sending Sandra spinning to the ground, writhing in agony.

Sandra was taken to hospital and returned home 24 hours later, walking on crutches and with her right leg in a cast.

“It was just a freak accident you know,” said Harry later.

“It’s lucky, if the full weight of the car had gone over the ankle god knows what would have happened to her.”

He nearly signed Eden Hazard for Spurs…

When Redknapp was manager of Tottenham, he thought he’d stolen a march on some of the biggest clubs in Britain when he arranged to meet young Lille star Eden Hazard.

The pair met in a hotel room in France and Redknapp went into full sales pitch mode for Spurs, trying for three hours to convince the forward to join him at White Hart Lane.

Soon after, Hazard joined Chelsea, leaving Redknapp to speculate that the reason the player had chosen Stamford Bridge was probably because he’d been stuck in a hotel room with him for three hours.

He’ll give anyone a chance…

Rewind to 1994 when, as West Ham manager, Redknapp took his team to non-league Oxford City for a pre-season friendly.

As he stood by the dugout, Harry was distracted by one persistent fan nearby who was continually abusing Hammers’ striker Lee Chapman.

Harry had had enough.

"Can you play as well as you can talk?” he asked the supporter, named Steve Davies.

“Well, I’m better than that Chapman,” came the reply.

At which point Redknapp found the fan a West Ham kit and some boots and sent him on as a substitute. He scored as well.

“He was better than Chapman too,” concluded Redknapp.

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