HARRY Redknapp has urged EastEnders bosses to give him a role – as a sidekick of Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter.
Footie king and Sun on Sunday columnist Harry, who was born in East London, has even written a script where he plays himself as a business partner of West Ham-supporting Queen Vic barman Mick.
So on the right we have mocked up how he might look on the BBC1 show.
But former Hammers boss Harry, 73, who won I’m A Celebrity . . . in 2018, says he would only want to be in the soap for a year, then would hope to be killed off.
In an exclusive interview, Harry, who until recently lived in Sandbanks, Dorset, says: “My ambition for 2021 is to get a part in EastEnders because I’m a real Eastender. I grew up in Poplar, so have a real affinity with the area.
“I’ve already worked out my character and this is the scene . . .
“Mick Carter and his regular punters are in The Vic. They’re at the bar, having a drink, and one of ’em says, ‘’ere, you heard Redknapp has moved back in the area?’ and another says, ‘Nah, he’s moved to that posh Sandbanks’.
“Mick then says, ‘Nah, he’s had enough of it. He’s come back’.
“At this point, I come into the pub, they turn around looking shocked and I say, ‘I’ve moved around the corner’.
“Mick then says, ‘Harry is back ’cause we’re starting up a little business. A bit of this, bit of that’.
“I’ve already written the script so now all the show’s bosses need to do is to call me up. I’d like to be in it for a year — before they bump me off or something.”
KING OF THE JUNGLE
It would be a dream for actor Danny, 43, who is a boyhood West Ham fan. Even his screen character is obsessed by the team Redknapp played for 175 times and managed from 1994 to 2001.
On the show Mick often wears claret-and-blue outfits in a nod to his team’s colours. On his living-room wall he has a West Ham shirt with “Carter 77” on it, and in one episode he compared wife Linda cheating on him to having to go and support his team’s London rivals Millwall.
Today Harry also reveals he has taken up daily boxing to keep fit and cut down on booze — and he recalls how an I’m A Celeb . . . scare, when he was shut in a coffin, made him realise he might not have long left.
Harry had great success as a football manager at a string of clubs also including Tottenham, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Birmingham City.
But he won even more fans as he became King Of The Jungle on I’m A Celeb . . . , and says it was a Bushtucker Trial on the ITV1 show, when he was banged up in a coffin with rats and cockroaches, which to this day makes him grateful to be still alive and well.
Doting husband Harry has been married to Sandra, 71, for more than 50 years and broke down in tears of joy on I’m A Celeb . . . as she was allowed to pay him a surprise visit in the Aussie jungle.
He says: “There was nothing more sobering than having that coffin lid come down on me. I remember thinking, ‘God, what if this was for real?’
Some footie slang-uage
FOOTBALL-related rhyming slang that Harry could use . . .
Jose – casino
Derived from Jose Mourinho.
“I lumped a nifty one down at the Jose.”
David – all-dayer
From Man United keeper David de Gea.
“All the Arsenal boys use to love a David.”
A bit Wayne – a bit looney
From Wayne Rooney.
“Sir Alex Ferguson used to go a bit Wayne on the touchline.”
A big Eddie – a big row
From former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
“We got into a right old Eddie.”
Salah – the bar
From the Liverpool Egyptian player Mo.
“Who’s round at the Salah next?”
“It felt so real, it was horrible. I had only turned 70 the year before. I was getting older but I knew I had so much more living to do. The thought flashed through my mind about leaving my wife Sandra behind. That terrifies me. One of my biggest fears is losing her. I do get scared sometimes and I’d be lying if I said I never think about it.
“I don’t know how I would cope if something happened to her. We’ve been married for 54 years. I can’t imagine ever being without her and I hope I go before she does.”
Harry could pass for someone a decade younger and puts his good health down to never being a big drinker.
He says: “I’ve never had a glass of beer in my life. I liked Bacardi and Coke when I used to play. But now I only have a glass of red wine if Sandra and I go out for dinner. We buy a bottle but I’ll guarantee we never finish it. Two glasses of wine is my maximum. I normally leave a glass for the waiter.
“I don’t want to wake up any more with hangovers or headaches. It don’t feel good.”
Although he has kept fighting fit during the pandemic, with boxing as well as golf when permitted, it has made him realise “your health is your wealth” — especially after the problems he has had.
In 1990 he was in a car crash in Rome that killed four people, including his pal and former Aston Villa footballer Brian Tiler. Harry fractured his skull and broke several bones. Medics were so convinced he was going to die, they put a blanket over his face. Harry pulled through but never regained his sense of smell.
In 2011 he had to have two stents inserted to unblock coronary arteries and six years later had a cancerous tumour removed from his bladder, although tests later showed it was not malignant.
And he still has the knee trouble that has plagued him throughout his managerial career.
He says: “I have survived various health incidents. I won’t say I feel like a cat with nine lives, I could drop dead tomorrow. But I do feel fortunate, as I’ve had a few things happen and am still standing. My knee can still cause me a lot of pain but fortunately I haven’t needed a replacement yet, just surgery where they drill into the bone to stimulate the growth of cartilage.
“I’m back walking around the golf course. There’s life in the old dog yet.”
Harry is also proud he has never greyed — but he did have a hairy moment recently when a barber gave him too close a cut.
He said: “Sandra used to cut my hair but one day she couldn’t so I went to the barber’s. I saw George, this hairdresser, and I think he thought I was a lot younger than I am and gave me a number one.
“I looked in the mirror and went, ‘Oh my God’, and said, ‘George, look, don’t cut so much. I just want a trim’. He’s all right now, George, he knows what he’s doing. Sandra’s off the hook.”
For someone who grew up poor in the East End and left school at 14, Harry has enjoyed great success, and is a loving husband to Sandra and dad to sons Mark, 50, a model, and 47-year-old Jamie — a footie pundit and ex-player for Liverpool, Spurs and England.
Now Harry is planning to make his mark in yet another way, with new podcast series The Harry Redknapp Show.
In each episode he will be joined by a different celeb to talk football, life and everything in between.
His guests in season one include son Jamie, rocker Sir Rod Stewart, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, comic Romesh Ranganathan and Masked Singer judge Mo Gilligan. It starts this Tuesday with TV host Piers Morgan.
Harry says: “We will be chatting about all things but the focus will definitely be on football. I might not have an education but I’m like a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to football.
“People ask me, ‘What do you think about Brexit?’ I don’t know what it’s all about, I haven’t a clue. But if you asked me about football or boxing, I’ll tell you everything.
“When Rod came on we did talk about his feud with Sir Elton John — but we stuck mostly to the football and his music.”
- The Harry Redknapp show starts on Tuesday on Spotify and Apple. Keep up to date with The Harry Redknapp Show on Twitter @HRedknappShow or Instagram @harryredknappshow
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