We’re not sure what it is about Harry Redknapp, but there seem to be more rumors, hearsay, and legends surrounding his career than any other manager – and each one seems more crazy than the last.
We dispelled the “Shevchenko Rejected By West Ham” myth a few months ago when we asked the Chelsea striker himself at a Reebok press event.
The “Redknapp Spent 1 Million On Marco Boogers For West Ham After Only Watching A Video Tape” one has been long confirmed, but now an even crazier Harry story has been confirmed.
A reader wrote into The Guardian and asked:
“Is there any truth in the story that Harry Redknapp once fielded a spectator during a West Ham game?” asks Terry Williams. “Legend has it that the Hammers were having a shocker and a fan was heckling them. Harry is then supposed to have turned round and said: ‘If you think you can do any better, then prove it!'”
The Guardian’s response?
“Lee Chapman was playing for us at the time,” recounts Redknapp. “All through the first half some tattooed skinhead behind me was giving Lee terrible stick. At half-time I turned to this bloke who had West Ham etched on his neck and asked ‘Can you play as good as you talk?’ He looked totally confused. So I told him he was going to get his dream to play for West Ham. We sent him down the tunnel and he reappeared 10 minutes later all done out in the strip. He ran on to the pitch and a journalist from the local Oxford paper sidled up and asked ‘Who’s that Harry?’ I said ‘What? Haven’t you been watching the World Cup? That’s the great Bulgarian Tittyshev!’ The fella wasn’t bad – actually, he scored!”The fella in question was a 27-year-old called Steve Davies who had given up park football six years earlier. The West Ham board were obviously impressed with Harry’s idiosyncratic decision-making: they made him manager a month later.
It was just a pre-season friendly against Oxford City, but pretty outstanding nonetheless. A pretty ridiculous opportunity given to a fan by a pretty ridiculous man. Redknapp is one of the most entertaining managers off the pitch in the Premiership, and not a bad one on it either, we can only hope his time at Portsmouth will be just as eventful as his West Ham tenure.
Read more West Ham gossip on the West Ham section.