Friday, September 29, 2023

Harry Redknapp turned down chance to sign Arsenal legend and took ‘useless’ mate instead

Harry Redknapp, renowned for his talent-spotting abilities, once missed out on a remarkable player when he first started his managerial career. Despite his reputation, Redknapp overlooked a true gem.

If Redknapp rates you, chances are you’ll be following him to various clubs – just ask Niko Krancjar. Redknapp began his managerial journey at Bournemouth in 1983, and his illustrious career spanned across Tottenham, Portsmouth, Southampton, West Ham, and more.

During his time at Bournemouth, after three years in management, Redknapp signed a young Carl Richards from Enfield Town. However, while Richards struggled at Bournemouth, his friend went on to have an extraordinary career – the Arsenal legend, Ian Wright.

In his book ‘Always Managing’, Redknapp didn’t hold back when discussing the duo. He recounted the story, stating, “I bought Carl for £10,000, went to pick him up from Enfield, and while he said goodbye to his manager, he left me with his mate.”

“This kid,” Redknapp continued, “asked me, ‘What are you signing him for? I’m ten times better than him. I’ve scored 26 goals this season, he’s only got 12. I’m in a different class. Why don’t you sign me?'”

Redknapp admitted his concern, replying, “I can’t buy you, I’m buying him. But I’ll keep an eye out for you, don’t worry.”

After a few games, it became apparent that Carl was not performing well. Redknapp recalled, “He could run, but that was about it. We played about six games and couldn’t win one. Carl was terrible.”

Frustrated with the situation, Carl approached Redknapp and said, “I’ve got a mate who was asking if he could have a trial. He’s a striker, like me.”

Suspiciously, Redknapp asked, “And is he as good as you, Carl?” Carl replied, “No, he’s not as good as me, but he’s decent.”

“Well,” Redknapp snapped, “tell him not to bother then,” and that was the end of it.

However, fate had a different plan. On the following Saturday, Bournemouth faced Crystal Palace, and Carl informed Redknapp, “My mate, the one who wanted a trial, he’s playing for Palace today.”

Thinking it would be an easy match, Redknapp thought, “No problem there then.” Little did he know, Ian Wright, Carl’s mate, would go on to score three goals against Bournemouth. Wright eventually scored a remarkable 238 league goals throughout his career.

Wright’s incredible journey continued in the Premier League with Crystal Palace, Arsenal, and West Ham. He won the Premier League with Arsenal in 1998 and scored an impressive 185 goals for the club. Earlier this year, the Premier League recognized his achievements by inducting him into the Hall of Fame.

So, even the best talent-spotters like Redknapp can miss out on exceptional players. It’s a reminder that sometimes, even the most unexpected individuals can rise to greatness.
Harry Redknapp, former Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham manager, is currently in the headlines after he recently made a shocking revelation about his past footballing decisions.

Redknapp revealed that in 1999, when he was manager of West Ham, he had turned down a chance to sign Arsenal and England legend, Ian Wright. The manager instead chose to opt for a lesser-known player by the name of Neil Ruddock.

Redknapp admitted that if he had signed Wright, the story of his and West Ham’s careers would have been much different. As it stands, the decision to opt for Ruddock has gone down as one of Redknapp’s greatest Premier League mistakes.

It was during an interview with Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports that Redknapp revealed the story, in which he boasted that he’d “got a much better player than Wright” in the form of Ruddock, only to joke that he ended up with the “useless” defender.

Redknapp is now providing football commentary for Sky Sports and BBC and has revealed that his football knowledge has grown considerably since the prime of his managerial career.

The news of Redknapp’s wrong decision is sure to be of interest to the football community, who will doubtlessly be speculating as to what might have been if he had chosen to sign Wright to West Ham in 1999.

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