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26th May 2020

Science Harry Redknapp on buying and selling Peter Crouch, joining Tottenham and Tony Pulis

Science Harry Redknapp on buying and selling Peter Crouch, joining Tottenham and Tony Pulis

Science

science Harry Redknapp and Peter Crouch

Could Crouchy still ‘do a job’ in the Championship? Redknapp thinks so

He famously came through a month in the jungle unscathed, so how is Harry Redknapp finding lockdown?

He’s getting on fine – perhaps surprisingly by binging on The Last Dance on Netflix.

The 73-year-old was at least back around a familiar face this week as guest star on the latest episode of That Peter Crouch Podcast.

Redknapp sold Crouch three times during his long career and the two shared plenty of stories about Portsmouth, Tottenham and podcast favourite Tony Pulis…

‘When we’re out of lockdown I’ll buy a club’

Harry owns 10 racehorses – could a League Two club be added to the stable?

Redknapp has been out of football management since leaving Birmingham in 2017. So what next?

He’s back on TV next week, managing the likes of Paul Merson and John Barnes on a European tour, but could we see Redknapp in the boardroom before long?

“When we come out of lockdown I would like to buy a football club,” he says.

“That is my ambition. At a lower level, League One, League Two, maybe National League.

“But someone with potential. I would love that, go on Saturdays on the coach. I don’t think I could afford Crouchy’s wages but maybe he could come in as manager!

“I’m not spending loads of dough. We’re working on a low budget. You need a manager who knows the league. An expert in that division. So that rules Crouchy out.”

‘£1m for a basketball player?’

A young Crouch was particularly spindly in his first spell with Pompey – but scored 18 goals and was sold on by March the next year

Redknapp and Crouch have known each other well for nearly 20 years, with the former West Ham boss playing a key part in Crouch’s move to Portsmouth in 2001.

Not everyone at the club was convinced though, as Harry explains…

“Graham Rix was the manager at Pompey and I was director of football,” he says. “I don’t know what I was meant to be doing, it was the biggest waste of time ever that year.

“Anyway, Graham was pushing to sign Crouchy and I said to [chairman] Milan Mandaric ‘Pete’s a good player, he will do well for the club’. Milan said. ‘Do you really expect me to pay £1m for a basketball player? Are you crazy’.”

“He said, ‘if we sign him, it’s on your head. If he’s no good, you take the blame’. At the end of the year we sold him for about £5.5m to Aston Villa and Milan said, ‘I told you he was always going to be a player’.”

That dispute eventually led to a court case – which Harry calls ‘the Peter Crouch bonus case’ – and which saw a juror improbably called ‘Peter Crouch’ be selected…

‘I was offered the job two years earlier’

A famous goal in Milan…

Redknapp and Crouch had more success between 2009 and 2011 at Tottenham, where Crouch’s goal at Manchester City earned a place in the Champions League. He would also score a memorable goal at the San Siro, and the Spurs job remains one of Redknapp’s favourites.

But how did it come about? And was he really close to selling Gareth Bale before he became a success?

“Everything’s done behind closed doors,” he says. “I was offered the job at Tottenham two years before I took it.

“Martin Jol was the manager. I said it wasn’t the right time, I didn’t want to take it. The second time, the day I went to meet Daniel Levy I wasn’t going to take it.

“I was so happy at Portsmouth, loved my time there. But then I spoke to my chief executive at Portsmouth who said we were getting £5m in compensation and the Russian owner was well pleased. It made my mind up for me.

“Listen, it ain’t rocket science, being a manager. Some would kid you that it is. The most important thing you need to be a great manager is great players. I mean that.

“I went to Tottenham and they had two points from eight games but my missus could have got Tottenham up the league.

“Luka Modric was a genius, Gareth Bale was scary. People tell me all the time that I was going to loan him out before he made it big but I don’t know where that came from. I was never going to loan Gareth out.

“You looked at him and he had everything. What a player.”

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