Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHarry Redknapp parody - The Queens Park Rangers manager's world history - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Harry Redknapp parody - The Queens Park Rangers manager's world history - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Harry Redknapp parody – The Queens Park Rangers manager’s world history

New missives from the increasingly deluded mind of football’s favourite barrow boy.

The Moon Landings

When I went to NASA in ‘61 they was really struggling; bottom of the table in the space race and going nowhere fast. Morale was low and the Russians had bragging rights. Naturally, they turned to me.

Harry, they said, we’ve got a tricky away tie coming up (the moon) and we need someone to do a job for us – and by job we mean pull off the greatest feat in human history.  Trouble is I was on my way to Southend as Bobby Gould’s number two. Done deal.  Until NASA persuaded me – via a bulging brown envelope at Knutsford Services – to go back on my (normally sacred) word. Absolute choker for the Shrimpers.  But, you know, in my defence, I had a better-paid job to do.

My first priority was to get a couple of bodies in, freshen up the rocket. So I called in a few favours, brung in little Micky Collins on a free from Andrews Airforce base; Aldrin and Armstrong for next to nothing. Alright, yeah, I’ll hold me hands up, they was on absolute bundles, top money. But people forget it was performance related:  basically if they died on the mission they got no money.

I’ve always said ‘you pay peanuts you get monkeys’. The Russians paid dog food and got Laika. I think the Chinese had a parrot. Whatever, by the 60s the public was fed up of seeing animals in space. I remember my old man saying to me, ‘Harry, if I see another bleedin’ donkey up there, orbitin’, I’ll do my nut.’

Confidence booster

Working with spacemen ain’t easy, anyone will tell you. Take Aldrin: I had to put an arm round his shoulder early doors, have a quiet word in his helmet, convince him that catapulting through the cold depths of space with only a fifty percent chance of survival, the hopes and dreams of humanity resting on his shoulders, was actually a piece of piss.

That turned things around for us cos we was in real shtuck. It gave the yanks a big lift – bit like at West Ham when I brung in Mike Marsh and Bugsy Burrows from Liverpool. 

 You can blame the manager all day long (and some fans do; especially at Southampton) but, at the end of the day, it’s the chairman/leader of the free world who sticks his hand in his pocket. I remember saying to President Kennedy *: ‘Kenners, if we’re gonna compete with the big boys, your Gagarins, your Kruschevs, your Sputniks, I need some serious dough’. And fair play, he stumped up for the rocket, the fuel, the bungs (for all the, er, science experiments), the astronaut funerals, but at the end of the day it’s about the squad, about strength in depth.

You can spout off about tactics and aeronautics all you like, once the boys have left the Earth’s atmosphere it’s down to them. Actually, it’s UP to them… anyway, my job is simple (but at the same time incredibly complicated): motivate ‘em. ‘Armo, Buzzo, get out there on the studio fl… sorry, surface of the moon… and get the job done.’  

‘Er indoors

The space race can put a strain on your marriage. Many’s the night I was out for a meal with my Sandra, at a lovely little Italian off Cape Canaveral  (they had food, wine, the lot)  and she’s chuntering away, as women do, and it’s going in one ear and out the other.  All I can think is: do we go with one up front, or two on the surface, with Micky Collins in the Command Module pulling the strings?

At the end of the day, you can have as much science, as much ‘the immutable laws of physics’ as you like, but sometime it’s just down to belief and luck. Except when it goes right – then it’s all down to me.

I loved my time at NASA but it’s fair to say I left the agency under a cloud (I think one of their weather experiments went wrong…). Then, to top it all, they had me up in court for selling hooky moon rocks out the back of a motor on the Roman Rd. Disgraceful. I mean, what a way to treat a humble East End boy who single-handedly put humanity on the moon.

*The whole him being shot in the head business was mind-blowing.  Literally. You don’t come back from that, I don’t care who you are.  Shame cos I had time for him… although, to be honest, Nixon was more my cup of tea. We just had more in common.

Michael Curle