Harry Redknapp: ‘People who say life begins at 40 should see a psychiatrist – I’d love to be 21 again’

Harry Redknapp: ‘People Who Say Life Begins At 40 Should See A Psychiatrist – I’d Love To Be 21 Again’
Harry Redknapp before the Soccer Aid for UNICEF match at The London Stadium, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Katie Wright, PA

Despite feeling as though he “won the lottery” in life, Harry Redknapp says that, at 76, if he could relive his youth again he would.

“Anybody who said that life begins at 40, they want to go and see a psychiatrist!” Redknapp says with a chuckle, talking on the phone from the home in Dorset he shares with Sandra, his wife of 55 years.


“Every day you wake up, you’ve got a different ailment or aches and pains. I’d love to be 21 again, course I would.”

Not that he has any regrets. The former professional footballer and manager of clubs including Bournemouth (he still attends matches every week), Birmingham and West Ham, credits his beloved wife with decades of wedded bliss.

“I’ve just been so lucky. I mean, I couldn’t tell you how great my marriage has been, it’s been incredible,” says Redknapp, who is father to sons Jamie (former footballer and now pundit) and Mark (a former model and property developer).

“Jamie says to me, ‘You won the lottery’. He says, ‘How did you pull her, Dad?'”



Does he have any sage advice for newlyweds now? “Do your best to get through the ups and downs. Don’t throw the towel in, get through it – not that I’ve been in them situations, but it must be difficult for lots of people at times. Work it out. Make it happen.”

One of the few times Redknapp, who was born in East London, spent time apart from Sandra was when he took part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2018.

After quickly becoming a hit with viewers, he went on to be crowned King of the Jungle and found a new level of fame on return to the UK.

“I went from being just guys coming up to me in the street talking about football, suddenly it was women and kids coming up and talking about I’m A Celebrity,” Redknapp recalls. “It was a very different audience from what I’d been used to, and it just went from there.”


The owner of multiple racehorses and patron to many charities, he has a hectic schedule (“I should be spending more time on the golf course, really”) and has recently taken on another altruistic endeavour in the form of Cwm Albion FC, declared the UK’s ‘best worst team’ by Specsavers after losing all 22 fixtures last season.

Redknapp has been drafted in to manage the Swansea-based football squad, who already appear to be benefiting from the so-called new manager bounce: “I went down and met them all, we had a training session, and then lo and behold they went and won last week.”

Harry Redknapp in the dressing room with Cwm Albion
Harry Redknapp in the dressing room with Cwm Albion (Richard Dawson/Specsavers/PA)


The good-natured gaffer, who led Portsmouth to victory in the 2008 FA Cup final, has never been one to employ the infamous hairdryer treatment on his charges: “I think you get more out of people by encouraging them, and telling them what they can do than what they can’t do. Make them feel good about themselves.”

Having retired from pro management in 2017, Redknapp doesn’t envy the current crop of Premier League managers, who have a “much more difficult” job, he believes.

“You’re under scrutiny all the time now, you’ve got social media, you’ve got TV, every radio station, everybody’s got an opinion,” he says, lamenting that short-sighted club owners demand instant success

“They’re too quick now to fire managers who lose a few games. You win a few, you’re a genius, you lose a few, you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s no in-between.”

And don’t even get him started on VAR.

“It’s killing the game,” says Redknapp, becoming animated as he describes the anguish caused for supporters by the controversial video assistant referee system.

“The fans are not enjoying it. Every time there’s a goal, you can’t celebrate. You’ve got to sit there for five minutes waiting for a check on VAR. Some of the decisions are just horrendous.”

Still, having dipped his toe back in the managerial waters with Cwm Albion, perhaps the football legend could be tempted to return to the big leagues.

“This is my biggest challenge,” Redknapp says. “If I can make a success of this, who knows, then maybe Real Madrid or somebody will come calling.”

Harry Redknapp has stepped in to help Specsavers Best Worst Team – Cwm Albion. To follow their progress this season, visit their YouTube channel.

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