While Harry Redknapp loved going to watch Arsenal growing up, he ultimately ended up signing for London rivals, West Ham.
While modern fans remember the Londoner for his managerial prowess, older supporters still recall his stint as a gritty box-to-box midfielder. In total, the 75-year-old made a staggering 175 appearances for ‘The Irons’. But while he cemented his place as an Upton Park legend, Redknapp certainly didn’t spend his childhood ‘blowing pretty bubbles in the air’.
During an appearance on Reece Mennie‘s podcast, the ex-gaffer opened up about his memories of cheering for ‘The Gunners’.
Redknapp confessed: “My dad was a good player. My dad was a prisoner of war, but when he came back from the war, he was a good non-league player. We were football-mad and big Arsenal fans, big Gooners.
“So he used to take me to Arsenal. I used to play for East London, and my dad had stopped playing so he took me to Arsenal.
“Mornings playing for East London, then afternoon go and watch The Gunners play. He was a real Arsenal punter. We didn’t have a car, but we’d get the bus, change and get another bus. But every Saturday, he would take me to watch The Arsenal.”
Read: Peter Crouch vs Jermain Defoe: Harry Redknapp picks his favourite striker (sporf.com)
Harry Redknapp talks signing for West Ham
But despite his love for Arsenal, at the age of 15, the playmaker made the biggest call of his career.
He explained: “I played for East London Boys, then suddenly West Ham came in, Chelsea and Arsenal, and I could have gone to any of those clubs. Then just before I left school, I decided that West Ham was the club.”
He continued: “A big influence was a mate of mine who I played with at East London Boys, a goalkeeper called Colin Mackleworth, who was signing for West Ham and we were great buddies. I was half influenced because he was my mate and he was going to West Ham. Also when we got invited to West Ham we met Ron Greenwood and he was at every game.
“Managers would be at every youth game. They knew that the future of the football club was bringing players through the youth team, not like nowadays where you just go out and buy players. Back in those days, a big percentage of the players would come through the youth teams, and West Ham was a conveyor belt so I decided to join West Ham.”
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