Harry Redknapp: I’ll turn into Victor Meldrew if QPR lose on my birthday!
Harry Redknapp says even singer Tony Bennett wouldn't prevent him from turning into Victor Meldrew if QPR lose on his 66th birthday
With Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino both celebrating their birthdays on Saturday, one of their special days is bound to be ruined after Southampton and Queens Park Rangers clash at St Mary’s.
The Hoops manager, who is 26 years older than the Saints boss, desperately needs to secure three points against his former club, with QPR already seven points adrift of 17th-placed Wigan Athletic.
It is a season-defining month for the west London side, with a run of games against their fellow strugglers – Southampton, Sunderland and Aston Villa – which will give an indication whether they have a realistic chance of survival.
So it’s no surprise that Redknapp’s wife Sandra won’t be planning anything special for her husband because by his own admission, even his favourite singer Tony Bennett wouldn’t be able to raise his spirits should QPR lose this weekend.
“My whole weekend revolves around Saturday’s result. My wife could make arrangements to have Tony Bennett over, who I absolutely love, but if we lost, I wouldn’t turn up.
“I’ll be no use Saturday night if it doesn’t go well. She won’t bother to arrange anything in case it doesn’t go well.”
Despite moulding Tottenham into a top-four side during a three-and-a-half year reign at White Hart Lane, Redknapp will be best remembered for his great escapes.
The 65-year-old transformed West Ham United from perennial strugglers into an established top-flight side before guiding Portsmouth into the Premier League and cementing their status among England’s elite.
But it is not surprising that Redknapp still struggles to cope with losing. One needs an eternal competitive spirit to last in top-flight management as long as the QPR boss.
It is conceivable that 17th-placed Wigan could be 10 points clear of the Hoops come Saturday night and should that happen, Redknapp could top his 54th birthday, which his wife described as “the most miserable night of her life”.
“I remember being manager of West Ham. Sandra came up to meet me in Birmingham. It was a Saturday night and we were going to watch Jamie [Redknapp] play in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday.
“I met Sandra, she’d booked a lovely restaurant. She said it was the most miserable night of her life. We got beat at Leeds.
“I can’t help myself [getting miserable]. It’s pathetic really. My other son Mark was there with his girlfriend. She must have thought what a miserable geezer.
“I was like Victor Meldrew. I can’t snap out of it. I’ll be like that until I pack this job in.”
Redknapp has regularly stated his continued zeal for management despite one of the most difficult years of his career in 2012, which included being cleared of tax evasion, missing out on the England job and being sacked by Spurs.
So he is well-placed to cast a knowing glance at Southampton’s enthusiastic, young coach Pochettino, who is still enjoying the honeymoon period of management in one of Europe’s top leagues.
He continued: “I’d rather be 25 years younger! If only my missus was 25 years younger too because she was a good sort…
“I envy anyone who is 25 years younger. We’d all love to be younger… I’d love to be 35 or 36 starting out at Bournemouth again.
“But I feel great [at 66]. I don’t feel like a 66-year-old. I feel about 30. I don’t feel any different. I came in and QPR were bottom of the league. I can only do the best with what I’ve got.
“I still feel that I can get them out of it.”