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One-time outsider is a firm favourite; Greavsie.

Byline: Dave Kidd

FORTY years ago in the Slaters Arms pub in London Road, Romford, I used to enjoy a drink with a nice young Cockney kid who liked a flutter on the gee-gees.

A wisecracking sort, he was not the kind of footballer you could ever imagine going into coaching or management.

Some players would turn up for training with a coaching manual in one hand and an apple for teacher in the other - but not this fella.

Yet, four decades on, that very same bloke is threatening to become a Champions League manager and he is making this Tottenham supporter very happy.

When my old West Ham teammate Harry Redknapp became Spurs boss just ago, my only was that he did get the job sooner.

Spurs botched appointments of highlyregarded foreign coaches like Jacques Santini and Juande Ramos, with Martin Jol only enjoying a successful stint in charge originally been hired as Santini's replacement.

And yet, all the while, there was a Londoner in the Premier League who had enjoyed plenty of success at Portsmouth and West Ham and would have given his right arm for the Spurs job.

I think the secret of Redknapp's success in management is that he has barely changed in all those years since we were team-mates propping up a bar down the road from West Ham's Chadwell Heath training ground.

You will never hear him trying to blind anyone with tactical science.

Half the managers I've known, past or present, will use any opportunity when a camera is put in front of them to try to prove how clever they are. Not Harry.

That's not to say he didn't get a good tactical grounding. John Lyall was the man who taught Harry the most.

Even before he took over as Hammers manager from Ron Greenwood, John was the man in the tracksuit who was effectively our boss on a day-to-day basis - and he had one of the finest football minds I've known.

Harry was certainly smart enough never to ask me for any advice. I was pretty well known among team-mates as a man who did not like to analyse things too much in the dressing room.

When Bill Nicholson used to ask us for our views at Spurs, I'd only ever say one thing: "You either can play or you can't."

Harry would tend with me that can often just as simple as that.

A good few years after our brief spell together at West Ham, I dropped in to see my pal Bobby Moore, had just as manager of non-league Oxford City. I was stunned to find out that Bobby's No.2 was none other than Harry.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I asked him, knowing he would only be earning, at best, pounds 10-a-week boot money.

He replied: "Well, you've got to start somewhere and I really want to give this a go."

Not many top managers have started off at such a low place as assistant manager at a non-league club.

Especially as Bobby soon discovered that he wasn't cut out for management himself.

It's been a long, long road from Oxford City to the brink of the Champions League, but most of us who have met him along the way will be delighted to see Harry make it.

Jimmy was talking to Chief Sports Writer Dave Kidd

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 22, 2009
Words:576
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