Speaker Spotlight: The Life Of Footballing Legend & King Of The Jungle Harry Redknapp
After his time on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here resulted in a victory for the football manager, Harry Redknapp securely positioned himself in the heart of the nation. The after dinner speaker is a firm favourite at any event, with his relatable, charismatic nature and endless anecdotes. Over the course of his successful career, Harry has managed teams like Portsmouth Football Club and West Ham United to footballing victory, taking home trophies like the FA Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Born to Play
Born in London, Harry was scouted by Dickie Walker of Tottenham Hotspur, while he was playing for East London Schools football team. After rising through the ranks, Harry moved to West Ham United at the age of 15, to play beside Bobby Moore - but he always kept Tottenham close to heart. In a 2008 interview, after being appointed Tottenham manager, Harry stated that “Tottenham have been a great club over the years. I followed Tottenham, I trained there as an 11-year-old, 12-year-old so I know the history of the club. It is a big, big club”.
Early career as a Footballer
After moving from Tottenham Hotspurs to West Ham United, Harry continued to go from strength to strength as an astounding player. Highly sought after, he made hundreds of appearances in League games, scoring goal after goal for whichever club he played for.
West Ham United
Starting in the 1960s, Harry moved to West Ham United, breaking into the team during their 1965-66 season. During their game against Sunderland in August 1965, Harry made his debut, later scoring his first goal against Tottenham in the following year. Over the course of his second season, Harry made 12 league appearances, 28 appearances during his second season, and 42 during the 1968-69 season, with 6 goals throughout. In total, Harry scored 8 times and made 175 league appearances.
After moving to A.F.C. Bournemouth in 1972, Harry spent four seasons playing with the club until 1976. During his first season, Harry made 34 league appearances, scoring once for the club and securing their place seventh on the table. In the next 46 appearances, Harry scored five times with 39 appearances in the league.
Managing & Coaching Teams to Success
Riding high on his success as a footballer, Harry turned his skill and knowledge to managing other team’s success. Since the 1970s, Harry has guided seemingly hopeless clubs out of relegation and firmly positioned them in the Premier League, guaranteeing victory after victory.
Harry transitioned to coaching whilst playing for the Seattle Sounders in the 70s. In his first season as a player-coach, Harry helped the club reach second place in the Pacific Conference, with third place following the 1977 season. Over the course of his career with the club, Harry guaranteed the Seattle Sounder’s success in the National Conference League, keeping them in the top three.
In the early 80s, Harry was offered his first major coaching role as assistant manager of A.F.C. Bournemouth, before taking the role of manager in 1983. With Harry’s help, Bournemouth avoided relegation to the Fourth Division, even defeating Manchester United 2-0 in the third round. Bournemouth went on to win the Third Division title with 97 points, breaking the clubs record in 1987.
West Ham United
Returning to West Ham United, Harry established the club in the FA Premier League and introduced younger players from the club’s academy, believing that fresh talent would improve their chances. He wasn’t wrong, as the club finished fifth in 1999, meaning that they qualified for the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Thanks to Harry, the team went on to win the cup.
Portsmouth Football Club
In the early 2000s, Harry stepped up as Director of Football at Portsmouth Football Club. During the 2002-03 season, Harry led the club to the Division One title and gained promotion to the Premier League, improving greatly on their previous achievements. Harry maintained the clubs position in the Premier League until he resigned in 2004.
After a short stint at Southampton F.C., Harry returned to Portsmouth, who were on the brink of being relegated to the Championship. Harry ensured their survival, leading the club to finish in their highest position since the 1950s, ninth place. After their 2008 FA Cup quarter-final victory against Manchester United, Harry received the Freedom of the City.
Back with the club that started it all, Harry immediately got to work taking the club out of the relegation zone. Over the course of four years, Harry led the club to the finals of the League Cup, fourth place in the 2009-10 Premier League before qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, and qualifying for the Europa League. As a testament to his footballing knowledge and managing ability, Harry was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Year award and Premier League Manager of the Month award.
Queens Park Rangers
Despite the club only earning 4 points from 12 matches, Harry guided the team to Premier League success after defeating Fulham 2-1 in the 2012-13 season. Riding high on the victory, Harry then secured a 1-0 goal against European champions, Chelsea. Despite the club being relegated, Harry managed QPR to triumph over Derby County, securing the club their Premier League position once more.
Becoming King of the Jungle
Moving away from football, Harry took part in the 2018 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here. Presented by Holly Willoughby and Declan Donnelly, the opening episode received the highest rating for 14 years, watched by over 14 million people. Over the course of the show, Harry took part in six Bush Tucker Trials, winning 100% of the stars on offer at 33 in total. Despite just missing out on his staple Jam roly-poly and custard, Harry’s likeable nature and honest storytelling earned him the greatest accolade of all, King of the Jungle. Beating runner-up Emily Atack, Harry captivated audiences with his daring exploits, fun facts and warm wisdom.
Book Harry Redknapp
With decades of stories to tell, Harry is popular after dinner speaker. In his speeches, he emphasises the importance of homegrown talent and the potential that young British Footballers bring to the table. Thanks to his experience as a player and a manager, Harry enthrals audiences with his depth of footballing knowledge and what it takes to be a successful sporting star. His insights are both life-affirming and inspiring, as he talks candidly about the highs and lows of performing at the top level.
To book Harry Redknapp to make a personal appearance at your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by filling in our online contact form or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.