26th November 2018
Harry Redknapp tells UCFB students: ‘Don’t be afraid’
By Rebecca Hawksworth
Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp gave students an inside look into the world of elite football management during his recent guest speaker talk at UCFB Wembley.
Redknapp is one of the most established and well respected managers in the English game, having also managed clubs including West Ham United, Portsmouth, QPR and Birmingham City.
Having experienced the Champions League, Premier League and Championship as a manager, and coached players including Gareth Bale and Paolo Di Canio, Redknapp is well placed to understand what makes an effective coach.
He told students: “It’s about getting the best out of people. It’s about good players and encouraging them and I think you get more out of people by telling them what they can do and not what they can’t do, that was always my philosophy. 90% of the time you’ve got to encourage them and give them a pat on the back when we’re doing well.”
Football coaching and management is, of course, a difficult industry to break into but it’s also a significant challenge to remain in a role, with managers now being given less and less time to make an impact at a football club.
Having experienced hurdles and challenges in management himself, Redknapp spoke of the importance of remaining mentally strong and how he used to blank out the criticism he faced from the media.
He said: “Setbacks are part of the game, defeats are part of the game, and it’s how you cope with them. Look at Leicester the season they won the Premier League – the year after and they’re having a difficult season and the manager gets the sack. It’s incredible but that’s how football has gone. You’re only ever five or six games away from the sack.”
Redknapp added: “You have to be strong. I didn’t used to read newspapers. I used to hate it when someone said ‘have you seen what this newspaper has said about you today’ because I didn’t want to know, I wasn’t interested. What I don’t know doesn’t hurt me and that was always my philosophy.”
Redknapp took his first steps towards management while still a player, taking on the role of player-assistant manager at Seattle Sounders in the US. Addressing UCFB students, he emphasised the importance of gaining hands on experience for those who want to build a career in coaching and management.
“Experience is the most important thing. If students can get out and get around and watch senior coaches work and get involved in coaching and be hands on, then that’s the best way to learn.
“You can read all the books you want but actually getting out there and doing it yourself and being in and around footballers and actually doing the coaching, that is without a doubt the best experience that you can have.”
Redknapp, who won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 and also managed at international level with Jordan, went on to give students further advice on how to obtain coaching experience and make contact with well-established coaches.
He said: “Don’t be afraid because you can get into places that you probably don’t think you can get into. See if you can make your relationship with someone at a football club by dropping them a letter saying ‘I’m doing my coaching, can I come along and watch a training session or two?’. Get over there and go and get chatting to some people.
“Watch as much training as you can. Especially on Tuesday and Thursday nights with the youth teams, see if you can get over there and watch the young kids train. Have a chat with one or two of the coaches because most people are very accessible and they will give you their time.”