Harry slowing down at 60? No chance


Last updated at 09:20 02 March 2007

Life on the south coast is

normally associated with

those in search of a slower

pace, especially at the age

of 60. Try telling that to

Harry Redknapp, who

reaches that milestone

on Friday.

The wily campaigner is

plotting the downfall of

champions Chelsea

tomorrow with the same

gusto with which he tackled

his first game as a caretaker

manager at Bournemouth

more than 24 years ago — a

9-0 drubbing at the hands of

Lincoln City.

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Redknapp said: "After that

start I thought it didn’t

matter, a 9-0 defeat, because that will just

about finish it."

Thankfully, it was not the

end and he has gone on to

be a manager for more

than 1,000 games during

spells at Bournemouth,

West Ham, Southampton

and Portsmouth twice.

He said: "The fire is just the

same as when I started. I

wish I didn’t get so

bothered about it at times.

But when you start

thinking it doesn’t matter

that much, that’s the time

to pack it in. I still get the

buzz and I still get the lows

when it goes wrong.

"I think I would get old if I

suddenly walked away, if

you didn’t come in and see

all the young lads who are

about football all the time.

There is always a bit of

banter going on, that’s

what keeps you going

really. I have got a few

years left yet, I have still

got a mortgage to pay."

Redknapp is second only to

Sir Alex Ferguson in the

Premier League age stakes,

but has no plans to follow

the Manchester United boss

by announcing his

retirement, only to come

to the realisation he cannot

live without the game.

He said: "It has never really

entered my mind. Fergie is

65, but he is a young 65.

Some people are like that. I

am a young 60 and feel as

active as I ever did."

Redknapp’s legendary wit

remains as sharp as ever.

Discussing the ages of

some of his compatriots,

he said: "Look at Arsene

Wenger. He has got to be

58 or 59, either that or he

has had a hard life."

The same treatment is

meted out to Rafa Benitez.

"He just looks old, he’s

probably about 32!" For the

record, Arsenal’s Wenger

is 57 and Liverpool’s

Benitez 46.

Another relative

youngster is Jose

Mourinho. And while

Redknapp claims youth and

experience do not go

together, he is full of

admiration for the

44-year-old Chelsea

manager’s achievements.

Can Mourinho be

considered one of the

greats despite his age?

Redknapp said: "He is at the

top of his profession, there

is no doubt about that. But

Fergie has been there for

years and his record of

achievement is incredible."

A win against Mourinho

tomorrow and Redknapp

could be helping Ferguson

add to that list of feats.