Spurs boss tipped Blackpool for relegation - and told Holloway!
HARRY Redknapp was certainly not alone when he tipped Blackpool for the drop before the start of the season.
However, the Spurs boss was probably the only Premier League manager who voiced that prediction to Ian Holloway (or ‘Ollie’, as he is often called) in the summer.
“I don’t think I’ve ever managed a team against him but I saw him at the League Managers’ meeting at the start of the year and he was absolutely brilliant,” recalls Redknapp.
“He took the meeting over to be fair. Alex Ferguson and everyone was there, but I don’t think anyone got a word in.
“I said at the end ‘Ollie it’s been great having you here this year. I don’t think we’ll be seeing you here at the next Premier League meeting – unless you get another Premier League club – but you’ve been great value this year’. He said ‘No I think you’re right’ – but it looks like he might prove us all wrong.
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“He’s done unbelievably well, he’s done an incredible job. What he’s done there has been a miracle.
“He’s full of enthusiasm, he’s bubbly, he’s a great character and he’s got his team playing fantastic football and getting great results.
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“Let’s be honest, no-one saw them having a chance to survive this year. I think everybody said they’d be lucky if they got 20 points.
“Well they’ve gone away from home to places like Liverpool and turned teams over. They won away at Stoke, which not many teams do. I’ve seen an awful lot of them on the TV and they have a go, they attack. They get after teams and they’ve just been absolutely brilliant. So has Ollie, he’s been great value as well.”
While Redknapp has been impressed with Holloway’s heroics this season, he will also be keeping a keen eye on Blackpool skipper Charlie Adam, who nearly joined Spurs in the final minutes of the January transfer window.
The 25-year-old could be a target again in the summer, but Redknapp is urging the Seasiders’ captain to focus on the relegation battle for the next three months.
“He’s a good player but he’s got to concentrate on Blackpool now – which he will do. He’s got to concentrate on helping Blackpool avoid relegation,” says Redknapp.
“They’ve done fantastically well this year but they’ve got to keep doing it now because they’ve suddenly had a few dodgy results and Ollie’s got to get them back on the road again.
“Charlie Adam’s future is at Blackpool now until the ends of the season and I wouldn’t want to start speculating, but he is a good player and I’m sure that he’s got the potential to play for a really big club if he wants to.”
While Redknapp will face Holloway for the first time tomorrow night, he will also take a team to Blackpool for the first time since 1987 – and he remembers the day well.
“I was managing Bournemouth, we won the league that year,” says Redknapp. “We won that day at Blackpool, and I had a great day actually.
“I had a guy sitting next to my dug-out who took the mickey out of me for 90 minutes. It was quite funny actually. We went 1-0 down and he was saying ‘Harry, don’t cry, it’s not that important’. I had him in my ear for 90 minutes.
“My right-back was Tommy Heffernan, who was injured. He was probably the hardest man I’ve ever met since I’ve been in football.
He was an Irishman and his party piece was heading cricket balls – Steve Perryman said that one day he headed a cricket ball 10 yards.
“Anyway Tommy said ‘gaffer, let me knock him out. Let me give him a double-quick right-hander’. I was saying ‘no Tommy you can’t’.
“I got home and on the Monday Phil Holder, who was the manager of Brentford, rang me and said ‘you didn’t have a guy sitting next to the dug-out did you? He slaughtered me last week!’
“In the end we came back and won 3-1. I looked round and he’d gone. He wasn’t that old. I hope he isn’t there again this time!”