VAVEL UK Exclusive interview with Harry Redknapp, Paul Dickov and Alan McInally

Speaking exclusively for VAVEL UK, the football icons shared their experiences from their past playing careers and also their thoughts about the current world of football.

VAVEL UK Exclusive interview with Harry Redknapp, Paul Dickov and Alan McInally
Image: Gianluca Lia

Recently, VAVEL and Gianluca Lia had the chance to sit down and chat with three of the most notable figures in recent footballing memory.

Harry Redknapp, Paul Dickov and Alan McInally all gave their thoughts on a wide range of subjects across the duration of the interview.

Harry Redknapp

You lived life as a player and as a coach. Which one do you prefer?

"Playing is the best, for sure. When you are a coach, you take all the problems with you while being a player, it feels good to be fit."

One of your earliest experiences in management was AFC Bournemouth. How do you describe the development that the club has went through?

"Amazing. What they’ve done is wonderful. In 100 years they’ve never been in the first tier and when I was there, we won the league and promotion into what is now the Championship, and I thought that was already a miracle. What Eddie Howe has done now has overshadowed my success. Meanwhile, they are also playing some beautiful football."

At West Ham United, you were credited for developing several superstars.

"Yes, I was lucky to have those players with me. When you are a manager, putting these young players into the mix and afterwards six of them getting call-ups from the England National Team while also triumphing at club level, such as winning the UEFA Champions League, is great."

You were never afraid of putting young players into the mix. Was it easier during those times rather nowadays?

"Well, if they are good enough, you have to play them. If they start living the club’s policy from a young age, that is beneficial because it is always a good feeling seeing a product coming from the system."

How would you describe your emotions from travelling Portsmouth-Southampton-Portsmouth?

"Very crazy decision. I don’t think I was thinking straight. Honestly, I did not recognize the hatred between the two clubs. I had a great time at Portsmouth and I just had an argument with the chairman, and I walked out. Within two weeks I was at Southampton, but it was difficult. Despite being a great club, it was difficult for me due to the past."

At Portsmouth, you had great success. From all the best moments you enjoyed there, how would you describe the success of clinching the FA Cup?

"Well, it was great. When I went to Portsmouth, we were in the Championship, with the owner being Milan Mandaric, whom afterwards sold the club to Alexandre Gaydamak. The latter came in, he bought a lot of players and we had some fantastic players. We built a good team for mid-table finish in the Premier League, while also winning the cup."

Then of course, you arrived at Tottenham. In such a short time, you managed to put the club on the European map on such a short time?

"Sure, I had a good time at the club. I was lucky to have some great players there like Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart. We reached the quarter-finals in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid. It was difficult for us to play against them with 11 players, let alone with a man down. But all in all, I had a great time there."

Speaking about Gareth Bale, did you except that he could maximise his potential at this extent?

"Yes, and it is amazing. He was always running long distances, up and down, all day with a speedy pace. He could dribble and shoot anytime. He was fantastic."

Managing your son Jamie Redknapp, and nephew Frank Lampard, what were the challenges?

"With Jamie there were no particular challenges. I took him to Bournemouth but he could have gone to any club in the country, really, but he wanted to play and not staying on the bench. With Frank, it was different. His father worked me as well. Frank was a huge professional and I’ve never seen anyone training like him and he would also remain at the training grounds, even when everyone would have left the training pitch."

Fast forward to few months ago, you had a short experience at Jordan. Your conclusions?

"It was good. I really enjoyed it, even the people were very friendly. The Jordan FA asked me to take over for two matches and I accepted promptly. We played against Bangladesh and Australia. Australia are very strong, well-organised, well-coached and a very athletic team. They came to England few days later and they played really well in a very tight game. I still speak to people in Jordan and I still follow their development."

Paul Dickov

You were at Manchester City. What were your best moments at the club and how do you feel seeing your former club reaching such heights?

"As per best moments at the club, I would say winning back to back promotions to the Premier League again. The game against Gillingham was amazing, scoring in the 95th minute. But many people also forget the game at Ewood Park, when we won 4-1. We were 1-0 down at half-time, and we could have been easily 4-0 or 5-0 down.

"Matt Janssen had hit the crossbar four times. Then in the second half, we ended up winning 1-4. Probably, it was the most one-sided defeat for them. I am delighted with what Manchester City have been doing now. My children are also Manchester City fans. I’ve lived in the area for almost 20 years now. It is really easy to throw and invest money in the club, but the people does not really see what the owners have been doing to the club.

"Around the area, Manchester City have been developing in their football community, Academy and Women’s Team. Also, something that I like about the club is that they have kept lot of people, who were already there when I signed there back in 1995. I don’t think that Manchester City are given much credit to that."

Having played at Leicester City, how did you feel seeing the club upset the critics and winning the title?

"I was absolutely delighted with the triumph. I think everyone had Leicester City as their second club last year, because it was so unreal."

The current situation of Scotland National Team. Your thoughts?

"I think it is a bit strange, because I think that Scotland do boast some good talents. Maybe they do not have the talent to choose from like England, but looking to Wales and Northern Ireland, I think Scotland have good players. Maybe one of the best probably at the moment is Oliver Burke, who recently went to play in Germany."

Alan McInally

What do you think of the influx of owners into football?

"I think for example, Manchester City really kept the soul of the club. Through Betsafe, I started to maintain a close relationship with the club and it is just now that I am now realizing the investment that the club is doing. It is still a supporters’ club, like the good old days."

The current situation of Scotland National Team. Your thoughts?

"Well, I was lucky to play in the FIFA 1990 World Cup, but I still think that Scotland has a good team right now. It is just like there is something missing, to make it to the next level. Maybe we don’t have the players that we used to have before though. We were disappointed not to make the Euros last summer and now we started the qualification with a win against Malta, we drew against Lithuania and lost against Slovakia.

"Against Slovakia it was more the performance rather than the loss that was disappointing, physiologically and also for the fans, because they will think that we won’t qualify again. Yet, it is not impossible for Scotland to qualify. The drawback would be that we are already under lot of pressure, having drew against Lithuania and lost against Slovakia."

Having played at Celtic during the 80s, do you think that Scottish football overlapped English football due to various factors?

"Well, there were various Scottish players who eventually went to England, even myself went to join Aston Villa. That the English teams could not play in Europe that was a drawback for sure. Personally, it did not affect me because at Celtic I played in Europe and I was lucky to have a lot of success there."

You played at Bayern Munich. What does it require to play in such a big club?

"Winning mentality is the big thing, You know, I was at Aston Villa who were a big club, but Bayern Munich were a club that I could not have turned down. When Uli Hoeness and Jupp Heynckes came to watch me during an international fixture against Chile, where we won 2-0 and where I was lucky to score and told me to join them.

"I was thinking how could I turn them down. When I went there, I realized how big the club was considering the players they had and I had to be 100% fit all the time or I would not have played. It was good to learn their culture, because when you are there, you learn the mentality of winning every game and approaching it in a winning way."

Image: Sky Sports
Image: Sky Sports

This interview was arranged by Betsafe, who Harry Redknapp, Paul Dickov and Alan McInally are an ambassadors of together with other sports athletes. Being represented by sports athletes who achieved milestones in their respective careers is an important source of promotion for its development.

For more information about the roles of Harry Redknapp, Paul Dickov and Alan McInally at Betsafe, and also what Betsafe consists about, go to https://betsafe.com/en/blog/sports/football/premier-league.