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15th Dec 2016

Neil Ruddock tells JOE about the time Harry Redknapp got one over on him – and it cost him £10k

Classic Harry

Tom Victor

“I think it’s the first time Harry ever got one over on me,” Neil Ruddock tells me.

I’ve brought up the subject of a story recently made public by Ruddock’s former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp, and the retired centre-back admits things went down pretty much the way Redknapp said.

It’s the tale of how Ruddock ended up £10,000 out of pocket after winning an appeal against a fine, and he remembers it as vividly as if it were yesterday

“I was up at Gleneagles with Alan Shearer, Mike Newell and Stephen Hendry, the snooker player,” he explains.

“I got into a fight with Mike and it made the papers, so Harry fined me two weeks’ wages and I appealed. I had this barrister who I flew in from South Africa to defend me and I won.

“West Ham had messed something up, I think it was that they hadn’t fined me within two weeks [of the offence]. Then I got given the bill for the barrister and it was 10 grand and the FA wouldn’t pay it – Harry got the last laugh.”

Ruddock still sees his former manager from time to time, and thinks he could still improve teams in the Premier League, but understands why the 69-year-old hasn’t taken the plunge since ending a short-term spell in charge of the Jordan national team.

25 Jan 1998: Harry Redknapp, the manager of West Ham United directs his players during the FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester City at Maine Road in Manchester, England. West Ham United won the match 1-2. Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey/Allsport(Picture credit: Alex Livesey/Allsport)

It was Redknapp who brought the centre-back to East London from Liverpool, and Ruddock wouldn’t rule out a return for the man who spent seven years in charge at Upton Park.

Wednesday’s victory over Burnley was only the Hammers’ fourth of the current Premier League campaign, and the London club remain in relegation trouble, but he would rather current boss Slaven Bilic gets them motoring back up the table.

“There haven’t been a lot of jobs that have come up for him. He still lives down in Bournemouth and he’s no spring chicken, I don’t see him wanting to relocate,” he says.

“Going back to West Ham would be ideal but I don’t want Slav to lose his job. Obviously I want West Ham to turn things around and for their form to pick up, but football needs people like Harry.

“I loved playing for him, he always had your back but you knew he was the boss. You’ve got to know when to be serious and when you can have a bit of fun.”

Having also spent a chunk of his career at Anfield, Ruddock has also kept an eye on those following him in playing in front of the Kop – and he has also watched keenly as Jurgen Klopp, a man who he feels shares some of Redknapp’s personal management style, has put the Reds in title contention.


While he doesn’t think we’re anywhere near the peak of Klopp’s spell on Merseyside, suggesting the German will need at least two or three full years before that is achieved, he is impressed by how players have responded to the former Borussia Dortmund manager – and vice versa.

“It’s nice to see when Liverpool score and he goes round and joins the players, great to be playing for.

“And the way he always goes to the [opposition] players as well after a game, he’s a breath of fresh air.”

The club have had their defensive struggles of late, with goalkeeper Loris Karius losing his starting place as a result, but he thinks the former Mainz number one isn’t the only one to blame.

Ruddock is what many would call an old-school defender, and he isn’t convinced the rise of ball-playing centre-backs is entirely a positive thing.

“If you don’t have confidence in your keeper you need to do more to put tackles in, cut off route to goal, make headers,” he explains.

“A lot of defenders want to be more like the likes of David Luiz, doing flicks and carrying the ball out from the back  – letting players run into the box is asking for trouble.

With a clean sheet and a victory at Middlesbrough on Wednesday – their first win at the Riverside Stadium in more than a decade and only their second this century – they look like they might already be on the right track.

Neil Ruddock was speaking on behalf of new sports trading platform Sport Exchange, which is available to download from the app store.

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