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Harry Redknapp on ‘creative’ management

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The QPR boss shares his team leadership tips

Keep work and play separate

“I don’t go out with players after a game. When people have a drink, things happen, and I don’t want to be there. I remember once when I was coaching Seattle Sounders. We all went out to a bar after a game, and there was a player there who I’d left out of the team. He was really drunk, and he said, ‘I’m never in the team now you’re picking it,’ and with that, he nutted me [laughs]. I learned a lesson there.”

Don’t rely on quirky techniques

“That Brendan Rodgers thing with envelopes? [Rodgers told his Liverpool team he’d written names of players who would let them down in envelopes, adding, ‘Make sure you’re not one of them.’] Perhaps he thought he was Mystic Meg [laughs]. I wouldn’t go in for techniques like that. At QPR, every new player has to sing a song in front of everyone; it’s good for team spirit. Niko [Kranjcar, who signed for QPR recently] did a Croatian song. No one understood it. He could’ve been singing ‘You bunch of tossers’ and we all sat there clapping him.”

Harry as Bournemouth manager in 1988

Never lose your rag… Unless you have to

“You get more by encouraging people than slagging them off. Life is about confidence – if you tell people they’re crap, they won’t perform. I’ve only lost my rag once, when I was managing West Ham. Don Hutchison nearly cost us the game, and I told him so in the changing room, but he started arguing. Finally I f*cking blew up, and booted a tray of sandwiches at him. He had egg and cress on his head, but kept arguing [laughs].”

Master the art of surprise

“I was managing West Ham at Oxford United [in 1994], and there was a Hammers fan in the crowd digging Lee Chapman out: ‘He’s f*cking useless, Harry.’ Second half, a player got injured, so I turned to him and said, ‘Can you play as good as you talk?’ He said, ‘I’m better than that Chapman.’ So I got him some gear, and brought him on. He was a massive skinhead, covered in West Ham tattoos, and the bloke on the Tannoy says, ‘Who’s the sub?’ I said, ‘Ain’t you been watching the World Cup? That’s Tittyshev, the Bulgarian striker.’ He went, ‘Oh, thought so,’ and announced him on to the pitch.”

Always Managing by Harry Redknapp is out now, priced £20 (Ebury Press)

(Image: Getty; Rex)

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