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My Mentor: Jamie Redknapp

The former Liverpool and England player and TV pundit pays tribute to his football manager father, Harry
He’s a fantastic dad, I have so much respect for him.
He took me everywhere as a kid. From when I was five or six, I used to train with him. I’d drive him mad to play football with him in the garden all day, every day. We lived in the US [Harry played for Seattle Sounders], I’ve heard from some of his ex-teammates that he was really talented, but a bit of a loose cannon, a bit of a wild one! You can see it in him now – he’s got that smile.
I trained with him at Bournemouth aged 10.
That didn’t do me any harm. I played for him when I was 16. But when I went to Liverpool, he didn’t hold my hand there. Leaving home at 17 was tough – I was a homeboy, very close to my mum and dad. We spoke on the phone for guidance and help, but once you’re on the field you’re on your own, you’ve got to do it yourself.
We kept a close relationship when I was at Liverpool.
I played for him again at Southampton for six months at the end of my career after Spurs. I think that was enough – no disrespect, but I wouldn’t have swapped Liverpool for a club he was at. He was a great manager to work for.
He’s as much a friend as he’s a father.
I take my kids down to Bournemouth, we all play golf together. Even now, he’s the first person I ring up for advice or reassurance. He’d probably say the same. After he’s lost a game, I’m the only person he’ll really speak to about it. When Queens Park Rangers lose, Tottenham lost, West Ham lost. I know him better than anybody, I know what to say when things aren’t going well. Some friends of mine don’t speak to their dads – that must be so difficult. I’m extremely lucky.
Sometimes he gives me advice with my punditry.
Only little things, like being careful what to say. He’s supportive. I interviewed him for the QPR vs Man City game – he was giving me stock answers. I thought, “Come on Dad, liven up, give me a smile!” It was bit flat considering it was 2-2, so I asked, "You’ve got a good result. Does that mean Mum’s going out for dinner tonight?” He laughed. But it’s hard, I must admit. I’m thinking, “Please let it go the right way because I don’t want to have to be critical of their defending.”
Jamie Redknapp is currently an ambassador for Pandora, with his wife Louise, as part of the #PANDORAwishes campaign. See pandora.net
[Images: Brian Doherty]



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