In the latest excerpt of his autobiography to be serialised in the Daily Mail, Redknapp claims that fans' reaction to his decision to join Southampton having been “shown the door” at Portsmouth brought home to him how far football has fallen.
In the good old days, Redknapp writes, “You went to a match and you’d stand and talk football with the away fans and no one would be shouting abuse or fighting and arguing.”
As far as Redknapp was concerned, he had done nothing wrong when he moved from Portsmouth to their south coast rivals.
“I had done a good job there; it was Milan Mandaric’s decision to bring another man in,” Redknapp claimed, and reasoned that, “Southampton were the only other Premier League club within range of where Sandra and I lived — why shouldn’t I work for them? Why should I have to move up the other end of the country?”
Portsmouth fans didn’t see it that way, however.
His first day at Southampton’s training ground was to set the tone. There were road works just outside the ground and, as fate would have it, the contractors were from Portsmouth.
Alongside the usual signage were homemade banners that read “SCUM” and “JUDAS”. The workmen, who were there for months, weren't happy with mere signs either: "They had plenty to say, too," rues Redknapp.
There was no respite, Redknapp explains, even when his working day was done and he was trying to relax back at his house.
"Even at home, there was no respite. We live on the sea and a lot of Portsmouth boys go out fishing my way. I’d be out in my garden and I would hear the unmistakable accents. ‘You f****** scum, Redknapp.'"
The abuse prompted Redknapp's wife Sandra to ponder, “My God Harry, what have you done?”
Worse was to come, however, when his telephone number was leaked on the internet, with calls coming in 24 hours a day.
"Real filth," Redknapp recalls.
"‘I hope you crash your car and kill your wife; I hope you get cancer. I hope your wife gets cancer.’”
He had to change his number but there was, “always the chance of running into some nutcase from Portsmouth.”
The reason for such vitriol? The affinity with which the fans had originally held him in.
“They liked me so much when I was there, that we had such a good relationship, that my leaving hurt far more intensely than the departure of another manager would,” he continues.
It is true that Redknapp was one of the club’s most successful managers and part of that success was owing to the club’s successes in the transfer market.
Among a number of high profile players that Redknapp acquired while at the club was Amdy Faye. As was often the case with Redknapp though, the means he used to lure the Senegalese player to Fratton Park were unconventional to say the least.
Having had the player on trial Redknapp thought the deal was all tied up, only to hear that the Auxurre midfielder was on his way back to France. In a state of panic Redknapp and his loyal wife, Sandra, headed straight to the airport to intercept the player.
Having managed to somehow to track Faye down, Redknapp engaged in some pretty radical negotiations, he recalls.
“‘Amdy, where are you going?’ I asked him.‘I go home,’ he said. ‘No, Amdy, you can’t go home,’ I insisted. ‘You have to sign for Portsmouth first. Come with me. You come with me.’
“I took him to my house and he heard the dogs barking. ‘Dogs! I no like dogs,’ he said and he froze.
‘They’re not dogs, Amdy,’ I assured him. ‘They’re bulldogs. They’re more vicious than dogs. Half-dog, half-bull. If you try to escape, they bite your b***s off.’”
The next day he signed for £1.5 million.