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Harry's FA Cup reflections

Posted on 2 January 2009  - 12:00

Speaking ahead of tonight's third round tie against Wigan, Harry Redknapp reflects on what the FA Cup has meant to him from a football-crazy kid right up to winning the trophy with Portsmouth last season.

Harry's FA Cup reflections

Speaking ahead of tonight's third round tie against Wigan, Harry Redknapp reflects on what the FA Cup has meant to him from a football-crazy kid right up to winning the trophy with Portsmouth last season.

Kicking-off with a famous win against Manchester United when he was in charge at Bournemouth, the FA Cup has played a huge part in Harry's managerial career.

Harry was only 36 and a young manager back in January, 1984 when Bournemouth, then in the old Third Division, toppled the mighty United, the holders.

He was successful at Old Trafford during his time at West Ham in January, 2001 and again as Pompey went all the way last season.

Now he's determined to take Spurs to Wembley again.

"The Bournemouth win got me off to a start, beating Manchester United in the cup as a young manager when they were cup holders," Harry reflected. "That was a great day but winning it with Portsmouth will always be special for me, it was a great day.

"The FA Cup final was the one game that was on television when I was a kid, it was the game.

"From 10 o'clock onwards on the Saturday you were sitting around the TV, watching the build up and the players leaving the hotel. It was just an amazing day.

"And when the match finished you got the ball out and your mates came out from the streets we lived in and we'd play until it was too dark. We'd pretend we were whoever was in the cup final that day.

"It was the competition. When I was a kid there was the league and the cup, we didn't have the Carling Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League. We had the FA Cup and league and they were the two chances you had - and the cup was the big day.

"I can remember Dave Whelan, chairman of Wigan, breaking his leg in the cup final (for Blackburn, 1960) - in those days someone used to break their leg every year in the cup final.

"I remember Ray Woods playing in goal for United against Aston Villa in 1957 when Peter McParland charged into him when he caught the ball. He was on the floor unconscious and they were trying to pull his jumper off him. He had one of those big jumpers with a roll neck on it and it was tight, they were trying to pull it off to give it to an outfield player.

"Eventually they get the jumper off and walk him off the field - he's out the game.

"Fifteen minutes before half-time the commentator says Ray Woods is coming back on the pitch! He's got two sniffers to clear his head and he's walking like he's been hit on the chin by Muhammad Ali. He's staggering from side to side and he's going to play on the wing.

"Suddenly the ball comes to him, he tries to dribble but he doesn't know where he is. He didn't come out for the second half, they go two down and they bring him back to play in goal again. He still didn't know where he was. It's amazing, those memories of the cup final.

"Last year lived up to it. It was a nervy day because when you go there as favourites, it would have been a massive disappointment if we didn't beat Cardiff.

"Everyone thinks you're going to win it because you got this far, so the pressure was on. It would have been a real downer if we didn't deliver it.

"It wasn't like playing another Premier League club when you go and give it everything you've got - it's a case of being a let down if we didn't win it.

"Afterwards I was emotionally drained, it gets you like that. People don't realise it but you go through every emotion. At the end of the game I felt like that."