Harry Redknapp: My Irish Connections

Harry Redknapp at Castlehaven GAA Club

Harry on his love for horse-racing and his connections with Ireland, coming to Cork once before to scout a player and why he's fallen in love with Castlehaven and the community. 

Doing this series has brought me back to Ireland and I've visited here quite a bit before because I've had horses in training here.

I had one with Gordon Elliot and another with Eddie Lynam who's a great flat trainer. Irish trainers are the best in the world you know. You only have to look at Cheltenham and Aintree and all the succcesses of  Mullins and Elliot this year.

I've just bought quite an expensive horse in Ireland actually, from an Irish breeder near Belfast, a Mr Dennison who is a very famous man in transport.

This one is a jumper, he was four last January and I have him with Ben Pauling now, a fantastic young trainer in England.

My wife thinks I've just got one horse at the moment but I've actually got 12!

I haven't named this new one yet but, if we win this big re-match with Erins Isle, I have promised the lads in the club that I will call him 'Castlehaven.'

I've been to Ireland plenty of times, including some football work for Irish TV and I always love coming over but this has only been my second ever visit to Cork.

The one time I came before was to watch a player and that was 10 or 12 years ago.

Cork City were playing in the European Cup and I came over to watch a big 6'8” centre-forward called Zigic (Nikola) who was playing against them for Red Star Belgrade.

Funnily enough Sam Allardyce, who was managing Bolton at the time, arrived at the airport at the exact same time as myself. We also ended up staying at the same hotel and it turned out we were both coming to watch the same player! So it made sense to share a cab to the match.

To be honest we left 20 minutes before the end and went to the best restaurant in Cork. The food was to die for. It was Pat Dolan who recommended it.

Neither of us signed Zigic, that's why we left early. We reckoned the food would be better than the player!

I remember we had a taxi driver, also called Pat, who told me Red Star would kill Cork 'cause Cork's best five players were all missing. Actually Cork murdered them but were unlucky and lost 1-0. Still, we had a great meal!

Sam was ordering the wine which wasn't cheap so he must have had a good chairman at Bolton. I was managing Portsmouth at the time.

Zigic went to Birmingham afterwards and  actually scored one of their goals when they beat Arsenal in the League Cup final. For the Championship he done well but he wasn't a Premier League player.

So that was the only time I ever came to Cork before.

This time it's been completely different and I've fell in love with Castlehaven. It's so different from where I grew up, so different for anyone coming from a big city. I've already arranged for my wife Sandra to come back here in August with me. The minute I saw it I was on the phone to her and I know she's going to love it as well.