‘Arry and fiery Paolo Di Canio


With the the international break again upon us, memories of Harry Redknapp  come to mind. Known for managing West Ham from 1994 to 2001, ‘Arry and the fiery Paolo Di Canio was quite a double act as H became one of the most beloved managers in the club’s history writes Michael Talbot.

In 1999, Redknapp pursued the hot-headed Italian for £1.5 million, a move that followed Di Canio’s suspension for shoving referee Paul Alcock while playing for Sheffield Wednesday.

However, managing Di Canio at Upton Park required Redknapp to go the extra mile. He went as far as instructing his players to avoid causing any harm to the forward during training to prevent potential explosive confrontations.

“He was high maintenance, but he was a genius,” Redknapp remarked. “He was a fantastic player, and I made sure to place him on a team in training where nobody would rough him up, featuring players like Stuart Pearce, Nigel Winterburn, or Steve Lomas – individuals who relished a good tackle.”

Redknapp’s efforts to cater to Di Canio’s temperament didn’t end there. “If someone kicked him, it would all blow up, and they’d end up in a huge quarrel. He was volatile, very temperamental, so I made sure to put together the right team,” he explained.

But Redknapp’s tactics extended beyond the training ground. “He’d miss the target, and I’d insist it was a goal. It’s Paolo – got to keep him sweet for Saturday,” Redknapp quipped, revealing the extent of his ego-massaging methods.

One lovely line came from Harry when he was asked by PDC if he could go back to Italy for a couple of days as a break. Harry replied: “Yeah that’s fine but make sure you work on your ball skills, they need it!”

(3) CLARETANDHUGH | Facebook

Share this article

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • Hammeroo says:

    Thanks Hugh, I love your ‘Arry stories!

  • hammerpete6 says:

    Great piece Hughie, they were magic days under Harry as manager tarnished by the owners really. It all ended so sadly for us. It was a joy when Harry the maverick signed Paulo the mercurial and managed his man as a masterclass as you say. It was exciting to be an Iron!!!

Comments are closed.