From Soccer AM comes a tale involving Harry “it’s the way I tell èm” Redknapp, Pele and Ian Pearce (remember him?)
Joe Cole tells the tale thus….
“It was 0-0 at half-time, nothing in the game and just before half-time (former West Ham defender) Ian Pearce gets a wallop and he’s a bit concussed.
“So he comes off and John Green the (then) physio is in the other room with Pearcey and John used to get a bit panicky around Harry about telling him players were injured.
“So Harry’s screaming in ‘Is he alright John, is he alright?’ and John’s like ‘Errr he’s had a knock Harry, he’s concussed’.
“And Harry’s like ‘Well can he play or can’t he?’ but John’s like (nervously saying) ‘Well he’s had a knock, he’s had a knock’.
“(Harry said) ‘John can he play!?’ (John replies) ‘Harry he doesn’t even know who he is!’.
“And Harry’s gone ‘Well tell him he’s Pele and I’m putting him on up front!’”
Hands up anyone who remembers possibly the angriest man ever to wear claret and blue…Tomas “Red Card “ Repka.
A man so notorious for his furious outbursts he made Roy Keane appear to resemble Charles Hawtrey (ask your Gran) in comparison.
The tough tackling Repka signed for the Hammers in the summer of 2001, in the belief that he would provide the defensive strength that would let our young starlets, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick thrive. Alas, he manged to get sent off in two of his first three games against Middlesborough and Blackburn. He missed the second game due to suspension.
Daniel Taylor, writing for the Guardian brilliantly said “If he makes it a hat-trick in his next outing, one wonders whether he’ll get to take the referee home.”
He seemed to had turned things around for it was nearly a year before the red mist descended again, this time against Fulham.
Yet by the time of his departure, Repka had become something of a cult figure at Upton Park. Relegated in 2003 with a record-high 42 points, which ensured a fire sale of the club’s family silver, He remained loyal to West Ham during their spell in second-tier purgatory.
After helping West Ham regain their Premier League status, Repka departed for Sparta Prague in January 2006. During his final home match, under the floodlights against Fulham, chants of “There is only one Tomas Repka” reverberated around Upton Park. This was enough to move Tomas, a man who was sculpted out of stone rather than born, to tears.
He did not mellow after returning to his homeland. Some of his more notable incidents included attacking match officials and a cameraman in 2007, being caught cheating on his long-term partner with a Playboy model and the usual collection of red cards and incapacitated opponents. His final tally over his career was a mind boggling 20 red cards!
He’s also been sent to prison on two occasions. In August 2018, Repka received a six-month jail sentence for advertising sexual services on the internet in the name of his ex-wife, although this was later reduced to a community sentence order.
Then, in February 2019, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for fraud after selling a luxury rental car he didn’t own. Later that month, two previous suspended sentences for driving under the influence were converted into jail terms due to his other convictions.
But he is a new man it appears, as he is taking his coaching certificates and plans to enter management. Millwall perhaps?
Despite the fact that it costs a small fortune to see a Premiership game these days we are still being left short-changed as new figures reveal we are watching less on-field action than ever before.
The average Premier League match this season has lasted 98min 6sec — the longest since Opta began recording the data 11 seasons ago — yet the ball has only been in play for 54min 53sec, the shortest in that time. The ball is in play for just 55.9 per cent of the match.
This is in stark contrast to the World Cup, where a new era of stricter time-keeping on substitutions and celebrations saw huge amounts of stoppage time added at the end of each half, which led to matches averaging longer than 100 minutes but saw the ball in play for 58min 4sec — more than 57 per cent of the time.
Our friendly anoraks at Opta have shown that Premier League matches are lasting longer than ever but that the ball is in play for the shortest time since records began.
Premier League referees were urged to do stop time wasting before the season started and have been dishing out yellow cards like demented traffic wardens in attempts to stop players slowing down play.
Officials have shown 39 cautions for time-wasting this season, a rise of 16 per cent on the season average for the previous campaign.
Leeds (surprise, surprise) are the biggest culprits with their games seeing the ball in play for an average of just 50min 56sec. All three Premier League matches in which the ball was in play for less than 45 per cent of the game involved Leeds. We on the other hand are 4th (behind Man City) with an average of 56 minutes of in play action.
The least time in a game was the pitiful 43min 26sec for Aston Villa’s win over Brentford in October.
Fans of clubs in Europe have it far worse. Only the Dutch Eredivisie and Ligue 1 boast a higher percentage of the ball in play. In the Scottish Premiership, the ball is in play less than 51 minutes which some may count as a blessing……
On the same theme as time wasting, the first-ever white card was brandished during a women’s derby match between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.
With hosts Benfica leading 3-0 in the Taca de Portugal cup competition on Saturday (January 21), the referee pulled out not a yellow, not a red, but a white card shortly before half-time.
But the white card was in fact shown to both medical teams who had rushed to the aid of a fan who was feeling unwell in the stands.
It’s part of a new initiative to recognise and praise fair play during games and has been introduced to improve ethical values in the sport. But not in Qatar it seems.
According to various Portugese football websites, many watching on at home were also less than convinced. One questioned: “So what’s the point in it?”
A second argued: “There’s already so much time wasted with the ball out of play, are we seriously gonna stop play even more to hand out meaningless cards?”
“So the white card is practically useless. What a waste of time,” commented one, while another wrote: “But what do you get for it? Seems odd to have a card that’s essentially a pat on the back.”
Love the Harry Redknapp story! I miss Harry, he’s such a big character.