Sunday 17 December 2017

Redknapp optimistic of swift recovery

Rory Smith

The Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is not expected to appear on the touchline for Sunday's Premier League fixture with Fulham after successfully undergoing minor heart surgery, though the 64-year-old may yet be present at the game.

Redknapp was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night for tests after he started feeling unwell and had two stents inserted to unblock his coronary arteries during an operation yesterday afternoon.

He is due to be discharged in the next 48 hours, meaning he will miss his side's Europa League fixture with Russian side Rubin Kazan this evening and casting doubt over his attendance for Spurs' visit to Craven Cottage.

In his absence, assistant manager Kevin Bond and first-team coach Joe Jordan will take charge of the team for tonight's game.

The former Portsmouth and West Ham manager remains upbeat, insisting that he is "absolutely fine" and hopes he "can be back at work again in a couple of days", but sources close to Redknapp yesterday suggested an appearance in Fulham's directors' box may be more realistic for this weekend.

Redknapp revealed yesterday he has been taking heart medication for a year and admitted the nature of his job is such that even "the most mild-mannered of people explode, as when you are sitting on the bench you get eaten up inside from first to last whistle".

On the stresses of management, he added: "After a game I cannot sleep, there is too much going on in my head as I go over moves, think about game plans, think about which player has had a good or bad game -- and it's worse if you lose."

Redknapp is a workaholic who regularly makes a 250-mile round trip from his Sandbanks home in Bournemouth to the club's training ground in Chigwell, Essex. He shares the journey with Bond, who admitted today that he had seen no sign that the manager's health had deteriorated recently.

"I didn't notice anything different in how he was," Bond said. "Maybe Harry felt a slight change in himself that nobody else could have noticed or picked up on."

Under such circumstances, it is little wonder the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy yesterday cautioned against his manager returning to the front line too quickly.


"We are delighted the operation went so smoothly and successfully," said Levy. "Knowing Harry, he will want to rush back, but it's important that he only does so when he has recovered properly."

A statement released by the club revealed Redknapp was "in excellent spirits" after his coronary angioplasty -- a procedure described as "routine" and carried out under local, rather than general, anaesthetic -- and had asked Tottenham "to pass on his thanks to all the many, many fans who have sent goodwill messages".

His friend and long-time assistant Bond insisted the scare would not force Redknapp, who has transformed Spurs from relegation strugglers to Champions League contenders in the three years since he replaced Juande Ramos, to contemplate cutting his career short.

"This will not knock Harry's desire to manage, no chance," Bond said. "No, it won't happen. You give him two days off and he will come back rejuvenated. It's nothing really for us to worry about. It's happened. The procedure has come and gone.

"I have spoken to Harry and he is fine. While no one wants to see anyone have any type of operation, it is a simple procedure and hopefully he will be back within a couple of days so everything will be fine."

Redknapp is far from the first of his Premier League peers to undergo a heart operation.

Alex Ferguson had a pacemaker fitted in 2004, while Gerard Houllier had to have an 11-hour emergency aortic dissection after experiencing heart problems while at Liverpool. He later returned to top-flight management at Aston Villa before ill-health again forced him out of the game.

Joe Kinnear, too, had a triple-heart bypass in 2009, ending his reign at Newcastle.

Tottenham will qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League if they win in Kazan -- the Russian city over 450 miles east of Moscow -- and Bond hopes three points will also put a smile on Redknapp's face. "It would certainly lift his spirits if we were able to bring him home some points from the game tomorrow," he said. "It would give him a big lift, for sure." (© Independent News Service)

Rubin Kazan v Tottenham,

Live, Setanta Ireland, 5.0

Irish Independent

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