Monday 18 December 2017

Redknapp voices support for 'top class' Wenger

Henry Winter

On the eve of a seismic North London derby, Harry Redknapp warned those Arsenal fans calling for Arsene Wenger's dismissal to be careful what they wish for. Wenger remains the best man to turn around the Gunners' sliding fortunes, according to Redknapp.

"Arsenal can't do any better than what they've got, can they?'' said Redknapp. "They can't replace Wenger. Wenger is top class. He has done an amazing job at Arsenal.

"Having said that, let's hope we can make it a miserable weekend for them! But they have had fantastic times: 15 years of Champions League football. It's incredible. They play fantastic football. They have had injuries in key areas, but they will come back next year stronger than ever.''

Redknapp despairs about the abuse levelled at managers. "I don't listen to phone-ins. We've seen Fergie get it? I heard people say after Manchester United got beaten 6-3 at Southampton (in 1996) that he'd lost the plot."

The hostility pouring from the terraces troubles Redknapp. "It's scary some of the things people chant. People have got their grandkids there and they're chanting filth and obscenities. I wouldn't stand for my grandkids chanting filth at people. The other day at the Wolves-West Brom game, I sat there thinking, 'I can't believe what I'm hearing them singing about a player's wife'. It made me ill.

"It's society. It's a lack of respect for each other. If you met them individually they are as good as gold but get in a crowd and off they go, all following and chanting any filth that comes into their heads."

Some of that abuse gets directed at Emmanuel Adebayor, Spurs' controversial former Arsenal striker who was on the Togo bus that came under fire during the 2010 African Cup of Nations. "Having seen boys get killed like that, get shot, and then people start singing about it is unbelievable. It's crazy. It's absolute filth. We've all grown up loving the game but then I hear that, they can't be football lovers.

"For half of them, football is just somewhere to go and have a bit of aggro and chant some filth at people."

Asked whether he would have a word with Adebayor about goal celebrations tomorrow, Redknapp replied: "I just hope he scores! Seriously, I don't think he will do that again. But it's difficult.

"I stuck up for him last time because he was getting almighty abuse. If someone is giving you abuse and you are taking it and taking it, you will react at some stage.'' (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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