11 Dec 18
ROMANTIC gestures and gifts are usually considered key to a flourishing relationship.
But nothing screams love more than forgiving your husband for running you over.
Harry Redknapp and wife Sandra first met in East London when they were 17
In Part Two of his exclusive interview, King of the Jungle Harry Redknapp, 71, tells the epic love story of life with wife of 51 years Sandra.
Jungle king Harry has been sacked as a manager, charged with tax fraud and survived a minibus crash that killed a close friend.
But the scariest moment of his life came in 2016 when he ran over his own wife.
Unaware that Sandra’s coat tail was trapped in the door of his Range Rover door, Harry drove away, dragging her down the road.
Harry Redknapp and Sandra were both born and bred in London’s East End
Revealing for the first time what she said to him in hospital after accident, he told The Sun: “It was the worst experience of my life but she honestly never even blamed me — and it was completely my fault.
“I wasn’t concentrating, I thought she’d crossed the road and then I pulled into the road and she was backed up against my car.
“She never said to me, ‘You should have watched what you were doing’ or made me feel bad. Even when she was laying with a broken ankle in the road she was just unbelievable, she didn’t scream.
“The worst part of it was Molly my granddaughter was on a bus and she sees her nan lying in the road.
Harry and Sandra have been married for 51 years and have two sons, Mark and Jamie
“She happened to be on the bus going to work about 20 yards away.
In hospital I kept apologising. But she just said, ‘You thought I’d crossed the road, there’s no blame’.
“She didn’t say, ‘You stupid idiot’, even though I felt like a stupid idiot.”
Sandra’s understanding sums up the extraordinary bond between the pair, whose mutual love captivated I’m A Celeb viewers.
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Harry says: “She is my life and I don’t disguise that fact.
“We have a lovely life together, we never row. You couldn’t row with my missus even if you tried.
“She’s so placid, she’s so caring with everybody.”
The couple first met at the Two Puddings pub in Stratford, East London, in the Sixties.
Harry ran over wife Sandra after she got her coat caught in the door
The former Spurs and Portsmouth boss was a 17-year-old West Ham youth prospect at the time and Sandra, also 17, was a hairdresser.
Harry, who was with West Ham team mate Colin Mackleworth at the disco upstairs, says: “We went to have a dance with her and her mate.
“Macca was a good-looking geezer, so when Sandra saw us she must have looked at me and thought, ‘I hope I ain’t got him’.”
Two weeks later, they were a couple. At the same time, Sandra’s sister Pat got together with Harry’s close pal Frank Lampard Snr, another West Ham team mate.
Harry’s wife Sandra has been by his side through all his football highs and personal lows
Harry says: “Neither Sandra or Pat had ever been to football, their dad had never been to football.
“They weren’t a football-type family who thought, ‘I love football and we’re gonna marry a footballer’.”
Despite having little in common, Harry went down well with the in-laws — but Sandra’s dad, Bob Harris, was still an intimidating force.
Harry recalls: “He was a docker, he was a foreman down the Albert Dock. He was a big man, lovely man but you didn’t mess around with him.
“I used to take Sandra back home and Frank used to take Pat home and he’d give us ten minutes in the house downstairs.
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“We used to hear ‘bang, bang’ on the ceiling and we knew it was time to go. I’m not telling you a lie, swear to God. Ten minutes — ‘bosh’.
“You didn’t argue with him. When he said ‘Go’, you go.” The couple, who were both born and bred in London’s East End, now enjoy a quiet life in Sandbanks on the Dorset coast in their £3.5million mansion, where they regularly entertain their five grandchildren.
Sandra, 71, kept the house in check, while Harry focused on the pressures of football management.
And Sandra’s determination to give Harry a stress-free home environment knew no bounds.
Harry professes his love for wife Sandra in I’m A Celeb jungle
Harry explains: “She once fell over the Henry Hoover and broke her kneecap when I was managing in London.
“She crawled up the stairs at 9pm and got in bed, took a paracetamol, and next day she woke up in agony, but she didn’t want to disturb anybody.”
Their relationship has always had an old-fashioned charm — even on their first holiday away from the parents before they were married.
Harry says: “We went to Torquay. Me, Frank Lampard and Roger Cross, who played for West Ham, Fulham and Brentford.
Harry Redknapp with Eddie Presland and Tony Scott when he played for West Ham
“We went with Sandra, her sister Pat and their friend Joy and we stayed in an old guest house, cheap as chips.
“The girls stayed downstairs and the boys stayed upstairs. In them days, we were old school. But we didn’t know what to do!”
Harry and Sandra married in 1967 at Barking Abbey church and went on to have two sons — former Liverpool midfielder Jamie, 45, and model Mark, 48. Harry’s dedication to marriage was inspired by his parents, Henry and Violet.
Harry, an only child, says: “My mum and dad were married all their lives.
“My dad went to the cemetery every day when my mum died. It was ridiculous, it was sad. I just couldn’t stop him.”
Harry and wife Sandra have survived his heart attack in 2011 and the death of her sister Pam in 2008
Sandra has been by Harry’s side throughout his football highs. But there have also been tough times.
During the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Harry was in a minibus crash that killed close pal Brian Tiler and three young Italians.
Harry says: “That was a scary time in our lives, very difficult times. Four people got killed, it was a miracle I survived.”
Harry also had heart surgery in 2011 and a cancer scare in June last year, while Sandra had to deal with the shock death of sister Pat, mum of ex-England star Frank Lampard Jnr, in 2008 through pneumonia. She was just 58.
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Harry says: “Pat had never had a day’s illness then suddenly within three or four days we lost her.
“Sandra and her were so close, it was crazy — they were always on the phone for hours every day.”
Harry was also involved in a long-running court case in which he was investigated for tax evasion.
He was cleared in 2012 but it still makes him angry thinking about it.
Harry says wife Sandra doesn’t like the limelight and is happy being at home
“All I would say about that is that should have never got to court, he says. “That was a scandal.”
It was a scandal that put paid to any aspirations he might have had to manage his country. But Harry also turned down big job offers, primarily the Newcastle position in 2008, to stay close to Sandra.
He says: “I don’t want to spend my life not seeing her.”
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After being in the background for so long, Sandra is now the centre of attention.
So would he consider working with his wife on TV — like a new Richard and Judy?
“I don’t know about that,” Harry laughs.“She likes everything quiet, it’s really not her style. She hates that this has all happened really.
“She’s happy being at home.
“She likes going out for dinner just the two of us, with the grandkids and the dogs.
“She don’t want the publicity — but she’s stuck with it now.”
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