Harry Redknapp’s recent rant at Rob Palmer for calling him a ‘wheeler and dealer’ is nothing new in the footballing world. The ‘manager rant’ has become as common a sight in football as Chris Kamara’s laugh and Alan Shearer’s ridiculously benign comments. There have been many outbursts by managers over the years some genuinely shocking, others shockingly genuine and some well, just a bit silly and uncalled for really. Some are designed to motivate players, others to let journalists know they’re idiots who don’t know the first thing about football management, and others are merely some form of breakdown masquerading as a team talk.
Here’s my own personal top ten in descending order.
10. Harry Redknapp – Redknapp makes it on the list for the aforementioned ‘rant’ although to be fair it was more a brief snap rather than a long classic rant, but for sheer comedy gold he’s number 10.
9. Rafa Benitez -Two seasons ago the Liverpool manager gave us all a good laugh with his infamous rant against Fergie. The United manager had tried a bit of the old mind games by claiming that then top-of-the-table Liverpool could “choke”. Well Benitez wasn’t having any of it and responded with some ‘facts’ to put United and Ferguson in their place. Unfortunately for Benitez, that place ended up being first where United finally caught Liverpool up in terms of titles won.
8. Joe Kinnear – You’ve gotta love Kinnear, what better way to ingratiate yourself with the Geordie journalists on your second day in the job as Newcastle United manager than kicking off and calling several of them the C -word. Straight out of the Ron Atkinson book of PR, Kinnear’s rant was something of a shock not just for the assembled journalists but also for Newcastle’s press officer who after the outburst stated somewhat incredulously “this is all off the record of course lads.”
7. Mike Bassett – Fabio Capello should’ve watched a copy of this and tried replicating it during England’s half-time with Germany. Here Bassett’s England team are 2-0 down to a ‘Ramirez’- inspired Mexican team during the World Cup. The England manager played by red-nosed Ricky Tomlinson launches into the sort of foul-mouthed tirade that would make even Sir Alex Ferguson blush. Although unfortunately for Bassett and England its about as effective as Capello’s half-time team talk was…England go on to lose 4-0.
6. Sir Alex Ferguson– Of course no list of manager rants would be complete without Fergie, although it is not what we know he’s capable of behind closed doors- boots flying, hairdryer treatments, etc- it’s still good to see the United boss is willing to let loose at the press- unless it’s the BBC of course in which case he’ll just send out Mickey Phelan. Following Manchester United’s loss to Bayern Munich Fergie indulged in a bit of PR building by kicking off with the British press and accusing them of revelling in United’s Champions League final loss to Barcelona, then criticising the assembled hacks for using his ‘typical Germans’ quote as the main headline rather than praising his team after the loss to Bayern Munich
Continued on Page TWO
5. Diego Maradona– Who could blame every Englishman’s favourite Argentinian for having a pop at the press after his team qualified for the World Cup? After all the qualifying campaign had been a unmitigated triumph, a 6-1 defeat to Bolivia, a 3-1 home defeat to arch-rivals Brazil, over 100 players used, and Lionel Messi seemingly struggling to play in Maradona’s system surely meant the Argentinian media would be ready to heap praise on the national coach. Let’s not forget the campaign had also included last-minute wins against the mighty Peru and a late decider against Uruguay completing qualification to clinch the last automatic spot.
Yet for some reason sections of the Argentinian press were a little bit concerned to say the least. Well following qualification Maradona-or ‘Hand of God’ as he’s known in Blighty, thought he’d rebuild his relationship with the press by telling them to, how can I put this? Perform fellatio on him. Here’s his rant with subtitles, those of you who speak Spanish Parental Advisory is definitely advised!
4. Neil Warnock. One manager well known for being partial to the odd rant now and again when the occassion calls for it is current QPR boss Warnock. This particular gem came when he was manager of Huddersfield, what makes this half-time rant enjoyable is the way a composed Warnock gradually builds to a crescendo of anger ripping into his players or ‘ducks’ as he calls them.
3. Peter Reid. This clip taken from Soccer AM shows the then Leeds United manager losing on the touchline with a fourth official who can’t get substitute Lucas Radebe on to the pitch quick enough.The rant like Reid’s tenure as Leeds boss is brief and comical.
2. John Sitton. One of the finest rants in modern football history, Sitton was appointed manager of Leyton Orient -along with Chris Turner- with the club at near-bankruptcy and bottom of the Second Division. The club sought to alleviate some financial stress by being filmed for a documentary which should have been titled a comedy.
After a poor perfomance at home against Blackpool, Sitton finally well and truly lost it. His half-time talk is the stuff of legend. How could he motivate such a struggling bunch of despondent men? Sacking defender Terry Howard was his first piece of motivational confidence building, then after labelling the board a ‘circus’ and fans ‘cockroaches’ Sitton accused some of his players of thinking they were “Bertie big b*llocks.”
As if that wasn’t enough he offered two others the chance of fisticuffs after the game, rather bizzarrely suggesting they bring something to eat for the occassion. Genius.
1. Kevin Keegan– There was only ever going to be one winner, Keegan’s outburst is arguably the most famous football interview ever. In 1996 Keegan’s Newcastle United had seen a 12 point lead at the top of the premiership evaporate to challengers Manchester United. Fergie had tried his best at mind games by claiming that teams, specifically Leeds United, were trying harder against Man U, than they were against Newcastle. With one game remaining Keegan took the bait and launched into an hysterical outburst which made the whole country chuckle-it even came 17th on Channel 4′s 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.