Harry Redknapp reveals Mike Ashley once offered him a private jet from Bournemouth to Newcastle and EVERY DAY to hire Toon, but he feared criticism from Geordie fans if things went wrong
- Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was looking for a new manager in 2008
- Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp was one of the names in the frame at the time
- Redknapp has revealed how Ashley offered to pay for private jet travel every day
- It meant Redknapp could continue to live in Bournemouth and “commute”
- He could take an hour and twenty minutes journey twice a day and be home for tea
- Redknapp ultimately turned down the job and Kevin Keegan was hired instead
Harry Redknapp has revealed that Mike wanted Ashley so badly that he took over the Newcastle United manager’s job offering to use a private jet to take him to and from Bournemouth every day.
It was in 2008, not long after Sport Direct owner Ashley took over at St James’ Park, that Newcastle needed a new boss after Sam Allardyce left.
Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth at the time, but admits he was tempted to take charge of the Tyneside club, especially when Ashley mentioned the benefits.
Harry Redknapp has revealed he was once offered the job of Newcastle United manager by Mike Ashley – a package that comes with some expensive perks
Ashley owned Newcastle in 2008 and was looking for a new manager
One involved the delivery of a private jet to fly Redknapp from his home near Bournemouth to Newcastle every morning, then make the one hour and 20 minute journey back in the evening if he wanted to go home.
Redknapp wrote in his Sun column, “If I hadn’t changed my mind a few years ago, I would have eventually managed them myself.
“I was in charge of Portsmouth at the time when Paul Kemsley, a good buddy of Mike Ashley’s, contacted him.
“Newcastle was looking for a new manager – it was after Sam Allardyce – and Mike wanted to know if I was interested… and of course I wanted to hear what they had to say.
Ashley offered Redknapp the use of a private jet to take him from his home in Bournemouth to Newcastle every morning and back again in the evening
Redknapp (left) was Portsmouth’s manager at the time and had just led them to FA Cup success
“What they told me was also very, very tempting. Not least because, no matter what flat they would have for me, they were willing to lie down on a private plane from Bournemouth Airport at 7am every morning.
“Then, around five o’clock, they’d fly me back home if I didn’t want to stay up so I could still live here if I wanted to.
“I have to admit that I considered it very seriously and at one point it was very much like, ‘Why not?’
“It’s such a huge club, with a huge fan base, and has always had huge potential.
“But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it couldn’t work. Once we lost a few, the Geordies would blast themselves off if I flew up and down the country every day.
Newcastle United fans celebrate the end of Ashley’s ownership after the club was bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in a £305 million takeover
Thousands of fans gathered outside St James’ Park as news of the takeover got through
“I really didn’t feel like it, so I finally said no.”
Ultimately, Ashley persuaded Kevin Keegan to return for his fateful second stint as leader and Redknapp would accept the job at Tottenham later in 2008.
Ashley’s 13-year ownership of Newcastle finally came to an end after the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund’s £305m takeover two weeks ago.
Steve Bruce remains in charge for the time being and will sit in the dugout of St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon for the first game of the new era against Tottenham.