Always Managing: My Autobiography

Always Managing: My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp

Book: Always Managing: My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp Read Free Book Online
Authors: Harry Redknapp
interested. My hand shot straight up. I got picked and my dad came to watch me. I felt ten feet tall.
    Mr Enniver absolutely loved me, and Mr Clark was fantastic for me, too. He only died quite recently. He got in touch late in his life and I saw him quite a few times in the decade before he passed away. Unfortunately, though, I left Susan Lawrence only interested in sport. There were three choices in those days: grammar school, central school or secondary modern. If you were clever you went to our local grammar school, George Green on the Isle of Dogs; the average ones ended up at the central schools, St Paul’s Way or Millwall; and if you were an idiot like me there were two further choices – Hay Currie School or Sir Humphrey Gilbert School in Stepney. They were the roughest schools in the area by a million miles – a pair of nuthouses, really. You had to be pretty poor in class and have failed the eleven-plus exam to end up at a secondary modern, and I think there was only me and one other boy who went there. I chose Humphrey Gilbert, and I remember Mr Enniver taking me aside before I left. ‘Harry, be careful at that school,’ he told me. ‘If you’re not you could get caught up in the wrong things. You’ll have to concentrate. I know you love your sport, but you must watch out. Get in with the wrong crowd and you could end up in prison.’ People now don’t understand what it was like there. They think I exaggerate when I tell them I can’t remember having too many proper classes or proper teachers. It was student teachers who got dumped there, mostly. Young women – they would last a day, or a week at most, and run out crying. I can’t recall any of the names, because we had so many. They would disappear one afternoon and we’d never see them again.
    We did no work, we learned nothing. We’d have assembly at nine, and by ten everyone would be bunking off class and meeting up by the toilets to get up to mischief. The education was non-existent. I think there were probably ten kids in my year who left not being able to read or write. I’m not saying I was much better. If I tried to write a letter, you’d think it was a six-year-old who had got hold of the pen and paper. It’s embarrassing, really. My writing is disgusting and my spelling is no better. I might be dyslexic for all I know; it certainly looks like it. I can sign my name or write ‘Best wishes, Harry’ for autographs, but the rest is a mess. I have never composed a letter in my life because I simply couldn’t. If I ever have to put down a proper sentence, I’ve no idea where to put the full stops and commas, and I start off in capitals, then joined-up letters, then back to capitals. Don’t think I’m proud of this. People can’t believe it when they see my handwriting – and everyone I’ve ever met from Sir Humphrey Gilbert or Hay Currie is the same. The education was secondary, but it certainly wasn’t modern.
    We didn’t go to school in the way other kids went to school. We caused havoc and then went home. The only way they could keep order was by using the cane. There was one teacher there, Mr Merton, who was extremely scary. He’d bend you over and beat you with the cane, or give you six across the hand. We dreaded being sent to him because he always made sure it hurt. I got the cane a few times, for not turning up to class or banging the lid of my desk repeatedly. One time we all started singing in class and I got the blame. My favourite trick was playing to an audience in woodwork and metalwork. I didn’t have a clue about either of them so I used to act up, get this wiry metal that we used and stuff a load of itdown the back of my trousers. Then I would wind up our teacher, Mr Harris, unmercifully until he flew into a temper and ordered me out in front of the class to get the cane. With the wire down my trousers I couldn’t feel a thing, but I’d be making all these noises, ‘ooh’ and ‘aargh’, as he hit me, all the

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