March 8 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 22, 2013
HARRY Redknapp is to do a question and answer session at Felixstowe & Walton United’s spectacular silver anniversary night.
The iconic football manager, now in charge at QPR, has made a late acceptance for the Sportsman’s Dinner at the Cameo Hotel, Copdock on March 28.
“Harry is to make our 25th dinner extra special,” said club president Dave Ashford.
He continued: “His commitments are heavy as you might expect. But he’s going to come and join us and it’s a fantastic boost.”
Also speaking will be ex-Southampton and England midfield man Matt Le Tissier and sports impressionist Mike Osman.
The link between Redknapp, the ‘People’s Choice’ when the England job became vacant after Fabio Capello left, and Felixstowe is down to former long-serving chairman Ashford.
He has a seriously-ill friend who spent three years as a youth at Redknapp’s previous club Tottenham.
Two years back, Dave wrote to the public relations officer at Spurs with a view to taking his friend to a Spurs game at Norwich City as a special treat.
He also sent a copy of the letter to Harry.
Dave said: “I’d never met him. But I played in goal for Essex club Crittall (now Braintree Town) once when they entertained West Ham on a night when the floodlights were opened. Harry was on the wing for the Hammers.”
Tottenham’s communications department head confirmed that tickets were on the gate for Dave and his sick friend at Carrow Road.
Then, out of the blue, Harry phoned Dave too.
He had got tickets for the pair as well.
But Dave’s friend’s health worsened and the trip to Norfolk was abandoned.
“But it was great to talk to Harry. He stayed on the phone for an hour talking about a host of subjects,” said Dave.
Not long after this, Harry phoned Dave to say: “If your mate is up to it, you and him can come to our training ground at Chigwell to spend a day.
“I’ll make sure you’re looked after well and I’ll come and have a cup of tea with you.”
The ex-Tottenham friend of Dave’s had to call off again.
So Dave’s son Daniel drove his father to the Spurs centre for training.
Dave said: “What a great day we had. Harry came and spent plenty of time with us. He was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. What a super guy he is.”
When Redknapp was appearing at Southwark Crown Court on tax evasion charges, Ashford felt he had to help.
He contacted the Spurs boss’s barrister John Kelsey-Fry to say how good Harry had been to him.
It ended with Dave having a sworn statement read out in court.
Dave declared: “Harry is a giver. He’s a genuine giver and my sworn statement told the court so.”
Former Arsenal keeper Bob Wilson was another character witness.
Redknapp was duly acquitted of the charges.
Ten days later Ashford got a surprise call from Dubai, where Harry was taking a break.
He thanked the Felixstowe stalwart for his support at an intensely difficult time.
A certificate for four people to spend a day at the training ground was sent to Dave from Harry.
It was auctioned off at last year’s sportsman’s dinner for £1,500.
Now, iconic football boss Redknapp will be the special guest of the club.
“He’s such a popular bloke and such a great football man. We will be so honoured to welcome him,” said Dave.
Tickets for the night are £50 each or £500 for a table of ten.
They can be booked by contacting Dave Ashford on 07850 618940 or 01473 682317.