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Johnny's Stay At Home Diary: Part Five

A look back at calls to Harry Redknapp, John Bond and Martin Allen

28 April 2020

Harry Redknapp

“Who the hell is that?” came the reply down the phone, mixed with a couple of expletives.

This was the night I unintentionally ordered a Chinese takeaway from Harry Redknapp – and here I must offer profuse apologies to those I have already relayed this story to, as it must get more tiresome with every passing year.

Alarm bells should have started ringing once I heard that harsh cockney brogue instead of the usual softer greeting.

But my inhibitions had been dulled by a few pints, encouraging me to resist the default response of: “Sorry, wrong number.” Instead, I persisted with my request for chicken curry, egg fried rice and a portion of chips.

Hence the aforementioned response and to be fair to Pompey’s newly appointed director of football, it was an understandable one.

It was an easy error to make, though – even without the benefit of several glasses of Foster’s – given my recent graduation to a slimline phone, with a directory that saw Harry Redknapp conveniently listed just above Havant Chinese.

"Instead, I persisted with my request for chicken curry, egg fried rice and a portion of chips."

Johnny Moore

I abruptly hung up and having not received a call back again, I assume he was as technologically limited as he later claimed to be.

The story reminds me of a more deliberate call at a time when the phone was attached to a wall and the only directory was a fat book containing the names of thousands of people you had never met.

During one lunch break at school, a couple of equally bored friends joined me in hatching a rather desperate plan to speak to a football manager.

Not for one moment believing we could successfully execute this strategy, I boldly dialled the number for Bournemouth FC, announcing to the front desk that I was Pompey boss Ron Tindall and wanted to speak to John Bond.

Waiting to receive a proverbial flea in the ear, I was totally unprepared for being put through to the then Cherries boss.

I have to say that John was far more polite than Harry during our equally limited conversation, restricting himself to: “That doesn’t sound like you, Ron.” This resulted in another speedy disconnection.

"I boldly dialled the number for Bournemouth FC, announcing to the front desk that I was Pompey boss Ron Tindall and wanted to speak to John Bond."

Johnny Moore

His deduction was hardly earth-shattering given that my voice was still at the level of a cherubic choirboy and there were two other schoolboys chortling into the receiver.

One I call I didn’t hang up on, but wish I had, was to Martin Allen at one of his soccer schools during the midfielder’s time as a Blues player.

I wanted to enquire whether he would be able to attend a medal presentation, but spoke to someone who informed me that ‘Mad Dog’ was out, only to then tell me, among other things, what he had for breakfast, where he walked his dogs, his love for gardening and the best way to cultivate a prize rose.

After finally managing to put the phone down, it rang a minute later with the same guy on the end. When I asked when Martin would be back, he replied: “It’s me.”

This left me to conclude that had I ever accidentally called Martin Allen for a Chinese takeaway, he would have doubtless taken my order and told me to collect in 20 minutes.

The majority of Portsmouth FC staff have been furloughed as part of the government’s Job Retention Scheme. This column was written before those measures were implemented.


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