Humbug Harry stands firm on Christmas ban

Spurs manager says golf trips, days at the races and festive nights out are old-fashioned and of little interest to most of his players

Harry Redknapp continues to stand by his decision to forbid his Tottenham players to hold a Christmas party, suggesting such festivities are outdated and claiming his young charges, rewarded handsomely for playing football, should be prepared to forego a team night out for the good of their brief careers.

Spurs' Essex training ground has this week been decked out in blue-and-white tinsel as the club get into the Christmas spirit, but Redknapp's outright ban on a party – imposed two years ago after Robbie Keane and 15 team-mates travelled to Dublin without their manager's permission – remains firmly in place, despite a number of Premier League rivals, including Manchester City, permitting their players an evening of festive revelry.

Redknapp, who escaped a Uefa charge over his gesture to Shamrock fans on Thursday night, laughs off the suggestion his stance qualifies him as the Premier League's Grinch, though. The age-old excuse that spending social time in each other's company proves beneficial on the pitch is not only misleading, according to the Spurs manager, but has become a myth the players no longer believe.

"We've had our Christmas party," Redknapp joked. "It was two years ago, and it was good, thanks. They enjoyed it. No, we are too busy playing football. There'll be no more Christmas parties. There are too many games. We have got to keep at it. They can have a Christmas party when they have a six-week holiday in the summer.

"They are earning fortunes, they have great careers, great lives, so they can get on with their football instead of causing problems at Christmas. If they can't behave themselves and if they have a problem because they miss having a drink, given the money they're earning, there is something wrong with them.

"If I said to you, you're going to earn £40,000-a-week but you can't go out at Christmas and have a drink, I think you'd be quite happy to take it. I'm not the only [manager to ban parties]. It's nothing but aggravation. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and seeing players falling out of nightclubs.

"So the players have not even asked me. I have spoken to Michael [Dawson] and Ledley [King] and said we're not [having one]. Anyway, if you asked them about a Christmas party, some of them might go on sufferance, but I can name 10 who really wouldn't want to go. They are not interested. They would rather go home and be with their families. You get a few who want to go out, but there's not too many here now. Go and ask Luka [Modric] if he wants to go out. It wouldn't interest him."

Such an attitude, of course, forms a sharp contrast with Redknapp's playing days, when, as the 64-year-old admits, a group of players drawn from the same area would happily socialise with each other away from the game. The change in approach, though, does not herald the end of team spirit, as far as Redknapp is concerned.

"It doesn't have any effect," he said. "They play fantastic football when they are all together on a pitch. They get on together in training. I wouldn't think the players would [be interested in extra-curricular team-bonding of any sort]. I took them to Cheltenham races one year, got a box, thought it'd be a lovely day for everyone, and they all sat there for two minutes and wanted to go home. I don't bother any more.

"Half of them don't want to do it. You fix up a golf day, say we'll go and have a bit of golf and lunch, have a day out. You might get four or five who want to go. The rest aren't interested. Most of the foreign lads don't play golf, others just don't want to. It's very difficult to find something they all want to do.

"They don't mix as much as they used to. They don't talk to each other much. It's a different culture. But they are in every day now, so you can't get away with it. They have to look after themselves. They are not necessarily better players than [during his playing career], but they are certainly a different type of athlete."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created