The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Harry Redknapp is many things: husband, father, manager, cup winner, crime fighter, master of the skies. It’s always been the case—I’ve struggled with it repeatedly on this blog—that the concepts he represents are too large to encode in standard English. But today, that may be changing, thanks to an ambitious language-education program Portsmouth have launched to help their players understand the sublime complexities of “Harry-speak.”
The program, to be run by Dr. Jay Kettle-Williams of the Polyglot Solutions school in Southsea, Hampshire, will begin with 16 Portsmouth players, in what one can only assume is a pilot phase before the techniques are adapted for an eager populace.
According to the Independent:
Pompey are organising the lessons for 16 of their players so they are not left baffled by boss Redknapp’s Cockney phrases.
The man is his own language. Respect.
My one hesitation about all this is that, after reading the article that appeared in something like 27 papers this morning (all using the same quotes and substantially the same language…amazing coincidence, that) I have some doubts about Dr. Kettle-Williams’s preparedness to teach Harrynese. Speaking of the hypothetical Pompey player’s need to learn a specific football vocabulary rather than a more general one, Dr. Kettle-Williams said:
There’s no point in teaching him to say ‘my uncle’s pen is in your auntie’s bureau’, or how to buy a first class train ticket.
Has Dr. Kettle-Williams ever heard Harry Redknapp talk? “My uncle’s pen is in your auntie’s bureau” sounds like exactly the sort of thing Harry Redknapp would say. In fact, doesn’t it sound like the sort of the thing he’d say while buying a first-class train ticket?
I’m afraid it may take a scientist more finely attuned to the nuances of Harry’s diction to make a program like this yield the social dividends we seek.
by Brian Phillips · October 22, 2008