Harry Redknapp reveals Mike Ashley once offered him use of a private jet to take Newcastle job


Harry Redknapp reveals Mike Ashley once offered him use of a private jet from Bournemouth to Newcastle and back EVERY DAY to take Toon job but he feared criticism from Geordie fans if things went sour

  • Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was looking for a new manager back in 2008
  • Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp was one of the names in the frame at the time
  • Redknapp has revealed how Ashley offered to pay for private jet travel every day
  • It meant Redknapp could continue to live in Bournemouth and “commute” 
  • He could make one hour, 20 minute journey twice a day and be home for tea
  • Redknapp ultimately rejected the job and Kevin Keegan was appointed instead 


Harry Redknapp has revealed Mike Ashley was so keen for him to take the Newcastle United manager’s job he offered to put on a private jet to get him to and from Bournemouth every day.

It was back in 2008, not long after Sport Direct owner Ashley took over at St James’ Park, that Newcastle needed a new boss after Sam Allardyce left.

Redknapp was Portsmouth manager at the time but admits he was tempted by the chance to take charge at the Tyneside club – especially when Ashley mentioned the perks.

Harry Redknapp has revealed he was once offered the Newcastle United manager's job by Mike Ashley - a package that included some expensive perks

Harry Redknapp has revealed he was once offered the Newcastle United manager’s job by Mike Ashley – a package that included some expensive perks

Ashley was Newcastle's owner back in 2008 and was searching for a new manager

Ashley was Newcastle’s owner back in 2008 and was searching for a new manager 

One included the provision of a private jet to fly Redknapp from his home near Bournemouth every morning to Newcastle and then make the one hour 20 minute journey back in the evening if he wanted to get home.

Redknapp wrote in his Sun column: ‘If it hadn’t been for a late change of heart a few years ago, I’d have ended up managing them myself.

‘At the time I was Portsmouth boss when Paul Kemsley, a close mate of Mike Ashley’s, got in touch.

‘Newcastle were looking for a new manager – it was after Sam Allardyce – and Mike wanted to know if I was interested… and obviously I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Ashley offered Redknapp use of a private jet to take him from his home in Bournemouth up to Newcastle every morning and then back in the evening

Ashley offered Redknapp use of a private jet to take him from his home in Bournemouth up to Newcastle every morning and then back in the evening 

Redknapp (left) was Portsmouth manager at the time and had just led them to FA Cup success

Redknapp (left) was Portsmouth manager at the time and had just led them to FA Cup success 

‘What they told me was very, very tempting, too. Not least because, regardless of the flat they’d have got me, they were prepared to lay on a private plane from Bournemouth Airport at 7am every morning.

‘Then, about five o’clock, they would fly me back home if I didn’t want to stay up, so I could still live down here if I wanted to.

‘I must admit, I gave it really serious consideration and at one stage it was very much, “Why not?”

‘It’s such a massive club, with a massive fanbase, and has always had massive potential.

‘But the more I thought of it, the more I didn’t think it could work. As soon as we lost a few, the Geordies would be going off their heads at me flying up and down the country each day.

Newcastle United fans celebrate the end of Ashley's ownership after the club was bought by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund in a £305million takeover

Newcastle United fans celebrate the end of Ashley’s ownership after the club was bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in a £305million takeover

Thousands of fans gathered outside St James' Park when news of the takeover came through

Thousands of fans gathered outside St James’ Park when news of the takeover came through

‘I really didn’t fancy the prospect of that, so in the end I said no.’

In the end, Ashley persuaded Kevin Keegan to return for his ill-fated second spell in charge and Redknapp would accept the Tottenham job later in 2008.

Ashley’s 13-year ownership of Newcastle finally came to an end following the £305million takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund two weeks ago.

Steve Bruce remains in charge for the time being and will be in the St James’ Park dug-out for the first match of the new era against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

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