Harry Redknapp recalls the night he almost died in crash which killed friend

For Harry Redknapp, I’m A Celebrity represents another adventure in a life story that’s had its fair share of twists and turns.

But truth be told, he’s lucky he’s still here at all.

Almost 30 years ago, he was extremely lucky to survive a horror car crash which claimed the life of his dear friend and colleague, Brian Tiler, at the age of 47.

Redknapp, then manager of Bournemouth, was in Rome with Tiler, the club’s managing director, to watch a handful of games at the Italia 90 World Cup.

After watching Italy narrowly beat the Republic of Ireland, they enjoyed a few drinks with some friends from Bournemouth and a group of Ireland fans.

Later, they got on their minibus, which they’d hired along with a driver to take them to and from games, and set off back to their hotel.

Tragically, they never made it.

Redknapp, now 71, gave a harrowing account of what happened next in his 1998 autobiograpy.

He said: "In the minibus on the way back to the hotel most of us were either asleep or dozing. That’s as much as I can remember.


"Then, at around midnight, in a place called Latina, just south of Rome, I’m told a car hurtled towards us on the wrong side of the road.

"I’m told it was going 90 miles per hour. I’m told the smash was so horrific that it was a miracle anyone got out alive. Brian didn’t. Nor did the occupants of the other car, three Italian lads who all died instantly.

"The force of the impact threw me out of the minibus and knocked me unconscious. I was then dragged away from the mangled wreckage, covered in petrol, by Michael Sinclair, who was petrified by the thought that it would all explode."

Redknapp said it was never confirmed whether the driver of the other car had been drinking.

He continued: "The first thing I remember was waking up in hospital two days later, unaware of the extent of my injuries, and unaware that Brian had died.

"The emergency services at the scene of the crash had apparently thought I was a goner and pulled a blanket over my head. Even my watch had gone, someone clearly believing I wouldn’t be needing it. Everything of value had gone.

"The doctors, I’m told, also thought I was dead upon arrival at the hospital. But I was lucky. I had fractured my skull, broken several bones, and suffered a horrific gash to my leg, but I don’t think the injuries, though serious, were ever life-threatening, despite those first impressions."

Redknapp spent three weeks in hospital before returning to England, where his rehabilitation continued for several more months.

While many of his wounds healed, the emotional scar of losing Brian will always be there.

He said: "I wasn’t old of Brian’s death until long after I regained consciousness. I couldn’t believe it. My mate. We had gone through so much together and shared so many laughs. Gone. Just like that."

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