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Arsenal fans can make Harry go ape in the jungle

OPINION: After securing countless goal-of-the-season and player-of-the-month laurels, phone-wielding Gunners supporters have shown their power in a public poll

15 November, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has signed up for I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here

AS we near Christmas, it’s hotting up on Strictly Come Dancing as the final “celebrities” fight the threat of elimination from the ballroom.

And yet, as with any reality television show that involves a public telephone vote, the dancers are missing one inalienable truth about how this kind of ballot works.

You see, it wouldn’t matter how well any of them cha cha cha’d if they simply made a public statement that they support Arsenal, and for good measure that they don’t like Spurs. Do that, and they could take the week off and avoid all of those sweaty training sessions. Come Saturday night, they can fall flat on their bums and they’d still sail through to the next round. Why? Because nothing is more powerful than an Arsenal fan with a telephone staring at a public poll. The evidence is real. If there is half a chance to vote for anything remotely related to Arsenal, a mystery army of phone-wielding Gunners appears. They’ve already secured countless goal of the season and player of the month laurels for the players and club like this. This slightly embarrassing obsession never fails. Every online poll comes out in Arsenal’s favour.

Now I know most of you do not really care whether Stacey Dooley or that one off the Pussycat Dolls wins Strictly Come Dancing, but consider what I’ve just explained in the context of the next mass-viewed reality series coming to our screens this week. Harry Redknapp, the former Spurs manager, has signed up for I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. Unfathomably popular, this is a show where the more irritating you appear to be among an Outback camp of vaguely recognisable people, the more times the public phones for you to take part in a “Bushtucker trial”.

On the face of it, there’s nothing so annoying about Redknapp to suggest he should be treated poorly. If anything, he has enriched the story of our national sport through a series of semi-amusing interviews: the one where he went ape about being called a “wheeler dealer” in the transfer market, the one where he got mad about being hit by a training ball by one of his team, and all of the triffic ones through a car window on deadline day.

But the fact remains, he managed Tottenham Hotspur for a fair while and is linked forever in this way to Arsenal’s rival team. The equation, then: Former Spurs manager + mad, obsessive phone poll Arsenal fans = Mr Redknapp eating kangaroo balls in front of a wincing Declan Donnelly one night, and being locked in a room full of snakes and maggots the next.

Make your own jokes up about this not making much of a change from the Tottenham dressing room if you like, but in the spirit of fairness ITV really should have warned him about the Arsenal fans voting at home. With their religious commitment to all polls, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s flukey equaliser against Wolves on Saturday may yet end up as November’s goal of the month.

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