'Harry Redknapp fined me four-week's wages after I joined Portsmouth's Premier League promotion party' - Courtney Pitt
Courtney Pitt has revealed how taking part in Pompey’s promotion celebrations earned him a four-week fine.
The left winger made 41 appearances during two-and-a-half seasons for the Blues, yet didn’t feature during the memorable 2002-03 First Division title-winning campaign.
Regardless, Pitt was invited to join team festivities at the Marriott Hotel in April 2003, following the promotion-clinching 1-0 triumph over Burnley.
However, after turning up, the 21-year-old was hit with a four-week fine by Harry Redknapp which was later reduced after the PFA became involved.
It was a curious dispute which revolved around a reserve-team fixture against Cambridge United at Westleigh Park the day after the promotion party.
Pitt told The News: ‘The night we got promoted at home to Burnley, we went out and partied. I was invited to the Marriott hotel for the celebrations.
‘Well, I had a reserve-team game the following day – and the club fined me for being out two days before a match!
‘They had even given me permission to be at the party, so, as you can imagine, I didn’t think it was fair. It was shocking.
‘Harry Redknapp requested a meeting to see me, but it didn’t end well.
‘He said “We’re going to fine you four-week’s wages”. I replied “You’re not”. He said “I am”. I responded with “We’ll see”. Obviously there were a few choice words!
‘If they valued me they wouldn't have fined me, that was the be-all and end-all. They didn’t want me there.
‘During that meeting, he claimed I’d also refused to do rehab with the physio on a previous ankle injury.
‘I didn’t refuse, that’s not me, I would never refuse. What actually happened was I asked if I could do another rehab exercise rather than that particular one. They just wanted me out at the time.
‘I felt four-week’s wages was harsh, so went to the PFA – and we compromised on two-and-a-half weeks.
‘Earlier that season, I was late for a pick up at Whiteley on the way to an away reserve game.
‘I was five minutes behind the coach so rang asking if they could wait, but Andy Awford insisted they had to leave.
‘Instead I asked whether I could meet them at the next junction. He replied: “No, don’t bother”. So I went home.
‘That was naivety from me, I should have just driven to the game. Awfs told me not to, but I should have gone anyway.
‘That earned me a two-week fine, but was fair enough, it was my fault.’
There was no way back in his relationship with Redknapp, with brief loan spells at Luton and Coventry instead offering first-team football.
And Pitt admits there remain regrets over how he handled the situation.
He added: ‘My agent (Sky Andrew) told me to apologise to the manager the following season, but I never did.
‘I probably should have as I would have then been in and around it a bit more.
‘Jamie Vincent apologised for the same kind of thing, he was going through a tough time in his personal life. He was around the first-team after that.
‘Whereas I said “I ain’t doing it”. That’s me aged 21!’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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