‘He felt for the club as much as for us. Harry had a strong affiliation with Portsmouth’ - Danny Webber on ex-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp's heartwarming gesture

Danny Webber has revealed the heartwarming Harry Redknapp gesture which lifted him during one of the bleakest moments of his career.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 8:00 am
Danny Webber suffered an ACL injury to his right knee at White Hart Lane - 16 days before Pompey's FA Cup semi-final with Spurs. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Danny Webber suffered an ACL injury to his right knee at White Hart Lane - 16 days before Pompey's FA Cup semi-final with Spurs. Picture: Allan Hutchings

The striker had been eyeing the first Wembley trip of his career after helping Pompey reach the 2010 FA Cup semi-final.

However, just 16 days before the showpiece occasion, Webber suffered despair.

During a Premier League substitute appearance at Spurs in March 2010, the former Manchester United man was stretchered off after sustaining an ACL injury to his right knee.

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Ironically, he had replaced Hermann Hreidarsson, who had earlier been stretchered off with an Achilles injury.

The distraught pair comforted each other in the White Hart Lane dressing room in the knowledge their season and FA Cup adventure was over.

Then, with the game still in progress, they received a surprise well wisher – Spurs’ boss Redknapp.

Webber told The News: ‘I was running with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and leant into him to get my body across and protect the ball - yet he moved out of the way.

Danny Webber celebrates scoring against Stoke in a Carling Cup fixture in October 2009. Picture: Steve Reid

‘With him disappearing like that, I ended up putting all that weight onto my right knee and it just popped. I had ruptured my ACL.

‘It was nobody’s fault, it was one of those things. When Michael Owen did his knee for England there was nobody around him. I just think sometimes it’s just meant to be.

‘It was bleak in that dressing room. Hermann is a strong man, he wore his heart on his sleeve. We both knew.

‘Hermann had ruptured his Achilles, and at his age as well, the fact that he got back is testament to him. His injury and mine were probably two of the worst you could have.

Danny Webber scored three times in 32 appearances during an injury-hit two seasons at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘We knew we’d miss the FA Cup semi-final.

‘Then Harry Redknapp came into the dressing room to see us both – with a minute or two left of the match.

‘It hadn’t even finished and he came in and said “Boys, I’m so sorry”, before wishing us all the best.

‘It was such a nice touch from Harry, something which people don’t necessarily always hear about.

‘Harry had such a close affiliation with Pompey, he understood the restrictions we were working under at the time.

‘He understood what it meant to have two players taken away from a squad already depleted. I don’t think it mattered which two players they were, either.

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‘He felt for the club as much as he did for us. Harry had a strong affiliation with Pompey.’

As a consequence, he missed the semi-final triumph over Spurs and the FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea.

The striker had previously been overlooked for Wembley duty by Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell for the May 2009 Championship play-off final.

Then, the following season, he missed both of Pompey’s visits – ensuring he never played at the home of football during his career.

Webber added: ‘I was there at both Pompey’s Wembley matches to cheer the lads on.

‘For the semi-final, I was on crutches and had a brace on my knee. For the final, I’d not long had my operation and was wearing a shirt and tie.

‘You’re part of the team and I wanted to be there, even though I was unable to play.

‘I’m the sort of person that when I’m in, I commit to something – and I was committed. I wasn’t just committed to playing football, but the bigger cause, which is Portsmouth Football Club.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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