January transfer deadline day; the most infamous deadline day signing of former Portsmouth striker Benjani Mwaruwari’s move to Manchester City in 2008.
Harry Redknapp, the former Tottenham Hotspur boss, has revealed how he ended up “pushing Benjani Mwaruwari and getting him onto the planet”.
It is one of the most amusing January transfer deadline day anecdotes ever retold in the football world.
Redknapp’s go-to story, according to Benjani, is more magical than true.
Benjani established himself as one of the season’s breakout stars after scoring 12 goals and providing two assists in 23 Premier League outings.
Despite the fact that he was one of the league’s top scorers, Redknapp jumped at the chance when Manchester City offered him a large transfer price.
“Out of the blue, I got an offer from Manchester City of around £9.5m, and no disrespect to Benji, I really did not expect to get offered £9m for him,” Redknapp said to TalkSPORT.
“I told Benji he is going to Manchester City, how it is a great move for him, and he should go, but he said, ‘I like it here, gaffer, I don’t really want to move.”
“Eventually, I got him to the airport, then suddenly I got a phone call from Manchester saying he had not arrived on that plane.
“I went to the airport and eventually found him, I said, “you’re supposed to be in Manchester, Benji’ and then suddenly there is one more late plane, but he didn’t want to go.”
In spite of huge anxieties about his time of arrival, City only just got the deal over the line before the window slammed shut.
“I end up dragging him across the runway pushing him, telling him he should go” Redknapp stated.
“He was getting towards the departure gate and he was telling me he wants to stay at Portsmouth, I ended up pushing him and getting him onto the plane – it was about half-past twelve by the time he got there.
“He was a fantastic boy, but it was a fantastic deal, and I had to push him onto the plane to get him to go and do it.”