The ITV documentary that celebrates some England legends, something that is a laugh to watch but also look at some of the issues our favourite footie stars suffer behind closed doors.
Harry (alongside the help of John Barnes) and his boys returned after a follow up to last years programme Harry’s Heroes: The Full English. This year, we saw Redknapp take his team to France, then Italy and finally Germany for a rematch as England beat them last year 4-2 as vengeance for all those times, we lost to them in the World Cup and Euros. This time, it was time to play them in their own territory.
This year’s starting eleven – which always struggled to acquire a full team due to injuries and other circumstances – included Paul Merson, Neil “Razor” Ruddock, Mark Chamberlin, Ray Parlour, David Seaman, Matt Le Tissier, Rob Lee, Mark Wright, Lee Sharpe and Lee Hendrie. We also saw other additions who were called in at later points including Vinnie Jones, Michael Owen and Teddy Sheringham.
Along the way, we saw some the boys (well, men) make three journeys. First was France where they played French club Metz’s, then they made their way towards Italy where they played San Marino and won 5-2. The final and most important destination of the trip was to Germany to play the German legends team where they won 1-0 (thanks to Lee Hendrie).
On the surface, this programme appeared to see some legendary footballers who weren’t spring chickens anymore, and they all decide to take a journey to Germany to go back to their football roots and beat them – something they failed to do all those years ago. And, along the way they all have a laugh as they drink (some more than others) and enjoy their time whilst they all reminisce on good times.
However, something this programme did really well was shine a light on the struggles and depression footballers feel not only during their career but also after they have retired from the profession. Scenes that can even be described as emotional to watch is an argument that occurs between Razor Ruddock and Paul Merson as Ruddock is one of the players that drinks day after day.
Merson however – who is recovering from an alcohol and gambling addiction – expresses his worry to Ruddock and says he is out of control. Ruddock however doesn’t like being told what to do. This then results in an argument between the two and ends in tears. However, as both are lifelong friends, they resolve their issues.
This highlights to us that even though these footballers have experienced stardom throughout their careers, behind the scenes we have no idea what is going on and all we see is the luxurious lifestyle they lead.
However, for players like Merson, Ruddock and Lee Hendrie, we see a vulnerability to them we have never seen before and it promotes the message to us that mental health issues can affect anyone. It is something that needs to be spoken about and focused on more – especially in football – as it is something they tend to shy away from.
Not only does this programme highlight a vulnerability to footballers, something we have never seen before, but we also get a joyful experience from watching. We see some hilarious moments including when the team had to play a team of nudists (pre-warning for your viewing) which makes it not only funny to watch the players during the match, but even funnier to see their reactions as they play them.
It is hard to find a negative in this programme as it provides us with funny and meaningful viewing as we see some of our favourite football legends catch up with old friends and go back to their football roots. However, we also see another side to them that makes us see them in a different light, but not a bad light.
Ultimately, Harry’s Heroes: Euro Having a Laugh is a must watch for you during this lockdown.
Harry’s Heroes: Euro having a laugh is available on ITV and ITV Hub.
By Katie Green
Feature image: ITV Hub