A British friend here in Madrid brought to our attention (on the MadridMan’s ALL SPAIN Message Board) an article published on Sky News regarding Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager (of football/soccer in North London), who had his wallet stolen before last Thursday’s Real Madrid-Atlético de Madrid football/soccer game in Vicente Calderón Stadium – home of the Atlético de Madrid team.
The article‘s attention-grabbing title is “Tottenham Boss Mugged During Trip to Spain“. My first thought was, “Oh-my-goodness, that’s terrible! They must have cornered him in a dark alley, held him at knife-point, threatened his life, and demanded his wallet, watch, and Italian-made loafers!”
Just goes to show how headlines are written to somewhat sensationalize an event. Heck, I do it too so I can’t blame them too much. But at least the headline/title should, at least, match the content of the real story! Is that too much to ask??
A “mugging” is typically considered a robbery with force. This guy didn’t know they were taking his wallet until after the muggers completed their “Hey, I’m just doing a good deed by straightening your wrinkled pants” transaction.
Harry Redknapp’s quotes on his “mugging”:
“I’m walking round the outside of the stadium, it’s a fantastic atmosphere.
“The next thing there’s two guys on their knees in front of me and they’ve got my trousers and they keep doing this (tugging) with them, pulling them.
“I thought ‘what are you doing?’ The next thing he’s got my keys on the floor.
“I didn’t know whether to knee him in the gob or not.
“I’m going ‘let go of my trousers’, pushing them away. While I’m doing that they’re rifling my pockets, there were about six of them. And then they went.
“I put my hand in my pockets and realised what they’d done.”
“They took everything,” Redknapp said. “All my money, credit cards, everything really. (-except his keys, mobile phone, and passport, apparently. What does “everything” mean, again??)
It’s never a good thing when someone loses their property. No one deserves to be a victim. I won’t say “He had it coming” or “That’s what happens when…”
Thankfully, after 5 years of living here – and several years beforehand walking the streets of Madrid – I’ve never been a victim of pickpocketing nor have witnessed it. But I do know people who’ve realized later that their wallets, be them in their purses or pockets, went missing. I also know one particular elderly woman who had her purse “lifted” on 5 occasions in the past 5 years. Seems she has the habit of putting her purse on the floor while paying her supermarket/shopping bill at the cash register. She’s always so upset with herself and the world. Her children, now totally grown, don’t know what to do. Since we can’t change the behavior/habits of others, we can only hope those people will learn from their experiences and change their own behavior.
In the case of the English soccer/football manager, I can only guess he had his wallet in the rear, unbuttoned back pocket of his baggy pants. If that’s true, he can only blame himself. This isn’t Normal-Town, USA/England where pickpockets are scarce. I remember one time in Columbus, Ohio, word spread quickly through the downtown area offices that someone had just had their pocket-picked in the downtown area while they walked to lunch. As I said, word spread fast because these things just don’t happen there. We were all a-buzz with the news, “Oh, can you believe this happened here?” and “Wow, that’s just awful. I know someone who traveled to Europe once and the same thing happened to them” and “Did’ja hear that someone just had their wallet taken while crossing the street?”
Over-the-shoulder bags or purses are best for both men and women, keeping belongings close to your chest/stomach at all times. This way you can (more likely) feel any probing hands. I also tell people not to carry wallets in back pockets, whether buttoned-down pockets or not. In fact, I recommend people not carry wallets at all. Leave those family photos at home, bring only what you need. These necessities should include no more than your I.D., credit cards, and cash – all carried folded over and in your front, non-baggy pocket if you don’t carry a purse/shoulder bag. Buy a cheap-o money clip like they used to carry in the 1940s. As for the purses/shoulder bags, they should be small enough that you won’t be cumbersome or NEED to remove them for meals. If you MUST remove them, put them on the floor between your feet or wrap the strap around the leg of your chair. And also a bit less-safe, you can put your bag over the chair-back but only if your coat is covering the same chair back with the purse/bag underneath.
It’s a shame this happened to the British football team manager. Had he not been a kind of “celebrity”, this would never have made the papers, of course. It’s also fun reading the comments of articles online. One commenter for this particular article wrote, “No Big deal. The average fan is mugged every Saturday at the turnstile.“Share THIS on Facebook!