Harry Redknapp’s new football show Harry’s Heroes: The Full English has been applauded for raising awareness of mental health problems in men.
The programme, airing over two nights on ITV, sees the I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here winner reunite a squad of retired footballers to see if they can regain their fitness ahead of a match with a team of German counterparts.
Read more: Redknapp almost pulled out of I’m a Celeb
The 72-year-old manager is joined by former England international John Barnes as his assistant, with the team including the likes of Lee Sharpe, Chris Waddle and Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock.
Viewers took to social media to praise the show’s nostalgic quality, but also to discuss the “inspiring” moment in which a fishing trip prompted former Arsenal player Paul Merson to reveal his struggles with addiction.
The 50-year-old told England goalkeeping legend David Seaman and striker Robbie Fowler about his battles with gambling and drugs.
He revealed he once felt suicidal after losing £20,000 in a single weekend.
As a man of a certain age and being a spurs fan, watching @PaulMerse open up about his addiction in #Harrysfullenglish I can’t help but have the up most respect for him. Keep fighting those demons merse you are an inspiration to many who need inspiring.
— Paul Dearman (@PaulDearman1) March 18, 2019
Can we seriously take a moment to appreciate that part where David Seaman, Paul Merson and Robbie Fowler had an open chat about mental health. You could tell that was a chat they all wish they'd had 20 years ago… #HarrysHeroes #Harrysfullenglish
— Sam Michael (@SamMichaelC) March 18, 2019
— Jake Young (@J_Young_23) March 18, 2019
Been good this #Harrysfullenglish
Nice that bit with Seaman, Fowler & Merson fishing talking mainly about Mersons addiction & mental health……nice what Fowler did little touch of the knee asking if he was alright now!
I think it’s important to ask the question
— Lee Johnson ⚫️⚪️ RAFA’S MAGS 🙋🏼♂️ (@Lee18_92Johnson) March 18, 2019
After the first episode aired on Monday night, the 50-year-old defender Ruddock urged people to watch the concluding part, teasing that there is “tear jerking stuff” ahead.
— Neil Ruddock (@RealRazor) March 18, 2019
As well as Merson’s candid revelations about his mental health, fans praised the show for being heart-warming and charming at a time of political division and tragic news.
The second episode will follow the team on a trip to a warm weather training camp and see them battle with injuries ahead of their battle with the German squad.
Harry’s Heroes: The Full English concludes on Tuesday evening at 9pm.