‘We’ll give it a right go’ – QPR boss Harry Redknapp confident ahead of play-offs

QPR boss Harry Redknapp says his side will head into the Championship play-offs confident of promotion.

Rangers claimed a 3-2 victory over relegated Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday and Redknapp was delighted to head into the post-season programme with a bit of momentum.

“We made changes for obvious reasons, but I was pleased with the performance and the result,” Redknapp told the QPR official website.

“We were always comfortable and I was pleased to include a couple of youngsters in (Coll) Donaldson and (Michael) Petrasso, who did well.”

Summer signing Charlie Adam hit his 100 professional goal in English football as he continued to build up his fitness after injury.

“Charlie needed another 60 minutes or so,” Redknapp added.

“He was short of a gallop as they say in the racing world, so we gave him a game.

“He showed his quality again with the goal and that will do him the world of good.”

Redknapp’s side will now face Wigan in the play-offs as both sides challenge for a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

The Latics finished one place below QPR and suffered a final day defeat to Blackburn, but the Rangers manager is not resting on his laurels.

“Wigan will be a tough game – they’re a very good side,” he said.

“Being at home in the second leg is important for us, but our only focus at the minute is on preparing for Friday at their place.

Brighton snatched a last-gasp goal at the City Ground to leapfrog Reading into the final play-off spot and will face Derby in the second play-off.

And the former Tottenham boss expects the form book to be tossed aside, with promotion ‘up for grabs’.

“Everyone will head into them confident of promotion, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“This league is so unpredictable as has been proven today, and I don’t see the play-offs being any different.

“It’s all up for grabs for us – we’re going to give it a right go.”

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Harry Redknapp tells court: I’m no businessman, just a fantastic manager

Despite swapping the dugout at White Hart Lane for the witness box at Southwark crown court, Harry Redknapp turned in a characteristically plain-spoken performance , entertaining his tax evasion trial with cracks about Peter Crouch’s height, attempting to turn the tables on the prosecutor, and shouting at a policeman to stop eyeballing him in court.

The 64-year-old Tottenham Hotspur manager began his evidence by telling the jury that he has always paid his tax – and would rather pay too much to the Inland Revenue than too little – but proceedings became increasingly heated as he was asked about the offshore bank account at the centre of the case.

The prosecution claims Redknapp opened the account in Monaco in 2002 so he could receive $145,000 (£93,100) from his then boss at Portsmouth, Milan Mandaric, to make up for money he was not paid when the club sold Crouch to Aston Villa.

Although Redknapp felt he was owed 10% of the profits from the sale, the club paid him only 5%, arguing he was not contractually entitled to the larger sum.

The prosecution says Mandaric paid two sums into the account, which was named after Redknapp’s bulldog, Rosie. The first payment of $145,000, it claims, was intended to make up for the £115,473 that Redknapp missed out on from the Crouch sale. The second payment of $150,000 (£96,500), the prosecution says, was a reward for Redknapp’s stewardship of the club and for getting it into the Premier League. As the payments were “undoubtedly referable to Mr Redknapp’s employment”, the prosecution says that tax should have been paid.

Redknapp told the jury it had not been easy to get Mandaric to sign Crouch in the first place, as the Portsmouth boss had dismissed him as “a basketball player”.

He added: “Crouchy at 6ft 7 was not exactly his cup of tea. He said, ‘You’ll owe me 10% instead of me owing you.’”

Redknapp’s observation that Crouch would prove a good buy – “he’s young, he’s developing, he’s getting taller” – also raised a laugh in court.

Earlier, Mandaric had brushed off the prosecution’s suggestions that he had needed to make extra payments to keep Redknapp happy, saying his then manager was well paid with a contract valued at “millions of pounds”. Mandaric said he had paid the “seed” money into his friend’s Monaco account for no other reason than to help him establish a portfolio. “This money had nothing to do with anything else than the friendship that developed beyond football,” he told the court.

John Black QC, prosecuting, disputed Mandaric’s assertion, saying that the payment was in fact made to compensate Redknapp for receiving 5% on the sale of Crouch rather than the 10% he felt he was due. “This money, Mr Mandaric, was money given to your friend Harry Redknapp offshore, particularly as a bonus for the Crouch sale, wasn’t it?” Mandaric denied the money had been intended as a bonus – as did Redknapp when he later stepped into the witness box.

The Spurs manager accused Black of getting tangled up in his repeated references to bonuses. Were the alleged bonuses for the Crouch sale, for doing well, or to keep him at the club, he asked the prosecutor.

(more…)

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Rafael van der Vaart ‘to make £8m Spurs transfer’, says Harry Redknapp

Speaking outside the club’s training ground shortly after the 6pm deadline had passed, Redknapp confirmed he and chairman Daniel Levy had been in talks over the Dutch international midfielder.

And although the talks had only begun two hours before the window was due to close, Redknapp remains hopeful of confirming Van der Vaart as a Tottenham player in time to announce him in his 25-man Premier League squad on Wednesday.

“We’re just waiting for some clearance,” he said.

“I was told he was going to Bayern Munich yesterday for around £18million and then suddenly Daniel called me at around four o’clock and asked if I wanted to do something.

“The price was around £8million and for that sort of money we thought it was worth seeing what we could do.”
Van der Vaart’s future at the Bernabeu has been in doubt for some weeks, especially since Jose Mourinho signed Werder Bremen and Germany star Mesut Ozil, who is likely to be the club’s main creative spark this season.

Redknapp already has playmaker Luca Modric at his disposal and could find it difficult to fit both him and the Dutchman – as well as other creative talents like Aaron Lennon, David Bentley, and Niko Krancjaer – into his first-team squad.

But the Spurs boss continued: “He [Van der Vaart] definitely improves us.

“I couldn’t say yet if it’s definitely happened or not – we need to wait to see if everything’s gone through in time. I’m hopeful.”

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